Posted in Kauai Flora & Fauna, Kauai Visitor Information, Kauai Wildlife

15 Things You Will NOT Read in your Kauai Travel Book

photo source: Damon Moss Photography

It was 15 years ago this month that Clayton and I closed on The Dolphin Hale. In the years since, we have gleaned a few pearls of wisdom (and more than a few mosquito bites). To mark this noteworthy anniversary, I thought I would share these fifteen with you–dare I say, none of which will you read in your Kauai Travel Book:

  • 15 – Slippery When Wet takes on new meaning on the Garden Isle. As one of the wettest places on earth, trails can become not only slippery, but dangerous after a rain shower. ‘Slippahs’ should be not be substituted for good hiking boots or at the very least tennies with tread. Water moccasins also are a good idea in and around the ocean!
  • 14 – “Ono” does not mean Oh No! Further, one should not mistake Ono the fish (Hawaiian Wahoo Fish) for ono the generic term for ‘good’ or delicious. Although, the fish is very ono. Butter optional.
  • 13 – Island Time – You’re not on the mainland anymore. Like the tides, everything moves slower here. And if the surfing is good, don’t expect good service–even if you are wearing your best Hawaiian shirt. Take a deep breath, exhale and go with the flow.
  • 12 – Stainless Steel just stains less – Everything is in a state of decay on island; it’s just a matter of which stage. So, drop your ‘white gloves’ in the bin for contraband at the airport.
  • 11 – As previously noted, odds are you will experience at least some rain on island–that’s why it is so green. Forgo purchasing an umbrella, it will only prove to be a waste of money. Instead, enjoy the rainbow.
  • 10 – It will be a hair-curling experience. Even if you do not get wet, the humidity will curl your hair. Ladies, don’t bother packing a flat iron–pack a hat.
  • 9 – Costco is your best friend, especially if you will be cooking for 10! Purchase an Executive Member card before you arrive. After all, the less time spent in a line on vacation makes it mo betta.
  • 8 – They don’t call it the Tropic of Cancer for nothing. At a latitude just a few degrees south of it, Kauai can deliver a serious sunburn. So, don’t forget the sunscreen at Costco!
  • 7 – There are no pearls in these waters, but there are more Tahitian Pearl vendors than Starbucks on island. They seem to be on every street corner. ; ) Starbucks, however, does have a few locations (Lihue, Poipu and Kapaa) and sells lovely Hawaiian themed gift cards that make great Thank You gifts.
  • 6 – Locals have a love-hate affinity for tourists, but the mosquitoes WILL love you unconditionally.
  • 5 – Locals also have a love-hate relationship with the roosters, hens and chicks that freely roam the island. So, don’t let your children chase or feed them lest you want to bring on a lecture from a resident on one side of the fence or the other.
  • 4 – “Hawaiian Squirrels” are rats. Geckos, however, are considered Good Luck. They eat annoying household bugs. So, name them if you must, but don’t fear them. They won’t try to sell you insurance.
  • 3 – Coconut palms and fruit trees grow like weeds. As tempting as it may be to help thyself to these, they also attract some of the aforementioned critters. Moreover, scaling palm trees and husking coconuts should be left to the pros. That is unless you wish to catch a lift to Oahu via air ambulance.
  • 2 – Everything is better on island: the air, the food, the limbo. However, locals live and sleep with their windows OPEN. So, be mindful that you could be sharing more than you should–and I’m not just referring to that new Hawaiian artist whos CD you purchased at the grocery store.

Last but certainly not least, my Number 1 pearl:

  • 1 – This island, like Puff the Magic Dragon, is magical and will cast a spell over you and yours. It’s in the ocean mist. It’s transcendental and grounding at the same time. That’s the Spirit of Aloha.
The Dolphin Hale
Celebrating 15 Years of hospitality, transformation and FUN!

And there’s more…

In addition to these 15 pearls of wisdom, which Clayton and I hope you found humorous as intended, we would love to share The Dolphin Hale. SAVE $50 a night for Summer 2020 when you book this August. For more details visit:

With Aloha ~ Aunty Tammy


Tammy Russell-Rice is a Certified Professional Photographer who calls both Las Vegas and Kauai home. For the past 18 years, Tammy and her husband, Clayton, have owned and operated The Dolphin Hale--a successful Kauai North Shore vacation rental. In the process, she has become somewhat of an expert on all things island and enjoys sharing her insight. Whether you just want to enjoy an island vacation and own a camera, or are thinking of purchasing your own island home, this blog is for you!

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