Life on Kaua‘i is heavily infl uenced 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 Līhu‘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 within the WEST KAUA‘I TECHNOLOGY AND VISITOR CENTER .
Beyond 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.
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 fi sh tacos; or WRANGLER’S STEAKHOUSE for a hearty steak dinner. ISLAND TACO 808-338-9895