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. Here we'll share everything you need to know about visiting the historic community of Koloa. 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 - Robert Linsdell (CC BY 2.0)
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 the community's old plantation buildings are now occupied by wonderful restaurants and eateries. Here are some to check while you're there:
- 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 (CC BY-SA 2.5)
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 community's history center seven days a week from 9 am to 9 pm to learn about its 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.
Koloa Heritage Trail
Makawehi Bluff, Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail, Koloa | Photo by Bob Linsdell (CC BY 3.0)
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 (CC BY-SA 4.0)
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.
Get an exciting rush and go try out one of Koloa's Zipline Tours!
If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, 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. Learn more here.
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 Geographic's ‘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 Caribbean and Jurassic Park.
Does this sight on Allerton Garden look familiar? | Photo by Payton Walton, CC BY-SA 4.0
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.
Shaka Guide Poipu and Koloa Town Driving Tour
If you’re looking for more guidance through Koloa, consider our Poipu and Koloa Driving Tour. Our tours highlight both popular and lesser-known destinations, all with the freedom of driving yourself. This particular tour has 16 stops, 62 narration points and about 4 hours of fun.
Learn more about our Poipu and Koloa Driving Tour!
Drive around historic Koloa Town with Shaka Guide | Bob Linsdell, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Koloa is 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.