Security Musings

Security Musings

Information Security Travel Guide

Stephen Northcutt, an Information Security Researcher, United Airlines 1k, Writer and Instructor, documents the struggles of the travel and hospitality industries as we all face continually increasing energy costs. He and his peers share their travel experiences and give you quick tips and short reviews of the companies they do business with as they travel. If you came across this article because of a Google search, what you want is probably here, just use find with your browser (CTRL - F), it is easier than reading from top to bottom; however, you may get some useful tips if you stick around and read. Each major cluster of trips is documented in a separate file.

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Things to See, Do, Absorb on Kauai

Stephen and Kathy Northcutt
Version 1.3

Never have I known such peace or reveled in beauty as I have in Hawaii, especially Kauai. And we think the most wonderful things to see and do in the Hawaiian islands are free.

When you land at the airport you are in Lihue. If you turn right from the airport you will head towards East Shore and Kapaa; if you keep driving you will reach North shore, Princeville and Hanalei.If you turn left you will pass Poipu on the South shore, and if you keep driving, you'll find Hanapepe and Waimea, the West Shore.

Near the airport

Kauai's first tall ships harbor lies at the end of our airport road.Coming in to the airport, keep to the left lane to reach it. Going out,go straight instead of veering to the left to exit. Ahukini Bay is hauntingly beautiful. Hawaiians still fish here using nets, free diving, and more modern fishing rods. Think twice before standing out on the rock wall there; waves come crashing right over it on a regular basis. Sea turtles come here to feed. On very calm days, it is safe to snorkel/dive here. Put in to the left of the sea wall and keep an eye on the sea state.

If you turn left out of the airport you will quickly be in the Kalapaki Bay area. This is not the best place to swim on island due to the often high bacteria count, but a fun place to hang out. The Marriott has beach parking and a beach volleyball net.This is a favorite spot for watching sunsets, whales,cruise ships coming in and out of Nawiliwili harbor, and outrigger canoes. The restaurant whose deck overlooks the harbor on the right hand side is JJ's Broiler. Go for lunch, not dinner. Once the sun sets, go to Nawiliwili Harbor (a short stroll) and eat dinner upstairs at Dukes (named after Duke Kahanamoku, an original Waikiki Beach Boy), reservations are recommended, best salad bar on island. Cafe Portofino (Italian) is another restaurant that should not disappoint. And, be sure to check the newspaper each day; we have a lot of small concerts here.

From the Wailua River to the Hills

Between Lihue and Kapaa you can turn Mauka (towards the mountains) at the site of the now defunct "Blue Hawaii" Coco Palms Resort; head up Kuamoo Road and stop at the Opaekaa waterfall at the top of the hill. If you come on weekends there will probably be a local artist painting the waterfall. Three hundred yards after you turn right from the waterfall on Kuamoo Road there is a small clearing. This is the unmarked path tothe pool at the waterfalls, if it resembles Fantasy Island when you get down there, don't be surprised. Unfortunately a few tourists have fallen to their death so they make it hard to do this hike. Or hike the Giant! Park on the right four hundred yards further and around the turn for a great hike up Sleeping Giant (mountain). You'll see cars parked in front of an areawhere horses are grazing. There's a nice picnic area about a mile up the trail where you can look out over the whole area.

Continue driving up the mountain and nearly three miles up the road there's a nearly hidden paved right hand turn that leads to a lovely reservoir with two fishing piers. Great sunset place, but do bring Skin So Soft, or whatever works for you against mosquitoes (I setup citronella candles on the rails) and bring beach chairs for a waterfront sunset view. : ) The next paved right should be the Kuiliau trailhead, my favorite hike. It has a small paved parking area on the right side as you head up the mountain toward the arboretum. The trail guides you up to the spine of the ridge where you can see mountains to your left and the sea down below to the right- this is not to be missed. Try to go on a drier day; this trail becomes really slick &muddy after a heavy rain. I love the mountains in this part of the island.

Lydgate Park

For your first snorkeling adventure turn at the Aloha Beach Resort, just a bit to the airport side of the Wailua River bridge, to access Lydgate Park. There is a perennially safe spot for swimming and snorkeling inside the lava rock walled sea pool at Lydgate: gentle waters, pretty fish, ancient Hawaiian ruins to tour, it's a nice place to wind down at the end of the day. Our community recently came together to build a second playground area for Lydgate; walk down the beach to the right as you're facing it, and you'll come upon our bridge and decked playscape. This section of beach is gorgeous and often deserted. Some say it is safe to swim in front of the golf course near their tall wall, but we've not tried it - proceed with caution. About ten people suffer death by drowning every year here.Stick to swimming at Lydgate till you have your gear checked out! And, stick to swimming at beaches with lifeguards. If you must swim in the ocean where there are no lifeguards, please wear fins.

East Shore: Coconut Coast

As you first enter Kapaa, consider the Cafe Coco on Thursday through Sunday nights.It's a laid back atmosphere, outdoor, (but rain protected) dining experience with a wonderful ambiance. Call in advance to hear who's playing when. Last time we were there, we found hula dancing to Hawaiian folk music. They don't serve libation, but you are welcome to bring your own. Strongly suggest long pants or mosquito spray. Across the street in the Kinipopo shopping center on the Makai (ocean) side of the highway is Kintaro,not really my thing, but very popular with the locals (sushi and teppenyaki tables). Reservations to Kintaro are strongly recommended. In the same area is Brick Oven Pizza Wailua, Stephen's favorite pizza on island, but a bit pricey for pizza. We always get the brushed with butter wholewheat crust. Also in Kinipopo center are Monico's (Diane's favorite Mexican food on island) and there is also a Korean BBQ.

Go to the Coconut Marketplace. Park. Walk behind it out to the beach. Starting at the Kauai Sands, there's a 1/2-mile walk along the shoreline. It's a romantic stroll at night. All the hotels along that strip pitched in to make and maintain the walkway. Sometimes monk seals come onto the beach for the night. Do plan on taking a moonlight walk on the beach, or several beaches. Near the end of the 1/2mile walk is a restaurant called the Hukilau; excellent seafood, steak,fresh salads, and a robust wine list await you there; we highly recommend this restaurant. Also, there's live music and hula most nights at Coconut Marketplace's Hula Girl, right on the front corner. These days, Kauai legend Larry Rivera is playing at the Coconut marketplace, that should be on your bucket list and it is free. We've enjoyed their atmosphere, food as well. The marketplace is a bit rundown right now, but ABC stores purchased the shopping center and we expect to see progress in the future.

Kapaa to Kealia

From Coconut Marketplace, turn right, and you'll be into Kapaa's primary shopping area, with four grocery stores ( depending on how you count) and more. On your left you will see Foodland where they have Shivalik in the Foodland shopping center, a decent Indian place. The old L&L is now a chinese restaurant, the friedporkchop is amazing. and then the Kauai Village shopping center which is anchored by Safeway and Long's Drugstore ( Long's is a local favorite). In Kauai Village there is a cluster of restaurants: Subway, Papaya's organic food, Panda Express, to name a few. Papaya's is a health food store and hot/cold deli. It's a good place to get a bowl of soup, a touch of tabouli, hummus, or falafel as you're passing through. For sodas, water bottles and picnic supplies consider Cost U Less, a quarter mile down the road in the direction of North Shore (going away from the airport), because they can save you a little bit of money.

I try to shop at Safeway very carefully, their fish prices are often competitive, but their produce is very high. Head past our three grocery stores, and you'll soon be in "old Kapaa town" with some fun local stores to do window shopping. Best informal food in old Kapaa town: Pono Market. Try their sushi/sashimi/poke. It's top quality, fresh, delicious and it goes fast. The scallop salad is my personal favorite, but it's all good. Pick a few of their concoctions, grab some chopsticks and wander out to the beach for a fun picnic. The farmer's market is on Wednesday at 3:00 in Kapaa. Go to the coconut man's stand, and buy an icy cold coconut witha straw in it. (1.50 for a large one; ask for two straws and share!) When you've sipped all the coconut milk, take it back to him for whacking so you can proceed to eat the fresh coconut inside. Some of the classic places to eat are Bubba Burgers and Olympic Cafe, neither is very good, but if you like road front car watching dining, you might enjoy. Mermaids isn't for everyone, but I like their Ahi wrap and get it to do, walk around to the ocean and sit down and eat it right on the grass, the liquor store across the street has great prices on very cold waterbottles. My favorite, by far though is Chicken in a Barrel. It is next to the recreation center and we love to get some plates and sit by the ocean. Highly recommended.

Continuing north from old Kapaa town, drive a few more blocks past the soccer field and Kapaa library and park on the right side. This is one of several access point to a beach trail that continues closely along the coastal shoreline almost to Anahola. There are few amenities alongside the path; plan on carrying water. The first surf beach you'll see is Kealia where there is a bathroom and water fountain. This is a good place to watch surfers; do not attempt to swim here unless you enter on the far left and swim near the rock wall on your left. This is a beautiful spot, particularly for walking and ocean viewing. However,wicked waves and currents abound here. Park and watch the Octopus divers while sipping morning coffee.

Art Night Kapaa

In Kapaa, on the first Saturday of the month is Art Night. Everybody comes out for it, hopefully we will see you there. Do try to check, they seem to have changed from Friday to Saturday and from every Friday, to first Friday.

North Shore

If you continue driving away from the airport past Kapaa you are headed for North Shore. Remember Puff the Magic Dragon? I understand why he lived in the land of Hanalei! Stop at the overlooks along the way, and,rain permitting, explore the wonders of the rain forest. Beware: this area does flood. When it floods, a gate is closed across the road, North of Princeville. If you are down in Hanalei when this happens,this is where you'll stay until the road is re-opened. is your friend!

Take Kuhio Highway (the ocean front road), heading North, away from the airport, all the way around to the Hanalei (one way) bridge. Having crossed it, veer to the right. You are now on Route 560. You will see Kayak Kauai on your right in bustling downtown Hanalei. They have parking and restrooms onsite. You can launch your boat from a tiny stream inlet on the property and paddle the gorgeous Hanalei River. Paddle upstream and stare at mountains, waterfalls, rainbows, and fields of green. Paddle downstream and end up at the beach with no parking hassles, pot holes, or fuss. To access to Haena State Park and Tunnels beach, keep driving on route 560 all the way past the 8 milemarker to Haena State Park. You'll see a dry cave on the left as you enter. Walk to the left on the beach, all the way to the point to catch a glimpse of the NaPali Coast. Walk to the right to access Tunnels beach; snorkeling is superb there. (When I wrote this it was; surf could be huge there in February. Consider the North Shore a place for beach hiking only for most of February.) Please make every effort not to step on live coral, and always swim with a buddy. Strong currents run through this entire area; please watch the wave patterns before entering the water, and try not to turn your back on the ocean. We swim in wide circles to maintain situational awareness around us in the water. Having swum through a rip with Stephen, I've witnessed the freight train like currents! On the way back, do stop at the scenic overlooks if you didn't do this on the way out. Keep an eye out for waterfalls on the way back… There will be a left turn marked with a sign for the drive out to the Kilauea Lighthouse. It's definitely worth the side trip. In the winter months,this outlook is an excellent whale watching spot. :)

Sunday mornings, the champagne brunch is up and running at the recently renovated St. Regis Hotel (formerly the Princeville Resort). There's more food than you can possibly eat, a crepe chef, an omelette chef, smoked fish and champagne for breakfast. Do get an outdoor table on the patio overlooking the Hanalei Bay. This would be a good time to have a camera handy. The St. Regis just started offering Mailani (Dinner Show) on Thursday evenings, can't tell if it's a traditional luau setup and haven't heard from anyone who has partaken yet, somaybe we'll have to go and find out! Do wander around the grounds of the St. Regis before leaving. The first time we went, we asked Geena Davis for directions to the restaurant(Princeville is sprawling.) but we didn't acknowledge her identity or ogle, and she spoke with us freely.

If you attend church, don't miss the "green church" Wai'Oli Hui'Ia in Hanalei, service is at 10AM and the hymns are in Hawaiian and in English at the same time; cacaphony..

Follow the blue guidebook for directions to Anini beach which boasts the largest reef on all of the islands; it is so big, it ( unlike the Great Wall of China) really is visible from space. Look carefully before stepping in those waters in the winter. We have an excellent guide book written by residents of the island that will provide precise directions to these places. Coming back from the North Shore, you will pass through Anahola. Keep your eyes peeled for the tiny shopping center at the bottom of the hill on your left- this is the home of the Ono Charburger, an institution on the island. Even if you're not big on burgers, stop for their Aloha fruit smoothie. It's reasonably priced, delicious and made with fruit, not syrup.

South Shore

Just as you leave the Lihue area towards the South Shore, you will pass Kilohana, a sugar era plantation. They have Gaylords ,a fine restaurant, maybe not the best food on island, but the service is everything you expect at a table with white linen. Poipu is one of the mostpopular resort beaches on the whole island, however, when the mom Monkseal returns each year to give birth, that area is cordoned off and kapu to the public so mom and pup can continue undisturbed. This is agreat place to snorkel in the winter months. Consider having dinner at Brennecke's across the road, and schedule it so that your dinner coincides with the sunset. Call for reservations so you'll have a prime viewing table waiting for you; they can tell you what time is best for catching it. Their salad bar is superb. If you were to pass the turnf or Poipu and continue on down the road, you could turn right into the Hyatt Regency and head down to see Shipwreck Beach. Walk down to the left end of the beach and lightly scramble up the cliff. (Kids do it barefoot; it's not a hard climb.) The ridge top you're now standing on is a wonderful hike. Follow it three miles down to the sacred land/beach called Maha'ulepu. They want to make a resort out of it, but have been thwarted by the discovery of a rare, blind, hunting wolfspider who lives in the caves there. It is the only place in the world where this species of spider has been found. There is a growing grassroots effort on island to prevent development from touching this pristine area, we say "Malama Maha'ulepu", respect Maha'ulepu. If you are a rider, this is where you should hire a horse tour. From the main road, take the right turn indicating the way to Spouting Horn, and follow the ever narrowing road around, past the little marina, up the hill, to the parking area on your right. During whales eason, December-March, this is an excellent whale watching spot. The"horn" of lava jutting out into the ocean is riddled with lava tubes and openings through which the sea bursts forth every few minutes or so. It is safer to view it from above, on the walkway, behind the fence. It is not forbidden to go down on the horn itself, but it isn't wise, either. By all means, avoid placing yourself between the ocean and a spouting area. This is a lovely place to watch the sunset. The marina you passed getting here has a perfect kayak launching spot; just park across the road. Spouting Horn's parking area is filled with little craft vendors under awnings; they have some very good bargains at this particular craft fair.

Our favorite South Shore hotel is the Hyatt. We go there for mini-vacations. The pool is INCREDIBLE and does not close. The Spa is considered one of the best on island. If you get any Spa treatment you are welcome to stay for the day. We love the Eucalyptus steam baths (yes, they are sex segregated, but there is a common area pool).Wednesdays they have a luau and the imu cooked pork is the best on island. All you can eat and drink, so get a room! I like all of the restaurants and the breakfast buffet, but Dondero's is the best Italian on island.

The best restaurants on the island are on South shore, if you are going to bust a hundred on a dinner this is the place to do it. The two most well known are Roy's and Beach House, Roy's is in a bit of a slump, so the Beach House is king of the heap right now. When you call the Beach House they may tell you they do not have an opening for a week, so think about calling ahead. Or, the bar opens at 5:00 PM. At 5:30 you can order appetizers (PuPus) and at 6:00you can order off the menu. Get there at five minutes to 5:00 and you are in. A new restaurant, Red Salt is now open in the exclusive Koa Kea resort; it was enjoyable, but not in the highest tier (the Koa Kea is near the Marriott's Waiohai Beach Resort). Another great place is Merriman's Fish House, second only to the Beach House. Downstairs they have burgers and such, upstairs, fine dining. At any of the restaurants in the paragraph you can expect to drop some significant dinero. There is also a Mexican place, Tortilla Republic. I would avoid the lunch menu, but upstairs for supper is better. However, it is next to Merrimans and will cost 80% as much.

West Shore

West side is the warmest,driest part of the island and the most laid back. There is a $100.00 fine if you are caught being impatient, so you probably shouldn't go west side your first day on the island. Plan on driving west to Waimea Canyon; Mark Twain dubbed this the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Take that trip on a hot day, as the higher elevation is most refreshing.There are gorgeous hiking trails all through this area. Koke'e State Park is a lovely stopping spot. They have a well stocked book/cultural/gift shop. Take a look at the photo exhibit in the back of the gift shop. This is where Kauaians go when it's too hot else whereon the island. Keep driving all the way up to the very top lookout.The views of NaPali coastline are spectacular when the area is not socked in with clouds. When it is, always wait 5 minutes. The weather changes that rapidly here. If you like shrimp, the Shrimp Shack in Waimea serves fresh Kauai grown shrimp. The garlic shrimp with red potatoes is a favorite, they are tail-on and you clean up at the sink around the back. Across the street is Auntie Lilikoi's, best jelly shop on the island, perfect place to get a gift for someone with a sweet tooth.

If you happen to be out on the west side on a Friday night,consider pulling into our island's smallest town, Hanapepe. It is a one-street-long artist's community. Every Friday night the art shops stay open late, their proprietors set out cookies or other pupus (snacks), and people wander up and down the street viewing paintings, shell leis, beadwork, or live music being showcased. A great place to catch an inexpensive meal out that way is The Grinds, a cafe off to the side ofthe shopping center (the only shopping center) headed in to Port Allen. This is where all the tour boat companies have their offices/check in areas. There's a new restaurant near Hanapepe town, the Carving Stone is its name, I believe. They are informal, quirky, but have good food!

Tours and Activities

We highly recommend Holo Holo Charters' trip to the "forbidden island" and NaPali coast with a snorkeling stop. Theirs is the nicest standard boat in the fleet, and they servea delicious lunch at sea. Their crew is very safety conscious, knowledgeable and professional. The snorkeling is in outrageously clear water, oh, do enjoy! The last three times we snorkeled on this tour, we were joined by curious monk seals in the water. However, in the winter this gets rough and you might happen to take a different trip.

Another great boat tour is Captain Andy's Southern Star, the only luxury tourboat on island. They cook right on the boat. WARNING: if you get motion sickness paying a premium for food on the boat is probably not a good investment. Much smoother in the summer time, much rougher in the winter.

The ATV tour is the most fun I've had since I was a little kid. Oh, my heavens, unless you have a bad back, do consider this one. I went just after foot surgery and rode in a dune buggy; I had more fun than anyone, I believe. Steve Case also owns this land, and allows this tour to go careening down cane roads on his property. Take the waterfall tour,

Surf is big here so get a lesson from Just Surf; surely you don't think a surfer dude would have a website? Call 808.823.0815

Things are a bit different here on Kauai. We do have traffic, but locals respond to it by driving slower- we let folks in, out, etc. Get a rental with a cd player in it and play favorites when traffic happens. Hawaiians are a very gentle, quiet, fun loving people. It takes time to get to know them, their culture, their land, language, and history. Do savor your time in Hawaii! If you're looking for an excellent all inclusive guide to one of islands, go to the locals: are the most honest, concise, well written books available. Order in advance of your trip if you can; they give you plenty of data to absorb.


Stephen and Kathy Northcutt