About KalaheoOur Kalaheo vacation rentals provide easy access to Kauai's sunny southern shore as well as the west side's landmark Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park. Kalaheo is considered Kauai's upcountry hamlet and is ideally situated for privacy and quiet while also close to all the amenities of the Poipu resort area and the south shore beaches.
Things To Do
One of the most popular activities in the Kalaheo area is heading down to the south shore to enjoy snorkeling, boat tours and just relaxing on the beach. There are also some great hiking opportunities including the coastal walk to Mahaulepu Beach, one of Poipu's hidden treasures. Beginning at Shipwreck Beach, the shoreline trail covers a variety of terrain before reaching the remote and scenic Mahaulepu Beach.
Golfers will enjoy the Kukuiolono Golf Course located atop a hill in Kalaheo. The course enjoys great views of the ocean and southwestern shoreline. For championship golf courses check out the Poipu Bay Golf Course at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort.
Eat and Shop
The fresh baked goods at Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co. are delicious, including outstanding croissants that go great with their fresh-roasted coffee. Kalaheo also has a variety of other shops and dining opportunities in its small commercial district.
Head down to the Poipu resort area for a whole range of dining choices from fine cuisine to cheeseburgers and fries with lots of opportunities for outdoor dining along the Poipu shore. The Grand Hyatt Kauai resort has two fine dining restaurants - Dondero's and Tidepools - as well as the Stevenson's Library offering a sophisticated lounge atmosphere.
A rental car is recommended when staying in Kalaheo vacation rentals so you can explore the many great south shore beaches and Kauai's many other interesting sites and attractions from the west side's Waimea Canyon to the lush and verdant north shore
The Beginning of the Coffee Trade on Kauai
Kauai has some of the best coffee in the world. Many people like it as much or more than Kona coffee, which has the reputation for being the best. It wasnt always that way on Kauai and more particularly in Kalaheo. Its not a big town; it only covers two point nine square miles and has an elevation of seven hundred feet. In two thousand there were only around four thousand residents, all of which enjoy the serene and charming town. Coffee did help to shape the lush history of Kalaheo. Not only did it shape the past but it will continue to play a role in shaping the future of Kalaheo also. Kalaheo is proud to carry the distinction of producing the majority of the coffee for exporting from Hawaii to other parts of the world. The beans grown in Kalaheo have the honor of being considered very high quality and of having a flavorful taste. They have been working on getting it right since the eighteen hundreds.
The first attempt to get it right on Kauai was not successful. For that matter, it didnt work on Kona the first time either. It actually went through a period of trial and error before getting it right anywhere in the state. Kona coffee, a specific variety that is grown on the Big Island in the Kona district, was not the first to get it right. As early as eighteen thirteen a man named Don Francisco de Paula Marin attempted to plant coffee on Kauai. It didnt work out when he planted it in the Manoa Valley the first time. The second time around it did work out. It was in eighteen hundred and twenty five when the first successful coffee cultivation started. Kauai was the test ground for the plantation and tried different varieties. After several tried, coffee farmers tried their luck in the abundant land of Kona and it worked, it worked well. Kauai, Kalaheo in particular, did work and is working out today as a successful cultivator of coffee. It actually thrives in the soil of Kalaheo and continues to be a driving force in the vital role coffee plays for the success of the Hawaiian Islands.
This commodity is exported to the various mainland states and to all corners of the entire world. Since the seventies, coffee has been very successful and has boosted the economy of the area significantly after being marketed and exported abroad. Even though the history is rich and the coffee is flavorful, not that many people are employed in the industry on Kauai. The number one industry is tourism. It employs the majority of the residents these days. Even when people arent directly involved in the tourism industry directly, they may also be employed due to the trickle effect of the economy. More buildings are needed so the construction industry is in full swing as they build more restaurants, shops and recreational centers. With this comes the need for more coffee and the cycle continues.
A Suitcase Full of Necessities
You could almost make a game show out of it. What is in the suitcase? Why people bring the things they bring would also make for a wonderful comedy skit or a fascinating psychological study, depending on how serious you take life. It would seem to many that if youre going to Hawaii, all you need is a couple of bathing suits and a pair of flip-flops. Its a tropical paradise, what else will you be doing there but hanging on the beach and getting some sun? Glad you asked. There is so much to do on Kauai that you could bring several suitcases and still not have everything you need. If youre going to play in the water there are several items you may bring to add to your couple of bathing suits.
You can bring a surfboard, a boogie board, your kite and board, or your sail and board along with a wet suit to keep you warm if youre there anytime other than the summer. You can bring your snorkel, mask and fins along with your BDU, wet suit, knife, air tank and all of the other necessities you need to dive in these magnificent waters. You might want to bring your underwater camera gear because you are almost certain to run into a sea turtle and maybe even some spinner dolphins. Dont forget your suntan lotion. One for the water, one for starting a tan, one for intermediate tans and then the one that is like Crisco to finish off your tan. Or if you are just trying to keep from burning bring the one that puts a layer of protection on that will keep your skin from burning.
If you are a golfer there are many things you might want to pack. For one, the lava around some of the courses eats balls up so bring extras. There is nothing like it in any of the other states. You will want to put in some wind protection, rain protection, and have something for a sunny day. The weather can change pretty fast on Kauai. It does have the wettest place on earth after all. You will also want to bring a hat as the sun can be pretty strong over here. If you are planning on playing any sport you will want to bring those things you dont want to rent. Your tennis racket, your golf clubs, your bowling shoes, and your hiking boots. There are plenty of places to hike on Kauai. The most famous is the Na Pali Coast and is well worth the drive from Kalaheo to see it. You can also fly over it on a helicopter. If youve always wanted to take a helicopter tour, this is the place to do so. Seeing the Na Pali Coast along the Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is just magnificent from the air. Be sure to pack you camera no matter what activity you decide to do.
A Cultural Shrine Near Kalaheo
If youve ever heard of the 88 Shingon shrines that are spread out over nine hundred miles in Japan, youll love to hear about the 88 shrines at the Lawai International Center between Lawai and Kalaheo. What takes sixty days in Japan to cover takes an hour or so to cover in Kalaheo. If you are looking for a peaceful place to meditate and heal, look no further. This place is described as a non-denominational place of peace, healing and Aloha. This was once the site of a Hawaiian heiau, a Taoist temple and a Shinto temple. According to Lynn Muramoto, president of the organization, In the earliest days in this valley, there was a heiau temple where the Hawaiians brought their wounded and sick to heal. Once the immigrants arrived, they too, followed the tradition and came there for the healing power found there. The shrines were built in 1904 along with the 88 shrines of stone and wood.
The hike is a meditative process as you climb the steep hill along with the walking stick they provide. Its a good reminder to be slow and deliberate as you climb and meditate. The center is open on the second and fourth Sunday of each month. If you havent planned your trip yet, you might want to take the initiative to include one of these days in your trip. It is well worth the time and effort. There are many places on earth that are for healing but this is one you dont want to miss if at all possible. You will be following in the footsteps of some wonderful healers and ordinary people with extraordinary beliefs.
In 1921 a lovely woman named Takano Nonaka came to Kauai and settled in Hanapepe and raised ten children. Four of her sons were called to war and prior to their leaving she gathered a four pinches of dirt from around each of the sacred shrines and put it into four separate pouches which she pinned on her sons to be spread upon their return. One by one they returned and replaced the dirt back to the shrines. To this day she still visited as she has done for over sixty years. This is where she finds her power, even in times of disarray; she found her power on the grounds, not in the buildings.
When you come to visit youll be in great company. Along with the possibility of running into Grandma, thats what Takano is known affectionately as, you will be in the company of volunteers there to answer questions and to clean the place up. They are also building a Shingon temple to replace one that has fallen. Of course there will also be plenty of people looking for the same healing power so many have found in prior years. The same power that Grandma has found for over sixty years. Just remember this is a work in progress so why not be a part of it while you visit. Some people say that if you want to see the true spirit of Aloha look into the eyes of the people of Hawaii. You can also find it in the smiles of the children. If you want to find a location that offers this spirit from Mother Earth, go to the Lawai Valley near Kalaheo, and you will find an unequaled place of Aloha, where all people are welcomed to gather for the healing power to be found in this place.
RESTAURANTS AND NIGHTLIFE
Where to Eat in Kalaheo Kauai
There are a number of places to eat in the area of Kalaheo that offer a variety of local and eclectic foods. One local favorite is the Kalaheo Coffee Company. It offers homemade baked goods and fresh Kona coffee along with its excellent menu full of items from fish to chicken to all sorts of gourmet cooking at a reasonable price. You can start you day there with fresh coffee and wonderful breakfast food or end you day with a wide selection of wonderful meals with nice touches like macadamia nuts and coconut, both fresh from the Islands. If youre more of a pizza eater with a love for a great pizza with your old standbys and fresh seafood toppings, then try the Brick Oven Pizza, right across the street from the Kalaheo Coffee Company. Its been in Kalaheo for nearly 25 years and is the classic mom and pop shop. You can get a brick hearth cooked pizza brushed with garlic butter and topped with great cheeses and homemade sauces. They even make their own Italian sausage. For lunch you may want to try one of the favorites, a seafood style pizza-bread sandwich.
For an inexpensive and great tasting breakfast in the Kalaheo area you must try the Camp House Grill that opened its doors in 1988. Its also a great place for a burger or chicken sandwich for lunch and dinner. How about little biscuits and gravy or fried chicken for that back home taste? Who says you cant take it with you? Another place to get that home cooked meal is the Kalaheo Steak House. Get there early as the line starts when they open the doors. Its popular with the locals so you know it has something going for it. The servings are generous, the service is friendly and the prices are fair. The steakhouse feels like a steakhouse should so everyone is comfortable. Even though its a steak house you can still get fresh fish, chicken, ribs and other seafood specialties. The cheesecake is a famous way to top off the night so save some room. There are several other local restaurants in the Poipu area that are definitely within driving distance and worth the drive.
For nightlife, well, Kauai is not known for the nightlife. There are a few places to go and let loose a little or maybe catch some local music in the Kalaheo area but they are hard to find places and they may be more like local bars than nightclubs. You can head to Stevensons Library at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Poipu for a little live jazz nightly. Its a little upscale meaning that you have to wear more than flip-flops and a tank top. You can also go to Keokis Paradise in the Poipu Shopping Village for live music on Thursday and Friday evenings. The music is Hawaiian, reggae and contemporary and is for the 21 and over crowd. You can also catch free hula performances every Monday and Thursday in the outdoor courtyard and the Poipu Shopping Center. If youre up for a little dancing to a variety of artists you can go to The Point at the Sheraton Kauai Resort for live music from Wednesday to Saturday. If these arent enough for you, you might want to go to another island along with your stay on the laid back island of Kauai.