Old Koloa Town
Imagine hundreds of acres of undulating grass stalks nearly 20 feet tall, rustled by tropical breezes creating a sea of feathery green. These fields of sugarcane or ko in Hawaiian belonged to Koloa Plantation in 1835, where the sugar industry of Hawaii was born. Contract laborers from Asia and Europe joined resident islanders to work the plantation fields and mills. They all lived together in plantation camps and shared foods, stories, traditions and the music of their respective homelands. Today, culture and history, along with eateries, cute boutiques and art galleries, humbly reside in the close-knit community of Koloa. Drop by these charming establishments housed in plantation buildings.
Take Highway 520 or Maluhia Road, locally known as the Tree Tunnel, into quaint and historic Koloa Town. It was home to the state’s oldest plantation settlement and the Old Sugar Mill of Koloa, now a National Historic Landmark.
Once here, take time to enjoy the unique shops, restaurants and services of Old Koloa Town. Step into renovated and restored plantation buildings to browse for art, apparel, gifts and souvenirs to take home, then stop for a bite to eat or a sweet treat to cool off from the tropical heat. Find a spot beneath the shade of monkeypod trees for a brief respite.
Did You Know?
Koloa is where it all began. As Hawai‘i’s first productive sugar plantation in 1835, the Ko¯loa region remains a cultural crossroads of history. The spirit of the past lives on in the Old Koloa Town buildings, reflecting over 150 years and preserving that history. Each building has a plaque detailing the history of the businesses and families who worked in Old Koloa Town. Take a stop at the Courtyard History Center while you’re there, to see old photographs and plantation artifacts and visit the surrounding stores.
Old Koloa Mill Ice Cream & Shave Ice also features photographs from Koloa’s history to learn about the area while enjoying a sweet treat.
Fun Summer Shopping
Summer at Old Koloa Town is a great time to find that perfect swimsuit or sundress and pass a leisurely afternoon exploring charming stores and galleries for Hawai‘i gifts and memorabilia. New this summer, Divine Planet offers unique finds like star lanterns, sarongs, fun signs, and other gifts to remember your trip.
You can smell the tropical candles at Island Soap & Candle made here on Kaua‘i, and stop by Jungle Girl next door for a fun printed dress or summer outfit or Hula Moon for jewelry. Old Koloa Town is home to Kaua‘i’s longest running surf shop, Progressive Expressions, with hip beachwear and functional items to enjoy the summer surf. Take a dive with Fathom Five or pick up a swimsuit at South Shore Bikinis and don’t miss Koloa Shave Ice downstairs. Pizzettas offers pizza by the slice during the day for quick bite or come for lunch or dinner for a summer Italian meal.
Happening at Old Koloa Town
For a laid back atmosphere with lots of personality, the Garden Island Grille offers fresh island food at reasonable prices and a kitschy island style.
They feature live music seven nights per week from 6-8 p.m., including some real gems. Falling Down Romance with Diane Rubio, an ‘ukulele virtuoso and electric cellist, and her partner, award-winning Cirque drummer, Dan Cruces play Thursdays through Saturdays. You can meet the legendary Larry Rivera on Sundays, experience contemporary Hawaiian music with K&L on Mondays, and Kalani Kaiminaauao on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- Hours: Open daily 9am-9pm (Koloa History Center)
- Website: http://www.oldkoloa.com
- Address: Koloa Rd., Koloa, HI, 96756
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