Princeville or Poipu?

Which Side of Kauai Should I Stay On?

Vacation Rentals on Kauai's North and South Shores

Although you can find vacation rentals all over Kauai, the island has two main tourist destinations. Most accommodations and vacation rentals are located on either Kauai's north shore from around Kilauea to Princeville and Hanalei or on Kauai's south shore at Poipu Beach. These two areas seem to attract a vast majority of the visitors to Kauai and each for different reasons:

Although popular points of interest and attractions seem to be spread evenly all over the island, the trade winds and mountains tend to create more rainfall on the north. As a result, the north shore is much more green and lush (think rain forest) while the south has more sunshine. When people think of paradise in their mind they probably see Kauai's north shore with beautiful beaches tall mountains and cascading waterfalls. On the other hand, if your idea of paradise doesn't include rain, you're better off staying in Poipu.

Personally, I don't find rain to be that big of an issue. Rain anywhere on the island is common but it's usually the case that if it's raining in one part you can jump in the car and drive 10 minutes and find sunshine somewhere else. See Kauai Weather Information

Whether it's the north or the south, I've noticed that people tend to be thrilled with whichever side they choose and return to it over and over. My father always argued that Poipu was the only place to stay and he owned property there for many years. On the other hand, I fell in love with the north shore many years ago and still always gravitate to it.

Kauai's beaches tend to be stunning and beautiful with both the north and the south shores having more than their fair share of postcard perfect stretches of white sand. However it's important to point out that surf conditions change according to the season. During summer months, the south shore generally has bigger surf than the north while winter months bring much bigger waves to the north. It's common to have surf advisories and a few beaches closed for short periods on the north shore when waves can get to be 30 feet or taller.

Poipu is more developed than the north shore with more hotels and shopping than you'll find on the north. This is both because of weather and because of a resistance to development on the north. The 2 lane road between Princeville through Hanalei and towards Ke'e beach crosses many 1 lane bridges. Drivers have to wait their turn as the traffic switches directions back and forth across each bridge. Although these bridges could be widened to accommodate 2 lanes of traffic, busses, and more traffic, locals like it just the way it is; a little slower and more laid back.

If you're still having a hard time deciding which side of the island you'll like best, keep in mind that you can drive from one side to the other in about 90 minutes. It's quite easy to stay on one side and visit the other. Or, you can always play it safe by staying in Kapa'a, or Wailua on the east shore of Kauai.

Doug Porter

Kauai Vacation Rentals

North Shore

Hanalei Bay Resort
Pu'u Poa
Villas of Kamalii

North (cont.)

Pali Ke Kua
Emmalani Court
Mauna Kai

South Shore

Kuhio Shores
Poipu Shores
Sunset Kahili
Poipu Makai

East Shore

Waipouli Beach Resort
Kapa'a Sands

Island Wide

Vacation Homes

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