Part 2…Why would YOU want to visit Kauai?…Today, the flip side…Any reasons, “why not?”

Overcast days at the beach still present a pleasant experience.

Whenever we make suggestions or recommendations we consider that many people may not be candidates for our suggestions for any number of reasons. Under certain circumstances, travel may not be an option due to health issues or concerns, personal finances, or merely a distaste for the nuances of travel of which there are many.

We also understand that a certain faction of our readers have no interest in travel itself but enjoy following our day to day activities. Our vast number of readers are somehow inspired to follow our day to day posts for which we are very grateful for their interest. 

These downed trees not only provide shade but also a habitat for insects and small critters of which there are few in Kauai.

As a result, we feel it is only fair for us to disclose our perceptions on the flip side of any suggestion we may make. What are the drawbacks? Within that framework, if only one reader decides against following our recommendations and chooses an alternative path, then we’ve done our job by showing both the good and not so good.

Isn’t all of it about perception anyway?  If someone had told us, “Kauai is mostly for serious hikers with many dangerous trails and tide pools from which many tourists are killed each year,” we may have stayed away.

There’s always a chicken on the beach.

Instead, we came to Kauai, safely experiencing a few of the more difficult trails realizing that tough trails aren’t for us. However, Kauai offers so much more than tough hiking trails and dangerous tide pools as shown in our past  months of daily postings with hundreds of photos.

Please click these three links for disheartening news stories on injuries and deaths that incurred on the rough trails in Hawaii, not exclusively in Kauai:

News story #1
News story #2
News story #3

What are the drawbacks to visiting Kauai from our perspective which, please keep in mind, maybe very different from yours after staying here for this extended period of time? (However, we’ve yet to meet one person who doesn’t love Kauai).

These billowy white clouds are seen almost daily.  There’s rarely a time of solid blues skies in Kauai for longer than a few hours.

Let’s take each point, one by one:

1.  Price of vacation rentals: Renting a modest single-family house under $10,000 a month is difficult if not impossible to find.  However, if two couples shared in the cost of a multi-bedroom house for a few weeks it becomes more affordable, certainly no more costly than a hotel. For an average condo rental, small such as ours at 700 square feet, the rental rates vary from approximately $150 to $200 per night. Many offer special weekly and monthly rates.  In our case, due to our frequent mention of the condo here on our site, providing great exposure for the landlord in addition to our long-term stay enabled us to benefit from a significantly reduced rate which is often the case for our long-term rentals. You know…a bird in the hand. Having a condo with a full kitchen cuts down on the necessity of dining out for each meal.  More on that in a moment.
2.  Price of hotels: St. Regis in Princeville starts at about $550 per night, the Westin Princeville at $337 per night, and the Hanalei Bay Resort at $199 with numerous other options in between. Other areas such as Lihue, Kapaa, and Poipu Beach have prices beginning at $175  a night on up. Of course, staying in a hotel adds to the rate when including WiFi fees when not included, tips, taxes, resort fees, meals, and tempting purchases.

Zooming in on a tiny bud.

3.  Cost of meals in restaurants with tax and tips: Considering each time we’ve dined out, each at mid-range restaurants, we’ve spent an average of $72 per restaurant visit, keeping in mind I don’t drink alcohol and Tom never ordering more than one cocktail. Also, we don’t order appetizers or desserts.  That’s for one meal for two people. If one had two or three meals out per day at mid-range local restaurants the cost would be from $125 to $200 per day or more depending on alcohol, sides, and desserts. However, these costs may be typical for most resort type areas. Dining in the hotels is considerably more costly, as much at 100% higher.

4.  Cost of groceries for dining in: In reviewing our Excel spreadsheet with the cost of literally every expense for food including trips to Costco, farmer’s markets, health food stores, produce stands, and grocery stores, we’re currently averaging at $47 per day. Considering that I only eat one meal a day (intermittent fasting) and Tom has one main meal and two light low carb snacks/meals, the cost for three meals a day could reach the $80 per day range. The fact that we eat no processed or packaged foods, soda, fruits, or snacks also reduces costs.  In part, our costs may be slightly heightened by eating mostly organic locally grown foods which are approximately 10% higher than mass-produced foods. The grass-fed meat we’ve been purchasing at the gas station from Curly’s Princeville Ranch is no more expensive than the grain-fed meat at Foodland. These figures may not be considered high for some travelers but for many, they could be prohibitive.

These pods are less than one inch long.

5.  Cost of airfare: Let’s face it, Hawaii is not conveniently located. From most locations, it requires multiple layovers and high fares. The average cost for each of our 12 family members that visited at Christmas was $1300 per person, round trip. In the off-season, the fare is as much as 40% less. For senior travelers with medical concerns, multiple layovers and long flights may present a problem. Also, fees for checked baggage and overweight baggage is a factor to consider.6.  Recreational Activities: If we were to list the most popular tourist activities in Kauai, as much as 85% require some level of fitness, especially the treacherous and difficult hiking trails. Many resort areas throughout the world have museums, art galleries, historical buildings, and sites easy to navigate. Hawaii, especially Kauai, is mostly about nature, although there are a few small museums. Yes, there are many tours in vans and buses but, many of these include getting out of the vehicle to view the scenery. For some seniors, this may be an obstacle and result in frustration. Many of the boat tours include rough waters with considerable bouncing about which may be difficult for some.

It’s not unusual to see many downed trees still showing signs of life along the beaches.

7.  Medical care: Most residents of Kauai with whom we’ve spoken, young and old, fly to Oahu for medical care at a cost of around $150 or more, round trip per person, for a daytime flight. If one requires frequent doctor visits, this cost and inconvenience can add up. When adding the cost of taxis, tips, and meals when arriving in Oahu, for those on a fixed income, these only increase the expense. Of course, emergency medical care and medical clinics are available on the island but, from what we’ve determined one may be more inclined to head to Oahu, if possible. It isn’t unusual for a patient to be airlifted from Kauai to Oahu for medical care. This type of insurance is vital for average travelers. (Our insurance policy includes these fees).

These downed trees are perfect on sunny days for those seeking a respite from the bright sun.

8.  The weather: Kauai is the garden island. It rains a lot. We’ve seen our next-door neighbors arrive for a week’s vacation and never experience a sunny day. For us, this is fine. For those spending upwards of $3500 for a week’s vacation, this could be very frustrating. Many of our neighbors haven’t minded the rain and have still spent every day exploring the island. But, for serious hikers, which many are, the trails are slippery and dangerous when wet. A few of our neighbors have experienced minor, non-life-threatening injuries on the trails on rainy days. For us, rainy days as for many retirees is a good day to stay home unless we’re committed to attending a social event. We’ve also experienced several sunny days in a row. During our 75 days on the island, it’s been the rainy season. With spring in full bloom, we expect we’ll see more sunny days. But, even the summers in Kauai may be rainy. If one is looking to lounge in a lawn chair by a pool, drinking tropical cocktails, occasionally walking along the beach, and dining out in fabulous restaurants, Kauai may not be a perfect choice.  Maui and Oahu may be better choices during their prime seasons with less rain. Of course, it can rain in the morning on any of the islands and become sunny for an hour or more, which is more common than not. The trade winds result in drastic weather changes in a matter of minutes. Many days, we put on our swimsuits hoping for a visit to the pool, only to change out of them a short time later when a dark cloud cover has suddenly appeared. 

The rope of this tree is ideal for a swinging splash into the water.

9.  Long drive to Lihue from many locations for shopping: Princeville has a small shopping center. One may purchase a good pair of walking shoes for $195, a dress or men’s shirt for a special occasion for $175 or more, and a pair of costume jewelry earrings for $65. The shopping center in Princeville is not unlike shopping centers in other pricey resort towns. For a 35 minute drive, one can head to Kapaa where there’s a more well-stocked larger grocery store, Safeway, Long’s Drug, and a GNC, and more, none of which are located in Princeville. If one desires to make a trip to Costco, Walmart, or a regular mall with chain type stores, a trip to Lihue, a long hour’s drive in traffic, is necessary. We’ve been to Lihue on two separate occasions to go to visit Costco and to Kapaa three times. 

None of these “flip side” observations should prohibit most tourists from visiting this glorious island of Kauai. If only to drive around the islands as far as the roads go, only occasionally getting out of the car, one would see scenery the likes of which they’ve never seen before. 

A downed tree on Anina Beach.  Children were playing off to the right.

Even sitting on the quiet, easily accessible Anini Beach on an overcast day is a pleasing experience that Julie and I enjoyed when she was here. Add the friendly people everywhere, and there’s no place on earth that we’ve seen so far that compares to Kauai.

Oops, although I’m dressed for the day, the sun just peeked out. Should I change into a swimsuit? We’ll keep an eye on it and perhaps a trip to the pool and a walk later in the day may be on the agenda. If not, we’re still content.

After all, we’re in Kauai and the view from where I am sitting at the moment is unbelievable.  Check out these two photos below for that view.

This is the view with the screen door open from my seat on the sofa as I post each morning.
By standing up and walking a few feet we’re on the lanai for this view.  It’s obvious why we love Kauai.

Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2014:

Tom’s eyes scanned the interesting décor in the restaurant. For more photos, please click here.

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