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Nestled along Kauai’s sunny southern shore, the historic town of Koloa gives visitors a glimpse into Hawaii’s plantation past while offering proximity to popular Poipu beaches and Waimea Canyon. If you’re wondering exactly where to find this Hawaiian hub of history and natural beauty, read on to learn all about the location of Koloa, Hawaii.

Koloa is Located on the South Shore of Kauai

The charming town of Koloa resides on the sunny southern coastline of Hawaii’s Garden Isle, Kauai. Nestled between emerald cliffs and the sparkling blue Pacific, this former sugar plantation hub enjoys a rich history and serves as the gateway to Poipu Beach and the island’s renowned South Shore.

Part of the ancient district of Kona

In ancient times, Koloa fell under the jurisdiction of the district of Kona, which encompassed the leeward side of Kauai. Lush and abundant due to consistent rainfall, the Kona district bustled with native Hawaiian activity for centuries before Western contact and settlement.

Today, remnants of ancient Hawaiian life dot the Koloa countryside, including religious sites, fishponds, and ingenious irrigation systems. The town celebrates this cherished heritage through events like the annual Koloa Plantation Days Celebration.

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east

To Koloa’s east runs the magnificent coastline that put Kauai’s South Shore on the map. Postcard-perfect Poipu Beach lies just minutes down the road, enticing visitors with its calm, reef-sheltered waters perfect for swimming, snorkeling and keiki paddling.

Further along, iconic spots like Shipwreck Beach, Maha’ulepu Beach and Kipuka’iu Point (“Gilligan’s Island”) display Kauai’s stunning natural splendor with their towering sea cliffs, crashing waves, and gold-sand beaches seemingly untouched by modern times.

West of the Waimea Canyon area

The panoramic Waimea Canyon State Park sprawls just northwest of Koloa, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” with its 10 miles of vibrant cliffs and dramatic valleys.

Hiking trails lace the park, including family-friendly options like the Canyon Trail and more strenuous treks to Waipo’o Falls and Ko’okee Ridge. Or admire birds-eye vistas from roadside lookouts along scenic Kokee Road.

Koloa’s proximity to this natural wonder makes it an ideal home base for exploration.

So whether you crave adventure, relaxation or Hawaiian cultural immersion, the district of Kona delivers through this historic South Shore community. Koloa’s hip cafes, boutiques and plantation-era landmarks beckon as well, promising a quintessential Kauai experience steeped in nostalgia and natural beauty.

Driving Times to Other Destinations on Kauai

15 minutes west of Poipu

The vibrant beach town of Poipu is a popular area to stay on Kauai’s sunny South Shore. Luckily, it also serves as a great home base for exploring the island! Driving west from Poipu, you can reach pretty Koloa town in just 15 minutes along tree-lined Maluhia Road.

Koloa has an inviting main street with shops and cafés in charming plantation-era buildings. It’s a pleasant place to stretch your legs and get a cold drink or snack.

Continuing on from Koloa, you’ll enter into what’s known as Kauai’s “Coconut Coast.” This beautiful coastal stretch is dotted with palm trees and gets its name from the coconut groves planted here long ago.

Within a half hour’s drive west of Poipu, you’ll come across the well-manicured grounds of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Home to the Allerton and McBryde Gardens, this is a wonderful place to take in the island’s exotic flora for an hour or two.

45 minutes east of Waimea and Waimea Canyon

Inland from Poipu, the small ranching town of Waimea serves as the gateway to the breathtaking Waimea Canyon State Park. Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” the park’s lookouts provide stunning vistas of Crimson, scarlet and coral-colored cliff sides dropping thousands of feet to the canyon floor.

At over 10 miles long and 1 mile wide in places, you’ll want to allow ample time to take in the spectacular views along the park road and hiking trails.

From Poipu, the drive to Waimea and Waimea Canyon takes around 45 minutes along Highway 50. The highway cuts through pastoral landscapes with rolling pasturelands and pockets of tropical vegetation. If you set out early, you’d have time to stop at Waimea town for a hearty breakfast at the Wrangler’s Steakhouse before continuing the 15 minutes uphill to Waimea Canyon.

Or, you could take a morning hike along the Kewee Forest Trail to admire Waimea Canyon’s lush interior.

90 minutes north to the airport in Lihue

The main airport on Kauai lies in the island’s largest town, Lihue. Located about 90 minutes north of Poipu by car, Lihue Airport (LIH) offers daily flights from Honolulu and the U.S. mainland. Most visitors arriving to Kauai touch down here before traveling onward to their vacation rentals around the island.

The drive from Poipu to Lihue Airport along Highway 56 takes you up Kauai’s east coast. You’ll pass by verdant Wailua Valley where feral peacocks roam roadside areas. Continuing north, be sure to pull over at scenic overlooks like the Kalepa Ridge Viewpoint to take in spectacular vistas of the Haupu mountain range.

If you have some time before your flight, Lihue town itself has some worthwhile attractions. Pay a visit to the Kauai Museum to learn about the island’s culture and history. Or, stretch your legs walking along the scenic oceanfront path starting from Ninini Beach Park.

Wherever your onwards travels take you, Lihue Airport offers easy access on and off the Garden Isle.

Latitude and Longitude Coordinates

Koloa, Hawaii is located at geographic coordinates 21°53′32′′N 159°26′20′′W. This means Koloa is situated at 21 degrees, 53 minutes, and 32 seconds north of the equator and 159 degrees, 26 minutes, and 20 seconds west of the Prime Meridian.

These precise latitude and longitude coordinates pinpoint Koloa’s location on planet Earth and allow mapping programs, GPS devices, and other tools to accurately display its position.

Understanding Latitude and Longitude

Latitude and longitude are a global coordinate system used to locate any place on Earth. Latitude lines run horizontally and measure north-south positions between the poles. Longitude lines run vertically and measure east-west positions.

The coordinates where these lines intersect provide an exact location.

Koloa’s northern position means it sits above the equator, indicated by its positive latitude number at 21°53′32′′N. Its western position is shown through its negative longitude number at 159°26′20′′W.

Using Koloa’s Coordinates

Koloa’s latitude and longitude make it easy for visitors to enter the coordinates into apps and devices to aid navigation around the region.

For example, inputting 21°53′32′′N 159°26′20′′W into Google Maps centers the map directly over Koloa. GPS devices also utilize the numbers to assist users in accurately reaching their destination.

Developers and GIS professionals working with spatial data in Hawaii rely on exact coordinate points like those of Koloa as critical reference locations.

Whether trying to locate Koloa or map information within its vicinity, its defined latitude and longitude position serve as a precise starting point.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Nestled along Kauai’s sunny southern coast, the small town of Koloa acts as a gateway to the island’s most popular beachside communities and inland agricultural lands. Let’s explore some of the charming destinations surrounding this historic plantation town.

Poipu to the East

The sunny resort area of Poipu lies just a 10-minute drive east down the coast from Koloa Town. Known for its gentle waves and beginner-friendly sands, Poipu Beach offers relaxing days in the sun. Water sports like snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding also abound.

When you’ve had your fill of sun and surf, pop into the seaside shops and restaurants in the Poipu Shopping Village. Don’t miss out on a shave ice from Lappert’s Hawaii!

Kalaheo to the West

The small community of Kalaheo sits snugly among the rolling hills to the west of Koloa. Called the “Gateway to Waimea Canyon,” Kalaheo offers panoramic views of the iconic crimson cliffs in Kokee State Park.

Be sure to stop by the locally loved Brick Oven Pizza for a delicious meal after a day of taking in the sweeping canyon vistas.

Lawa’i and Hanapepe Inland to the North

Venture just 15 minutes inland from Koloa Town, and you’ll discover the historic communities of Lawa’i and Hanapepe. These towns offer a glimpse into old Hawaii thanks to plantation-era buildings and rainbow eucalyptus-lined roads.

Hanapepe has exploded into an arts hub in recent years, with over 16 art galleries located along the main street. Don’t miss Friday night when Hanapepe hosts a lively Art Night street festival. Lawa’i is also home to the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, which safeguards endangered tropical plant species and offers breathtaking valley views along its nature trails.

Map of Koloa and Surrounding Kauai Locations

Koloa is a census-designated place located on the southern shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It sits just inland from Poipu Beach and has a population of around 2,400 residents. Koloa has a rich history as one of the first sugar plantation towns in Hawaii, founded in 1835.

Today, it serves as a gateway to Poipu while retaining its small-town charm.

Some key facts about Koloa:

  • Located on the south shore of Kauai, about 14 miles west of Lihue Airport
  • Borders Poipu Beach to the south and west
  • Nearby towns include Kalaheo to the west and Lawai to the east
  • Home to quaint shops and restaurants centered around its sugar plantation heritage

When viewing Koloa on a map, travelers will notice it connects to some of Kauai’s most popular destinations:

  • Poipu Beach – This renowned beach with golden sand and a crescent bay shape sits just south of Koloa. It offers snorkeling, surfing, and sea turtle sightings.
  • Spouting Horn – A unique blowhole that shoots water high in the air is inside Poipu Beach Park, east of the main beach.
  • National Tropical Botanical Garden – These gardens dedicated to preserving tropical plant species span Lawai and into Poipu across multiple sites like McBride Garden and Allerton Garden.
  • Waimea Canyon – Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon with its colorful cliffs and waterfalls starts 13 miles northwest from Koloa.
  • Koke’e State Park – Home to the awe-inspiring Waimea Canyon Lookout and the start of picturesque hiking trails, this large state park sits 20 miles northwest of Koloa up in the mountains.

So while small in size, Koloa provides easy access to sandy beaches, dramatic natural wonders, and important nature preserves – all which showcase the beauty and adventure of Kauai. It serves as a centralized home base for travelers looking to explore this idyllic Hawaiian island.


Hopefully this outline gives you a clear sense of exactly where the historic Hawaiian town of Koloa is located. On Kauai’s sun-soaked south shore, it serves as the gateway to popular Poipu beach towns as well as the stunning Waimea Canyon inland.

Use the details provided to situate Koloa geographically in your mind or on a map. Understanding its unique coordinates and relation to other Kauai destinations will ensure you make the most of exploring this quintessential Hawaiian hub of rich history and natural wonders.

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