The islands of Hawaii are full of spectacular sights and destinations; however, few can match the stunningly majestic island of Kauai. Kauai is Hawaii's fourth-largest island in terms of size and the least populated of its four major islands, with only 72,000 residents. The island is often referred to as the Garden Isle — and for good reason!
Covered in lush, tropical vegetation and home to Waimea Canyon, the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," Kauai also features the 5,243-foot peak of Kawaikini, among other incredible natural wonders.
Kauai is known for its four distinct coasts: the remote and scenic West Side, the resorts and population centers of the eastern Coconut Coast, the gorgeous cliffs, mountains, and beaches of the rainy North Shore, and the sunnier, dryer South Shore.
It's in the latter region where Kauai's playful and adventurous side shines through. Home to beaches bathed in sunlight, the often-photographed natural blowhole of Spouting Horn, and a welcoming, touristy vibe, the South Shore is the premium location on the island to surf, snorkel, or simply hang out.
There are so many things to love about life in Kauai. Read on to learn more!
The Perfect Point of Origin
Although Kauai's North Shore garners much of the island's press and accolades, the South Shore has long been an underappreciated gem. At the heart of this laid-back region is the district of Koloa, which includes the towns of Omao, Koloa, and Poipu.
Much of the South Shore's acclaim stems from Poipu and its namesake, Poipu Beach. As the area's primary draw, it's often lauded as one of the best beaches in the United States (the Travel Channel once gave it the distinction of the nation's top beach). It best represents the South Shore's low-key, relaxing aesthetics.
The Koloa area stretches from the Kaumualii Highway and the town of Omao in the north to historic Koloa — also referred to as Old Koloa Town — in the district's central section. This area is strategically located. When you live here, you’ll enjoy easy access to the Coconut Coast and the Kauai county seat of Lihue, only 20 minutes away. Kapaa, Kauai's largest town, is a 30-minute drive away. If you need to venture to a big box store or the domestic creature comforts of the city, no need to worry — they are all close by.
To the west, it's just the opposite. The artistic, bohemian outpost of Hanapepe is a true cultural gem where local art galleries and jewelry and homeware boutiques thrive. In between, the towns of Kalaheo and Lawai offer even more, including quaint coffee shops and delicious eateries.
There’s no denying that Koloa is situated in an incredible location. You’ll be conveniently close to all that Kauai has to offer, not to mention several of Hawaii's best state parks and natural wonders! And should the urge strike, a day trip up to the North Shore is easily doable at 40 miles away.
Settling Into Koloa
Once you've committed yourself to the convenience and easy-going nature of Koloa, it's time to settle into your new life. As a whole, the district makes your transition easy and enjoyable!
Regardless of where you choose to live in Koloa, you'll find yourself at the doorstep of the South Shore's major resorts. Enjoy the multiple dining options and amenities of the Grand Hyatt Kauai
or the Sheraton Kauai Resort
without the fuss and expense of staying there.
Even better? You’ll have unrestricted access to Poipu's resort town scene. A delicious oceanside restaurant or a vibrant outdoor bar are mere minutes from your Koloa-based home.
But Koloa isn't solely about seaside living — if you were ever curious about the time before resorts and tourists made the South Shore a destination location, Old Koloa Town
is a direct link to the past.
Most famous as the birthplace of Hawaii's sugar trade, this exciting area is a veritable time machine. Enter through the Tunnel of Trees, a century-old canopy of eucalyptus trees, and make your way to the historic, fully restored collection of buildings that showcase the growth of the sugar industry in the mid-1800s. You can also visit the ruins of the Old Koloa Sugar Mill just outside of town.
Old Koloa Town is more than just a window into the past. There's a quaint yet vibrant shopping and dining scene here. There are approximately 100 shops and eateries spread throughout the area, each with a story to tell and a ware to sell.
There's no denying the strong sense of community in Koloa, especially during Koloa Plantation Days. Celebrated each summer to commemorate the area's heritage, the parade and fair, including music and games, is truly a family affair.
It's not precisely small-town America, but Koloa carries massive appeal for those that want to live life at a slower, more comfortable pace.
Koloa Real Estate
Offering a little something for everyone, Koloa real estate is a study in variety. Seaside condos, quaint village homes, hillside retreats, and layouts suited for big families, empty nesters, or those with needs somewhere in between — it's all available in Koloa!
If you’re looking for a condo, you'll want to center your search around Poipu, where oceanfront properties mingle with village homes. It’s an incredibly popular vacation or second home destination.
As one might expect, given the seaside locale, condos in Poipu start around $700,000, a relative bargain considering you're within walking distance of the beach and numerous restaurants and bars, and a few minutes drive to the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Poipu Bay Golf Course
Poipu single-family homes promise a unique experience. Views are aplenty, and walkability is high, but some properties will require a little TLC to restore them to their island glory.
Further inland, single-family housing is the more prevalent offering. Near Old Koloa Town, many of the neighborhoods take on a village feel. Property can be found ranging in price from $700,000 to $2 million or more. More modest housing, though not necessarily cheaper, is available in and around Omao.
With that said, you can find exceptional properties in practically any part of the Koloa district, and most offer spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific.
For those individuals and families angling for the island country club lifestyle, Koloa has you covered. Koloa boasts three championship courses, two of which offer enviable housing opportunities. Kiahuna Golf Club
serves double duty as a natural preserve where birdwatchers will find just as much enjoyment as those on the links. The course also meanders through the ruins of an old Hawaiian village, further enhancing its natural aesthetics. At the heart of this course, which sits between Koloa and Poipu, is the Kiahuna Golf Village.
Homes in the traditional neighborhood setting range from $1.5 million to nearly $3 million for the grandest residences. There's also the new Pili Mai condo and townhome development adjacent to the Kiahuna Golf Course clubhouse. The well-appointed, low-maintenance homes offer two-, three-, and four-bedroom floor plans.
An even more extraordinary golf course lifestyle is a few minutes west at the Tom Weiskopf-designed Kukui'ula Golf Course
. One of the top courses in Hawaii, this semi-private layout offers breathtaking Pacific Ocean views and immaculate playing conditions. Even more magnificent are the neighborhoods and homes that border the course.
Representing the opulent side of the South Shore, homes bordering the interior of the Kukui'ula course fetch upwards of $5 million. A handful of exterior residences, including some along the shoreline, go for even more.
The $15.5 million home at 3047 Kahalawai is currently on the market for those looking to make a South Shore statement. The four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath 2018 Wall Street Journal Home of the Year represents one of Kauai's most expensive listings. Much like the rest of Koloa, it's a stunning place to call home.
Ready to experience the absolute best of Hawaii's Garden Isle of Kauai and all the luxuries it has to offer? Contact Yvonne Summerfield today
and allow her experience and expertise to be your guide to Kauai's luxury real estate market.
From homes for sale in Koloa near Poipu Beach to the North Shore's one-of-a-kind real estate offerings in enclaves such as Princeville and Hanalei Bay, Yvonne will ensure you live your best life possible in one of the most stunning settings anywhere on the globe.