Koloa & Poipu Guide

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Address , Koloa, HI
A guide to the city of Koloa, including the Poipu resort area. Complete with history and modern day attractions.

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• General: Educational • General: History

Matt Anderson's Take
Guide Series: Hawaii City Guides
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On the south side of Kauai is the historic area of Koloa which includes the resort community of Poipu. Koloa at one time was a thriving commercial sugar plantation community, but today the area is mainly known for it's quaint village, beautiful beaches, and popular resorts.

History

Prior to the mid 1800's, Koloa was a fishing and whaling community for Kauai. There were efforts taking place throughout Hawaii to grow sugar cane as a commercial endeavor, but many failed. In 1835, the first successful sugar plantation in the Hawaiian Islands originated in Koloa. The sugar plantation in Koloa served as a model for other farmers to successfully implement a method for growing and cultivating sugar cane. A “Sugar Boom” followed, creating in influx of some 350,000 immigrants, primarily from Asia, to work in the emerging industry.


For over 150 years, sugarcane was the chief agricultural industry on Kauai. The last of Kauai's commercial sugar plantations closed in 1995. Today, Koloa is recognized as the birthplace to Hawaii's sugar plantation industry.

Activities

On your way to Poipu from Lihue, you'll pass through Old Koloa Town, which is a quaint village of old plantation buildings and monkeypod trees that line the road. There are restaurants, shops, and boutiques to explore. The Koloa History Center is located in the heart of the village with interesting information about the town's past.


The Koloa Heritage Trail is a self guided 10 mile walk, bike or ride to 14 stops and monuments of historically significant places in Koloa. Each stop has a descriptive plaque describing the significance of each stop. Some of the places you'll visit include:


Spouting Horn Park / Spouting Horn Blowhole – a lava tube geysers that spouts ocean water of the 50 feet above the beautiful reef. Beautiful views at sunset, and great spot for photos.


Sugar Monument – Located beside the remains of the Old Sugar Mill in Koloa and Sugar Monument, is a circular concrete monument with a bronze sculpture depicting the different ethnic cultures that primarily made up Hawaii's sugar plantations.


The Koloa Jodo Mission - Buddhist Temple is another stop along the Koloa Heritage Trail, which is a beautiful Buddhist temple built in 1910.

The Moir Gardens, were once considered "one of the 10 best cactus and succulent gardens in the world". Founded in 1930, there are many variety of native plants and ponds to explore. It's located just east of Poipu Beach Park.

Shopping

There are 2 major shopping centers in the Koloa area to enjoy. The Poipu Shopping Village has several restaurants including Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill and Keoki's Paradise. There are also gift and grocery stores, as well as clothing and activity shops.


The Shops at Kukuiula are located just past Koloa Town with several dining options as well as shops, art galleries, and activity providers.

Beaches

There are many beautiful beaches in Poipu, many with sheltered coves making them a perfect for snorkeling and swimming.


Poipu Beach Park fronts many of the resorts and is the most popular beach on Kauai. It's a large collection of crescent coves that string together. Grassy areas and palm trees line the beaches. Many of the popular resorts are fronted by Poipu beach, which has been mentioned on many lists as a "Top 10" beach.


Lawa'i Beach is located near Spouting Horn Park / Spouting Horn Blowhole. It's a narrow strip of white sandy beach with a crescent shape. It's good for snorkeling and swimming. There is an offshore reef that provides an opportunity for surfing.


East of Poipu Beach is Brennecke Beach. This is a beautiful beach with a fun shorebreak. It's one of the best spots on Kauai for boogie boarding and body surfing.

Events

The Koloa Plantation Days Celebration is an annual event that celebrates he unique history of Koloa's past. The event occurs every July with food, crafts, and entertainment.
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