Down the south shore of Hawaii’s garden island, Kauai, is a bustling beach town called Poipu. Home to what was once voted as America’s Best Beach, Poipu and its surrounding attractions, such as its massive gardens, historic plantations, and beautiful hike trails can make for picturesque memories.
More than being Kauai’s most popular tourist area because of its attractions, Poipu’s popularity goes back thousands of years ago when a few of Hawaii’s significant economic and cultural events transpired in this small town. If your idea of a fulfilling trip is getting immersed in the natural beauty and culture of a place, Poipu is definitely your spot.
There are numerous reasons to experience Poipu’s magic for yourself, but here are 5 activities that will leave you with a handful of stories to relish and tell back home.
1. Go Hiking
Wandering up Kauai’s mountains can be a rather meditative activity that could set you in that adventurous state of mind. The hikes in Poipu offer panoramic views of the island’s crystal blue waters while the trails allow you to revel in colorful floral and fauna.
Ka Ala Hele Waiwai Hooilina o Koloa, or the Koloa Heritage Trail is one of Hawaii’s most important trails, being dotted with 14 of Poipu’s historic geological sites. It is a 10-mile immersive tour through Poipu and Old Koloa Town where one can learn about Hawaiian legends, Kauai’s natural formations, and the industries that once flourished on the island.
The Koloa Heritage Trail branches out to another point of interest called the Mahaulepu Trail, which leads to a walk through the ancient and untouched coastline of Mahaulepu Beach. This rocky hike also offers magnificent misty views of the island and chances to spot Hawaiian Monk Seals or sea turtles by the shore.
You can find a list of the stops included in the Koloa Heritage Trail over at their official website. For a lighter activity, a walk in Poipu’s abundant botanical gardens might be an alternative that is just as therapeutic.
2. Join Island Happenings
The warm locals of Kauai keep their culture and colorful traditions alive with various community-led events where everyone is welcome. It is a great starting point for learning the history of how the island came to be so as to make every experience more meaningful.
Being Hawaii’s oldest paradise, the people of Kauai have a lot to commemorate and celebrate, from Captain Cook’s first landing to expressing gratitude for a fruitful year of harvest. In Poipu, some delightfully informative events you can partake in are tours around old sugar cane plantations or grabbing fresh finds at weekly farmer’s markets. During the annual Kauai Aloha Festival, you’ll find various art nights, dance showcases, and open mic events around Poipu as their participation in the grand event.
3. Surf the Waves
What’s a trip to Hawaii without surfing? Kauai’s south shores can accommodate surfers of any level, whether you’re an expert searching for clean, overhead waves or a beginner excited to catch your first ride. After basking in the sun along Koloa and taking in Poipu’s liveliness from a dance night, it’s time to get into some more action!
At Poipu Beach Park, you’ll find various surf shops offering surfboard rentals and wide selections of beach clothing, protective gear, accessories, and sunscreen. For beginners, there are numerous reliable surf schools that offer hourly lessons, one being Poipu Beach Surf School, which teaches surfing at Sheraton Beach.
To many residents, surfing is not just an activity, but also a way of life one can learn from. Part of this lifestyle is eating clean, knowing the ocean, and always respecting others – practices that Hawaiians deem important and wish for visitors to observe throughout their stay.
4. Learn About Coffee
While Kauai is known to have been the leader in sugar cane exports in the past, this little island is also home to the largest coffee plantation in the United States. There’s no better place to learn about how this popular morning fix is made than from the land of hard-working connoisseurs.
The Kauai Coffee Estate boasts a 3,100-acre plantation that encloses over 4 million coffee trees. Upon visiting the estate, visitors get the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through their fragrant coffee orchard and learn how their coffee is grown, harvested, and roasted. After tours, guests can buy their homegrown coffee at the shop or relax on the estate’s patio where one can take in gorgeous views of the fields.
Every Wednesday, they spice things up by hosting a scavenger hunt around the island where participating groups can win bags of Kauai Coffee and a private walking tour. More than just learning how coffee is made, this experience is an interesting way to learn about sustainability and why it’s crucial for Hawaii. If you’re up for it, more details and registration can be accessed at Kauai Coffee’s official website.
5. Go on a Food Trip
Hawaii is known for its distinct cuisine, so make it a mission to tickle your tastebuds with the flavors of the island on your trip. From fresh catch to salads with hints of the country’s iconic flowers, going on a food trip in Hawaii’s garden island will likely be the healthiest yet tastiest food adventure you’ll experience.
Being a beach town, it’s not hard to find fresh catch around Poipu. You’ll find a variety of seafood dishes at weekly culinary markets, along with locally grown produce, desserts, and other food products. Just as exciting is Poipu’s annual Food and Wine Festival, which is held every November and always complemented with serenades from local musicians and a great atmosphere. At this three-day festival, guests get the chance to cook with some of Poipu’s finest chefs and enjoy a special culinary demonstration by the students of the Kauai Community College Culinary Arts Program.
For a taste of the finer things in life, take a stroll around Poipu Shopping Village to pick from the wide array of dining options available, from elegant gourmets to casual beach side bistros. You’re sure to find unique takes on Hawaiian food as well as interesting fusions with dishes from all over the world.
Summary and Infographic
There are many words to describe the experiences one can get from Poipu, and it’s always along the lines of captivating, inspiring, and fulfilling. The island of Kauai surely has a lot to offer; you only need to be on the lookout for the thrills, big or small. We hope this guide helps you plan out a worthwhile trip to Poipu, where travelers come to rest and leave with a full heart.