ka mo'olelo o kaua'i THE STORY OF KAUAI

Polynesians brought sugar cane, or ko, with them in their sailing canoes. It was a plant whose leaves they used for thatching, and to wrap fish bait. The first successful commercial milling of sugar in all of Hawai'i began in 1835 in Koloa Town on the South Shore. It was to change the face of Kaua'i forever, launching an entire economy, lifestyle and practice of monocropping that lasted for over a century.  Because of a dwindling native population, sugar plantation owners contracted immigrant labor elsewhere. First came the Chinese, then the Japanese, Koreans, Spanish, Germans, Puerto Ricans, Portuguese, Norwegians, and Filipinos, each bringing their own overlay of culture.  Many of these immigrants settled here, purchased land and became entrepreneurs. As a result, ethnic foods, arts, languages and traditional celebrations are all part of the rich history of Kaua'i.  From hula and lei making to kachi-kachi dancing, from the Japanese O-Bon festival to the Taro Festival, King Kamehameha Day, Tahiti Fete and more, Kaua'i enjoys a proud multicultural heritage. 

January 31st 2014 we celebrated Chinese New Year. Our Waimea Town Celebration begins on Feb 15th. Don't forget Valentines Day on the 14th we have a special promotion on Facebook with numerous random prize giveaways to show our love for our Facebook Fans. Also our Spring Saver coupon this month offers a FREE CAR UPGRADE for new reservations between 4/9/2014 and 12/14/14.                    

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Waimea Town Celebration!  
Waimea Town is Kauai's oldest settlement and a capital from ancient Hawaiian days. Its history encompasses the turbulence of post European contact starting with the first landing in Hawaii of Captain James Cook on his extraordinary voyages of discovery in the Pacific, fur and sandalwood traders, to a dramatic stand-off of King Kamehameha superior forces by Kauai's King Kaumualii that lasted decades, Russian empire builders, to whalers and missionaries, and then to the growth of 19th century agricultural pursuits in rice, cattle and sugarcane bringing people from many nations ... Asia, Europe and the United States. They all passed through and made Waimea a port-of-call... Click on the video link below to see what festivities are lined up this year for the 37th Annual Waimea Town Celebration 
Waimea Town Celebration 2014 (February 15 - 22, 2014)
Waimea Town Celebration 2014 (February 15 - 22, 2014)
What is a Paniolo Hat Lei Contest? 


The entry form states that the lei must be 

24 inches in length, ends untied, and made to adorn the hat of a Paniolo. The lei may be entered in the "beautiful" category, comprised of only fresh all-natural materials such as flowers, seeds and feathers, or in the "unique" category in which any materials may be used!




What is a "Paniolo" you may ask? I found the perfect answer (and amazing photography) from local Maui professional camera artist Randy Jay Braun:

"The story begins in 1795, when the British Sea Captain, George Vancouver, gifted a few head of Mexican Longhorn cattle to King Kamehameha, as an offering of friendship. The King protected them, allowing them to multiply and roam the islands untouched for 40 years. Eventually, the herd grew to thousands, creating a need for instruction in handling and managing the descendents of those first few cattle. While the first horse was introduced to the islands in 1803,

Uncle Dan by Randy Jay Braun

it was not until some 30 years later that expert cattle handlers - the Spanish-Mexican "vaqueros" were brought to Hawaiʻi to teach the Hawaiians. In fact, the word "paniolo" evolved from the word "Espanol" (Spanish) that was used in the early years in referring to the vaqueros. Today, "paniolo" is a term used with well-earned respect and admiration in describing the Hawaiian, or Hawaiʻi-born, cowboy working on island ranches. Also, it's a general term used for the rural, ranch-related lifestyle in the islands. Active cattle ranches can be found on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi. Hawaiʻi produces over $18 million worth of beef every year. The "Big Island" of Hawaiʻi has one of the largest ranches in the world, Parker Ranch. 


To discover more about the tradition of Hawaiian feather lei making there is a wonderful article in the Waimea Town Gazette (i.e. Waimea on the Big Island) from 1997 by Patti Cook titled

Tsugi Kaiama Passing on the Art of Lei Hula Papa. 



Waimea - The "Grand Canyon" of the Pacific

"Waimea Wanderlust" by talented local plein-air artist Eileen Kechloian.
100% of the proceeds of Eileen's artwork is donated to feed the homeless children on Kauai. Click here to view her art for sale on  Aloha Share

Valentine's Day is Coming

What do you do for your Valentine? If you haven't thought of something exciting to do we recommend hiring a personal chef to create a romantic meal right in your own home. Forget about busy restaurants and the stress of going out and have someone come and do all of the cooking and cleaning for you. 

If you happen to be on Kauai for the holiday give Chef Tommy a call. He has created many memorable meals for us and can help with any occasion or romantic celebration.

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Should I rent a car for my Kauai Vacation?
Kauai is a small island with only one main road, however, it has a diverse and rugged landscape. Much of the island can be seen by using public transportation but to really experience all that Kauai has to offer you should consider having your own rental car. 

The first question most of our guests ask after booking their accommodations is "Do I need a rental car on Kauai?" Our answer is "YES!"

Great Vacation Retreats offers a free economy car with reservations over 7 nights between April 9th  and Dec 14th and you have the option to upgrade for a nominal fee. If you are trying to get a car during peak season we may be able to get you a better rate than advertised on most car rental websites with our contacts at Enterprise and Alamo. 

Don't wait until last minute to reserve your car. Supply is low on Kauai and rental cars are in high demand during the peak season of Dec 15th through April 9th. It is highly recommended that you reserve your rental car for this busy period well in advance to avoid paying high last minute rates. Our reservation agents can help you with your rental car reservations. We recommend finding rental cars and best rates on hot-wire and aloha

See our Coupon below for a FREE RENTAL CAR UPGRADE

Use this coupon to get a FREE RENTAL CAR WITH FREE UPGRADE for new reservations made between April 9th and Dec 14th, 2014. "Free Car with Upgrade" cannot be used in combination with any other special offers.
Offer Expires 12/14/14. Call office at 808.742-9202 to reserve!