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Need help deciding between two locations in Kauai.

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We are going to Hawaii at the end of July, spending half the time in Oahu and half the time in Kauai. We've been to Oahu before so we have a good idea of where we want to eat and visit, but we're having trouble deciding between two locations in Kauai.

We don't want to have to eat out for every meal, so both of our options include a kitchen. The first is a place in the Princeville Ocean Resort Villas and the second is in the Waipouli Beach Resort. Both have their pros and cons but in the end come out pretty evenly in our minds, so we need something to help make the final decision. The Princeville location is a something of a known quantity for us because we stayed in its sister property in Kaanapali, Maui (and loved it).

Like I mentioned, we don't want to eat out every meal and would rather pick up something fresh yummy at farmer's markets and/or small local places to bring home and enjoy with a salad or greens. We're not opposed to driving and will definitely be visiting different locations around the island during our stay, but in your opinion, where will it be easier to find markets and delicious take-out–Princeville area or Waipouli area?

Those who live in or have visited Kauai, given the option to stay in Princeville or Waipouli, which would you choose and why?

I'd really appreciate your help!

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  1. I am leaving next week for Kauai. I am staying in a condo in Princeville area. Have been there about 6 times now. Stayed on both sides of the island and it depends on what you like. I love the north side because of the mountains and how green it is and I like the beaches there. You can pick up fresh produce on the way about 20 min down the highway from Princeville. Waipouli area is in a busy part of Kapaa town with lots of stores and businesses and highway close by. It is more private in the Princeville area (more expensive area).

    About take out you will find more in Kapaa (waipouli) area. Not as much to choose from in Princeville but the town of Hanalei is near by and has plenty of small take out spots.

    I plan to grab stuff from Kapaa when I am out and about to bring back. Mermaids Cafe is a great take out spot. And Federico’s Fresh Mex Cuisine is right in Princeville shopping center has good mexican take out.

    1. We've owned a condo for six years halfway between Lihue and Kapa'a, so I'm biased and more knowledgeable about that area--just want you to know where I'm coming from. (We stay there up to two months a year, and otherwise rent it out.)

      The Waipouli Beach Resort is a new development just across the main road from two big supermarkets, Safeway and Foodland (good take-out ahi poke), and many restaurants. You'd be close to many beaches, and are roughly halfway between destinations to the north (Princeville, Hanalei and beyond) and the south (Poipu, other beaches to the south).

      There's a great farmers' (sunshine) market in Kapa'a on Wednesday afternoons, perhaps the biggest on the island, and good ones in Lihue (Mondays at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center or Fridays at Vidinha Stadium; new one on Saturdays at the college), so you have more opportunities to shop for good fruit and vegetables.

      We prefer lower-key, local-type restaurants to higher end tourist places (like Duke's, Gaylord's, Tidepools). Some of our favorite places to eat nearby:

      Mema Thai, King and I, Sukothai (three Thai restaurants); Pacific Island Bistro (fusion-y Chinese/Asian, just across from WBR); Olympic Cafe (upstairs, good salads/sandwiches/burgers) and East Side Cafe (inventive entrees, small plates), Tutu's Soup Hale (attention to good ingredients, lunch only, soups, salads, sandwiches).

      In Lihue: Kiibo (low-key Japanese, off the beaten path, less frenetic than the oft-touted Kintaro in Waipouli area), Garden Island Barbecue and Chinese Restaurant (very fast, filling, not-high-end food and great place to people-watch, also not tourist-y).

      And to the north, in Kilauea: Pau Hana Pizza and Bakery, in the Kong Lung Shopping Center, is a great place for lunch when you're out and about. Outside tables, good soups, pizza by the slice, interesting bakery items both sweet and savory.

      There is Lydgate Park (with a snorkeling pond), just south of Waipouli, with an uncrowded walking beach that stretches two miles to its south. Having said that, better swimming and snorkeling is to either the north or south ends, so it depends what you want to do.

      The whole island is beautiful, though, and you can't make a wrong choice; you'll just have a different experience. Aloha, have a wonderful time.

      -----
      Kiibo Restaurant
      2991 Umi St, Lihue, HI 96766

      Pacific Island Bistro
      4-831 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746

      1. I've stayed at both properties. I think that the units at Waipouli are nicer but I'd rather be on the North Shore in July. Beaches on the east side really aren't that great except for Lydgate, which isn't my favorite beach by any means. The Westin doesn't have a beach either (there is a steep trail to Anini, which is a great place), but you are very close to Hanalei Bay and a few other beaches.

        Nanea, the restaurant at the Westin is one of my favorites. I think being in Kapaa would give you greater dining options, but its not like Kapaa is all that far from Princeville.

        Maybe you can do some research on the trip advisor forum?

        -----
        Nanea Restaurant & Bar
        3838 Wyllie Rd, Princeville, HI 96722

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mag454

          Thanks Mag454. After some more deliberating, we decided to book the Westin. The Waipouli looked great but in the end we went for scenery over food/convenience. And like you said, it's not like Kapaa is all that far. We went all over Maui and Oahu when we were there last year. It's not like it's a chore on a beautiful day.

          I'm definitely compiling a list of places I want to try. I'm sure we'll eat well even if it isn't as convenient.

        2. Thanks leavenworthgal and dimsummama! I think we're starting to lean towards Princeville but will definitely be in Kapaa so we will write down all your great suggestions dimsummama. I can't wait and thanks again!