Just minutes from the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” this village is celebrated as the first Hawaiian landing place of Captain Cook and for it’s quaint island charm.
Waimea is a seaport village that offers a relaxed atmosphere. It’s also the site where Captain James Cook first stepped onto Hawaiian soil in 1778, a moment commemorated by a statue in the town’s center. The main street is lined with pretty historic buildings, and the town is only minutes away from the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
Waimea is one of the few towns in West Kauaʻi that has not been transformed by the tourist industry. It retains its authentic character, making it an ideal destination for visitors who want to enjoy a slow-paced getaway. Check into one of the hotels or beach cottages that dot the coastline and wake up to the sight of the shimmering Pacific Ocean each morning. Many resorts host luaus throughout the week, offering an opportunity to enjoy regional dishes and traditional dance performances.
Head to Waimea Beach and sunbathe on its distinctive black sand. Before making your way back into town for dinner, stop by the Waimea State Recreation Pier. Stretching into the Pacific, it is the village’s most popular gathering place to watch the sun set over the ocean. Then, sample local cuisine at one of Waimea’s seafood restaurants.
Set aside an afternoon to explore West Kauaʻi Technology & Visitor Center. Whether looking at the historical exhibits or attending a concert or performance, the institution is an ideal place to learn more about the traditions and culture of Kauaʻi.
Drive 13 miles (20 kilometers) outside town to Waimea Canyon. Often called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” this natural landmark is one of Kauaʻi’s most popular destinations. Standing in stark contrast to the lush, rainforest landscape that defines Waimea, the canyon features 14 miles (16 kilometers) of cavernous red rocks that plunge 3,600 feet (1,097 meters) into the earth. Travel along Canyon Drive to enjoy the view from afar or hike down into the heart of the canyon.
Waimea is a 45-minute drive west of Lihue Airport. Public transport is limited, so it’s advisable to rent a car or motorcycle to get the the most out of the region.