South Kauai

Beer, Coffee & Cliff Jumping
5 min read

Are you looking to get your blood pumping? Check out one of the main cliff jumps on Kauai! Then, I’ll show you where to get some island-famous, gourmet hot dogs, a delicious beer, and (of course) more coffee.

This is the third of four posts about our time in Kauai. My goal is to tell you about a few must-see hikes, delicious food / coffee spots, and any little tips I discovered throughout our time on the island. Check out the rest of the posts here: North Side / East Side / West Side

Shipwreck Beach

Let’s start off with the most heart-racing thing to do in South Kauai, shall we? Shipwreck is a popular beach in sunny Poipu and is directly in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. You’ll find that this coastal spot is pretty busy if you go towards the middle of the day. That means finding parking might be a bit difficult, but it’s worth it.

The infamous Shipwreck cliff

Once you’re on the beach, you’ll see the cliff Shipwreck Beach is known for (and probably people jumping off of it). The cliff itself is about forty or fifty feet tall (I’m not 100% sure exactly how high it is, I forgot my tape measurer) and you’ll need to hike up the East side of the beach to get to the jump spot.

If you do end up jumping, be sure to check for swimmers below you. It’s a bit of a swim back to shore, so be prepared to get a bit of a workout as well. Of course, for safety, don’t swim or jump if the conditions are too crazy. The shorebreak can get intense and that doesn’t make for a leisurely swim. Be safe and enjoy!

See how tiny we are on top of the cliff?

Puka Dog

Now that you’ve gone cliff jumping (or haven’t and are just hungry) it’s time to get a delicious Hawaiian-style hot dog! You can find the little, outdoor restaurant in the Poipu Shopping village. Even if you’re not a huge fan of hot dogs like I am, I’d still suggest stopping and munching on one. Hell, you just jumped off a cliff, why not give it a try?

It might not look like much, but my mouth is watering just looking at this

I just got really hungry looking at that photo. Just to prepare you before you order, you’ll have a few customization options for your dog:

  1. Dog: Polish Sausage or Veggie
  2. Sauce: Mild Original, Spicy Jalapeno, Hot Chili Pepper, or Lava Habanero
  3. Relish: Mango, Coconut, Pineapple, Banana, Papaya, or Starfruit
  4. Mustard: Auntie Lilikoi’s Hawaiian Mustard or traditional condiments
  5. Extras: Freshly Squeezed Lemonade or Maui Chips

What’s my order? I thought you’d never ask: Polish Sausage, Lava Habanero Sauce, Mango Relish, and Auntie Lilikoi’s Hawaiian Mustard with a large Lemonade. If that doesn’t make you hungry, I don’t know what will.

Kauai Island Brewing

What goes really well with a gourmet hot dog (and mostly anything, really)? A cold, refreshing beer from Kauai Island Brewing. You can find the brewery right next to the Port Allen Center, which means you might struggle to find parking again. Pro-tip: don’t try parking directly in front of the brewery. Park right in the strip mall right across the street.

A closeup of my Wai‘ale‘ale Ale

They have over 10 house beers on tap and several rotating guest beers, so you’ll be able to find something that strikes your fancy. There’s even an upstairs section with six pinball machines. Check out their shirts for sale, some of them have built-in bottle-openers! …Shut up, I know I’m easily amused.

A warped panorama of the inside of the brewery

Aloha Roastery

If you know me, you know I love coffee. I suppose it’s no surprise at this point, since I’ve listed two coffee shops in my Kauai posts so far. Even though I went on about my love for Java Kai on the Kauai East Side, this cafe is nothing to shake a stick at (who’s shaking sticks at things?). Aloha Roastery is only a few minutes north of Kauai Island Brewing in Old Koloa Town.

A shot of the Aloha Roastery signage by Ryan Valhuerdi

While Aloha Roastery’s website might not give you a drink menu, you can buy any of their beans / grounds and have them shipped to you! The prices are pretty standard for a coffee shop ($5ish for a large coffee) and I would suggest getting the Macadamia Nut Ice Coffee. If there’s one thing that bums me out about coffee in South Florida, it’s that Macadamia Nut isn’t a flavor option. Once you’ve ordered your coffee, then we’re off to Poipu Beach!

Another great shot by Ryan Valhuerdi

Poipu Beach

Now that you’re thoroughly stuffed / caffeinated / beered up, you’re ready for the last spot in South Kauai, Poipu Beach. This requires a bit of back-tracking toward the coast (since it’s a beach and all), but it’s a bit further West than the above spots. Oddly enough, Poipu Beach is the one place on this list where parking might not be an issue. 

Poipu Beach in all of its crowded glory

Poipu is perfect for snorkeling, with shallow, clear, cool water and a surprising amount of marine life right offshore. The rip current can get a bit rough at times, so, as always, stay careful. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the unofficial Poipu Beach mascot, a Hawaiian monk seal. Do yourself a favor and don’t get too close, they’ll take a chunk out of you if you’re not careful. With that in mind, sit back, drink your coffee and enjoy the sun in this tropical paradise. Poipu is a perfect way to end a day in South Kauai, don’t you think?

How I feel after a Puka Dog and some brews

What’d you think of South Kauai?

If you have a cheat day, the South side is the spot to use it. Between the Puka Dog, beer, and coffee, I must have gained 8 pounds. Worth it. What’d you think of the above spots; any of them catch your fancy? Comment below and let me know!

Until next time!