There's a reason that Kauai is largely regarded as Hawaii's "Island of Discovery." It's a fascinating place ripe for exploration. From the breathtaking beaches & black lava shores to the tropical rainforests & cascading waterfalls, luxury travel here offers endless awe-inspiring sights. There's even more than meets the eye, though. As Hawaii's oldest island, there are plenty of sites that provide insight into its rich cultural history.
Whether you're a history buff or an art enthusiast, here are some of the essential spots for learning about Kauai's past:
Kauai Museum Located in the heart of Lihu'e town, the Kauai Museum is not your typical institution. With a variety of hands-on courses & interactive tours, you'll get a chance to truly immerse yourself in the island's history by engaging in some of the traditions yourself. After a guided tour of the interesting art & heritage exhibits, which is free with admission, you can choose from a range of educational courses that delve into cultural customs, like Ni'ihau Shell Lei-Making, Lau Niu (Coconut Frond) Weaving & Hawaiian Quilting. Don't forget to stop at the gift shop for a perfect souvenir, such as shell jewelry, an island map, koa wood bowl or handwoven lau hala hat. You can also find authentic tikis here, which make a great gift.
Kauai Coffee's Koloa Estate This 100-acre coffee plantation is the largest farm of its kind in the U.S. – but it has also been turned into a museum & visitor center. Take a free walking tour & you'll stroll among more than 4 million coffee trees, learning about how your java is processed from the initial growth of the beans to the final roasting. The best part is getting to try the different varieties, though, so be sure to stop for a tasting of the mild Kauai Blue Mountain, intense dark-roast Peaberry & exotic Coconut Caramel. Then swing by the Koloa Estate gift shop on your way out for one of the estate's reserve blends.
Kilohana Plantation You could spend an entire day at the Kilohana Plantation on your luxury vacation. Hike through the rainforest, sample local spirits, take a ride on the Plantation Railway train, stroll through 36 acres of magnificent gardens & dine at a gourmet restaurant – & that's just the beginning. This historic landmark is not only one the best examples of plantation-era architecture in all of Hawaii, it's home to an agricultural park, the Koloa Rum Company & a multitude of art galleries & specialty shops. Since nearly all of the original furnishings are still intact & the orchards & gardens have been kept according to the original plans from 1896, you'll get an accurate glimpse into the island's past.