Kauai is an all year round travel destination. No matter what time of the year you visit the island, it always has something wonderful to offer.
However, if your travel is based on a specific purpose such as snorkeling, hiking, or getting a feel of local cultural events, it’s best that you visit at times when your purpose is best served.
The weather is also an important factor to consider when we craft our travel plans. No one likes to have a carefully planned itinerary only to be spoiled by bad weather. Also, understanding Kauai weather will help you zero in on where to stay on the island.
In the following paragraphs we will discuss all these concerns in detail and help you decide the best suited time to visit Kauai that is aligned with your priorities.
One of the main reasons why tourists flock to Kauai is because of its moderate and enjoyable weather. The average yearly temperatures in Kauai range between 29 and 20 degree celsius keeping the island fairly warm most of the year. January is the coldest month here and reports an evening dip of 18 degree celsius, which is bearable.
Although the island rains most of the year, most rain showers are brief and are followed by sunshine. This is the usual case and exceptions are possible. If you like your skin dry, the Poipu-Waimea stretch on the south western coast is where you’d want to be as it doesn’t rain much in these regions.
Winter occurs from late November through March. It is usually accompanied by wet weather. The rains can get heavy during these months and it’s best to avoid hiking trails for safety. Kauai’s windward side, viz, the north and east coasts, are wetter than than the rest of the island during this time.
Last year, Kauai recorded the highest ever rainfall and as it rained for 24 hrs on a stretch.At this time of the year, you’d want to avoid the north east side and head towards the southern or western coast.
You don’t have to worry about hot summer months either as the average daytime temperature during the hot season is 29 degree celsius. Beaches are the calmest during summer and this is the time when the island’s north shore is most accessible.
Peak Tourism Season
There are two tourism seasons in Kauai- one from Mid December to Mid April and another from Mid June to early September. If you’d want to avoid the crowd, do not consider August and Christmas season for your travel as Kauai will be flocking with tourists.
Higher number of tourists lead to hike in prices for all travel essentials like hotel rooms, conveyance and tourist attractions. Moreover, the busyness might deprive you of a towny peaceful experience Kauai is well known for. If this is the time you want to visit, make your reservations well in advance to get the best deals and save money.
For a personalized and peaceful experience it’s always advisable to visit the island during the off-season. Off-season means lesser crowd, lower prices and a lot of breathing space anywhere you go.
From November through March, a large group of humpback whales migrate thousands of miles to relish the warm waters of Kauai, thereby escaping the icy waters of the North Pacific. The main purpose of migration is mating breeding and nursing their calves.
Local Charters organize special whale watching tours during this season in an attempt to help tourists get a close view of these large but peaceful creatures. Some are even equipped with hydrophones for hearing the whales. The guides are experienced and will know to take you to the best spot where the whales are about to display their acrobatics.
Whale watching can also be done at the comfort of Kauai’s beaches. Popular beaches for whale watching inside Poipu beach, Kalalau valley/trail, Kilauea lighthouse and the Kapaa Overlook.
Popular Festivals & Events
This is another factor to consider before you plan your visit to Kauai. The locals respect and honor their age long traditions and celebrate them with pomp. Whether you visit during the peak or off season, plan your visit so that you can be a part of some of the popular events on the island.
Here is a list highlighting some popular events on Kauai you’d not want to miss:
- Koloa Plantation Days – JULY
Celebrated in Old Koloa Town. This is where the highly popular Luau Kalamaku happens.
- The Kauai Mokihana Festival – SEPTEMBER
A week long celebration consisting of educational lectured, music and hula competitions
- EO E Emalani I Alakai Festival – OCTOBER
Celebrated in Kokee State Park as homage to Queen Emma, reflecting on her journey to Kauai’s Koke’e uplands and the Kilohana vista in 1871.
- Kauai Marathon – SEPTEMBER
An annual event that happens at Poipu or Koloa.
- Waimea Town Celebration – FEBRUARY
Week long festival including live events, competitions, entertainment, food and more.
- Prince Kuhio Celebration – MARCH
A series of events, celebrations and activities organized to celebrate the birthday of Prince Kuhio, thus remembering his important contribution to Kauai.
- The Coconut Festival – OCTOBER. Kapaa beach.
Want a mix of entertainment, shopping, games, history, cooking lessons and mouth watering food? Then visit Kapaa for the annual coconut festival that happens during the first weekend of October with a mission to protect, preserve and enhance the quality of life and business along the Royal Coconut Coast of Kauai.
Summary and Infographic
No matter how much we plan, there is always a probability of things going out of control. Your time on Kauai may get affected by unprecedented rainfall or cyclones. While these events are unlikely to happen, it is important to be prepared.
No matter what season you visit, Kauai always has something to offer. We suggest that you start with making a list of all the experiences you want to have in Kauai and look for the best travel window that suits your goals.