Take a trip through Kauai’s fascinating history along the 31-kilometer Holo Holo Koloa Scenic Byway.
Including ancient temples and 19th century sugar plantations, here are a few of the most interesting stops along the route.
Koloa Sugar Monument and Koloa Town
Koloa is considered the birthplace of the sugar industry, and the Koloa Sugar Monument pays homage to the many ethnic groups that helped build the 1835 Ladd & Co. sugar plantation. The town of Koloa is made of old plantation buildings that have been transformed into shops and eateries. You’ll find many historic structures including the old Yamamoto Building, Koloa Hotel, the 1859 Koloa Church and the Koloa School, Kauai’s oldest public school. There’s also a trailhead at St. Raphael’s Church that connects to Poipu Beach about 3 kilometers away.
Driving down a shady road in Koloa
Puhi (Spouting Horn)
As water rushes into an eroded lava rock, it’s forced through a blowhole and shoots skyward in a beautiful water display. A Hawaiian legend tells of a lizard that guarded this area of the beach, and the hissing sounds of the blowhole are said to be the fierce sounds of the fallen lizard. This is a beautiful seaside stop with plenty of parking and a lovely sunset view.
The famed water display through the lava rock of Puhi, or Sprouting Horn
National Tropical Botanical Gardens
The gardens are home to the largest collection of endangered plant species in the world. Stop here to see exotic plants, flowers and trees in several photo-worthy gardens.
Red lehua flowers from the ohia tree are abundant in Hawaii
Pau a Laka
The hula mound at Pau a Laka is where Iolani Luahine, Hawaii’s beloved hula icon, learned and practiced hula under the guidance of Julia Keahi Luahine, the most notable hula instructor of the time.
Also called Hapa Road or Hapa Trail, Luahine AiapiI was historically a cart path along which goods were transported inland from the bay. Today, it’s a biking and walking trail that provides access to Poipu Beach via a 3-kilometer trail from Koloa Town.
A thriving village once stood on this important cultural site – remnants are believed to date back to the 1400s. It’s currently being restored to promote Hawaiian history and culture for future generations.
Keoneloa Bay, Makawehi and Paa Dunes
Stop at Keoneloa Bay (often called Shipwreck Beach), where you can relax on white-sand beaches and be mesmerized by the ocean’s waves. Early Hawaiians are believed to have used this bay as a fishing camp as far back as 200-400 A.D. At the far end of the bay are the beautiful Makawehi and Paa Dunes, where seabirds roost and many fossils have been found.
Unique rock and cave formations in Keoneloa Bay
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is the main gateway to Oahu and the rest of Hawaii, but airports on each island make it easy to explore the entire state. Fly into Hilo (ITO) or Kona (KOA) international airports on Hawaii Island, Kahului Airport (OGG) on Maui, Lanai Airport (LNY) on Lanai, Molokai Airport (MKK) on Molokai and Lihue Airport (LIH) on Kauai.