Living in Kapaa, Kauai
Kapa’a sits along Kauai’s eastern Royal Coconut Coast where pineapple and sugar plantations were once abundant. The plantation town started with Makee Sugar Company in 1877, the first sugar plantation to open on the east side. Hawaiian Canneries Co. brought pineapple to the area as an industry in 1913 and blossomed Kapa’a into a thriving town with immigrants from Japan, Portugal, Philippines, China, Puerto Rico, Germany, and Spain — the seeds of the diversity you’ll find in Kapa’a today.
The community lies in the shadow of Nounou Mountain, also known as Sleeping Giant. Catch it at the right angle and mountain looks like a man lying on his back. It’s home to three of the east side’s many hiking trails, with views that stretch over Kalepa Ridge, Kapa’a Town, and Wailua Bay. Ho’opi’i Falls is also popular with residents, where jungle waterfalls lead to a natural pool with a rope swing, and you can also visit the fern grotto and Secret Falls on a kayak down Wailua River. Surfing, sunbathing and family cookouts are a constant at Kealia Beach and Lydgate Beach Park, both of which are lifeguarded.
Kapa’a Beach Park is one of five parks in the area and is home to soccer games and community events like the Coconut Festival and part of the town’s monthly First Saturdays in Old Kapa’a Town. That’s when the town’s many shops, eateries and food trucks open their doors for a street party with local artisans and musicians.
Home to the famous Coco Palms hotel, frequented by stars like Elvis Presley, the east side was also the home of Kauai’s high chiefs and archeological sites tell their story down the Wailua River ending at a Hauola pu’uhonua (or place of refuge) at the river mouth in Lydgate Park.
The community is about 9 miles from Lihue and is served by Kapaa High School, with feeder elementary and middle schools all located in the Kapahi area. Average commute time for most is 27 minutes.