Situated on the southwest corner of Kauai lies the historic seaport town of Waimea. Waimea wears its history proudly on its sleeve as the famous landing site of Captain James Cook, who made port in Waimea Bay in 1778. The European Explorer was the first ever to explore the islands. He was treated like a god by the natives, who bestowed him with gifts and held ceremonies in his honor. He was responsible for putting Hawaii on the map. In turn, he stands today as a monument at Hofgard Park, commemorating his voyage to the islands. Waimea is a popular destination not just for its history, but also its natural beauty. It's home to the rare black sand beach of Waimea Beach Park; the Waimea Pier offers a unique vantage point of Ni'ihau;and the Waimea Plantation Cottages along the shore transport you to Kauai's plantation era.
Hikers and thrill-seekers will find that there's plenty to explore around the town of Waimea. The town itself is considered the gateway community for Waimea Canyon. This geological wonder has been hailed as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The main road will lead you to the scenic lookout followed by the canyon itself in all of its splendid glory, housing an astonishing panoramic view of the Garden Isle. There are plenty of valleys and hiking trails to discover along the canyon drive. Venturing further will lead you to Koke'e State Park, and, finally, to the Na Pali Coast, where charters and boat tours begin their excursions. The journey through Waimea is virtually endless. For those looking to stay on the beaten path, the West Kauai Visitor Center is located in the center of town at Hapokele Park, just off of Kaumualii Highway. Exhibits, daily programs, and weekly activities, the Visitor Center is an ideal place to learnabout Kauai's agricultural history. Local restaurants, markets, and shops; nearly everything can be found just off of KaumualiiHighway. Waimea Canyon Middle School sits near Hapokele Park, and the high school lies just down the road. Churches are scattered across town, and the Waimea Theatre - the restored landmark movie house - is another historical gathering place for the community. Originally opened in 1938, the theatre was the first of its kind. It was severely damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and was doomed to be torn down until it was purchased by the county. The theatre was then reopened in 1996 and continues to thrive to this day. A stroll through Waimea may reveal how small of a town it appears to be, but it will also show how tight-knit and supportive this community is of each other. Whether you're just visiting or looking to settle down in a nice home, Waimea's natural beauty and lush history makes it an attraction worth considering and exploring. Adventurer or not, you are sure to find a homely retreat that will undoubtedly encourage you to kick back and relax.