Kauai’s New Reality During Coronavirus Pandemic – Hawaii Update

coronavirus on kauai

Aloha to all of my subscribers: to past and future guests of our vacation rental, Honu Point, and to those who subscribe to find out more about the beautiful island of which I am lucky enough to call home – Kauai. This is, most definitely, the hardest blog post I have ever written. The coronavirus (Covid-19) is affecting every color of skin, every socio-economic level, and every walk of life. Kauai is not exempt. We are suffering too.

Because the first case on Hawaii came a couple of weeks after the virus hit the mainland, we did have a bit more time to prepare. Our governor and mayors of each county (island) acted quickly, enacting, first suggestions, and then orders, to prevent the spread of the virus. The first cases were travel related, either visitors coming to the islands or residents returning home. As feared, now some of the cases on Oahu are a result of community interaction with virus carriers. As of today there have been 224 confirmed cases in Hawaii and we had our very first virus-related death today.

Kauai, and it’s leadership under Mayor Kawakami, have been extremely proactive in keeping the virus from being spread throughout the community. As of yesterday, we have had twelve cases; all travel related. Six people with confirmed cases have recovered and returned home. The six remaining are residents who traveled back from the mainland. Five are in isolation at home and one has been hospitalized. Last Thursday, March 26th, a 14-day self-quarantine order was issued for anyone arriving in Hawaii, both visitors and tourists alike.

For those on island, we have been mandated to “stay at home” unless you must leave for essential needs. There is a 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew in effect. Restaurants, nonessential businesses and tourist activities are closed except for take-out food. Grocery stores are fairly well stocked, but limiting the number of people in each store at any given time is common practice now. Exercise (walking, swimming, surfing) is allowed if maintaining a six foot social distance is possible.

Kauai, like many of your hometowns, is not open for business. The island is on vacation.

For past guests of Honu Point who have checked in with us to see how we are doing, mahalo. For future guests, I am trying to stay positive in the hopes that we will beat the curve and be able to welcome you with open arms in the not-to-distant future. Even though we have had our share of rain this winter, Kauai is as beautiful as ever. She deserves to be seen and enjoyed.

And, we have four albatross chicks in the neighborhood to show off this year. Meet Kobe.

coronavirus on kauai

We can not wait to share our vacation rental again with future guests. In the meantime, Tom and I are staying on our home property collecting eggs from our hens and cuddling with our cat, Bandit. We feel grateful to be on the Garden Island. We hope that wherever you are on this earth that you are finding ways to make this crisis tolerable. There are some positives. Many families are back together and a long phone conversation with a friend can be comforting. Stay safe. Be well. Come see us when all of this is over. This, too, shall pass.

For updates on Kauai, go to http://www.kauai.gov/covid-19

coronavirus on kauai

These ladies (6 out of 8) tap on the sliding glass door when they’re ready for dinner. Right now we’re getting 5 to 8 eggs a day!


For more of my blogs, or to subscribe, go to the right-hand side of this page. For more information about Honu Point, our vacation rental on the north shore of Kauai, go to any other page of this website. Mahalo!


Update On Kauai Road Opening (North Shore) – September 5, 2019

Kalalau Trail Kauai-Haena Park

Update as of September 5, 2019: Parking reservations may be made one month in advance. There are three time periods for parking reservations: 6:30 to 12:30, 12:30 to 5:30, and 4:30 to sunset. For each time period the cost is $5.00. If all three time periods are available, you may reserve all three for $15.00 and park from 6:30 AM to sunset. If you arrive prior to 6:30 AM, leave the parking reservation under the windshield for the parking attendant to see. The shuttle is now $15.00/person.

The road is open! There is no better way of knowing how the new regulations work than to actually drive there and that is just what my husband and I did one morning in June (we have since been back a second time). We left our house in Princeville at about 7:15 AM. We had a smooth ride, breezing through Hanalei and crossing the bridges on the north end of the bay. It was a beautiful ride as we passed the enormous amount of work that has been done over the last 15 months since the 2018 flood.

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Two Kauai Driving Guide Apps You Might Want To Try!

Two Kauai Driving Guide Apps You Might Want To Try!

I have been hearing a lot about these two Kauai driving guide apps lately. I must admit I have not downloaded them to my phone to check them out, but people are raving about them on social media. I did look them up and they both get good reviews. They might come in handy as you drive around the Garden Island.

Both apps use your device’s location abilities to play the commentary AUTOMATICALLY. Once you download the app to your device over Wi-Fi, no data, cellular or even wireless network connection is needed while traveling. Anyone can use them with no need for roaming data – even when visiting from another country.

It is like traveling with a local tour guide in your car!

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New Parking Fees At State Parks – Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai state parks parking fees

The reasons are clear but the timing is questionable. The State Department of Land and Natural Resources announced on Monday that new parking fees at Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke’e State Park will start on Friday, June 28, 2019. It is unclear how the parking will be managed but no reservations will be required.

Visitors will be charged $5.00 per vehicle for parking. One $5 ticket gets you into all four lookouts: Waimea Canyon, Puu Hina Hina, Kalalau, and Puu o Kila. For those on a moped or motorcycle, the cost will be $1.00 per person. Pedestrians in the two state parks will be charged $1.00. There will be fees for commercial vehicles and tours as well. Residents, with a Hawaii driver’s license, will not be charged.

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Weather and Surf Reports For Your Kauai, Hawaii Vacation

Honu Point Vacation Rental - Kauai

Weather and surf reports vary tremendously depending on the time of year and your location on Kauai. During your tropical vacation you may find yourself in an area where it is raining or the surf is not to your liking. You wonder what it is like on the other shores of Kauai’s coast. Following is a list of websites and phone numbers that may help you determine the best place to spend your day.

Kauai Web Cam

If you want to see exactly what an area is like, at any given time, the best way is to check out the various live web cams that are around the island. Currently there are six on the north shore, five on the south shore and two on the east shore. When clicking the link to each camera, you will be taken to the website which hosts the web cam. The map at the bottom of the page shows the specific locations of each camera. This allows you to see the current weather at thirteen spots around Kauai.

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Introducing Four Kauai Photographers You Might Want To Hire – Hawaii

Kauai Photographers - Sandy Swift

So many visitors come to Kauai for a very special occasion: engagement, wedding, anniversary, maternity, milestone birthday, family reunion, or last hurrah before the teenage/young adult children start busy lives of their own. Others are simply celebrating the “trip of a lifetime.” Kauai’s scenic backdrop makes for some beautiful portraits. But, a selfie can only goes so far. Why not hire a Kauai photographer instead?  I happen to know of four you might want to consider.

Of course there are many Kauai photographers of which to choose. I decided to feature these three because I have seen their photographs on social media and from what each of them say it seems like their personalities would lend itself to a fun, relaxing photo session. They all seem passionate, confident and willing to work with their clients to create beautiful portraits and, in one case, videos. All three will go just about anywhere on the island to find the perfect location (and weather) for your photo shoot. So, may I introduce……

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Full Face Snorkeling Masks Or Traditional Snorkeling Equipment For Your Hawaii Vacation

Full Face Snorkeling Masks Or Traditional Snorkeling Equipment For Your Hawaii Vacation

Researching the differences between full face snorkeling masks and traditional snorkeling equipment has been a real eye-opener for me. Thousands of visitors each year hit the beach with snorkel gear in hand. Who doesn’t want to see what lies below the ocean surface? Heck, many have never even been in the ocean before. Warm water, tropical fish and sea turtles make for some impressive vacation memories.

But, unfortunately, for many reasons, this Hawaiian experience can be very dangerous. In fact, from 2008 to 2017, in the state of Hawaii, there were 183 drownings which occurred during snorkeling. 93% were non-Hawaii residents. More Hawaii visitors die from snorkeling than from motor vehicle crashes, aircraft crashes, falls or homicides combined. We want you to be safe!

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What You Should Know About Kauai Traffic – Hawaii


Not only chickens should be concerned about Kauai traffic! With two people being born and one person moving to the island each day, Kauai’s population has now passed 72,000. Although this is still much less than the other major Hawaiian islands, the infrastructure has not kept up with the population growth. The one highway that wraps around the island from Polihale to Ke’e is, with a few exceptions, one lane each way. This leads to backed up traffic during certain times of the day. Here are a few hints as to how you may avoid Kauai traffic during your stay on the Garden Island.

Kauai Traffic – Kapaa Bypass Road

When traveling to and from the north shore and Lihue use the Kapaa Bypass Lane. The three-mile-long bypass is an alternate route to avoid the congestion and stoplights of Kapaa. It takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. Using the Kapaa Bypass could potentially save you up to 30 minutes or more drive time depending on traffic conditions in Kapaa. It runs in back of Kapaa, through some former cane fields owned by Bette Midler.

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Eight Ways To Spend Your Last Day On Kauai – Hawaii

Eight Ways To Spend Your Last Day On Kauai – Hawaii


So, it is your last day on Kauai. You have had a fabulous time swimming, snorkeling, hiking and exploring Paradise. But check-out time is 10:00 and you have a red-eye flight. What to do all day without needing a shower before boarding the plane? Here are eight ideas for making that last day count, especially if you have been staying on the North Shore.

Your Last Day on Kauai #1

Save your trip to the Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park for your last day. From the North Shore it is a LONG day. Depending on traffic it will take you about two hours to reach your goal. Once there stop at all the pull-outs for some fabulous sights and photo opportunities. Wonder through the small Kokee Natural History Museum (open daily, 9:00 – 4:00) and have lunch at the Kokee Lodge Restaurant. Do not miss the final lookout where, if you have clear skies, your view will be straight down the Kalalau Valley to the sea. Driving back, stop and take a short walk into the mountains or relax on the big meadow in front of the lodge.

After coming down the mountain, stop at Waimea town and wander through the shops. Have a shave ice or an ice cream cone and enjoy the sunny, dry west side of the island. Hanapepe and Poipu are on your way back to the airport so there are plenty of places to stop if you have more time. End your day at Duke’s in Lihue where you will be close to your airport departure and may toast a perfect ending to your Kauai vacation. Not having to drive back to the North Shore shaves an hour off the trip.

To read more about the last time I drove to the Waimea Canyon and Kokee, check out this blog post.

Kalalau Lookout - Kokee, Kauai

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Why Reef Safe Sunscreens Are Important To Hawaii

Why Reef Safe Sunscreens Are Important To Hawaii

When traveling to Kauai, or any other Hawaiian island, be sure to pack some reef safe sunscreens in your checked luggage. In July, 2018, Hawaii became the first state in the United States to ban the sale of sunscreen containing the coral-harming chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2021, but many residents and visitors alike are already doing their best to be environmentally conscience.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are not the only ingredients deemed to be potentially harmful to aquatic life, but according to several studies, they do contribute to coral bleaching. When coral bleaches, it is not dead, but under significant stress and subject to increased mortality levels. According to the National Park Service, 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reefs every year. These two chemicals are believed to be one of the contributing factors to the coral reef destruction.

So, what does this mean to visitors?

As of now, the ban affects only the sell and distribution of sunscreens with these ingredients within the state but does not ban visitors from bringing them into the state. Given the reasons behind the law, however, please consider buying some reef safe sunscreens at home to bring with you or wait until you reach the islands to purchase one of these products. Some of the major sunscreen brands are making adjustments to their ingredients list in order to meet the restrictions of the new law. In fact, I was at Walmart the other day and many of the popular sunscreen brands already have “reef safe” on the label.

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