The Island of Kauai: Highlights & Overview

The Mokihana is the flower that represents the island of Kauai.
Official flower of Kauai: Mokihana
A helpful and handy regional map of the island of Kauai.

The Island of Kauai

Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island and is referred to as the “Garden Island”.

The oldest and Northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain and by far the most lush of all the islands.

The local population is approximately 68,000. There people are friendly and very laid back. No one is in any rush so don’t expect speedy customer service.

A notable distinction about Kauai compared to all of the other Hawaiian Islands are the wild chickens! They are everywhere. Long story short: The mongoose was introduced to Hawaii in order to control the infestation of rats. A favorite meal for the Mongoose are chicken eggs. For whatever reason, the mongoose didn’t make it to Kauai.

There are a ton of chickens roaming the island of Kauai.
Chickens are everywhere on Kauai


There is one airport on the island of Kauai. It is called the Lihue Airport, Airport Code: LIH


There are three general areas where there are lodging options: Poipu, Princeville, and Kapaa.


The Poipu area has the most hotels. It is a nice area with a new shopping mall nearby. Of the three areas I mentioned, if you want to enjoy nice sunsets, staying in the Poipu area is my recommendation. This area is lined with beaches so you can relax on the beach all day if you want.

Another plus to staying in the Poipu area is that you will likely drive under the famous tree tunnel.


Princeville, located on the Northern side of Kauai is another nice area to stay. If you enjoy playing golf or going on walks, you’ll want to stay in Princeville. There is a golf course and paved paths that keep you safe from cars.

Majority of the lodging options in this area are town house style. If you are traveling with a family I’d say this might be a better option as it will give you more space compared to a hotel room.


There are several but not too many places to stay near Kapaa. Kapaa is 20 min drive from Lihue Airport. There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to stay in Kapaa. Kapaa town is small with everything you’ll need such as supermarkets, Ross, shops, & restaurants.

The location is good because its in between Poipu and Princeville. With an ideal location comes a trade off. Kapaa has the worst traffic situation on the island. Between the hours of 3pm-6pm, traffic moves slow…like really slow.


The best way to get around in Kauai is by rental car. The only situation I can see where only relying on ride shares will work (Uber/ Lyft) is if you stay in Kapaa your entire trip. Once you get dropped off to your hotel in Kapaa, you can easily rent a bicycle to get around in order to get you the necessities you need.

Kauai does have a bus system but if you intend on going sightseeing, renting a car is your best bet.

Main Attractions for the Island of Kauai

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is located up on Kokee.
Waimea Canyon

The Waimea Canyon located on the West side of Kauai is Hawaii’s mini version of the Grand Canyon.

It’s approximately 10 miles wide and 3,000ft from bottom to top.

Here are the estimated travel times:

-55 minutes from Poipu

-1 hour, 15 minutes from Kapaa

-1 hour, 45 minutes from Princeville

The Waimea Canyon is definitely a place to see. The best part is that admission is free. You’ll just have to endure the drive up because the ride is steep and curvy.

Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast is a hidden gem of the island of Kauai.
Na Pali Coast of Kauai

Only accessible by boat, the Na Pali Coast is breathtaking. This adventure is one that you won’t want to miss.

It is best to do this tour during the summer months (April – October) when the ocean is at its calmest.

If possible, try and book a tour that departs out of Hanalei vs Port Allen.

If you need help deciding which company to go with, check out CAPT ANDY’s Sailing Adventures.

Summary of the Island of Kauai

The island of Kauai is the most Northern island of the Hawaiian chain. You will definitely see plenty of wild chickens wherever you go. Don’t forget to rent a car so you can have the freedom to wander about. Stay in the Princeville area if you have a love for golf or like going on long walks. If you want to hang out at the beach all day, Poipu is where you’ll want to be. Kapaa is a cute town in a good central location. Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali coast are must sees!