Hawaii is the newest of the 50 states of the United States, and the only state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of the archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. Because it is located in the center of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii has many North American and influences from Asia, with its own native culture active. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oahu.



Hawaiian Islands

Sure Kauai’s out-of-the-way. Perched on the northern-most edge of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, it appears not much more than a 5-million-year-old speck floating in the great Pacific Ocean. It’s a perfect get away, but no need to leave your cell phone, your laptop or your hand-held wireless devices behind.

Kauai’s as plugged in as anywhere. ATM machines are everywhere. Financial services are convenient and online. Wilcox Memorial Hospital provides emergency care and Hawaii HealthCare Professionals, Inc. offers resort nursing care, airport pick-up assistance, medical supply pick-up and wheelchair assistance.

Tempted to buy property on Kauai? Realtors who understand the idiosyncrasies of the local market and can walk you through a deal are readily available. And if you do run into a snag, Kauai is conveniently connected with the financial and medical centers of Honolulu. Just because postal carriers wear shorts and bankers come to work in aloha shirts without ties doesn’t mean you’ll be cut off from the world on Kauai. Of course, you can be if you want.

Shopping on Kauai is largely a boutique-size experience. Most of the retail stores you’ll find here are small. Merchandise leans toward resort wear, island art and designs, Hawaiian jewelry, surf wear, exotic flowers and local produce. Kukui Grove, a shopping mall in Lihue, is the largest on the island with a Kmart and Borders Book Store nearby.

Wal-Mart, near the hospital in Lihue, is one of the busiest stores on the island. Liberty House, recently sold to Macy’s, and Hilo Hattie are the two largest department stores here. The boutiques-and there are many of them–are located in small shopping centers and large resorts throughout the island.

Want a room with a view? That would be just about anywhere on Kaua`i. Whether your choice is a posh hotel, a room in a cozy bed and breakfast, a condominium or a spacious vacation home, the island’s watercolor-brushed landscape will wrap its arms around you.

There are five primary resort destinations :

  • Princeville/Hanalei,
  • Kapaa/Wailua,
  • Lihue,
  • Poipu, and
  • Waimea.

Wherever you land, expect easy beach access and the warm aloha Kauai is known for.

Photos of kauai

Part of Kauai’s charm is its lack of high rises and a large urban center. Small towns separated by corridors of green space define the island, which means that getting around requires wheels. Your best bet is to rent a car in advance from one of the rental agencies at Lihue Airport.

There is taxi service at the airport, some hotels offer shuttles, you can rent a limousine and a chauffeur and tour bus operators pick up passengers for prearranged tours, but don’t expect to hop on a public bus.

The Kauai Bus, which provides limited service throughout the island, does not stop at the airport.

Map Of Kauai

Kauai–the northernmost and oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands–is a little bit out of the way. About 2,400 miles from the nearest continent, to the north the Pacific stretches unbroken to Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, and to the south about the same distance to the islands of Polynesia. But getting to get to Kauai from most places is just an in-flight movie, a couple of meals and a nice, long nap away.

United Airlines offers direct service to the island twice daily and Sun Trips excursions schedule twice weekly flights. However, all major American carriers and 11 international carriers touch down at Honolulu International Airport. From there, you’ll connect with a quick inter-island flight to Kauai.

Inter-island carriers, Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines, depart about every 30 minutes from Honolulu International Airport for the 27-minute hop to Kauai. Flights are scheduled from about 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Passage on an inter-island cruise ship will get you a quick look at the island. Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean cruise ships call on Kauai. The $400-million Norwegian Star can accommodate 2,200 passengers and is scheduled to make its inaugural trip to the island in early December.