History of the Royal Coconut Coast on Kauai

Kauai’s nickname is the Garden Isle due to its lush green valleys and mountains. Kauai history is so rich because it is the oldest inhabited island, and the only one that was not conquered during King Kamehameha’s reign.

The Royal Coconut Coast is on the east side of the island with white sand beaches against gorgeous mountain ranges and near many excellent Waipouli Beach Resort rentals and popular Kauai restaurants, activities and things to do.

Mount Wai’ale’ale, the volcano mainly responsible for the island’s formation, resides here. In fact, its last eruption created the East Coast of the island. Wai’ale’ale is nothing but a crater today, but it is the main source of the beautiful waterfalls and streams found here. The major river is called the Wailua River, which meets the ocean in the heart of the Royal Coconut Coast. This area was sacred to the native Hawaiians.

wailua river kauai history

The first settlers of this area were the Marquesans, who sailed to the island around 500 A.D. Using only trade winds and stars for navigation, these ancient people found their way to the Hawaiian Islands.

It is believed that Tahitians came next, forcing the original Marquesans out. These original people brought plants and food, which remain on the Royal Coconut Coast. Kalo (taro) is an essential Hawaiian plant that originated in Southeast Asia and was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians, which would become a Hawaiian staple food.

This area has always been one of the most desirable places to live. The availability of fresh water and the fertility of the land created a perfect environment. The coconut trees were plentiful and utilized for many different reasons.

Numerous historic areas exist along the Royal Coconut Coast, with several them along the Wailua River. The area was sacred and offered those who resided there a significant advantage because of the plentiful fresh water which ensured that there was never a food shortage.

The East side of this island is ripe with coconut trees, which were planted for a coconut plantation, but there isn’t much known about the original plantation. The Polynesians brought sugar to the island, and it thrived in this area. The sugar cane was used for medicinal purposes and as a love potion by religious kahuna.

wailua river history cultural kauai traditions

Royal Coconut Coast and Kauai Today

Today, Kauai is a melting pot of culture, people, and agriculture, thanks to the former plantations of the area. Most of the people on the Royal Coconut Coast are descended from immigrants to the area, including Philippines, Japan, China, Puerto Rico, and Europe.

This is why there are so many things to do here outside of enjoying the natural paradise and beautiful scenery. Tourists find time to relax and enjoy the island through a variety of different activities and diverse Kauai restaurants in the area.

The Dolphin Touch Wellness and Retreat Center is an opportunity to relax on water massage tables and enjoy a Lomi-Lomi massage. Energy balancing sessions help the soul detox.

After a relaxing morning here, move on to the Wailua Golf Course, which moves through the land that has become such an essential part of modern Hawaiian lifestyle. Tour the waters on Smith’s Kauai Fern Grotto Cruise to view one of the most beautiful rivers in the world while touring historic spots on the island. Take a kayak or a chartered boat, and don’t forget to taste Kauai on a food lover’s adventure.


The Wailua River is the main outdoor attraction of the Royal Coconut Coast and an oft-frequented area for tourists, with plenty of Kauai restaurants and shops nearby. Many of the sacred sites on the river can still be viewed and appreciated today. Areas where ceremonies, rituals, and religious practices were formerly held are legally protected archeological sites that should not be entered, touched or altered in any way.

The mouth of the Wailua River features Hanuola, a historic place of healing and wellness, while the nearby Hikinaakala-Heiau was where the sun was formerly welcomed, and it is also one of Hawaii’s most sacred destinations. The entirety of Wailuanuiahoʻano was a puʻuhonua or sanctuary of peace and safety. Further upriver is the Poli’ahu-Heiau which was formerly one of the largest heiau on Kauai and was only used by the head priest and ruling chief of the island.

When you come to Kauai, look for amazing lodging opportunities at our Waipouli Beach Resort rentals on the Royal Coconut Coast. You’ll find everything you need in a central location. Experience the best of this historic coast while staying at some of the most beautiful and exclusive vacation rentals in the world.

coconut coast kauai hawaii

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