Yes, Hawai’i is expensive, but it is entirely possible to enjoy Kauai on as little as $150 a day. With a bit of planning and a dash of flexibility, travelers can get to know the Garden Isle without emptying their wallets.
Hiking is also free. Traverse the stunning Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon and the trails of Koke’e State Park. Get up here to early to watch the early morning sun over the spectacular Kalalau Valley. Adventurers can hike deep into the canyon, or go check out Hawai’i’s only redwood grove.
Though millionaires favor Poipu, it’s possible to have fun on her sunny shores for a pittance.
No need to spend a fortune on luaus. Most shopping centers also offer free hula shows, a favorite being the Thursday 5pm Tahitian hula show at Poipu Shopping Village.
The free Friday Hanapepe Art Night makes an entertaining pitstop. Live music, galleries open late, and food trucks line this historic West Shore town. Alternatively, sunset at Hanalei Pier invites slack key guitarists to serenade the sunset, surfers to brave the swell, families to frolic in the sand, and impromptu barbecues.
With a majority of the produce and goods shipped in, it’s understandable why common staples like peanut butter or milk run almost triple their mainland prices. It’s wise to rent a condo to do some of your own cooking.
Meander the wealth of farmers’ markets throughout the island. Pick up tropical delights for breakfast, and fresh veggies to cook at your condo.
Sample free coffee at the Kauai Coffee Estate. Take a self-guided tour of the expansive coffee fields, learn about coffee, from the bean to the cup, and sample as much caffeine as you can handle. This makes a great pitstop on the way back from exploring Koke’e, or the West Shore beaches.
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Skip the posh resort and book a few nights at Rosewood just outside of Kapa’a’s main drag. This sweet Victorian house in the hills, provides a low-key retreat, complete with a gorgeous garden, outdoor showers, and breakfast (with some rooms).
Camping is also an option for budget seekers, especially at the stunning beaches like Haena Beach Park, or up in Koke’e. Know that you need a permit to camp, which you can obtain through the County Clerk or the State Parks department.
Prices tend to be at their lowest during the “shoulder season” of Spring and Autumn–excluding major holidays. During this time flights, hotels and rental car rates are at their lowest.
If you don’t want to rent a car, the Kauai Bus offers service around the island. Fares are quite low, however, this is not the most dependable option to see all sites and attractions, renting a car is the most effective way to see the island.
Cyclists can hire road or mountain bikes through Outfitters Kauai. Just be cautious of driving on the roads as there are no bike lanes and people drive quite fast.