a large mountain with green and brown cliffs and blue water

Like sand through the hour glass, Kauai’s travel restrictions are ever flowing. Now, once again though, it’s possible to visit the impossibly beautiful island without an extensive quarantine, but it’s far from just hopping off hte plane and making your way to the beach.

If you’re headed to Kauai, or planning to, you’ll find the return of ‘resort bubbles’, the novel idea of isolating travelers until they can prove for a negative covid-19 test result for a second time. Curious? Here’s how it works…

Hawaii Approves Kauai’s Resort Bubbles, Again

There’s been a power struggle between Hawaii’s island mayors, and David Ige, the Governor of Hawaii. Local mayors across a variety of islands, particularly those with limited medical resources, campaigned to tighten up entry requirements to visit the islands.

For months, those requests were denied on the basis that they complicate travel to an unacceptable level and kill tourism and economic prospects.

a large body of water next to a rocky cliff

Hawaii requires a pre-flight covid-19 PCR test to arrive without quarantine, but the plan stops short of requiring a test for everyone on the plane, and even then, many believe one test isn’t enough to mitigate virus transmission to a safely acceptable level on semi remote islands, despite the 1:1,000 statistics it creates. A recap of the drama entails…

So now, after months of squabbles, Kauai has returned to its plans from the spring. A resort bubble program has been accepted by the Hawaiian Governor and local Mayor Derek Kawakami, which means anyone visiting Kauai will need to isolate for a period of 72 hours. It’s not quite as bas as it sounds.

Kauai Resort Bubbles

Travelers landing in Kauai, or immediately transiting to Kauai from another Hawaiian point of arrival such as Honolulu Airport are now required to isolate for 72 hours at a resort of their choosing as part of the resort bubble ‘enhanced movement quarantine. Naturally, that choice is at your own expense. Approved spots include…

If you’re coming to Kauai after more than 72 hours elsewhere in Hawaii without leaving the state, a negative covid-19 test is all you need – with no quarantine period. Kauai accepts FDA approved antigen or PCR tests for travel.

The Princeville Kauai

In a silver lining, the resort bubble program effectively means you’re allowed to enjoy pretty much the full array of amenities of the resort for the first 72 hours, including the hotel pool. You’re not, however, able to leave the property. Some electronic bracelets geofencing may be involved to make sure you don’t, and some significant fines will be levied if you do.

After 72 hours, guests can ask the hotel for a testing option at their own expense, and once a negative result is achieved, the hotel will release the guest to enjoy Kauai in full. Of course, you’re welcome to stay at the hotel the entire time too.

Is Kauai Worth The Trip Right Now?

With some of the world’s most famed resorts in the most ‘jaw dropping’ sought after and stunning locations, sitting at the hotel pool in a luxury Kauai resort for three days is hardly a jail sentence. It’s a vacation!

People may not like the three day “can’t leave” element of this restricted movement quarantine period, but a few days by the pool may be needed to kick off some jet lag anyway. Many people travel to Kauai without ever leaving their resort golf, tennis and wellness areas in normal times.

Although added expense of pre-flight and post arrival testing is both costly and time consuming, it’s the price of travel right now. Like it, or not. If budget is the game, you may want to delay plans until covid-19 is a distant hangover, whenever that may be.

Yes, the pandemic is sadly making travel even more classist once again, after years of low fares and opportunities.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. With an approved Covid vaccination, and proof certified documentation of said vaccination.
    Would I still need to test in case In a carrie of the virus without symptoms ?

    1. Excellent question. An antigen test is accepted, so it’s unclear. Kauai should address this immediately. I’d suggest using the links to the Kauai Gov website to petition authorities to add clear guidance for vaccine recipients. Thanks John.

  2. you forget to mention Kauai is horrific to tourists, dead, nothing happening, vacancies all over and is depressing. You try to spin Communist geofencing bracelets as if it is normal when it is disgusting and disturbing.. You clearly haven’t been to Kauai recently! It is a horrible place to visit 🤦‍♀️ shame on you

  3. I’m one of the people that recently moved their Kauai vacation to another island. It’s bad enough that the state requires expensive covid tests, but Kauai takes it a step further and requires a test, a couple of days in select (I e. Expensive) resorts and then pay for another test just for the privilege of spending money to save their economy. I love Kauai, but the big island and Oahu get my business this time around.

  4. Aloha, As a local resident of Moku o Keawe, an former resident of Kaua’i , mahalo Mayor Kawakami for keeping Kaua’i as safe as possible.
    We’ll be back to gaze at nani loa scenery, hopefully soon.
    A hui hou

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *