Explore Waimea TownKaua‘i

Life on Kaua‘i is heavily influenced by its lack of anything close to a city. Its small towns—really more like neighborhoods—are slow-paced, interconnected and unassuming. WAIMEA is all that and more, with the community’s dedication to its rich heritage even noted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Located just far enough from major visitor areas and the seat of politics and commerce in Lihu‘e, this community tends to fend for itself. The last sugar plantation has shut down, but taro is still cultivated, thriving alongside tourism, farming and high-tech industries housed in the WEST KAUA‘I VISITOR AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER.

With the exception of one charming resort, visitor accommodations are hard to come by. WAIMEA PLANTATION COTTAGES, a cluster of carefully restored sugar-plantation homes, is a unique oceanfront property set in a coconut grove. The ambiance is old Kaua‘i, but services are contemporary, with everything from a spa to a restaurant and Wi-Fi.

Waimea is the site of one of Hawai‘i’s most significant events. It was here in 1778 that British navigator Captain James Cook came upon Kaua‘i and discovered the Hawaiian Islands for the Western World. It also is the site of an irrigation system dating from the 13th century, which is still in use.

New England missionaries arrived in Waimea in 1820 to set up KAUA‘I’S FIRST MISSION STATION. Many of their homes and churches still stand, as do the restaurants and shops built by Chinese, Japanese and Norwegian immigrants.
If you’re looking to stop for a bite after hiking WAIMEA CANYON, check out the SHRIMP STATION or ISLAND TACO for garlicky shrimp plates and fish tacos.

It’s not unusual for 10,000 people to attend the WAIMEA TOWN CELEBRATION WEEK in early spring, when festivities that include the Kilohana Long-Distance Canoe Race, Waimea Round-Up and Captain Cook Caper Fun Run take over the town. For more information, log on to waimeatowncelebration.com.