Add some interesting history to your Hawaiian vacation and you will take home memories that will last forever. We visited Kāhua O Kāneiolouma during our stay and were overwhelmed with emotion. This is an important cultural site the locals refer to as a sacred heiau or a place of worship. Kahua O Kaneioluma is an ancient Hawaiian village located in the heart of Koloa, Kauai, and is so easy to access nearby Poipu Beach Park. It’s actually completely hidden from Poipu road, as it has been for many years, which adds to its enchantment.
Right when you approach this lost treasure trove of history, you’ll experience something special. Kāhua O Kāneiolouma might give you goosebumps. Why? This amazing 13-acre complex features breathtaking views and a breathtaking story that dates back hundreds and hundreds of years.
Everywhere you look there is something that catches your eye and touches your heart. You’ll see hale sites, fishponds, taro fields, above-ground aqueducts, religious shrines, and altars dating back to the 1400s. There is also a freshwater spring that locals refer to as waiohai. It’s amazing that they are still at Kāhua O Kāneiolouma, untouched for visitors to see! We were astonished to learn that many of the shrines and altars that were created for idols have been undisturbed since they were constructed so many years ago! We highly recommend adding this destination to your agenda. It’s a site for everyone from all ages and walks of life to see and learn. When you get there, you will feel an odd, but real connection to Kāhua O Kāneiolouma’s past. One of our favorite landmarks is the tall pole-like tiki statues carved with angry faces. They are called ki’i and were designed like that it impersonates the war god, Ku who was extremely powerful.
Here’s some history that sounds like it came right out of a movie script. The largest section of Kāhua O Kāneiolouma has an arena located in a natural amphitheater where back in the day winter sporting events referred to as makahiki were held. This original arena also contains a sectioned-off viewing area and a spring right on the floor!
In 2012, Kāhua O Kāneiolouma became a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural organization. Until then, this site remained hidden from view, overgrown with nature, and a complete mystery to everyone. Now the ancient village is being brought back to life and everyone is invited to visit and support them. Their mission is to restore Kahua Kaneiolouma and the structures throughout the complex. Get this… when completed it will be the first ancient Hawaiian village to be completely restored. It’s a natural masterpiece that we hope to return and visit again and again to see the progress and passion of the folks who lead this project.
We encourage you to check out the completed phases that include a security wall, viewing platform, and helpful signage. This work in progress is a major undertaking with thousands of volunteers working together for one common goal. It’s heartwarming and inspiring. We donated while we were there, maybe you can open your heart and donate too.
Take some time to drive by and visit the viewing platform at Kāhua O Kāneiolouma and interpretive signs located on Poipu Road near the beach. This complex is in a major restoration project and we recommend visiting their website before visiting to see what is open to see and do. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.