Make a Stop in Kalaheo, Kauai

By Coco Zickos

Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell.

Breezing through Kaua‘i’s charming town of Kalāheo without stopping is easy to do. Sure, the quaint south shore community is mostly residential. However, you’d be missing out if you didn’t stop and see some of the island’s more obscure places here worth checking out.

Golf and ‘Grind’ Like a Local

Kukuiolono Golf Course. Photo: bradleypjohnson.

One of the Garden Isle’s most popular golf courses for locals is at Kukuiolono Park and Golf Course. This is a no-frills course in Kalāheo that keeps prices extremely low so that kama‘āina (Hawai‘i residents) get a chance to enjoy the sport. You can play a round and use the money you saved to grab a beer and Mexican grinds at the on-site restaurant, Paco’s Tacos, that’s perched on top of the greens and offers a splendid view. Or take a short walk through the park’s lovely grounds that include a serene Japanese and rock garden.

Visit the Largest Collection of Hawaiian Plants in the World

Breadfruit, one of the native Hawaiian plants propagated by the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Photo: library_dragon.

Further along Kalāheo’s main road, Papalina, you’ll encounter National Tropical Botanical Garden’s headquarters. This is not where you go to visit their gardens, it’s where their offices, herbarium and research facilities are located. Botanical lovers will get a thrill visiting the LEED-certified Botanical Research Center which boasts the largest collection of Hawaiian and Marquesan plants in the world and is home to the largest assemblage of plant-related literature in the state. The library also periodically hosts exhibits featuring Hawai‘i’s flora and fauna.

Treat Yourself

Kalaheo Cafe and Coffee Company. Photo: brewbooks.

You’ve probably seen Kaua‘i Kookie products since the moment you stepped off the plane. You can visit where these delicious treats are made at the company’s bakery located in Kalāheo. Right across the street from the bakery is another place for divine desserts called The Right Slice. One bite of the Lilikoi Cheesecake and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a trip to confection heaven. But the most popular dining establishment in this quaint town is Kalāheo Café and Coffee Company. People arrive here in droves each morning for breakfast, perhaps because the ambience makes you feel right at home with a casual order-at-the-counter-style arrangement.

Tour a Coffee Estate

Coffee beans at the Kauai Coffee estate in Kalaheo, Kauai. Photo: duluoz cats.

The main reason people pause in Kalāheo, besides brunch, is Kaua‘i Coffee Company. This beautiful plantation grows and roasts its own beans. You can actually take a tour of the estate and see how the entire process works – a highly recommended activity not only because it’s free but because the property is so lovely. You’ll also get to sip samples of unique flavors like banana and macadamia nut.

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