Old Koloa Town

Old Koloa Town-Renovated Sugar Town with Shops, History, and Adventure
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Old Town Koloa is a renovated sugar town from the 1900s located on Kauai's South Shore. Within the clapboard buildings are art galleries, souvenir shops, and restaurants. The Koloa Heritage Trail offers a 10-mile hike through this historic region.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Are you searching for an area steeped in Hawaiian history, abounding with shops, restaurants, and something for outdoor enthusiasts? Then head over to Old Koloa Town!

Old Koloa Town is on Kauai’s South Shore near Poipu Beach and is rich with history. Our story begins in 1835 when sugar put Koloa on the map, literally. The cash crop attracted investors, families, adventurers, and business people the world over. Soon, plantations popped up here and there as families set down roots. The infrastructure of Koloa boomed as well when shops, mercantile stores, and other businesses opened, making Koloa one of the first influential sugar towns in Hawaii. 

Although times have changed, with the help of restoration, Old Koloa Town looks very much like it did back in its heyday. Some visitors describe Old Koloa Town as looking like a village from the Old West with its clapboard storefronts. If you’re a history buff, be sure to visit the Koloa History Center for maps and stories about the various buildings in the area. You may be curious about The Chang Fook Building who built the building in the 1920s as a general store. In the 1930s, they became a bakery that attracted customers from all over Kauai. The Yamamoto Store, built in 1898, is the oldest building in Koloa and was once a general store. 

Most of these early businesses are gone, but Old Koloa Town has plenty of boutiques, art stores, and food trucks to satisfy souvenir hunters and hungry patrons. Some visitors complained that the shops were “tourist traps.” Others felt they were comparable to what you’d find throughout Kauai. Enjoy strolling through art galleries like Giorgio’s, Sun of Aloha, or Fisheye Kauai. Wander into Billabong Koloa to find surf gear and casual attire. When you’re ready to eat, try Leahi Health for plant-based foods and drinks or Koloa Pizza Kitchen for, you guessed it, pizza! Shaved ice and coffee vendors are available, too. 

If you’re looking for adventure, grab some water, snacks and hike the Koloa Heritage Trail. On this ten-mile trek, you’ll visit fourteen historical, cultural, and geological sites from Old Koloa Town to Poipu. You can also sign up for scuba trips with Fathom Five Divers or try some dance moves at Koloa Dance House. 

Although still being developed at this writing, Koloa Village will offer residences and shops in Old Town Koloa. These constructions will match the architectural style of the historic buildings, seamlessly blending the new with the old. 

We believe that a trip to Old Town Koloa should be on your “things to do” list while in Kauai. With its varied shops, vendors, and restaurants, it’s a destination that will appeal to families and adventurers alike. 

Insider Tip:
Every 3rd Saturday is Old Koloa Town Market with artisans, food trucks, and live music. July is the Koloa Plantation Days celebration. The ten-day event honors the many cultures that moved to Koloa to work on the sugar plantations.