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Volcanoes National Park and Kauai Traveling Tips : Show 14


Tips About Traveling To Kauai And What To Explore At Volcanoes National Park And More Are Featured In This Episode Of The Hawaii Travel Podcast.


Our first question came in from a listener via voicemail. He is planning a trip to Kauai and is looking for some advice:

Hey guys, great show.  My wife and I are planning on heading to Hawaii soon.  We’re thinking of heading to Kauai.  We wanted to know if you had any suggestions as to where to stay in Kauai and what sort of activities would be perfect for us.  We would like to walk and travel around Kauai, and kind of keep the activity on the light side.  I am an avid scuba diver and snorkeler.  Any suggestions would be great, and we look forward to the next show.

Kauai has four sections:


Poipu Sunset photo by Extra Medium and Poipu is the place to visit and/or stay on the south side of the island.  It is dry and sunny and has beautiful beaches.

Places of interest in the southern region of Kauai:

Poipu Beach Park Beach Park
Poipu Beach Park Beach Park is a beautifully spectacular beach.  You would be hard pressed to find a better beach for snorkeling since it is usually always calm.

Spouting Horn Park
Kaua'i - Koloa: Spouting Horn photo by Wally Gobetz and flickr.comSpouting Horn has a beautiful blowhole and offers spectacular sunrises and sunsets.  The blowhole is an old lava tube on the coast where the water rushes through it and blows really high (sometimes as high as 50 feet).  Great photo op if you can time it right! Spouting Horn Park is in the Poipu area.

Old Koloa Town
Just a bit north from Poipu Beach is an old plantation town to check out. This is where Hawaii’s first successful sugar mill started.  A lot of cute little shops and restaurants.

Koloa Mill Ice Cream & Coffee
A nice bakery where you can get refreshing iced Kauai coffee, espresso, and other coffee drinks.  They also have a nice ice cream selection–including vanilla macadamia nut ice cream!

This region is also known as the Coconut Coast and is the most populated area of the island.  It is our pick if you are on a budget because there are a lot of discount condos, hotels, and B&Bs (of course, make sure to check out Internet reviews first before booking!).

Places of interest in the east coast region of Kauai:

Fern Grotto
Wailua River State Park - Fern Grotto Area photo by Keira-Anne and Wailua Marina, at the mouth of the Wailua River; turn off Kuhio Hwy. (Hwy. 56) into Wailua Marine State Park

Located off the Wailua River, Fern Grotto is a lava rock grotto covered with beautiful tropical ferns. Bands often play there because it is like a natural amphitheater. The sound is amazing!


Menehune Fishpond, Lihue
Menehuene fish pond photo by Steve and flickr.comRemember we talked about Menehune briefly in Episode 7? The story goes that the Menehune inhabited Hawaii before any settlers from Polynesia came to the land.  Legend has it that the Menehune built structures like this fish pond–or heaius–and roads in one night.




Kapaa Town
For shopping in the area, you can visit Kapaa Town.

Beautiful mountains and stunning sea cliffs.  This is the Na Pali Coast.

Places of interest in the north shore region of Kauai:

Hanalei Town
Not a big town, but an exclusive place to live.  Hanalei town offers some decent restaurants and shops.

If you like more of the touristy types of places, you might want to check out Princeville.

Kilauea Lighthouse
Kilauea Lighthouse photo by  Alan L and flickr.comKilauea Lighthouse sits on the northernmost tip of the island.  This is a must-see for two reasons. First, the views are crazy beautiful, so make sure you bring your camera.  Second, if you are like us and love animals, this is the home of the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.  You’ll see a billion types of birds here. And, depending on the time of year you visit, you may even see whales out in the waters.
There are two great snorkeling beaches on the north shore.

Ke’e Beach
Ke’e Beach is a very popular and beautiful area for snorkeling because it is a protected lagoon full of tropical fish. It can get pretty crowded sometimes.

Kaua'i - Ha'ena: Tunnels Beach photo by  Wally Gobetz and Makua Tunnels

  • The film “South Pacific” was filmed here
  • It’s a big horseshoe shaped reef (which is why the snorkeling is so exceptional)
  • It is probably the only beach on the north shore that is somewhat protected, so the waters are almost always pretty calm
  • This is where teen surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark


Places of interest in the West Side region of Kauai:

Waimea Canyon photo by  Alan L and flickr.comWaimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific
Waimea Town
Hanapepe Town


Admittedly, this is a weird question of the week, but here it is: “What do you most want in a hotel bathroom?”

We recently stayed in a popular Waikiki hotel that had–in our opinion–the worst bathroom ever designed by man. We would like to know what you most look forward to in a hotel bathroom–what’s acceptable and what’s not. We are also looking for hotel bathroom horror stories.  Scroll down to the comments section of this episode’s show notes at and let us know.


Our next question came in via email from Brett and Jodi from Columbia, Missouri.  They write:

We are headed to Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.  This is our first visit back to Hawaii since my wife and I were married in Maui 12 years ago. We used the price predictor site you mentioned, and October seems like a great time to go. Any suggestions for things at or near the park we shouldn’t miss? Hikes, restaurants, waterfalls, etc.  We will be on the island for 5 days.

The price predictor site Brett mentioned is from Episode 12 and is called TripStarter from HotWire.

photo by Hawaii Travel PodcastWhat to explore in the park:

Lodging In The Park:

Hawaii Volcano House cabins and resort

Dress properly at Volcano, especially at Thomas A. Jaggar Museum.  It can get cold, windy, and wet.  You may want to visit Volcano’s secret gem–the True Value Hardware store–where we picked up ponchos for less than $3 each.

Eat before visiting the park.  We found a great, cheap little roadside sandwich stand called Cafe Ohia in Volcano.  It is located at 19-4005 Haunani Road, Volcano, HI  96785


Have you ever heard of the Pacific Garbage Patch?  It is basically a floating island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean.  The size has been compared to twice the size of the continental United States.  It takes up an estimated 8% of the Pacific Ocean and is one huge giant floating island of plastic trash which is thought to come from waste discarded by boats and ships, offshore dumping, litter and trash on beaches, and waste washed out to sea by rivers. We bring this up because it is the subject of a film we would like to raise awareness of.  We are trying to get filmmaker Chris Jordan on to discuss a movie he made called Midway.  It is about the tiny island of Midway in the Pacific that played a pivotal role in WW2 and is nowadays the home to albatrosses. These birds end up eating undigestible plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch, which takes up room in their stomachs and they eventually starve to death. Go watch a brief clip of this movie at It is tough to watch, but it underscores the importance of beach cleanup groups like Save The Sea Turtles International.  For more information on how you can take part in monthly beach cleanups on Oahu’s north shore, visit


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