The Salt Beds of Hanapepe, Kauai

As a child, I learned from my grandma and my parents how to work the salt beds (flats) of which my Uncle and his family continue to preserve today. It is located in the western side of Kauai in an area called Salt Pond Beach Park, named for the traditional Hawaiian sea salt produced in salt flats near the beach.

Rights to process the salt are handed down each generation and sometimes families can be seen working their salt beds, preserving this great piece of Hawaiian culture. The salt patch is made out of 17 different families. Each family has their own section within the patch. You must stay within the area assigned to you as this area was passed down from generation to generation. You are not allowed to farm salt in someone else’s area without permission from the Hui nor can you start your own section without permission.

Season begins when summer starts and ends when the rains come. During a good season you can start around May and finish in September. The amount of salt you can harvest from one season really depends on everything nature provides sun, clay, ocean salt, brine shrimp, and ocean tides.

Hawaiian Salt or Paa Kai is used for seasoning, preserving food and often used as a gift from one family or friend to another.

While vacationing on Kauai, it is a must to see the Salt beds (flats) in Hanapepe, located on the West Side. Want to stay on the West Side, please visit our luxury rentals and enjoy this quiet, rural beach community at its best.

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4 comments on “The Salt Beds of Hanapepe, Kauai

  1. David Williamson on said:

    We stopped by the Salt Ponds last June (we live in Portland) on one of our visits to Kauai. A gentleman working his salt bed was kind enough to tell us a little about them and he even offered us some salt. He loaded my hat with some salt (the only container I had handy). He said they are not permitted to sell the salt commercially. It is strictly for the families and whomever they wish to give salt to. We use the salt to rub on steaks — makes them taste really good! We sent the gentleman some personalized labels with his name and “Kauai Salt Ponds” printed on them, so he can bottle some and give them as gifts.

  2. JOAN SOUZA on said:

    ALOHA,
    WE LIVE IN THE BIG ISLAND AND WILL VISIT WITH FAMILIES IN TWO WEEKS AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE WE CAN BUY THE SEA SALT AND HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST. CAN YOU PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
    THANK YOU,
    JOAN SOUZA

    • Cynthia on said:

      Aloha Joan,
      I checked with some of the local families that I know and no one knows of a family or hui that operates a salt bed and also sells the salt. One suggestion was to contact Frank at No Ka Oi Landscaping in Hanapepe. He is very active in preserving this family tradition and may have a suggestion. Their web site is www.nkolandscaping.com. We hope you and your family enjoy your trip to Kauai.

  3. Roger Buck on said:

    Thanks for the excellent history of the salt ponds. We usually make one or two trips to the west side whenever we come to Kauai and always include the salt ponds. As a result, we have always wondered about them so the insight is especially interesting. Mahalo

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