The Makauwahi Cave Reserve in Poipu is one of Kauai’s hidden archeological gems. A fantastic activity for kids, the 17-acre ancient archeological site, with a huge limestone cave as the main attraction, was home to many now extinct species including the turtle jawed moa-nalo bird and the blind and flightless Kaua‘i mole duck.
It’s the kind of site that archeologists drool over. Since the early 90’s, archeologists David Burney and Linda Pigott Burney, have been diligently studying the caves’ layers of sediment for clues of the past. The information they found hidden in the walls of the cave and through ground excavation has been phenomenal. They have discovered clues of floods, hurricanes, droughts, a huge tsunami, and extinct plants and fossils, all within the walls of the caves, the historical records contained in the walls of the caves contain information for the last 10,000 years of Kaua‘i’s history.
How to Get to Makauwahi Cave
There are two recommended ways to get there. An approximately two-mile hike from Keoneloa Bay (aka Shipwreck’s Beach) to the coastal trail on the Makawehi Cliffs leads to the sinkhole, which is located just after the CJM horse stable. The second way is by driving past the Hyatt on to Grove Farm’s private dirt road. Be prepared for a bumpy experience with a lot of potholes. Once there, either park at the horse stables or at Mahaulepu Beach and head towards the cliffs from the beach. The area is so isolated that most hikers are so preoccupied by the stunning coastal views of Mahaulepu Beach and the shimmering Pacific Ocean to notice a trail leading between some ironwood trees to the cave.
Finding the opening to the sinkhole can pose a challenge, and finding it open for the public to enter can also be part of the challenge. Getting into the sinkhole is the next challenge, which requires a person to get into a low crawl for several feet until they are able to stand in the cave. The opening of the cave opens up into a gloriously green amphitheater with endemic Hawaiian plants being cultivated that were once part of the sinkholes natural landscape.
There are two caves, the north cave and the south cave. The north cave is a giant fossil formed over 400,000 years. 7,000 years ago, the cave’s central room collapsed, creating a freshwater lake. Clues of pre-contact Hawai‘i and fossil evidence of dead plants and animals, including 45 species of bird life, were preserved in the ancient lake and are only being discovered today.
The sensitive geology of the south cave means that the opening is the furthest a person can venture into the cave. Some of Hawai‘i’s rarest creatures, such as blind cave invertebrates, pale amphipods and isopods, and the eyeless cave spider, live in the cave and adjoining lava tubes.
Free Guided Tours
The best way to see Makauwahi Cave is through a free guided tour, which is held daily from 10 am to 4 pm. Knowledgeable volunteer guides walk visitors around the large amphitheater like sinkhole, pointing out interesting fossils and artifacts. The experience of seeing Makauwahi Cave is rich in history and information, it’s impossible not to appreciate Mother Nature’s splendor when standing within a sinkhole that was once teeming with wildlife and foliage that have now gone extinct.
After exploring the Makauwahi Cave, a quick jaunt over to the nearby Mahaulepu Beach for a beach stroll or visit to the nearby tortoise farm can be just what is needed to complete another perfect day on beautiful Kaua‘i! Looking for a place to stay on Kauai? Check out our vacation rentals!
For more information: http://www.cavereserve.org/
It’s been said that you can never have too many options. Although usually true, it can be a difficult decision to decide where to eat while on vacation. Fortunately, we’ve narrowed down for you a list of the best restaurants in Poipu:
Best Sunset View
Poipu sunsets are striking to witness, with hues of pink and orange that streak the sky. The Beach House Restaurant is beyond a doubt the best place to enjoy an early evening cocktail or dinner while you watch the sun descend for the day. A grassy lawn in front of the restaurant provides the opportunity to pose with your loved ones and make sure you get that perfect social media shot. The Beach House Restaurant not only boasts amazing sunset views but also has won the prestigious Hale Aina Award for 16 years in a row for its Pacific Room cuisine with ingredients sourced from local fishermen, ranchers and farms. Open for lunch and dinner, reservations are highly recommended for dinner, especially for the coveted sunset hour.
Best Local Fish Varieties
Chef-Owner Peter Merriman proudly boasts that only the freshest products are used on his “farm to table” concept menu, where at least 90% of his ingredients are local grown or caught using only sustainable methods. At Merriman’s Fish House at Kukui‘ula Shopping Village, the extensive seafood menu includes a daily locally caught fish with description of where the fish was sourced. Can’t decide on which fish to try? You can also choose between two fish entrees to create your own dinner.
Best Family-Friendly Restaurant
Keoki’s Paradise is a lush oasis of floral and tropical plants, fishponds, cascading man-made waterfalls, and a wooden footbridge to connect the bar area to the main dining room. Ambiance is everything at this popular restaurant, however a wide selection of local caught island fish prepared a variety of ways and steakhouse worthy entrees, as well as many keiki (child) menu items such as the grilled fresh fish or teriyaki jidori chicken breast will make both the grownups and children happy. Make sure to save room for dessert. It’s recommended to share one of their monstrously huge homemade ice cream hula pies, such as the Kimo’s original hula pie, chocolate hula pie with salted caramel, mint chip hula pie, or the Chef’s monthly specialty featured hula pie.
Best Sports Bar
Kalapaki Joe’s combines American cuisine, daily drink specials and televised sports for the ultimate sports bar experience in Poipu. Large-screen televisions are located throughout the bar and restaurant. There’s no reason to miss that upcoming pay-per-view event just because you are on vacation. In fact, cheering for your favorite team could be even more fun when on Kauai. Friendly locals and visitors in the know often go to Kalapaki Joes for happy hour cocktails and a good old “talk story” session around the bar.
A perfectly made mai tai and view of the sparkling Pacific Ocean at Brennecke’s Beach Broiler makes it the perfect choice for enjoying cocktails in Poipu. Their signature cocktail list features a number of fun, tropical and refreshing drinks to quench your thirst after a day exploring the island. Try the Mango Madness, a blend of pina colada and Maui mango puree with Kaua‘i distilled Kōloa Dark Rum or partake in their “World Famous” Brennecke’s Mai Tai that has been experienced by nearly 1,000,000 customers to date. Brennecke’s takes serving the best cocktails on the south side seriously and has two happy hours daily, from 3-5 pm and 8:30-closing. Their Kaua‘i style pupu’s (appetizers) are great to share or they offer a full lunch and dinner menu as well.
Best Gourmet Restaurants in Poipu
Eating House 1849, located in the Kukui‘ula Shopping Village, is the new kid on the block when it comes to Poipu dining. However, Chef Roy Yamaguchi has been around for a while as one of the original Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine founders. He knows his stuff! The menu combines simple ingredients prepared in ways that are bursting with flavor, such as the Kamemeshi (hot pot rice bowl) with butterfish, the 1849 Spicy Ramen Bowl and Plantation Paella. Be prepared to go to heaven and back after indulging in their signature chocolate soufflé with Lappert’s vanilla ice cream.
Best Breakfast Spot
The search for the best breakfast will take you out of Poipu to the nearby town of Koloa, which is only one mile away. La Spezia Restaurant and Wine Bar’s breakfast menu is savory and decadent, while it’s décor has a delicate shabby chic vibe with tables made of old wine boxes and crystal chandeliers. Start the day is with their Brie French Toast, which features Hawaiian sweet bread stuffed with brie, bacon and raspberry jam or the caprese fritatta. Sunday Brunch is highly celebrated at La Spezia with a build your own bloody mary bar.
If there’s one thing all of these restaurants have in common, it’s that they are all located on the most beautiful island on earth…Kauai. So always remember to eat, drink and live aloha! Check out the best Poipu Kapili condos!
Kaua‘i’s food scene has grown over recent years, with a variety of healthy options to not-so-healthy options. We’ll show you where the local residents go for breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour (because Jimmy Buffet always said it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!) From popular restaurants to off-the-beaten-path, we make it easy to fuel up on the best local food on Kauai!
Aloha Aina Juice Bar
Start your day right, with locally grown fruit smoothies, fresh cold pressed juice, frozen yogurt parfaits and mouthwatering acai bowl combinations. Aloha Aina Juice Bar in Puhi is the hottest place to get your healthy fix right now. It’s hard to resist the chunky monkey acai bowl, topped with homemade granola, bananas, strawberries, honey, and chocolate chips. For a local twist on the acai bowl craze, the niu bowl has homemade haupia (a sweet Hawaiian coconut dessert), mango, homemade granola, bananas, and coconut flakes on top. Repeat after us…so ono (delicious)!
Tip Top Café – Every Sunday, residents line up nearly out the door for a table at Tip Top Café in Lihue. It’s your normal breakfast diner with a local twist, serving banana and macadamia nut hotcakes, the much beloved fried rice with an over easy egg and spam on the side, and an unconventional breakfast item, a hot bowl of ox tail soup (think great cure after too many mai tais the night before).
Kalaheo Café and Coffee Company
Just 15 minutes from Poipu is Kalaheo Café and Coffee Company, a hip and friendly breakfast spot with colorful local artwork displayed as décor. Regulars at the café can’t get enough of the housemade cinnamon French toast, massive breakfast wraps, homemade baked goods and wide variety of coffee from the nearby coffee fields. Here’s a tip: All orders must be placed at the counter and will be delivered to your table.
Mark’s Place – Located in Puhi Industrial Center, the average passerby would have no idea that this little takeout shop with picnic tables outside is headed by one of the best chefs throughout all of Hawai‘i. Chef Mark Oyama is one of the original pioneers in the Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine movement and his menu reflects a range from gourmet to basic plate lunches (meat, white rice and macaroni salad), all served inside a takeout container. Specials are announced daily on their website.
Gaylord’s Restaurant – While it could easily be mistaken for a tourist trap, Gaylord’s Restaurant at Kilohana Plantation is actually a favorite among the local lunch crowd. Set inside the open-air courtyard of a sugar plantation mansion built by the Wilcox family in 1935, lunch is served in a garden-like setting with shops, rum tasting and train rides all on property. Much of the produce and herbs used in Gaylord’s menu are grown right on the property’s 67-acre farm.
Da Crack – Once upon a time, this little Mexican food spot in Po‘ipū had a different owner and a name that no one remembered. Because it was literally located in the middle of the building on a walkway between the grocery store and an outfitter company, it was nicknamed “Da Crack.” Eventually, the old owner closed the shop and a new owner reopened with a similar theme: delicious Mexican food using freshly caught seafood, monstrous portions, and affordable prices. And once again Da Crack was back.
Koloa Fish Market – Seared ahi in a butter herb sauce may sound like an entree at a fine dining restaurant, but at Kōloa Fish Market it’s a daily takeout special. In addition to fish specials, Kōloa Fish Market offers Hawaiian laulau (pork wrapped in taro leaf) and roasted kalua pig plate lunches. For those who like to sample everything, their Hawaiian poke selection of salted raw fish prepared in a variety of combinations is considered by locals to be one of the best on the island. Cash is king at Kōloa Fish Market and is the only currency accepted.
Best Local Food on Kauai for Dinner
La Spezia Restaurant and Wine Bar – Homestyle Italian dishes and cozy atmosphere make La Spezia Restaurant and Wine Bar a favorite stop for local residents. What adds to the restaurant’s charm are tables made of wine boxes and glittering crystal chandeliers, while outside the restaurant is in an unassuming older building. The true highlight of the restaurant is the food, delicious antipasti, homemade lasagna, fresh mushroom risotto and an extensive wine list. After a long day at the beach, sometimes a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs just hits the spot.
Kintaro Japanese Restaurant – Locals flock nightly to this hotspot for their incredible hand-rolled sushi, traditional-style Japanese dinners and open flame teppanyaki stations. Try the heavenly soft-shell crab roll with avocado, succulent Hamachi collar or the Bali Hi Bomb roll of sliced fresh Atlantic salmon over a California roll with tobiko, topped with spicy aioli sauce and then baked. Reservations for large parties are a must because the restaurant fills up at five.
JO2 Natural Cuisine – Six-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee Chef Jean Marie Josselin is easily the most talented chef on Kaua‘i. The menu at JO2 in Kapaa incorporates Kaua‘i grown heirloom vegetables and the freshest seafood into every item served, blending the influence of French, Japanese and the multiethnic community on Kauai. Each menu serves seasonal offerings and changes nightly.
Kaua‘i Beer Company – For many local residents, Lihue Town is their center of work. Kauai Beer Company recognized this and opened its microbrewery on the historic Rice Street, right in the center of town. Since opening in 2013, locals flock to the brewery for their variety of light to dark, carbonated and nitro beers. Their beers are so tasty, it’s difficult to just stick to one and their 4 oz. beer samplers make it easy to try them all. On Thursdays, Kauai Beer Company invites local food trucks to park street side for patrons to eat and be merry, rotating trucks so each week is different.
Keoki’s Paradise – 3-5 pm and 9:30-10:30 pm are actually not Happy Hour at Keoki’s Paradise in Poipu – it’s Aloha Hour! Aloha Hour means live Hawaiian music, ice cold 29 degree beer, pineapple mojitos and pupu’s for snacking. With the restaurant designed to embody paradise, including flowers, plants, thick bamboo trees and a man-made waterfall with fish pond, the inside of the restaurant is just as tropical as the area outside of the restaurant.
Tiki Iniki – Tucked away in Princeville Shopping Center on the north shore is a gem of a bar called Tiki Iniki. Owned by well-known musician Todd Rungren and his wife Michele, this tiki bar embraces the essence of old Hawaii. Pufferfish lamps and glass balls that were used in Japanese fishing nets dangle from the ceiling while rows of vintage tiki mugs line the bar. No visit to Tiki Iniki is complete without trying the mother of all tiki drinks, The Flaming Zombie, which is made of five different types of rum and lit on fire. Another fun cocktail is The Iniki, created in honor of Hurricane Iniki which hit Kaua‘i in 1992. The umbrella…flipped backwards of course! A full dinner menu and live entertainment on their outdoor patio are also available nightly.
The Kaua‘i experience is a feast for the senses – our eyes take in the island’s natural beauty and lush landscape, our nose smells the fragrant tropical air, our troubles melt away at the feeling of sand beneath our toes. Kaua‘i’s many restaurants and eateries offer a taste of the islands that you have to try to appreciate. Check out our Pili Mai condos in Poipu for your next stay in Hawaii!
For an island that is only 90 miles from one end to the other (25 miles inaccessible by vehicle), Kauai boasts an impressive roster of award-winning golf courses, many designed by world-renowned golf course architects such as Robert Trent Jones Jr., Tom Weiskopf and Jack Nicklaus. Kauai’s year-round sunny weather and cool ocean tradewinds mean that golf can be an everyday activity and there is plenty of variety to keep you challenged and engaged, no matter what your handicap. Check out the best Poipu golf courses, too!
Poipu Golf Courses
Kukuiula Golf Course
Wide open, immaculate fairways, well placed bunkers and dramatic oceanfront views of the Poipu coastline make Kukuiula Golf Course a pleasure to play. As Kauai’s only private community golf course, this 18-hole Tom Weiskopf designed course covers 216 acres of well groomed greens for a perfect playing experience. It has been said that one must experience the 14th hole, described as the quintessential Weiskopf par 4. Every hole on the course has something that can be eaten or worn, including macadamia nut trees, refreshing lilikoi (passion fruit), or juicy pineapple. The only caveat – you have to own real estate in the community to be a member of the Kukuiula Club to play here. Membership includes complimentary adult golf clinics for men and women and junior golf classes, while the impressive golf clubhouse features a pro shop, lounges, locker rooms, practice greens, golf boards and cart rentals. If membership is not an option, you can still enjoy the stunning ocean and golf views from this Kukuiula vacation rental.
Members only golf, call (808) 742-8000 for more information.
Kiahuna Golf Course
The Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed 18-hole Kiahuna Golf Course is one of three courses in the mile-long town of Poipu. Kiahuna Golf Course is not an oceanfront course like its two neighboring courses, but that does not make the course any less scenic or interesting. In fact, the course was designed around the ancient remnants of an authentic Hawaiian village and is a sanctuary for many endangered bird species, such as the Nene, which is the official state bird of Hawaii, the native Hawaiian Stilt, Moorhen and Black-Crowned Night Heron. Kiahuna Golf Course is a local favorite for its level of challenge, especially when the trade winds are blowing hard. The 12th hole, a par 3, played over the gently flowing Waikomo stream is deceiving in its distance and level of difficulty.
Open daily from 6:30 am to 6 pm, call (808) 742-9595 for reservations or book online. Rates vary from $65-$99.
Poipu Bay Golf Course
If playing an award-winning course that has hosted numerous golf legends, then consider a round at Poipu Bay Golf Course, next to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Poipu. Poipu Bay Golf Course is where Tiger Woods won seven PGA Grand Slam of Golf championships during his best years in the game. Built on sea bluffs with dramatic ocean views, Poipu Bay Golf Course is as stunning in play as its backdrop. Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed this championship course to highlight the natural beauty of the area with wide open fairways and well placed bunkers, making it a dream for long drivers. Completely oceanfront on the back nine, you might find your rate of play very slow with all the picture perfect photography opportunities. The golf course was built around several ancient Hawaiian historical sites, including a massive heiau (rock platform) on the back nine. If your ball lands in the heiau, we highly suggest leaving it as a sacrifice to the Hawaiian gods. Poipu Bay Golf Course operates like a five star resort golf course, with in-cart satellite navigation to provide the exact distance to the hole and pin placement, complimentary bottled water and refreshing cold towels for players.
Open daily from 6:30 am to 6 pm, call (808) 742-8711 for reservations or book online up to 30 days in advance. Rates range from $179-$215 per round of play with multi-round packages available.
Kukuiolono Golf Course
Described as the most underrated golf course on Kauai, Kukuiolono Golf Course is actually one of Kauai’s best kept secrets and only 20 minutes from Poipu in the hillside town of Kalaheo. This semi private 9-hole course boasts the most affordable rates on island – only $7 for weekdays and $9 on weekends! Designed in 1928 by Toya Shirai, a Kauai golf legend who was instrumental in putting Hawaii golf on the map. Kukuiolono golf course, or “Kuks” as the locals like to call it, is one of the most loved golf course by locals on island. While it is a “no frills” course, scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby Kauai Coffee fields make it feel like it should cost way more to play. Beware of hole three, a difficult par 4 that plays uphill into the wind, and hole six, a par 3 that requires hitting over a steep ravine. The golf course includes a driving range, rental club and carts and a restaurant on property. This golf course only accepts cash so make sure to stop at the ATM on your way up to Kukuiulono Golf Course.
Open daily from 7 am to 6 pm, call (808) 332-9151 for more information. There are no tee times and first come, first served. Rates are $7 on weekdays and $9 on weekends.
East Side Golf Courses
Wailua Golf Course
Wailua Golf Course, Kauai’s only municipal golf course is located on the east side of the island, is approximately a 30 minute drive from Poipu. This 18-hole course was also designed by Toyo Shirai. Don’t let the idea that this is a municipal course fool you, Golf Digest has ranked Wailua Golf course on of Hawaii’s best 15 golf courses and The Golf Channel ranked it the 3rd best course in Hawaii. Many are often surprised when playing Wailua Golf Course, first because of its affordable rates ($48 for non-resident play) and second because of how well-maintained the course is by the County of Kauai. Golf cart and club rentals are available on the property, as well as cart concessions and a clubhouse restaurant. If playing in a non-resort, laid-back atmosphere is what you are looking for, Wailua Golf Course is the course for you.
For two or more players, reservations may be made up to 7 days in advance in person or by calling (808) 241-6666 from 7 a.m. HST. Single players sent out on a standby basis. Morning Twilight Play starts at the #10 tee for 9-holes and Afternoon Twilight Play starts at 2 pm daily with no reservations needed.
Puakea Golf Course
Known as the local’s home course, Puakea Golf Course was built on more than 200 acres of former sugar plantation land in the central town of Lihue. The course was designed by famed architect Robin Nelson at the base of the magnificent Mount Haupu with sweeping vistas surrounding you in every direction. Wide open fairways make this a fun course for the beginner golfer with high handicap, while numerous water hazards provide just enough challenge. The back nine, constructed later in the early 2000s, are the most difficult and yet the most scenic to play. Puakea Golf Course is known for having an excellent pace of play at just around four hours, so you can spend half the day on the golf course and the other half at the beach.
Open daily from 7 am to 6 pm, call (808) 245-8756 for reservations or book online. Rates vary from $45-$85.
The Ocean Course at Hokuala
Golfers wanting to experience a premier course on Kauai must include the newly renovated Ocean Course at Hokuala on their list. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the 2017 renovation once again incorporated Nicklaus’ signature style into the design process to reflect the quality of conditioning, maintenance, and play that those who are familiar with Nicklaus have come to expect. Renovation highlights include the introduction of Tif Eagle grass, and renewed bunkering with new drainage, liners and white silica sand. The views, however, needed no renovation with the longest stretch of oceanfront golf in all of Hawaii. The Ocean Course is located in an area teeming with an abundance of wildlife, from watching dolphins dance off shore, to humpback whales breaching during whale season and nene geese flying by in a peaceful formation. It is no wonder The Ocean Course by Hokuala was named “Hawaii’s Best Golf Course” in 2018 by the World Golf Awards. Their golf club offers multi-round packages, weekly golf clinics with PGA golf pro instructors, Lil Tiger junior golf, golfboard certification classes and more. Located in the central town of Lihue, literally next the airport.
Open daily from 6:45 am to 6 pm, call (844) 815-9193 for reservations or book online. Rates start at $179 per player.
North Shore Golf Courses
Princeville Makai Golf Course
The north shore of Kauai, with its natural beauty, wild landscape, and lush mountain ranges are everything you hope to experience when planning a trip to Kauai. Its natural beauty is so picturesque that it becomes abundantly clear why there is only superbly well-done golf is acceptable on the north shore. Enter in the picture Robert Trent Jones Jr., who designed the Princeville Makai Golf Course as his first-ever solo design course in history. The Princeville Makai Golf Course underwent a $6 million renovation in 2010, while the adjacent Prince Course has been closed since 2014. Incomparable views of Hanalei Bay and the distant Makana Peak, more easily recognized as Bali Hai, are why hole seven is the showstopper of all six oceanfront holes. The clubhouse offers sunset golf cart tours for non-golfers, mauka disc golf, sunrise yoga, tennis and facilities for special occasions. Keep in mind that the north shore tends to get more rain than other areas of the island and because of this plays a little more wet. The Princeville Makai Golf Course is a legendary golf course, played by all of golf’s elite and beloved by top names in the golf world, making it understandable why it is the highest-ranking resort golf experience on the island of Kauai.
Open daily from 7 am to 6 pm, call (808) 826-1912 for reservations or book online. Rates start at $179 per player.
Looking for a stay on Kauai? Check out the incredible ocean-view condos in Poipu offered by Alekona Kauai.
Kauai isn’t called “The Garden Island” for nothing. Its warm temperatures, nightly rainfall, and sun-filled days all work together to produce some of the juiciest and sweetest fruit imaginable. Here are some Hawaiian fruits to look out for at the local farmers markets and grocery stores:
Mango – Summer in Hawaii means one thing: Mango season. There are several different varieties grown in Hawaii, the most well known being the common, haden and rapoza mango. Mango is called the “King of Fruits,” is full of nutrients that provide many health benefits, it’s often forgotten how healthy it is when it tastes so good. Kamaaina (locals) know that mango can be enjoyed many different ways, from pickled mango to tree ripened and juicy. Diced up mango salsa is a true compliment to fresh fish tacos. Dried, dehydrated mango make a delicious and hearty snack.
Lychee – Brilliant bursts of bright red berry-like fruit, hanging in clusters among the green leaves of a tree, are a sign that Lychee season is beginning. Lychee, pronounced lie-chee, originated in Asia and was introduced to Hawaii in the late 1800’s. Peak season for lychee is from May through August. Lychee has a hard skin that must be peeled away to reveal the white fleshy meat of the lychee. These little pieces of heaven require growth in places that get a lot of rain. Each succulent bite may cause fruit juice to get all over your mouth, hands and possibly clothing. Trust us, it’s worth it!
Papaya – One of the only year-round tropical fruits, papaya is the perfect morning fruit to get charged up for the day. Eating papayas regularly are said to promote a healthy digestive tract – we just eat them because they’re delicious and filling. Hawaii offers a number of papaya varieties, the most common being the sunrise papaya, which when cut in half reveal a beautiful red orange flesh. Papaya is often picked green and ripens into a yellow within a few days of picking. When buying papayas, it is best to get each papaya in a different stage, i.e., green, green yellow, and yellow, to avoid having them all ripen at once.
Starfruit – Starfruit is a yellow citrus-like fruit with that can be eaten entirely and resembles the texture of a grape. When cut into the slices, the shape resemble a perfect star, making it a wonderful snack (kids love them!) or a beautiful garnish to a colorful salad. Starfruit is available from September through April, with just a short break between crop season.
Rambutan – Rambutan often has people scratching their heads in wonder when they first come across it. The skin of the rambutan is a hard, red shell with “hair” spiking out of it. Eating rambutan is an art that takes practice to perfect, a knife is not necessary to pull away the tough skin, but strength is. Inside of its shell is a white, milky flesh with a round pit in the middle, that is similar to a lychee. Rambutan is a newly introduced exotic fruit to Kauai and most abundant from October through March.
Guava – From a distance, a guava tree might be mistaken for a lemon tree. It’s shape and color largely resembles a ripe lemon. However, a guava is in no way like a lemon, with soft edible skin and a pink flesh full of hundreds of little seeds. Every part of the guava is edible, even the seeds. Guava juice is unofficially the Hawaii state juice, it’s sweetness has a flavor that you can easily get hooked on; with no acidity like orange juice. Guava can also be made into a wonderfully sweet jelly and it’s wood is often used for smoking meats. Guava can be found in two separate harvest periods, one from crop ripening from August to December and the second from January through April.
Lilikoi – The amazing passion fruit tastes as exotic as its Hawaiian name, lilikoi. This fruit has a tough outer skin that when cut open reveals a pulpy flesh filled with up to 250 seeds. The lilikoi grows on a vine and is at its peak for harvest during the months of July through January. While tart in flavor, there are so many ways the lilikoi can be used. It can be pressed into a juice, made into jam or jelly, baked into a chiffon pie, blended into a tropical margarita…the possibilities are nearly endless and the taste is always pleasing. It just tastes like Hawaii!
Kauai Sugarloaf Pineapple – Let’s start by saying this is not your average pineapple. Imagine the sweetest pineapple ever known to man with little to no acidity and you get the Kauai Sugarloaf Pineapple. This pineapple is smaller in nature to normal pineapples and bears a white flesh meat. Sugarloaf Pineapple grows year round and takes 12 to 18 months to mature. The Kauai Sugarloaf Pineapple is such complete perfection that you will likely not share and in fact, hide it from those you love.
Our theory is the stranger the fruit looks, the better it tastes. Local farmer’s markets offer access to fruits that are rarely available in grocery stores. In Poipu, the Shops at Kukui‘ula holds a weekly market on Wednesday afternoons with vendors scattered throughout the shopping center and the County of Kaua‘i holds its weekly Sunshine Market on Mondays at the Kōloa Ball Park. Leave the apples, pears, and oranges at home and indulge in some of nature’s candy. Looking for a stay in Poipu? Check out our ocean-view condos here!
The Koloa Heritage Trail on Kauai’s south shore is a treasure hunt of the past. All the gold that can be found on this map are within each stop, where landmarks, scenic lookouts and monuments showcase Koloa and Poipu’s rich history, dating from pre-contact Kauai to present day.
The self-guided 10-mile Koloa Heritage Trail, or Ka Ala Hele Waiwai Hoolina o Koloa, winds through numerous historical, cultural and geological sites. Driving, walking or biking are all acceptable ways to experience the path. The best part about this trail, it doesn’t all have to be done at once and going at your own pace is the only way to fully experience all of its splendor.
Here are ten reasons why the Koloa Heritage Trail is a must-do while on Kauai:
- Koloa was the first sugar plantation town on Kauai. In the early 1900’s, immigrants from China, Japan, Philippines, Portugal, and Germany moved to Kauai in search of a brighter future. Their arrival shaped the charm and character of Koloa Town, with clapboard style buildings and old churches built around town. Stops along the trail that are reminiscent of the sugar plantation life include the sugar monument in the heart of town, Yamamoto Store and Koloa Hotel, Old Koloa Missionary Church and the Koloa Jodo Mission.
- The ancient Hawaiians walked here. The Hapa Trail is an ancient footpath once used by the early Hawaiians as early as 1200 AD to traverse from Koloa to Poipu. The trail still remains largely intact, with hand constructed lava rock walls indicating the way.
- It’s the birthplace of Hawaii’s last reigning prince. Prince Jonah Kalanianaole Kuhio of the House of King Kalakaua was the last reigning prince of Hawaii when the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893. Prince Kuhio was imprisoned for a year for his efforts to restore the Hawaiian monarchy and later became a United States delegate for ten consecutive terms. Prince Kuhio’s life was so significant, his birth date was declared a State Holiday that is celebrated with a ceremony to honor and remember his life every year at the Prince Kuhio Park.
- A giant lizard lives in the Spouting Horn blowhole. Legend has it that a giant lizard named Kaikapu once guarded the Poipu coastline, eating anyone who tried to fish in this area. A young boy named Liko outsmarted the lizard by diving in the ocean and swimming through a lava tube where a there was a small opening. Kaikapu chased Liko but found itself stuck in the lava tube, where it has continued to remain. Today, Kaikapu continues to hiss and spew water at the Spouting Horn blowhole, sending a salty ocean mist in the air. Onlookers can watch this amazing natural wonder from the safety of the lookout above.
- Poipu sunsets are No ka Oi (the best). The rock wall overlooking Koloa landing and Hanakaape Bay is one of the most scenic spots to sit and watch the sun disappear each day. Koloa landing was once the third largest whaling port in Hawaii and the only port for foreign goods. Later, Hanakaape Bay across Prince Kuhio Park was also used for the transferring of goods and people to larger ships.
- It’s home to one of the world’s best cactus and succulent garden. So maybe it was given this designation in 1948. The Moir Gardens, known as Pau a Laka, continues to be a unique attraction along the Koloa Heritage Trail. Planted in 1930 by Alexandra Moir, who was the wife of a Koloa Plantation Manager, this cactus and succulent garden is located within the grounds of the Kiahuna Plantation Resort.
- Endangered green sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals play here. Poipu Beach is not only a favorite of families, but is also loved by the endangered species that often seek rest on its sandy shores. These creatures should never be approached; however admiring from a safe distance is welcomed. The protect keiki (children) ponds and excellent snorkeling are also highlights.
- Ocean trails make the happiest trails. Makawehi and Paa Sand Dunes are a coastal trail on the cliff from Keoneloa Bay to Mahaulepu Beach. Interesting limestone formations, lithified sand dunes, and Paa (hard rock) are just some of the highlights along this coastal trail. Some of the earliest archeological sites have been found on Keoneloa Bay, where the ancient Hawaiians lived as early as 200-600 AD.
- You can see one of the youngest volcanic cones on the oldest Hawaiian Island. Puuwanawana Volcanic Cone is one of the many volcanic cones that make up Kauai, which is over five million years old. These cones were vents where lava last erupted from the volcano that formed Kauai and poured through this fracture in the earth. The Puuwanawana Volcanic Cone is the remainder of what was once a very active volcano.
- It’s just really cool! The Koloa Heritage Trail shows you a side of Kauai that most never get to see, one that is diverse and rich in culture and history. Along the trail are many beautiful beaches to take a dip and get refreshed while you explore outdoors. And best of all, you are in Kauai, and what could be better than this?
So what are you waiting for? A map outlining the trail can be downloaded at www.poipubeach.org. Enjoy exploring the Koloa Heritage Trail and everything else the sunny south side has to offer close to our vacation rentals!
Celebrate New Year’s Eve on Kauai with the spectacular fireworks show on Poipu Beach. Come down to the beach park by sunset for live music, food vendors, and open space for the kids to run around. This is a family event so no alcohol please. This year will feature an outdoor movie – Disney’s Descendants.
The fireworks are put on by the Poipu Beach Resort Association by donations made from the many Poipu Businesses.
Please note that parts of the beach may be sectioned off to accommodate the fireworks set up.
After the fireworks show, head over to one of the many Poipu establishments to party it up until the New Year.
If you’re spending Christmas on Kauai and looking to find dinner outside of the comfort of your vacation rental, take a look at our list of restaurants offering a special menu for Christmas dinners:
Reservations: Reservations with credit card required. Must cancel 72 hours or more in advance to avoid penalty
Special Menu: Yes
Located in the Koa Kea Hotel on Poipu Beach, this boutique hotel is hosting both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinners.
Christmas Dinner | Monday, December 25 | $75 | View Menu
New Year’s Eve Dinner | Sunday, December 31 | $105 | View Menu
Reservations: 808-742-4288 Book Reservations online
Grand Hyatt Kauai
Special Menu: Yes
Enjoy the signature grand buffet at Ilima and choose from slow roasted prime rib, poke, holiday desserts, and more. Take the family for Christmas dinner at Tidepools where their pre-fixe menu will start you off with a delicious winter salad before eating a delectable beef wellington and finishing with black forest cake. Dondero’s will also have a wonderful pre-fixe menu comprised of a selection of cured meats and artisan cheeses, duck tortellini, roasted leg of lamb, and chestnut noel for dessert.
The Beach House Restaurant Kauai
Special Menu: Yes
Located in front of the surf break called “PKs” (short for Prince Kuhio) and arguably some of the best sunset views on the island, the Beach House will have their standard menu available for Christmas dinner and a couple specialty items.
Reservations are highly recommended 808.742.1424
Merriman’s Fish House Kauai
Reservations: Yes, 808-742-8385, online reservations
Special Menu: Yes
A special Holiday Menu has been crafted at Merriman’s Fish House in The Shops at Kukui’ula. Holiday seating begins at 4:00pm and dinner starts at $75 per person
Sheraton Kauai Resort
Special Menu: Yes
Sheraton Kauai resort is offering a special Christmas Dinner Menu at their restaurant RumFire. Savor slow roasted prime rib of beef, fresh fish and locally grown ingredients alongside 270 degrees of oceanfront views.
4 PM – 9 PM
$58 adults, $18 children (age 6-12)
Children 5 years old and younger, complimentary
For easy booking, these restaurants offer online booking through open table
Wishing you a very Happy Holidays from
all of us at Alekona Kauai!
Looking for a place to stay in Kauai during Christmas? Browse our luxury vacation rentals today!
At only 2.8 square miles, the town of Poipu on Kauai is filled with things to do and see. Whether you are looking for action packed adventure or a restful getaway, Poipu offers a little bit everything to make your trip memorable.
1. The Perpetual Sunshine – Although Kauai is known for having one of the wettest spots on earth, Poipu remains sunny throughout most of the year. The sun, beaches, cool trade winds and fun tropical cocktails are a combination for perfect days year round.
2. The Restaurants – Poipu has become known for having some of the best restaurants on Kauai. Chefs Peter Merriman and Roy Yamaguchi, two original members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, have opened signature restaurants in Poipu. From the flavors of Hawaii to Italy and Mexico, a variety of cuisine is within your reach.
3. Variety of Beaches – Whether you want to tackle the surf, explore underwater sea caverns and coral reefs, or simply find a stretch of sand to dive into your new book, Poipu has got you covered. Poipu Beach has been rated by Travel + Leisure and Dr. Beach as one of the best beaches in the world for its variety of activities, sheltered keiki (children) ponds, and lifeguard services. Aside from Poipu Beach, there are many other nearby beaches. Find your inner peace with a stroll on the secluded shoreline of Mahaulepu Beach or watch body surfers brave the shore break at Shipwreck’s Beach. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!
4. Wild Adventure – The beaches aren’t the only attraction in Poipu. Local outfitter adventure companies have found ways to showcase Poipu’s natural beauty through heart pumping adventures. Zipline through tropical forests, get deliciously dirty on a mudbug or zoom through old sugar cane roads on an All Terrain Vehicle.
5. Dreamy Sunsets – There isn’t anything quite like a Poipu sunset, especially during summer when the sun goes down later than usual. Hues of pink and orange light up the sky with rose-colored dusty clouds. Van Gogh couldn’t paint a better sunset himself. We recommend grabbing a refreshing cocktail at a beachside restaurant or bar while you wait for the sky to put on the best show you’ve ever seen.
6. World Class Golf – Three world-class golf courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Tom Weiskopf can all be accessed within a five-minute drive of one other, making it the best spot on the island for hitting the links. Golf like the greats at Poipu Bay Golf Course, the former home of the PGA Grand Slam, improve your game at Kiahuna Golf Course or spend a day at Kukuiula Golf Course, the newest and most exclusive course on Kauai.
7. Endless Shopping – Grocery stores, local souvenirs and small boutiques are quickly accessible throughout Poipu. Trying to find that perfect memory of your vacation to Kauai is as easy as stopping by one of Poipu’s shopping centers for items that are eclectic and unique. High end boutiques feature luxury products and artwork by the islands most creative spirits. Poipu’s grocery stores provide all the conveniences of home and the latest in local produce and meats.
8. Staggering Natural beauty – Between the white sandy beaches, lava rock formations line Poipu’s coastline with dramatic fashion. Sometimes the best adventure can be discovered with your flip-flops on your feet. The Mahaulepu Heritage Trail takes you along limestone cliffs, through deep sand dunes and overlooking the ancient Makauwehi Cave. On the opposite end of Poipu is Spouting Horn Beach Park, where an underwater lava tube formed a natural geyser that sprays up to forty feet of water into the air.
9. Abundance of fresh fruit and veggies – Every Wednesday, Kukuiula Shopping Center holds its culinary market. Farmers from all over Kauai showcase their inspiring produce while local musicians serenade you with their smooth island sounds. As you meander through the shopping center, restaurants tempt you with samples of their savory menu items. Nearby Koloa Town also holds the Sunshine Market at the Koloa Ball Park on Tuesday afternoons. Sip coconut water straight from the coconut as you visit the individual vendors showcasing their Kauai made products, include island made spices, baked goods, jams, jellies, and more.
10. Convenience – The town of Poipu is conveniently located only a half hour from Lihue, which is Kauai’s central area and the location of Lihue Airport. Head west and visit Salt Pond Beach Park, where salt is made in mud beds using underground ocean water, or take a day trip to Kokee State Park, where the Waimea Canyon and Kalalau Valley lookouts will leave you awestruck.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Poipu, a little beach town with plenty to do. You can easily spend your entire vacation in this little piece of paradise. Your days will be so full, another trip to Kauai might be required to explore the rest of the island.
Surfing is as iconic to Hawaii as hula at a luau. Nearly year-round sunny days and warm water temperatures give Poipu the feel of having seemingly endless summers. No trip to Poipu is complete without trying your hand at surfing at least once. Once you get the feel of walking on water, we can guarantee that you will never want to stop. Check out the best places for Poipu surf lessons!
A one-hour lesson in surfing will have you using muscles you didn’t know exist with a full body, salt water induced workout. The first time you stand up on your surfboard and feel the force of a wave push you all the way to shore you will be hooked. There is no better feeling than when you catch what locals call the “surf stoke.”
Skilled instructors are well trained to keep you comfortable so that you can enjoy your lesson completely. Before you head out to the ocean, the surf instructors will teach you the fundamentals of paddling and standing on land. Then it is time to hit the waves. You start off being pushed by the instructor into waves, where the momentum from their push will have you standing up over and over before gradually learning to paddle into your own wave. With each wave, your instructor will give you pointers and tips of how to improve.
Before you take a surf lesson in Poipu, there’s a few things you should know. Surf lessons take place at Poipu Beach in front of the Kiahuna Beach Resort, where gentle waves break close to shore. These waves are what locals call a “reef break” so wearing water shoes to protect your feet from the coral reef below the water’s surface is recommended. Board shorts are also recommended, as it’s very easy to fall off a wave and need to readjust your bathing suit. Most surf schools provide rash guards, which are shirts that can be worn in the water. Make sure that you bring your sunscreen and a hat if possible to protect yourself from the sun’s powerful rays.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to have fun! Ready to learn to hang ten? Let us book your surf lesson.
Looking for a place to stay? Check out our luxury vacation rentals in Poipu!