After Jim’s post about Three Best Hawaii Travel Secrets, I realized that we haven’t written much about our fantastic trip to Hawaii! We traveled to Hawaii in 2007 but looking back seems like it was just this year. 🙂
One of the best things that we had on our trip was the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. It is an excellent guide that helped us discern which activities, beaches, hikes and restaurants were the best to enjoy during our vacation! In fact, it was so useful that when we arrived on the Big Island we went to Costco and picked one up!
I recommend that if you are headed to Hawaii, get it in advance so that you can use it to plan you trip!
The book is broken up into eight sections:
The introduction is as it sounds like, a basic review of the history of Hawaii and a little about each of the eight islands.
This is a helpful section to read before you depart on your trip, it includes packing tips and car rental suggestions.
Sights by Geographical Region (e.g. East, West)
Since the sights are broken up into regions we planned our day based on the sights in a particular region. We also took a look at the dining options in that area to figure out where we wanted to eat! 🙂 This allowed us to reduce the amount of driving and allowed us to optimize our fun for the day!
This is a must-read for both beach-lovers and non-beach lovers alike! It gives a short section on each beach, divided up by geographical region. I really liked this section because as a non-beach lover I was able to determine which beaches I wanted to check out. The best beaches are highlighted with a “Gem” beside their review. This allowed us non-beach lovers to enjoy the most beautiful beaches that Kauai is known for but avoid those that are just best for sunbathing!
Other than Island Dining this was section that we referenced the most during our trip! It covers everything from hikes to golfing to helicopter rides. It provides a really good background on which big ticket items (like a helicopter ride) are worth it and how much they will set you back!
As a note, we found that they rating of hiking trails was a little off, a hike that was rated as “moderately difficult” was actually relatively easy. But, if you’ve been spending your vacation lying on the beach drinking Lava Flows then maybe a hike that would normally be easy becomes pretty hard! 🙂
A word of warning: some of the hikes that we wanted to try had notices of visitors who died/were severely injured when trying to following the hikes outlined in this book. We decided to use our best judgement and didn’t go on those hikes.
Now if you’re like me and hang gliding (from the Activites section) seems like an adventure I wondered what this section could outline! This section starts off by stating that this section is for the serious adventurer. They cover great but hard hikes, long kayaking trips and scuba diving.
My favorite part of the book is the “Island Dining” section. Wow, was it great! It lists most places on the Island and gives the really good spots the “ONO” grade. We were able to try some out of the way places that we would not have found without the book! The places outlined in this section can range from the roadside stand to the very fancy. Try them all, don’t shy away from some place because its located off the side of the highway, we found that those were some of the best!
Places to Stay
With prices of food in Hawaii being very expensive we were happy to stay in a condo during our first week in Kauai. This section provides reviews of hotels and condominiums and suggest that you spend some time looking at their on-line reviews. Since they can provide much more in-depth information that in the book.
We loved our time in Hawaii and The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook made it possible!