Communities of Kaua’i: Koloa

In Places, South Shore Places by Makana Charters

It’s a small town with a big character on Kauai’s south shore.  Old trees lining the streets give clues to its long established history on the island.  The shops tantalize visitors with not only your average souvenirs, but also with unique shops that spark interest and conversation.


Koloa is an older town, a symbolic reminder of Kauai’s plantation days.  The main street looks as though it were out of an old western movie, with a wood facade and boardwalks stretching around the front of the shops.

It can be easy to overlook visiting Koloa, but doing so would mean missing out on some fantastic small-town character and charm – especially within the doors of the eclectic shops where you will find goods that can’t be found anywhere else on the island.

Years of consistent trimming have given Koloa's trees a special character

Years of consistent trimming have given Koloa’s trees a special character

If you drive from Lihue, you will be treated to a drive through the 100+ year-old tree tunnel.  This grove of Eucalyptus trees lines the main highway and surrounds the road, giving a beautiful sight to drive amongst.

If you just drive through the town without stopping, you will not see much.  It is only by getting out on foot and seeing the town for yourself that you can really get a sense for all that Koloa has to offer. In fact, many shops can’t even be reached from the street, and are found in narrow passageways and open courtyards behind the main drag.

Places to Eat: Our number one recommendation for somewhere to eat is definitely the Koloa Fish Market.  This market combines affordability and taste in a combination that cannot be matched anywhere else on the island.  They also have some fantastic bento box lunches to enjoy while on the go.

Every Monday there is a Farmer’s Market full of local farmers from all over the island sharing their latest harvest.  It is just a couple blocks north of town at the ball fields.

If you are here in July, you should definitely visit Plantation Days.  This event features a parade, competitions, art exhibits, and activities over a 10-day period.  The festival focuses on celebrating the rich cultual heritage that was a byproduct of the plantation culture welcoming immigrants from all over the world to Hawaii.

Old shops make you feel as though you have stepped back in time

Old shops make you feel as though you have stepped back in time

So come spend some time in a historic colonial town, and leave with a full belly and an authentic, made in Kaua’i souvenir.  Koloa may not be large, but the town makes up for that with offering so much to explore in such a small space.

So come to Koloa, and meet a country-style town that has not lost its roots over the years.  Help support the local economy buy buying in one of the local shops, with some of the goods made by those selling to you. If you come with a friendly smile, you will definitely receive a few in return.

This guide is brought to you by Makana Charters, a local Hawaiian family owned tour boat based out of Waimea on Kauai’s West side.   We offer daily trips to the spectacular Na Pali coast, a natural wonder not to be missed.  We are providing this guide to give our guests the best possible experience while visiting our island paradise.