My thoughts on visiting Kauai for the first time in 11 years, after having been to Maui 20+ times.

I know. It's ridiculous.
  1. Kauai kind of claims to be more Hawaiian, more authentic, and more traditional, but that's BS. It shows in the food and spirit. Kauai is at least as commercial as Maui or The Big Island.
  2. Maui gets way more visitors, but Kauai has worse traffic. The traffic is better now than it was when I was there last in 2005, it it's still kind of a problem.
    Kauai needs to figure this out. Bypasses, Kauai, bypasses!
  3. Taro grows like crazy on Kauai, yet they don't serve it. Why is this? It's everywhere on Maui.
  4. When I take a vacation to Maui, I eat poi several times. On Kauai, it wasn't in a single restaurant.
    This is an atrocity! I love poi!!
  5. Lau Lau is a dish made up of pork and butterfish wrapped in taro leaves, then wrapped in ti leaves, then baked for a long time. Oh, plenty of sea salt as well. The taro leaves get all soft like cooked spinach, but super tasty. I did not find Lau Lau on the menu of a single restaurant on Kauai. It's everywhere on Maui.
    You peel off the Ti leaves like corn husks on tamales.
  6. We did get lau lau, but it was from someone selling it out of their garage, a little like a lemonade stand. Three for $10. It was really, really well made and super delicious!
    Honestly, it was probably the best lau lau we've ever had. Superb!
  7. Taro leaves are on grocery bags, but not in the stores. Weird.
  8. On Maui they sell poi at Costco for crying out loud!!
  9. On the plus side, Kauai is crazy with food carts. Nom Burger in Kapa'a, in particular was fantastic. They were one of the few places to actually have taro; a fantastic vegetarian taro burger that was top notch.
    I'm a big fan of food carts. Why aren't there more on Maui? Maybe there will be next time I go.
  10. Poipu Beach was crowded but had good snorkeling. Once you swim 30 yards out, which is about as far out as 80% of people go, it's uncrowded and has a ton of beautiful fish. On the sand? Crowded.
  11. Maui has more beaches that have swimable water. Too often on Kauai there's a rip current or just too much wave action for snorkeling. I felt that good snorkeling beaches on Kauai very difficult to find.
    This is Ulua Beach on Maui, my all time favorite beach.
  12. Maui is much more laid back and welcoming.
  13. The food on Maui. Just wow! This is loco moco from Da Kitchen on Maui. Two scoops rice, hamburger patty, two eggs over easy, mushroom / onion gravy and a side of potato Mac salad with a side of poi. Best. Meal. Ever. All for like $8.
    This is seriously my favorite meal in the world.
  14. This is probably the best meal I've had in my entire life. Clockwise from top: poi, extra poi, ahi poke, grilled Mahi Mahi, breadfruit, lilokoi, squid luau, and lomi lomi salmon in the center. I had two more servings of poi and a mai tai. Not $8.
    Thank you Mama's Fish House on Maui. After I finished the poi and extra poi our waitress jokingly asked if I'd like more poi. When I said I would she laughed and then got a straight face and said "Oh. Are you serious? I've never had anyone want more." I love poi!!!
  15. I saw so many Hydroflasks on Kauai. It's a relatively new brand in a relatively new market; insulated stainless steel water bottles that are super durable and keep water cold for hours. I saw more people drinking out of these than from disposable water bottles and it made me happier than you could imagine.
    My family of four brought six Hydroflasks and didn't buy bottled water at all. Woot!
  16. Commercially available bottled water is an atrocity. It is ruining our oceans. Most of it is straight up municipal tap water, the exact same as what come out of your tap. Please stop buying this shit. It's horrible for the environment and shouldn't even exist.
    Seriously. Find the documentary Tapped and watch it. Then vow to yourself to never buy it again.
  17. There was a Little Free Library on Kauai that was so cute. "Sweet Lailani's Library" it said. What a great way to spread aloha.
  18. Here's a picture of me surfing on Maui. This doesn't even relate to this list. I just ran into it in my photos and it brought back good memories, so here it is. Carry on.
  19. All in all, we had a good time on Kauai, but I really prefer Maui and I'm ready to go back.