South Shore’s Koloa District has Rich Plantation Heritage
One of Kauai’s most historic regions is the Koloa district which spans from “sunny Poipu” on the southern shore to Old Koloa Town which is the site of Hawaii’s very first commercial sugarcane plantation.
The scenic entryway to the south shore along Maluhia Road is known as the Tree Tunnel with century-old eucalyptus trees towering over the road. When you arrive in Old Koloa Town you will be greeted by a row of restored old plantation buildings reflecting this town’s rich history. The old buildings now house boutique gift shops and local eateries where you can find local crafts as well as tasty local foods.
In the center of Koloa town is a History Center that displays artifacts and photographs commemorating the town’s unique plantation era heritage. Also look for plaques on the town’s buildings telling about the history of the first families who lived and worked here.
“Sunny Poipu” is a Popular Vacation Destination
Just south of Koloa town is the Poipu resort area with all of the amenities of world-class resort hotels, shopping, dining and championship golf courses as well as the wonderful south shore beaches that make Poipu a vacation paradise.
The popular Poipu Beach Park offers fun for the whole family with nice swimming and snorkeling areas as well as a lifeguard station to ensure everyone’s safety. A variety of marine life is often seen here including green sea turtles (honu), Hawaiian monk seals and dolphins. During the winter months humpback whales are often seen passing by offshore and occasionally “breaching” up from the water and landing with a big splash.
Historic Hanapepe – Kauai’s “Biggest Little Town”
West of Koloa is historic Hanapepe town whose many old buildings have made it a favorite setting for Hollywood movies. From World War I until the 1950s Hanapepe was a town bustling with G.I’s and sailors on Kauai for training. Today the old buildings of Hanapepe house boutique shops, art galleries and places to eat.
Take the self-guided historic Hanapepe walking tour to learn about the town’s history. Friday evenings is Art Night in Hanapepe and a great time to meet the artists and enjoy the town.
Exploring the South Shore on the Koloa Heritage Trail
If you want to learn more about the south shore’s Koloa district and its rich history check out the Koloa Heritage Trail. The route visits 14 historic sites including the Sugar Monument which celebrates the fact that sugarcane production in Hawaii began in Koloa.