By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/23/2020
Posted: 4/30/2010
Topics/Keywords: #Hawaii #Kauai #travel Page Views: 3918
I look back at the trip to Kauai and ask: What have I learned?

After taking such a major undertaking as a trip to one of the Hawaiian islands, it seems reasonable to catch my breath, and ask things like, what did I see that I didn't need to see? What did I miss? What would I do differently, and what would I do the same? Sort of like unpacking after a vacation, only it's unpacking the mind instead of the suitcase.


My rolling duffel bag worked well for this kind of trip, overall. It just needs more sections inside, which can be created by picking up a few stuff bags from an outdoors store like REI. I think I have a couple in the garage now, in fact. That way, I can keep electronic gear, clean clothes, dirty clothes, toiletries and vitamins all separate. Hopefully, I can get them in different colors. Otherwise I'll have to find a way to create color-coded tags.

Trip Management Software

Shortly before this trip, I stumbled on TripIt, a trip management website and app for my Android phone! The app links to the data on the web site. Trips can be added by simply forwarding the confirmation email from the airline or even a booking site like CheapoAir or Priceline. Accommodations, car rentals, maps, notes, and even activities can be added. They then show up on my cell phone, in order, by trip, easily accessible. And all that's the free version; for a reasonable yearly charge additional features are added, like notifications of delays and cancellations automatically texted to my phone. I did this trip with the free version but it worked so well I plan to upgrade to the fee version.

Reef Shoes

I really need a better pair of river/reef shoes. I need to drop a hundred for a good pair. I need to not put this off another day, since I'm going whitewater rafting on May 8-9.

I would not be insulted if someone decided to give me a pair for my birthday or Christmas or Pride.


Na Pali coast

I took so many photos of Na Pali that my rechargeable camera battery died just as the trip ended. That also happened (same camera) last year in Alaska. So I guess I should get a spare battery and bring it with me.

Michael also killed the batteries in his camera, but they were AA batteries and he simply bought more at the grocery store. Still, bringing some spares would have been cheaper and saved a shopping trip besides.

Get In Shape

Your blogger after pulling a muscle at Kipu Falls.

If I weighed 50 pounds less and could do, oh, 10 or 20 chin-ups, I'm sure I wouldn't have pulled the muscle in my arm when I swung a rope into Kipu Falls.

Fortunately, it's healing quickly and should be all better in time for my rafting trip in two weekends.

I don't intend to stop doing that sort of thing, so I guess I'll have to get right on this.


Toshiba Mini NB-305 netbook computer

Michael's netbook worked wonders on this trip, allowing Michael and me to keep up with our email, store each day's photos thus freeing up space on the camera SD cards, and also making it possible for me to blog every day since I had installed Microsoft FrontPage 2003, the software I use to maintain my web site. (It's technically obsolete, but I don't care. I'm not about to pay over a hundred clams for the "replacement" that doesn't do as much, when FrontPage does everything I want.)

However, it would have been nice to have more sophisticated photo editing software. Specifically, Zoner Panorama Maker, a free application I use to "stitch" photos together and create panoramic views of sequences of shots taken of adjacent areas.

Waimea Canyon panoramic shot, stitched together from individual segments by Zoner Panorama.

The later versions of Zoner Photo Pro do superior tone mapping (HDR) as one of its features.

Also, sometimes a photo has too wide a range between the lighted and shadowed sections. That's when I need to create an HDR (high dynamic range) photo. I use the oddly-named Qtpfsgui app (also free) to do that.

Waimea Canyon in HDR.

Things To Skip

Honestly, there isn't a single thing I would have done differently on this trip, except maybe hold onto that rope as I swung over Kipu Falls a little differently. Every single thing we did was awesome.

Now, we had an awesome time staying at Island Home at Lanai Villas in Po'ipu and couldn't have asked for a nicer place. However, while on Kauai Michael and I met Harry Guiremand, who, we learned, owns a gay bed-and-breakfast on the opposite side of the island. So, while I still recommend Island Home for people who want to be closer to the resort side of the island, I also recommend Harry's Anuenue Plantation Bed & Breakfast for those who'd prefer to be in a spot where the nights are even darker and quieter at night. When I go back to Kauai, that's where I'll be staying.

Things To Do

On another trip, I'd still like to go cave tubing and zip-lining. I've also heard that the helicopter tours are cool, but they have a weight restriction (see "Get In Shape", above.)

Arboreatum at the source of the Wailua River.

And I definitely want to go on some of the hikes above the Na Pali coast from Kohe'e State Park, and hang out longer soaking at the source of the Wailua River in the arboretum, and go camping overnight in Na Pali State Park. Also it would be cool to go snorkeling.

And the five-hour kayak/hike trip to Secret Falls would be really cool, too.

Dang, I have to go back!


Some people will find this page while researching for their own trips to Kauai. Here are some links for them, collected for ease of reference.

Flights and Car Rental

I got my tickets to Kauai via Priceline, one of the two booking services I use most often. They definitely had the best prices for this trip…especially when they threw in a rental car for just a little more than the price of the tickets alone!


  • Island Home at Lanai Villas is located in Po'ipu, at the southern, touristy part of the island. It is most centrally located to anything you want to see, and is very reasonably priced.
  • Anuenue Plantation Bed & Breakfast is located north of Kapa'a, at the northern, quieter part of the island. Here you'll meet more actual Hawaiians, find better prices for crafts and artsy things, and enjoy less crowded beaches.

Things We Saw

  • Po'ipu Beach
  • Opaeka'a Falls (best time for viewing is said to be mid-morning, but it looked great in the afternoon when we were there, too!)
  •, that romantic spot perfect for picnicking and splashing at the literal end of the beaten path. This peaceful site is home to monkeypod, mango, and fragrant eucalyptus trees. Picnic tables and pavilions are scattered throughout the areas. Several streams and freshwater pools that feed into the Wailua River flow nearby and provide a cool relaxing area to swim and frolic.
  • Kipu Falls, an easy hike into the snake-less jungle of Kauai (there are no snakes in Hawaii, and few biting insects) for a swim in your own, almost private waterfall.
  • Smith's Tropical Paradise (river tour to Fern Grotto, gardens, and luau)
  • Super Duper Ice Cream shop in Waimea. They don't have a web site, but they are located just across from the statue of Captain Cook in Waimea. say "Hi!" for me.
  • Waimea Canyon and Lookout. A delightful drive and an awesome view!
  • Hoke'e State Park: go to the end of the road to the lookout over the Na Pali coast. Jaw-dropping!
  • Spouting Horn, a very cool site that won't take long to see, and is across the stree from the…
  • National Tropical Botanical Garden (Allerton)
  • Romantic Dinner Sunset Cruise to Na Pali coast on Holo-Holo Charters.

Enjoy your trip…we sure did!