The same as with the Yellowstone, a bunch of Kauai Hawaii pros, cons were a complete surprise to us. We learned all possible things about the island, and still, were caught off guard by flood, rip currents, and “ghost flowers”. This post is about 9 pros/cons we have discovered so far.
All the interesting places to visit on the island in the next post: Kauai Hawaii: What we liked and recommend to visit.
Kauai Hawaii pros, cons. What you better be aware of:
1. Rain and all what comes from it. Floods, muddy waters.
Garden Isle is the rainiest Hawaiian Island.
While the driest months on Kauai are April-September, the heavy rain might be during these months as well. For 2 days we were stuck at home at the end of April: the road collapsed, there were evacuations, landslides, and flooding:
Our friends were almost swept away from the campsite in … August.
Also, if you are looking for blue, turquoise waters you might be disappointed as muddy waters from overflowing streams are flushed into the ocean:
2. Kauai beaches: Rip currents
Because of the shape (round) and location, Kauai is prone to rip currents. We have visited dozen of beaches and most of them have rip current warnings. For peaceful and vivid beach time and “no tours needed” excellent snorkeling experience, better choose Maui or Big Island.
3. Na Pali Coast, one of the biggest gems on Kauai is accessible only by … boat or airplane tours
(which aren’t cheap). The “budget version” to see the Na Pali Coast is Kalalau’s lookout. It reminds us of watching Niagara Falls from the USA vs Canada: nice but craving for more:
4. Waimea Canyon, another bright gem in Kauai, didn’t seem toddler/stroller friendly to us
We have had an excellent experience with babies and little kids on Maui and Big Island. Everything, from road to Hana to both National Parks, was comfortable to do with kids. We could choose between gentle hikes, observation platforms, and difficult hikes right on the road.
As for Waimea Canyon, it is a must-visit. Just keep in mind it might not be suitable for little ones (abrupt cliffs and slippery surface after the rains) or for the people with limited mobility:
5. We can’t tell that Kauai has more flowers than any other Hawaiian island
But it does have the most gardens and abundant, eye-catching greenery (thanks to all those rains). Garden Island is named after endless emerald valleys, mountains, and rainforests that cover huge parts of Kauai Island.
Kauai pros and cons: why we liked it and would love to come back
1. Kauai is pretty rural and underveloped
For the one, who wants to be away from city life hustle and close to nature, Kauai is great. It isn’t so populated as Oahu and doesn’t get as many tourists, like Maui. Hotel hubs and “condo towns” like Princeville exist, but the island is pretty quiet and we love it for it.
2. If you are an avid hiker, you’ll be delighted in Kauai
We’d name Kauai the #1 for hikers among all other Hawaiian islands.
While Waimea Canyon isn’t a dream destination to hike with little ones, for older kids and adults it’s amazing. Plus, you can find trails all around the island with different lengths, elevation gains, and highlights.
3. Kauai Hawaii is small enough to enjoy if you are short on time
7-10 days is optimal for visiting the Hawaiian islands, taking into consideration time change and long flights. While Big Island is really BIG and Maui has so much to do you’ll need at least 2 weeks to explore it, Kaui is perfect for a short visit.
4. It is different and has its own charm
Although all Hawaiian islands might look the same beautiful on the internet, if you’ll drive around each of them you’ll see how distinct they are from each other! We’d love to come back to Kauai.
Kauai Hawaii pros, cons. Essentials. Good to knows
- One of the biggest cons of Kauai (that also make it different from the other Hawaiian islands) huge part of it can’t be reached by car. Only by hike, plane or a boat.
- Camping at Kauai can be your bucket list destination and budget saving opportunity. Just keep in mind: lots of rain can occur even during the dry season.
- We found more affordable rentals to be on the North side of the island.
- Snorkel during the mornings – the best time for it.
- Besides car you’ll also need: comfortable shoes for hiking, swimsuit, rainjacket, binoculars, cell phone pouch, full face snorkeling mask, and sunscreen. Please, use only mineral sunscreen, chemical are killing the reefs.
- Please respect the Honu (sea turtle), seals, and local sacred sites.
- Hawaii has unique culture many people don’t know about. From 1800 till 1960-70 it was forbidden for locals to practice their culture/customs/language. If you want to learn more, try Shaka self-driving Guide. Love it a lot and recommend.
Kauai Hawaii pros, cons. 12 worth to visit places on My Map
Thanks for reading friends! We are very glad you are here 🙂
Read next: Our top 10 places to visit on Kauai.
What makes Maui Hawaii distinct from other islands. Hawaiian volcanoes. Planning the first trip to Hawaii on a budget. What else on Big Island besides volcanoes? Maui top things to do with/without kids. Oahu.
Crater Lake National Park in one day with kids.
Yellowstone: what we have learned after we arrived in the park.