Aloha! Thinking about traveling to Kauai for your next vacation, but unsure if it is safe?
Known as The Garden Island, Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands. There are so many activities to do in Kauai, from beautiful stretches of beaches to amazing jungle hikes, Kauai has it all!
Here is everything you need to know about safety in this tropical paradise to ensure your Hawaiian vacation is fabulous!
Is Kauai Safe to Visit in 2023? (Honest Advice & Tips)
What is the Crime Rate in Kauai?
Let’s start with the crime rate statistics. On a scale from 1 to 100, with 1 being the safest and 100 being the most dangerous, Kauai County ranks 8.5 in violent crime.
The average crime rate statistic for the US is 22.7. Property theft is slightly higher with a rate of 24.9, which isn’t terrible considering the average property theft rate in the US is 35.4.
That being said, there are definitely safe spots in Kauai and places you are going to want to try to avoid.
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Safest Places to Stay in Kauai
The safest area as far as crime rates on Kauai is the northwest part of the island. There are only about 27 cases of any type of crime reported in the northwest in a typical year.
Kauai is reported as one of the safest islands in Hawaii and even in the southwest part of the island, there are less than 600 crimes reported a year. The general vibe on Kauai is that it is safe. Most locals are happy to have you there and help out if you get into a pickle.
Besides crime though, there are some other dangerous issues to think about on the island of Kauai. There is only one major highway that runs across the island with one lane in each direction and no center divider. If you decide to rent a car or motorbike, be extremely cautious about watching the road and when making U-turns.
Places to Avoid in Kauai
Other areas to avoid are Lydgate, Hanalei Pavilion, and Salt Pond. A rougher crowd tends to hang in these spots and again, when people partake in excessive alcohol and drug use, anything can happen, even on a tropical island.
Some things to be aware of are mostly common sense. Always lock your accommodations and vehicles, avoid parks and bars late at night and try to stay together with your group. As long as you are aware and mindful of your surroundings, you should be fine as far as crime goes.
The more common hazards on Kauai are not human-related but natural elements like the sun, sea, and jungle.
Are the Beaches Safe in Kauai?
Kauai boasts over 60 beautiful public beaches, but only a few of them have lifeguards on duty. Many of the swimming areas have strong undertows that can take you out to shore within moments.
Avoid swimming in the surf on the North Shore at Ke’e Beach in Hanalei during the winter as the waves can reach up to 40 feet high.
With so many hidden beaches in Kauai, it can be tempting to swim where there are no lifeguards. Even if you are a strong swimmer, you should probably try to avoid this as there will be no one there to save you if the currents get rough.
If you are swimming in an ocean that is manned by lifeguards, be sure to look out for warning flags. Remember green is all good, yellow is caution, and red means dangerous conditions. Purple or blue flags indicate the presence of hazardous marine life.
Speaking of potential predators, although there are sharks reported in the waters around Kauai, it is rare that they will attack humans. There are more than 40 species of sharks in Hawaii and the majority of them are docile. Just be cautious and again use common sense when swimming.
Be aware that at certain times of the month, box jellyfish invade the south and west shores of Kauai. Although stings are not fatal, they can be painful.
Another point to mention is that the sun is very strong in Kauai so always wear sunscreen. The last thing you want to do is ruin your vacation with a terrible sunburn or worse yet, sun poisoning.
Is it Safe to Hike Alone in Kauai?
Kauai is known as a hiker’s paradise. With hundreds of trails for every experience level of hiker, the options are endless. Thinking of hiking alone in Kauai? Better think again. The terrain is rugged and wild and even the most experienced hiker can get themselves in trouble.
If you do decide to hike alone make sure you follow some basic hiking guidelines. Always have a hiking plan and let someone know what it is. Bring plenty of water and snacks.
As mentioned before, the sun is uber strong in Kauai and it’s easy to get dehydrated. Always check the weather before a hike. Kauai has rainforests that are due to tropical storms and the weather can shift rapidly.
Wear proper footwear and clothing. Kauai is not the place to break in a new pair of hiking boots and be sure to dress in layers with sunglasses and a hat.
And finally, if you happen to get injured on your hike, seek medical attention immediately. Even the smallest cuts can get infected quickly in tropical climates.
General Safety Tips for Traveling to Kauai
- Research the area you will be staying in. Check out TripAdvisor and other similar websites for reviews about the area.
- Let your friends and family know your itinerary, in case you do run into problems.
- If you are visiting an unknown area, take the help of locals. Don’t go into areas that locals tell you not to go into. Too many tourists accidentally become victims of domestic-related crimes because they were in the area.
- Don’t venture out late at night unless you are staying in a known safe area. A lot of crime happens late at night.
- Ensure that you are using reliable transportation services like Uber or Lyft instead of any random street taxis.
- Never leave valuables unattended at the beach, car, or pool. In Fact, if possible, don’t bring valuables with you. There is no reason for you to bring your valuables on your vacation.
- Avoid swimming in secluded or un-touristy beaches in Kauai.
- Don’t swim alone and if possible, prefer to swim on lifeguard-protected beaches.
- Don’t snorkel or hike alone.
- If there are any warning signs posted on the beach, please follow them and prefer to avoid swimming on remote beaches, especially if there is no one around.
- Check the weather report before going hiking or swimming.
So is Kauai Safe for Travel?
As long as you follow the above-mentioned tips, absolutely! Just be mindful of your surroundings by using common sense. The greater safety dangers in Kauai are the natural elements, but with preparation and awareness, you can have the Hawaiian vacation of your dreams!