Kapa'a Guide

Kapa'a Guide
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Address , Kapaa, HI
Kapa'a is a small coastal town on the east side of Kauai located midway between Lihue and Hanalei. It’s popular with locals and tourists with its many restaurants, activities, boutique shops, and hotels.

• General: Educational • General: History

Guide Series: Hawaii City Guides
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Kapaa was a fishing village before the sugar boom in the mid 1800's. The first sugar plantation near Kapa'a was opened in 1877. The Makee Sugar Company, which was financially backed by David Kalakaua, was actually located in nearby Kealia. Kapa'a grew from the population of new immigrant plantation workers. As the age of the sugar plantation faded away, the area became popular for it's beautiful beaches.


The mountains that back Kapa'a have an interesting legend. The Sleeping Giant - Nounou Mountain, when viewed from afar, looks like a giant person sleeping on his back. Legend is the giant was tricked into eating rocks that were hidden in the nearby fish ponds and poi fields. The giant took a nap after the meal and hasn’t woken since. There is a path - the Nounou trail - which will leads to the top of Sleeping Giant. The 2 mile trail has beautiful views and worth a visit.

Kamokila Hawaiian Village recreates the look and feel of a Hawaiian village from long ago. There are several exhibits allowing visitors to see and experience Polynesian society and customs. Kamokila Hawaiian Village is located above the Wailua River on a 4-acre beautifully preserved property. There are cultural demonstrations of Hawaiian food, activities, and dance. Kamokila Hawaiian Village can be seen in Hollywood films, such as the 1995 movie “Outbreak” with Dustin Hoffman. There are several "hales" created for the movie that still stand today.

From the Kamokila Hawaiian Village, you can take a short hike to the picturesque Uluwehi Falls, aka as Secret Falls or Sacred Falls. The 120 ft waterfall pours into a pool where visitors can take a dip.

Consider an excursion up the Wailua River to Smith's Fern Grotto Wailua River Cruise, a lush grotto with vegetation covering a large shallow cave. Tours are offered by Smith's Kauai Garden Luau / Tropical Paradise. Kayaks can be rented from Kayak Kauai for those who want toe venture the river at their own pace.


Kapa'a Beach Park is beautiful large beach easily accessible from the freeway, with a lovely bike path that backs it. It's a relaxing beach with soft white sand. A pleasant place to visit with the family during the spring and summer. However, wintertime can experience strong currents and ocean swells, so be sure to check with conditions before you go in. Note: there is also a Kapa'a Beach Park on the Big Island, so be careful not to confuse the two of them.

Anahola Beach Park is arguably the safest beach to on east Kauai. A protective reef creates a nice barrier from currents and swell. The beach is narrow with white sand. It’s a great beach for snorkeling and SCUBA. The beach park is enjoyed by locals with it’s grassy areas and picnic tables. Anahola Beach Park also has a campground offering overnight camping with a permit. it's the only beach park on the eastern shore that allows camping.


The Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa has a fantastic 2 acre fantasy pool with black lava rock, gardens and a nice waterfall.

The Kauai Coast Resort has a beautiful garden, coconut trees, and a beautiful beach that fronts it. There’s a spa, pool, and fire pits to relax by after a day enjoying a day of sightseeing in Kauai.

Final note: There is a lot of traffic at rush hour from tourists traveling to and from Hanalei. Get going early to avoid the jam.

Shopping and Dining

The Kinipopo Shopping Village is located on the east side of Kapa'a and has several small restaurants and stores. Kapaa Shopping Center has a grocery store, eateries, and shops. You can find a Foodland grocery store and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Waipouli Town Center.

The Coconut Marketplace has a several interesting shops offering art, crafts, jewelry, and clothing. There a several restaurants as well including Kauai Hula Girl Restaurant, Eggberts and TC's Island Grill.