Explore the ancient Royal Coconut Coast in Kauai with a stop at Kapaa Town.
Kapaa (pronounced ka pah ah) is on the east side of the island of Kauai. In 1777 (Captain Cook’s time) the town was not populated, according to the book Rainbows Over Kapaa by Bill Fernandez. There is no mention of Kapaa, which means the solid”, in early Kauai history. In 1877, 13,400 acres were leased from the government by Makee Sugar Company. The venture failed because the operators had little knowledge about growing and processing sugar and the town was doomed to become “a backwater habitat of isolated squatter shanties of expatriate Chinese laborers.” Nevertheless, Kapaa turned its fortune around with a unique identity of mixed cultures and cheap land.
Emanating the American Dream, Kapaa’s early settlers created a thriving town. Visit Kapaa town today and you’ll see a large city (for Kauai) bustling with cars, stores, award winning restaurants, hotels, resorts, shopping centers and tourist attractions. Snuggled on the windward side, it’s three beaches are accessible year round for swimming, surfing and snorkeling. Rent a bike at Coconut Coasters and ride beside the ocean on the 2.5 mile paved Ke Ala Hele Makalae or “the path that goes by the coast.”
Kapaa has five streams, Hoopi Falls, and five parks. Nounou or “Sleeping Giant” provides day hikes with ocean views. You can enjoy a self guided tour of the beautiful 300 acre Hindu monastery, take a chocolate tour at Steelgrass Farms, kayak along the Wailua River or play golf.
One of the best ways to explore Kapaa is leisurely and on foot. Old Town Kapaa is filled with funky clothes stores, ethnic restaurants, hand made Hawaiian crafts, music, fruit stands, coffee shops, yoga studios, art galleries, beachside watering holes and surf shops. As you walk along the paved bike path shaded by coconut palms, neighborhood events, keiki (children) swimming in the oceanside pool, and local fisherman enjoying an afternoon brew all add to the ambiance. Take time to enjoy the Royal Coconut Coast lined with acres of ancient coconut groves; a magical place filled with history and culture..