Wailua Heritage Trail

Wailua Heritage Trail ©Gelston Dwight

Visit the Historic Sites of the Royal Coconut Coast

The Royal Coconut Coast boasts numerous historical and cultural areas. Since this land was all considered sacred, it was prime real estate for ceremonies. Seven heiau, temples or shrines, were built on this sacred ground, they formed an arc starting on the shores of the Wailua River, heading up the mountain to Wai’ale’ale, and ending on the west side of the island. Many heiau and preservation sites dot the East side; some of the stone structures still exist, have interpretive signage and are open to the public. These heiau are still sacred lands so please treat the area with respect when visiting, do not leave anything behind and do not move any rocks.

On the southern shore of the Wailua River once stood Hikina a ka la, meaning Rising of the sun, because the stone structure used to light up when the bright rays of the morning sun rose out of the Eastern sea. The largest heiau that remains today is also along the Wailua River, it was called Malae, and was used for ceremonies. The oldest heiau on Kauai is nearby in the mountains of Wailua, said to have been built by the menehune, a race of little people in Hawaiian legends.

A heiau is a sacred place to this day, so always proceed with caution and follow all posted rules and regulations.

Another very significant place in Hawaiian culture and history is in the Wailua River State Park. There you can see the legendary birthplace of ancient nobles of Kauai. There are two large, smooth birthstones, which was actually used to support the mother during child birth. It was mandatory that all the kings of Kauai be born here; King Kaumualii was one of the many chiefs born on the Birthstones. Royalty from neighbor islands would travel here to give birth at the birthstones of Holoholok’u. The Bell Stone still remains, a reddish stone that makes a unique sound when struck. This historical landmark was used in ancient times by a kahuna, or priest, to announce the birth of royalty.

The entire area along the Wailua River was once only reserved for royalty. Now, you can experience the river by kayak or boat. Venturing up the Wailua River by boat, you can explore the Fern Grotto, a lava rock grotto, embedded with tropical ferns. If you choose to kayak there is a place to dock your kayaks and take a short hike to a secret waterfall. The Wailua River is significant being the largest navigable river in all of Hawaii. It is fed by numerous rivers and streams, all stemming from the crater of Mount Wai’ale’ale, located at the heart of Kauai in the center of the island.

A drive up the mountain and you will find glorious views of mountains and waterfalls, with the Wailua River below. Stop at the scenic overlook of Opaeka’a Falls, which means “rolling shrimp”, named because of the freshwater shrimp that used to be prevalent in the stream. Across the street from the overlook is access to Kamaokila Hawaiian Village. This site is now an authentic recreation of ancient Hawaiian life. Once home to the last king of Kauai, the area now showcases the Hawaiian communal lifestyle, with traditional huts and Hawaiian games available for the kids.

Continue past the Opaeka’a Falls overlook and you will venture into a typical Kauai neighborhood. If you drive past the houses and streets you will find another hidden gem. The Keahua Forestry Arboretum is a real treat for nature-lovers, showcasing plenty of monkey-pod, eucalyptus and mango trees. There are many trails in the area and a stream with accessible pools to take a dip.

Courtyard Kaua‘i on Coconut Beach

Resort amenities with amazing affordability await you at the Courtyard Marriott on Coconut Beach. Located on the East side of Kauai, a few minutes from Ka’paa, named Kauai’s most charming town, we have all points covered. Make us your baseline camp on Kauai with easy access to the spectacular Na’Pali Coast to the north, the beautiful sunny and world famous Poipu Beach to the south, and the natural beauty of Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific to the west. Relax at our Pua Day Spa, enjoy local specialties at our Flying Lobster Buffet and learn the culture of Polynesia at our twice weekly Lu’au Makaiwa. Dine and relax at our Voyager Lani Restaurant or our Makai Lounge, with nightly entertainment. Only six miles from the Lihue airport, we are within walking distance of shopping, dining, and attractions. Rent a bicyle on property and enjoy the beautiful views of the bike path overlooking the Pacific, only minutes from the hotel.

Website: https://kauaicourtyardresort.com
Kauai Phone: (808) 822-3455
:: Toll Free: 1-877-622-2975
Address: 650 Aleka Loop, Kapaa, HI 96746 :: Show on Map

Papaya's Natural Foods & Cafe

The locals all know that if you’re looking for the biggest selection and best variety of natural-organic-local-non gmo food and products, you’ll find it at Papaya’s. Whether you are new to organic food, been a health nut for years, or just hungry, they’ll treat you like family and help you find what you are looking for or discover something new. Groceries, produce, refrigerated & frozen, bulk, unique gifts, vitamins, bodycare, beer and wine & lots of Aloha! Papaya’s Café has the best local Fish tacos, a vegetarian salad bar, hot soup and sandwiches, taro burgers, smoothies and breakfast burritos to go!

Website: http://www.papayasnaturalfoods.com
Kauai Phone: (808) 823-0190
Address: 4-831 Kuhio Hwy B-8, Kapaa, HI 96746 :: Show on Map

Jim Saylor Jewelers

Jim Saylor Jewelers has been passionately serving Kauai locals and visitors since 1976. A truly fine jewelry store with a great selection of pearls, fine gems and diamonds. The staff at Jim Saylor Jewelers create special custom pieces in their on site studio.

Website: http://www.jimsaylorjewelers.com
Kauai Phone: (808) 822-3591
Address: 4-1318 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa HI 96746 :: Show on Map