On any list of the world’s most spectacular islands, Kauai ranks right up there with Bora Bora, Huahine, and Rarotonga. All the elements are here: moody rainforests, majestic cliffs, jagged peaks, emerald valleys, palm trees swaying in the breeze, daily rainbows, and some of the most spectacular golden beaches you’ll find anywhere. Soft tropical air, sunrise bird song, essences of ginger and plumeria, golden sunsets, sparkling waterfalls—you don’t just go to Kauai, you absorb it with every sense. It may get more than its fair share of tropical downpours, but that’s what makes it so lush and green—and creates an abundance of rainbows.
Kauai is essentially a single large shield volcano that rises 3 miles above the sea floor. The island lies 90 miles across the open ocean from Oahu, but it seems at least a half century removed in time. It’s often called “the separate kingdom” because it stood alone and resisted King Kamehameha’s efforts to unite Hawaii. In the end, a royal kidnapping was required to take the Garden Isle: After King Kamehameha died, his son, Liholiho, ascended the throne. He gained control of Kauai by luring Kauai’s king, Kaumualii, aboard the royal yacht and sailing to Oahu; once there, Kaumualii was forced to marry Kaahumanu, Kamehameha’s widow, thereby uniting the islands.
Meticulously researched by one of Hawaii's most noted journalists (and a long-time resident of the Big Island), this is hands-down the most reliable, up-to-date, and comprehensive guide to Kauai.
Each of our candid hotel reviews is based on a detailed personal inspection. You'll find lavish beachfront resorts, intimate rain-forest B&Bs, family-friendly condos, and much, much more. Our dining reviews are simply the best in the business, whether you crave cutting-edge Asian-fusion cuisine or a hearty, affordable plate lunch.
Our author makes sure that you'll truly experience the spirit of aloha, and she'll help you steer clear of anything that's overpriced, touristy, or inauthentic. With Frommer's in hand, you'll know where to find secluded beaches; secret spots for snorkeling; the best outfitters to choose for everything from diving to deep-sea fishing; and where to find the top galleries and shops.
Inside you'll find extensive coverage of family-friendly accommodations and activities; tips on how to get married in the islands; recommendations for the best honeymoon resorts; and valuable advice on finding the best airfares and package deals. Whether you want to learn how to surf, hike through Waimea Canyon, play a challenging round of golf, snorkel with sea turtles, or simply kick back with a mai tai to watch the sunset, you can design the perfect trip with Frommer's Kauai.