Kalapaki Beach in Front of the Kauai Marriott
By Tom Ogg
Language and Currency
What is Nawiliwili, Kauai Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
The official language of Nawiliwili, Kauai is English and the currency is the U.S. dollar.
Nawiliwili, Kauai is really the name of the harbor rather than the name of a town. The port lies outside of Lihue, the main town on Kauai. While the port resides in Nawiliwili Bay, so does Kalapaki Beach, which is the home of the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club and an excellent beach as well.
While Nawiliwili resides more towards the southern end of the island, it still experiences a fair amount of rainfall receiving almost 50 inches in an average year. The mountain at the very center of Kauai, Mt. Waialeale receives so much rain each year that totally unique flora and fauna exist in the Alakai Swamp at its summit. Receiving over 600 inches of rain per year (that's right 600 inches) Mt. Waialeale is considered the wettest place on Earth.
The Crystal Harmony Docked at Nawiliwili, Kauai
The ship enters Nawiliwili Harbor and docks. However the entrance to the harbor is narrow and riddled with dangers, so if there are high winds or a large swell the ship may not be able to enter the harbor.
The closest shopping to the dock in Nawiliwili is located at Kalapaki Beach about 1/2 mile from the ship. It is within easy walking distance and offers two smaller shopping centers. There is also shopping in the stores of the Kauai Marriott just beyond. The Kauai Wal Mart will have a free shuttle if you would like to shop there, otherwise, you must arrange to visit some of Kauai's shopping malls located in various parts of the island.
You will find an excellent assortment of tourist items in the shopping malls at Kalapaki Beach, as well as in the Marriott Hotel itself. One of the most interesting things to consider for purchase are Niihau Shell Leis. Niihau is a private island that resides west of Kauai and is the home of the pure Hawaiian culture preserved for years and years. With about 250 residents, Niihau has no electricity, no plumbing, no stores, no restaurants, no hotels nor any other trappings of modern society. One of the few exports that Niihau has are its beautiful, hand-made Niihau Shell Leis. These multi-strand leis are considered the finest in Hawaii and while expensive, are highly treasured by everyone. Each shell is carefully chosen to match the other shells making up the lei and the overall impact is stunning.
Waimea Canyon, Kauai
Kauai has many things to enjoy. The ship will offer many excursions and you can also find a local tour operator in the shopping plaza on Kalapaki Beach. I believe the best tour for everyone to take would be the helicopter flightseeing tour of Mt. Waialeale, the Alakai Swamp, Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast. The ship will certainly offer this option but there are several opportunities to choose from. In my opinion the optimum place to fly from is the small Hanalei/Princeville airport, as you experience fabulous scenery from the moment you take off. It follows a foot trail up Hanalei Valley into the mountains finally arriving at the Alakai Swamp before dropping into the Waimea Canyon. It is simply a trip to remember.
Poipu Beach, Kauai
If you are a beach person, you can head over to Poipu Beach for one of the nicest beaches in Hawaii. Koloa Town (right before Poipu) offers great shopping and restaurants. The Koloa Broiler has been one of Kauai's favorite restaurants for generations. This "cook you own" steak and seafood restaurant is outstanding! While you are cooking your meal, neighborhood cats rub up against your legs looking for a handout. It isn't fancy, but it is certainly excellent. The beach at Poipu is sunny and offers great swimming, snorkeling and body surfing at Brennecke's Beach just a five minute walk south of Poipu Beach. Excellent restaurants and bars can be found here as well.
Sightseers may want to drive around to the north shore of Kauai and visit spots along the way. The Wailua River boat trip to the Fern Grotto is always something first time visitors enjoy, there is great shopping at Coconut Plantation just beyond the river, and the scenery as you make your way around the island just gets better and better. The town of Hanalei (just beyond the first one-lane bridge that prohibits motor coaches from getting to this part of the island), is a wonderful little community with eclectic boutiques, shops and small wonderfully rustic restaurants.
The Beautiful Na Pali Coastline (Taken from Helicopter)
Continue on until the end of the road and you will have reached the beginning of the Na Pali Coast and the trail head that penetrates the Na Pali Coast. The first beach is only a mile hike down the trail and I think is the most beautiful on the entire coast. If you are looking for an experience you won't forget, take the hike. Waimea Canyon is very memorable, but if you have not been to Kauai before, I would choose on of the other options.
If you want to just do some shopping, have a great lunch and get some sunshine then simply walk over to Kalapaki Beach. Simply turn right when you exit the port and follow the road until you see the shopping center (ships usually provide a free shuttle to the parking lot in the shopping center). There is a great little 1-story shopping mall right on the beach (well, actually there are two, one is across the street) and there are some excellent stores in the Kauai Marriott as well. The beach at Kalapaki is excellent and it offers snorkeling, safe swimming and there is a beginner's surf spot right there if you want to try surfing. Dukes Canoe Club and Barefoot Bar is right there as well and is a great place for a wonderful lunch and libation where you can wear your swimsuit right off the beach.
Sport Fishing is also excellent from Kauai's harbor (almost as good as Kona) and would be a great choice if you love to fish. Snorkel and dive trips as also available. Just west of Kauai is Niihau, a small island inhabited by some 250 pure blooded Hawaiians. This island was closed to all visitors for decades as an attempt to preserve the Hawaiian's natural way of life and culture. Today, there is a flightseeing tour that takes you to Niihau and actually lands on the island for a tour. while I have not personally done it, I would give this high marks as well.
Waimea Canyon Taken From a Helicopter Tour
Yes, the helicopter tour of Mt. Waialeale, Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast is awesome. This is where helicopter touring started and it is easy to see why on this flight. Do it and you will remember it forever. The helicopters will take you up the canyon, to the Alakai Swamp, by numerous waterfalls, into the main canyon walls and much, much more. Don't miss it.
Kalapaki Beach from Duke's Canoe Club Patio
Yes, Duke's Canoe Club and Barefoot Bar is pretty cool. Located on the beach at Kalapaki in front of the Kauai Marriott, Dukes is truly unique. Its waterfalls, koi ponds and vegetation leave one wondering if this is a restaurant or something else. I am not sure how they pencil it out from a profit standpoint, but be sure to check it out when you are in Nawiliwili.
If you get to Koloa Town, be sure to dine at the Koloa Broiler as it is simply excellent (ono)Restaurants in Kailua
26 users found this review helpful.
; Adam & Julie Vavroch We booked all of our excursions through RCCL and were pleased with them all. Our favorite was the Hanalei/ Bali’hi tour in Kauai...read more
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Kauai - Philip M. Haggerty Kauai is a truly beautiful island. There are two major areas to visit here. One is the Waimea area on the west side of...read more
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Kauai is a truly beautiful island. There are two major areas to visit here. One is the Waimea area on the west side of the island, and the other is the Hanalei...read more
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A beautiful island, the wettest place on Earth, and probably the most unspoiled sights in the US. We sailed here in October 2003 on Celebrity Infinity, and we highly...read more
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