Koloa Travel Guide
One of the few problems with visiting Kauai is that the Island is extremely rainy. However, the southern portions of the island, especially Koloa and Poipu, are much sunnier. Today, we wanted to offer some advice on visiting the town of Koloa in particular, which is home to several awesome attractions. In addition to the town’s attractions, Koloa is a wonderful place to spend a day if you’re looking for a bit of that small-town charm with a tropical twist.
Kukuiula Bay, Koloa | Photo by Bob Linsdell
Where to Stay in Koloa
There aren’t many places to lodge in Koloa unless you’re looking for an Airbnb. However, just to the south, the Poipu region is saturated with awesome resorts and hotels. This area is extremely upscale so expect to spend between $250 and $900 per night. In Poipu, you might consider Sheraton Kauai Resort, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, or Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach.
Where to Eat in Koloa
Many of Koloa’s old plantation buildings are now occupied by wonderful restaurants and eateries. We can specifically recommend the following establishments for a great meal:
- Naruto Noodles
- Leahi Health Koloa
- Koloa Fish Market
- La Spezia
- Aloha Roastery Coffee
- Koloa Mill Ice Cream and Coffee
- Eden Coffee
- Garden Island Grille
- Chalupa’s Tacos
A house at the town of Koloa, Kaua'i | Photo by Alejandro Bárcenas (2006)
Old Koloa Town
At the northernmost edge of the Koloa District, you’ll find Old Koloa Town, which serves as both a historical monument to the sugar plantation era and a lovely shopping destination. You can stop by the Koloa History Center seven days a week from 9 am to 9 pm to learn about the town’s origins and how it set the stage for the rise of Kauai’s sugar industry. Or, stroll along Koloa Road through the plantation buildings that are now occupied by local shops and eateries such as the Koloa Fish Market.
Koloa Heritage Trail
Makawehi Bluff, Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail, Koloa | Photo by Bob Linsdell
If you want even more first-hand experiences with Koloa, you can follow the Koloa Heritage Trail which stretches along 14 sites from Koloa to Poipu. Along this 10-mile trail, you’ll see the site of the very first sugar plantation where the building’s foundations and a historical monument can be found.
Koloa's Old Sugar Mill | Photo by OKJaguar
Koloa Plantation Days Celebration
Koloa's Old Sugar Mill Monument | Photo by Joel Bradshaw
Every July, Old Koloa Town hosts the Plantation Days Celebration which features a parade and other events such as a mini-golf tournament and fire dancing. The festival also offers food and a 5k run. If you’re visiting in July, this event is a must-attend.
Get an exciting rush and go try out one of Koloa's Zipline Tours!
If you’re looking for a bit of adventure in Koloa, check out one of the Koloa zipline tours. You’ll pass over jungles, beneath mountains, and along beautiful ocean views on these zipline tours. Tours run about $100-150 per person.
The Allerton Garden is a beautiful botanical experience with so much to offer. You can take a tour through the garden, which was once named one of National Geographics ‘50 Places of a Lifetime,’ or stroll through the 80-acres of curated vegetation yourself. If any of the gardens look familiar, it may be because it was the site of several blockbuster films including Pirates of the Carribean and Jurassic Park.
Does this sight on Allerton Garden look familiar? | Photo by TDLucas5000
Koloa Farmers Markets
There are two excellent Farmers Markets in Koloa. The smaller of the two, Koloa Farmer Market, takes place in Knudsen Ball Park every Monday. It offers delicious fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, and crafts. The market occurring at the Shops at Kukuiula known as the Kauai Culinary Market is also a great place to grab some produce, while also learning a few new cooking techniques via demonstrations.
If you’re looking for more guidance through Koloa, consider our Poipu and Koloa Town Driving Tour. Our tours highlight both popular and lesser-known attractions, all with the freedom of driving yourself. This particular tour offers 16 stops, 62 points of narration and over 4 hours of entertainment.
Drive around historic Koloa Town with Shaka Guide | Photo by Bob Linsdell
Koloa is much less touristy than other resort dominated areas like Poipu or Princeville, so if you want to get to know the Island like a local, be sure to make a stop in this historic town. Once you do, we at Shaka Guide are sure that you’ll feel connected to this beautiful island and its Hawaiian culture.