Visitors to Kauai may not be familiar with the small town of Puhi. It is on the south end of Lihue, in a fairly quiet area with minimal traffic. With a population of only 3,850 residents, Puhi offers a dense suburban feel that’s mostly residential but just as delightful as any town on the island.
If you’re coming to Kauai with a relaxed trip in mind, Puhi may be the way to go. Compared to Kauai’s more populated and upbeat areas, the town of Puhi charms visitors with a country vibe, secret spots, and a number of quaint culinary spots. Here’s a quick guide on what to see and do in Puhi to help you fill up that itinerary.
Go on a Culinary Adventure
If you’re eager to take a dive into Kauai’s heavenly cuisine, Puhi is the right place to visit. Spanning the town are hidden local gems where good food, generous portions, and reasonable prices drive the menu and have steady local enthusiasts.
Food choices range from fresh seafood to artisanal pizza and craft beers. You’ll also find foreign specialties such as pasta and pho, showcasing Kauai’s multicultural flavors. Of course, you’ll also find many of the island’s favorites such as poké, barbecue, and homegrown coffee.
Experience the Fern Grotto Cruise
While Kauai’s North Shore has the awe-inspiring Na Pali Coast which you can gaze at all you want on a comfortable boat tour, the island’s East Side also boasts a tranquil cruise on Kauai’s only navigable river.
Staying in Puhi gets you close to the beginning of the Wailua River boat cruise which includes a tour to the wonderful Fern Grotto. It’s a fern-covered lava cave that formed millions of years ago where visitors can enjoy a short walk through a lush rainforest.
During the two-mile upstream cruise, you’ll also get to hear songs and stories of old Hawaii. There’s an optional hula lesson you can participate in, as well as a festive traditional luau at the end of the cruise. This cruise is the only one in all of Hawaii, so you definitely don’t want to miss it whenever you’re in Puhi.
Take a Secret Falls Kayak Ride
The Secret Falls Kayak Tour is probably the most popular kayak adventure in Kauai. Compared to the Wailua River cruise, this activity is suited for thrillseekers who are ready to paddle, hike, and get dirty going through obstacles dotting the Wailua River.
Also known as Uluwehi Falls, the Secret Falls is one of the most beautiful and accessible waterfalls in Hawaii. Enjoying a kayak ride to this wonder starts with reserving a tour with reliable kayak outfitters who are trained in water safety and paddling instruction. Going with a trusted provider allows for a safe kayak down Wailua River’s jungle waterways.
Once you near the Secret Falls, you’ll go through a 30-minute hike that may be extremely slippery after periods of rain. It may be tough, but with the right gear and guides, you should reach your destination safely. Ensure that you and your group are fit for a little bit of challenge and then reward yourselves with a nice swim at the foot of the majestic Secret Falls.
Visit Kalapaki Bay
The iconic Kalapaki Bay is only 3 miles from Puhi. This beautiful estuary boasts sand volleyball courts and several beachside restaurants for entertainment. If you’re big on water activities, you’ll be glad to know it’s a perfect spot for swimming, surfing, and paddleboarding as it’s one of the island’s well-protected bays.
On Tuesday evenings, the Marriott Hotel offers an outdoor movie show that anybody can come to enjoy. Kalapaki Bay is also a great place to just sit back and relax for the day before flying out, as it’s only 8-10 minutes from Lihue Airport.
Have Coffee with a Mountain View
Did we mention that Kauai is home to some of Hawaii’s best coffee variants? If you’ve planned out your trip and some coffee time isn’t on your list yet, we recommend spending a morning in Puhi enjoying picturesque scenery with a good cup of joe.
Nestled under the Haupu Mountain range, the views in Puhi are green and lush. Farmland is abundant, with cows, horses, chickens, and roosters in the backdrop. Most accommodations will make you feel like you are in the country, when you’re only just minutes to everything the city of Lihue offers.
When planning a trip to Puhi, be on the lookout for stays that include a terrace with seating that will allow you to soak in the town’s scenery. Alternatively, you can check out some of the town’s well-loved cafés and bakeries, like Ko Bakery + Coffee and Ha Coffee Bar. Most spots offer al fresco seating where you can enjoy Puhi’s laidback energy and lush scenery.
Come to the Country Side: Visit Puhi
It may be a small town, but Puhi has a lot in store for good memories and adventure. Only 2 miles from Kauai’s Lihue airport, you could head down here to ease up and get ready for an adventure-packed trip across the island.
Consider taking a quick trip to the area – a 3-day visit could be enough time to see what it has to offer or go through the suggestions we have in this article. Even a day spent just being near the beach or biking around Puhi could be the perfect way to spend a break from the city.
If you do include water activities on your list of activities, make sure to bring protective gear and appropriate wear with you. Although you can purchase these in a shopping center in Lihue, you’ll save a ton of money if you do. And don’t forget your sunscreen – with the many outdoor activities to experience in Puhi, you’ll need that protection for your skin.
We hope this article has been a helpful resource in planning out a trip to Puhi. If you’re arranging a multi town visit to Kauai, check out our blog for more town-specific guides to help you get the most out of your time in Kauai.