a high angle view of a mountain and ocean

It was odd when Hawaii proclaimed quarantine free travel for those carrying recent negative covid-19 tests on the same day Kauai, one of its most popular islands boasted a new “resort bubble” program designed to make quarantine more bearable. Surely, in a few weeks, no quarantine would be needed at all, right?

Now, we know why. Kauai isn’t going along with the wider Hawaiian guidance that will allow travelers carrying a negative covid-19 test to skip quarantine from October 15th, and will instead push for double testing, requiring at least three days of quarantine.

a view of a mountain range and the ocean

Kauai Double Testing And Quarantine

Kauai’s current “resort bubble” plan allows travelers to land on the island and enjoy all their resort has to offer during the county’s currently mandatory 14 day quarantine period, provided they don’t leave and agree to electronic monitoring.

Basically, you’re a very fortunate prisoner on the island of Kauai, confined to whatever your resort of choice has to offer, and attempting to leave, or tamper with your new electronic monitoring fashion accessory could result in criminal prosecution.

Many travelers around the world presumed Hawaii’s wider plans to officially allows inbound visitors to skip quarantine from October 15th, by bringing a recent negative covid-19 test, would apply to all islands, thus ending the need for the resort bubble program.

a large body of water next to a rocky cliff

Kauai’s Mayor Derek Kawakami says not so fast, and instead wishes to re-test every arrival onto Kauai, and force them into at least 72 hours of quarantine before being allowed to re-test, and potentially then be eligible to move freely.

Despite Hawaiian Lieutenant Governor Josh Green’s assertion that the new pre-travel testing program creates 1:1000 odds of someone carrying a recent negative covid-19 result and still importing the virus, Kawakami says it’s not good enough.

If you’re thinking of adding Kauai to your Hawaii trip, you’ll need to consider the potential implications of the proposal. As part of Mayor Kawakami’s double testing proposal, arrivals to Kauai would be required to submit to a second test, but no sooner than 72 hours after arrival. It’s unclear whether the test will be at a cost to the traveler.

The plan from Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami effectively means three days taking part in the resort bubble program, until a second test result is received. Assuming it’s good news and negative, you’d be able to skip out on the rest of the 14 days of quarantine.

The second “rapid” result would spring travelers from their electronic monitoring, and duty to stay bound to their resort sometime on or after the third day, making for what should be no more than four days of hassle. For a seven day vacation, which is typically all most travelers have, it’s a significant setback.

With less than two weeks to go before arrivals pile in, Kauai’s proposals add new uncertainty to an already tenuous reopening of tourism, to a destination largely reliant on tourism. For now, assume that if Kauai is part of your plans in Hawaii, you’ll need to isolate for at least three days first.

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...

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  1. I wonder if these a**holes realize people make expensive plans around their constantly changing policies.

    1. Sounds like overkill for sure, is it based on sound science?
      I realize people want to be safe but we do want to reopen using a balanced approach? Nothing’s perfect.
      Unless the state wants to pay everyone’s bills that tourism provided for .

    2. We (the local residents of Kauai) do not desire to host anyone who doesn’t extend honor & respect to our people and islands safety as a 1st priority… your “expensive plans” are not our concern, we & this sacred island are not for sale. Period. GO ELSEWHERE. Most who travel here leisurely have no concept of the detrimental effects they cause, your sunscreens have LITERALLY killed our reef, your pollution scatters our land & beaches, your $$$ can’t replace what has already been and will continue to be our problem to manage long after you are gone… who’s the ass●●●●● now?

  2. I was hoping to visit my parents on Kauai next year for my 50th birthday but it looks I may have to rethink my options and visit my sister instead and spend my money elsewhere, if the mayor wants a second test, the county should pay for it, I have no intentions on paying for a second test after paying lots of money for the first test.
    I think people who wants to visit Kauai should think twice, there’s 48 states to fly, drive, and take a train to.

    1. TRAVELERS should pay for ALL testing necessary to assure those who they are potentially putting at risk are kept safe. Its your right to travel, it’s the locals right to create whatever parameters they feel is best for their communities. GO ELSEWHERE of you have any issues respecting & honoring what we local residents feel are confortable with..
      We have to live with the damage you create, our reefs are dead because of your sunscreens & our beaches are covered in your waste… most have no concept of what we endure because you want to “enjoy yourselves” without any consideration for what is left behind or what it actually costs us. Your $$$ can’t replace an ecosystem!!!
      Educate yourself before traveling anywhere!

    1. Accommodation could be refused. Technically short term rentals are off limits, so would need to be your property or a resort. It’s a minefield.

    2. You are disrespecting our people and putting us at risk. If you have no interest in honoring our island or its people GO ELSEWHERE! KAUAI is NOT WELCOMING YOU.

  3. I dont think it’s fair to pay double for covi19 test, if they want for us to be retested they should provide it for free we are already spending a lot .

    1. TRAVELERS should factor in ALL costs of testing into their expenses. IT’S YOUR vacation. If you cant afford ALL testing required to keep our locals asssured, safe & protected, GO ELSEWHERE. Tourism $$$ can’t replace our well being, our ecosystems, our right to protect our children and elders.
      We don’t want disrespectful travelers who can’t seem to understand how precious our island truly is. Keep you sunscreen & trash off our island, keep your money, we are not for sale.

  4. Resort bubble. Sounds like Jurasic park to me but the people are the dinosaurs in the bubble. Amazing what we will do to people to chase the illusion of safe. No thanks.

    1. Resort bubbles are a joke..
      They don’t keep anyone safe, they just create a concentration of potential disasters. How do you think a constant rotation of people who are able to carry a dormant virus for 28 days “accommodated” by local staffing who come and go from their homes & communities are not putting those staff at risk? Resorts are not sterile, staff intermingle on many levels, this is NOT a closed system. Those staff people are susceptible & go home every day… TOURISM IS NOT THE ANSWER… Kauai needs to reinvent their island as a self sustainable ecosystem and require ALL who travel here to GIVE BACK rather than take in the name of leisure.

  5. Thank you Mayor Kawakami. Living on Kauai is a blessing. I appreciate you putting our health and lives above a short-term inconvenience. Your outlook protects everyone.
    Kauai lives and practices Aloha.

  6. I see a lot of people bashing this because it inconveniences them as leisure traveler, but let’s not forget that people live on Kauai and do not have the same amount of medical services we have in mainland. Peoples health must be the most important thing. If youre the kind of person who feels youre so important that your convenience is more important then perhaps a place like Honolulu would be a better place to visit. In fact just stay wakkii at some fancy resort, enjoy the great hotel food – worth every penny – and maybe pay someone to give you a kook surfing lesson, and don’t bother getting out exploring the islands and culture. Definitely don’t take the time to get to know a local and tell them how grateful you are to have the opportunity to visit their beautiful island… F it just stay in SoCaL thanks

  7. My husband and I are planning on visiting Kauai in January. I just need to know what the plans are. I don’t like that they are going back and forth on these issus. Very confusing!!! Will the county pay for the second test? Just tell us what you want us to do.

  8. My son is getting married Dec.12, and they are honeymooning to Kauai on Dec.14. Do you think the Mayor of Kauai will change policy by then?

  9. Those that don’t respect Kaua’i or the mayor has no business there. The song RESPECT was written in Detroit by Aretha Franklin. If you think Paraise needs your or my stinking Covid infected dollars, guess again. I would be happy to give you a tour of Detroit. It is paradise of the Midwest. We even introduced surfing to the world! Sorry about all the disrespectful haoles. Many are unhappy here with so many Hispanics and Black people, and won’t they be surprised when they see all the locals! Oh, I would love to go see my sons, but guess what? Kaua’i is the only place on earth in the free world that hasn’t suffered a Covid death. Let them keep it that way, and let us stay away from Beautiful Kau’i. Love and Respect from Detroit, PS Google Duke Kahanamoku in Detroit.🤙🏽

  10. It’s smart plan. I’d feel more safe knowing fellow tourists were tested again knowing that the first 3 days you can see false negatives. Would be great if the plan was consistent across all islands.

  11. We have a reservation for a yurt in a campground. No food, etc available there. Would we have to fast for 3 days???

  12. Thanks for this update, Gil! We’re scheduled to go to Kauai in October but may rethink it and head to a different island. If in a “resort bubble”, do you have full access to pools, beaches, restaurants and the ocean? Are the electronic monitoring devices waterproof?

    1. Hey Jonathan, I think the idea is you can go pretty much anywhere on the resort, and swim etc, just not anywhere off the resort. Hope that helps.

  13. Their policy is to protect a small community with very limited hospital space. They don’t want ‘fly in for 4 days’ trash tourism right now. If you don’t like it, stay away.

  14. Been planning a trip to Kauai for a year to celebrate our Anniversary. We preordered Covid tests to take before we leave on the 16th. NOW we will have to reschedule for next year. It stinks. No one tells you what resorts are “bubbles”. We can’t plan our excursions. We are sinking over 10k into the economy, money they don’t want apparently. We are staying 6 days. Spending half of that in “jail” with a negative incoming test is ridiculous.

  15. The mayor of Maui wants to do the same thing. It is ridiculous to require a second test. The reason Hawaii says you can’t get a first test when arriving in Hawaii is because they don’t have enough testing kits and facilities. So who is lying, since that would mean the same for secondary tests on Kauai and Maui? These mayors are out of control and are killing their economy.

  16. We are scheduled to go there in March. We aren’t going there to see a resort. If this travel nonsense isn’t changed, we’ll cancel and spend our money somewhere else. If you have a negative test, that’s all that should be required.

  17. There are 4 of us already booked for the 16th through the 23rd of October because I was told we could go to Hawaii. There’s $3,000 I won’t get back. I would think they would be begging for tourists since they must be hurting from all of the lost revenue from the last 7 1/2 months. I’m sure I can get the resort $ back but I highly doubt the airline will do anything for us. This Sucks!

  18. Sooo, we’ve had a condominium at Kiahuna Plantation for over 40 years. Wonderful place. But this new requirement makes it very hard to figure out how to comply. We’ve got tickets for 10/18, and are set to take our pre-departure test, but how can we eat for the three days at the condo? Quick trip to Costco on the way there? Can we rent a car? Can we go to nearby restaurants? So many questions.

  19. Oh come on Derek. Okay we get it your the hero. Now let’s get serious. You purchased 1500 rapid test. Locals, family and vacationers pay’s $160. To $180. For 72 hr. prior boarding testing . I’m sure you have no reasonable plan as of yet for testing methodology. where, who, additional cost for locals as well as family and vacationing visitors. Priority. I sure hope you do not try and make Kauai locals pay for your silly ass plan.

  20. Pretty simple. If you do not want to do the procedures don’t go. Stop whining and just thinking about yourselves. If people like yourself get sick you will all be howling like a cut pig

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