A short distance from our South Shore Kauai vacation rentals and Poipu Resorts is the historic and enchanting community of Old Koloa Town. It was here that the first sugar plantation opened in the Hawaiian Islands. Our Kauai video captures much of its mid-1800’s charm with Western style buildings and interesting stores. Many of its buildings have been converted into shops and restaurants centered around a huge Monkeypod tree planted in 1925. When you stay at our Poipu rentals, Koloa is also one of the most convenient places to find Kauai grocery stores like Sueoka which opened in 1918, and is still owned by the same family.
History of Koloa Includes National Historic Landmark
King Kamehameha III leased this land to Duncan McBryde, whose family was very influential in Hawaii’s agricultural industry. In 1835 Koloa opened its first sugar mill that set the stage for commercial sugar production across the islands. You can see what remains of the sugar mill along with a plaque to the workers across the street from the shops in town. The mill, with its stone chimney intact and 1840’s-era foundation, is a National Historic Landmark.
A bit south of town, near Poipu Beach is Koloa Landing, once the port of entry for the entire island and a major port for the Yankee Pacific whaling fleet, which first appeared in the waters of Hawaii (then called the Sandwich Islands) in 1819. The landing at Old Koloa Town is where some of the more than 200 whaling ships would stop for repairs and to replenish supplies with fresh fruits, meat and water.
Koloa – Kauai Tour Tips
1. Stroll by the many old-fashioned storefronts through the streets of Old Koloa Town and admire the historic old buildings, browse through boutiques, galleries and shops or have a tasty snack in any of the unique cafes. Some of our favorite Kauai dining options in town include Koloa Fish Market (cash only) for plate lunches and poke, Pizzetta for Kauai pizza with tasty thin crust and The Wine Shop where you can find an extensive selection to choose from.
2. Visit the Koloa History Center to learn about the town’s heritage and trace the history of Koloa through photographs and artifacts that tell the story of Koloa and life in the plantation era. Each building in Old Koloa Town features a plaque with a detailed history of the business and the families who lived and worked there.
3. Explore the Koloa Heritage Trail which covers 14 cultural, historical and geological sites from Old Koloa Town to Poipu.
4. Drive the Tree Tunnel gateway to the South Shore. This stretch of Maluhia Road lined with eucalyptus trees was first planted a century ago and still thrives despite several hurricanes. It continues to welcome visitors every day.
Koloa Plantation Days – Kauai Festival in July.
Every year this South Shore Kauai community celebrates Koloa Plantation Days which features a parade, fair, music, games and storytelling. A popular Kauai family event is the Fun Run sponsored by Parrish Kauai during the Kauai festival.
Old Koloa Town is a unique look at Kauai’s vibrant past. Its charm and history are a wonderful step back into an era which opened the door to what makes up Hawaii’s multicultural tapestry. Enjoy!