Many convenience and groceries stores sell prepaid calling cards in denominations up to $50. Some public pay phones now accept American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. Local calls made from most pay phones cost 50¢. Most long-distance and international calls can be dialed directly from any phone. To make calls within the United States and to Canada, dial 1 followed by the area code and the seven-digit number. For other international calls, dial 011 followed by the country code, city code, and the number you are calling.
Calls to area codes 800, 888, 877, and 866 are toll-free. However, calls to area codes 700 and 900 (chat lines, bulletin boards, "dating" services, and so on) can be expensive -- charges of 95¢ to $3 or more per minute. Some numbers have minimum charges that can run $15 or more.
For reversed-charge or collect calls, and for person-to-person calls, dial the number 0 then the area code and number; an operator will come on the line, and you should specify whether you are calling collect, person-to-person, or both. If your operator-assisted call is international, ask for the overseas operator.
For directory assistance (Information), dial 411 for local numbers and national numbers in the U.S. and Canada. For dedicated long-distance information, dial 1, then the appropriate area code plus 555-1212.
Generally, hotel surcharges on long-distance and local calls are astronomical, so you're better off using your cellphone or a public pay telephone.
Just because your cellphone works at home doesn't mean it'll work in Kauai (thanks to our nation's fragmented cellphone system). Take a look at your wireless company's coverage map on its website before heading out -- T-Mobile, Sprint, and Nextel are particularly weak in Kauai's rural areas. If you need to stay in touch at a destination where you know your phone won't work, rent a phone that does from InTouch USA (tel. 800/872-7626; www.intouchglobal.com) or a rental car location, but be aware that you'll pay $1 a minute or more for airtime.
If you're not from the U.S., you'll be appalled at the poor reach of our GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) wireless network, which is used by much of the rest of the world. Your phone will probably work in most major U.S. cities; it definitely won't work in many rural areas. To see where GSM phones work in the U.S., check out www.t-mobile.com/coverage/national_popup.asp. And you may or may not be able to send SMS (text messaging) home.
It's hard nowadays to find a city that doesn't have a few cybercafes, and Kauai is no exception. Although there's no definitive directory for cybercafes -- these are independent businesses, after all -- a good place to start is www.cybercaptive.com. You can get Web access at the following places, prices range from a low of $2.50 for 15 minutes to a high of $7.50 for 15 minutes.
- In Poipu, the Business Center at the Grand Hyatt Kauai (tel. 808/742-1234) charges $7.50 for 15 minutes.
- In Waimea, Na Pali Explorer, 9935 Kaumualii Hwy. (tel. 808/338-9999), charges 25¢ a minute or $6 an hour.
- In Kapaa, try Aloha Business Services, 4-1191 Kuhio Hwy. (tel. 808/822-5195), which charges $2.50 every 15 minutes.
- In Hanalei, try Bali Hai Photo, 5-5190 Kuhio Hwy. (tel. 808/826-9181), $3 for 20 minutes.
Aside from formal cybercafes, all public libraries on Kauai offer free access if you have a library card, which you can purchase for a $10 fee. For the location of the nearest library, call the Lihue library at tel. 808/241-3222. All hotels on Kauai have in-room dataports and business centers, but the charges can be exorbitant.
To retrieve your e-mail, ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if it has a Web-based interface tied to your existing e-mail account. If your ISP doesn't have such an interface, you can use the free mail2web service (www.mail2web.com) to view (but not reply to) your home e-mail. For more flexibility, you may want to open a free, Web-based e-mail account with Yahoo! Mail (mail.yahoo.com). (Microsoft's Hotmail is another popular option, but Hotmail has severe spam problems.) Your home ISP may be able to forward your e-mail to the Web-based account automatically. If you are bringing your own computer, bring a connection kit of the right power, as well as phone adapters, a spare phone cord, and a spare Ethernet network cable. All hotels on Kauai (and even some of the B&Bs) offer dataports for laptop modems, and many have high-speed Internet access using an Ethernet network cable. You'll have to bring your own cables either way, so call your hotel in advance to find out what the options are.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.