Aloha from all of us at GVR! 

Hauoli Makahiki Hou and best wishes for 2015 from Aloha Share!

Hawaii is one of the very last time zones in the world to ring in the New Year and on Kauai this suits our laid back island style perfectly!

The local community and our island visitors gather at Poipu Beach Park and spread out across the sand and on the grass beneath the coconut trees with  blankets, coolers and beach chairs to enjoy an evening of music, entertainment and local food.  Under a starry sky, with the occasional Chinese lantern carried up and away on the ocean breeze, we say Aloha to 2014.  The New Year is welcomed with a dazzling fireworks display of rainbow color that lights up the south shore.   Mahalo to Poipu Beach Resort Association for this amazing annual event!

Poipu Beach Park Fireworks
Poipu Beach Park Fireworks

The Koloa Sugar Plantation
Before 1833, life in Hawaii had changed very little since the Polynesians first made their way to the islands. Some foreigners (i.e. missionaries, former whalers, and so forth) had set up residence. For the most part, their influence was minimal. 

In 1833,  three men from the Eastern United States formed a mercantile trade company in Honolulu called Ladd & Co.  These three would set in motion events that would change Hawaii forever. 

Prior to 1835, most sugar cane grew wildly in the islands. Production sites were small and were run by families and tribes. 
On 13 September 1835, Ladd & Co., began the first major Hawaiian sugar plantation. Hooper, Brinsdale, and Ladd managed to do something that no one else had previously done in Hawaii. With the help of missionary settlers, they obtained the first major land lease in Hawaiian history. The lease comprised 980 acres in Koloa, Kauai, which was set aside for sugar cane production. The lease ran 50 years at $300 a year.

Koloa gained prominence in 1837 when its sugar cane plantation completed its first harvest yielding 2 tons of raw sugar. Plantation cut-cane was hauled to the mill by ox-cart up until 1882, when an extensive network of plantation trains kept the harvest fields connected with the mill. Tunnels were cut through the mountains to shorten the distances. By 1898, the plantation was producing 225,000 tons a year. A century later, the yield was a million tons annually. 

Today, the remnants of the original sugar mill, located in downtown Koloa, are all that remains of the Ladd & Co. sugar industry. The birth of the sugar industry shaped the lives of everyone in Hawaii forever. Although the mill and fields are idle in Koloa and virtually all of the state, many people in Hawaii are former workers or descendants of plantation workers who came from many lands. 

Sweet Surrender
Sweet Surrender by Eileen Kechloian

Eileen can be seen plein air painting at the many scenic beaches and locations around Kauai.  Her painting of the Koloa Sugar Mill is titled "Sweet Surrender" as the once vibrant and active old mill gracefully ages with time and 
 to the elements. Eileen has found a way to combine her soul's passion of caring for children of the world and her art. One hundred percent of the funds raised by her art go directly to feeding the children in need on Kauai through Family, Friends & Community Foundation, a volunteer organization. Buyers can request a receipt for tax purposes. 

 Birds-Eye view of Kauai
Kauai's interior is mostly uninhabited with its population of approx. 67,000 living mostly along the shores in small towns like Lihue, Kapa'a, Koloa, Hanapepe, Princeville, and Hanalei. Roughly 33 miles at its longest point, and 25 miles at its shortest, the island averages 26 miles in diameter and encompasses 554 square miles. Because of its relatively old geologic age, Kauai's 90 miles of shoreline has more beaches per mile than any other Hawaiian Island.

Most of the interior of the island is very mountainous. Carved with steep canyons, Mount Kawaikini (5,243 feet) and Mount Waialeale (5,148 feet) are Kauai's highest points. Mt Waialeale is the heart of an ancient volcano. This is the wettest spot on earth, with an average rainfall of 450-500 inches annually! Flying into the center of the crater, with its 5000-foot walls towering above and its 3000-foot waterfalls surrounding you, is truly awe-inspiring! 

 Hanalei Bay with its' pristine blue waters and golden sand is the jewel of the North Shore.  The pali, or cliffs, of the Napali Coast provide a rugged grandeur of deep, narrow valleys ending abruptly at the sea. Waterfalls and swift flowing streams continue to cut these narrow valleys while the sea carves cliffs at their mouths. 
The incomparable beauty of Kauai has earned the name the 'Garden Isle'. Lush vegetation, striking waterfalls, and tropical rainforests are abundant!
Island Adventure Activities
Our Activity Concierge is available to arrange the best island adventure tours and activities for your ultimate Kauai Vacation experience! We suggest you book your tours well in advance during the peak season.

Explore Kauai's hidden interior and beautiful waterfalls, Waimea Canyon, Kalalau Valley, the Napali Coast and Waialeale Crater on a breathtaking Helicopter Tour with a special waterfall landing. Enjoy a sailing or zodiac adventure and snorkel tour along the magnificent Napali Coast. View hump-back whales during their annual visit to Hawaii's warm ocean waters between the months of November and March. Set sail on a sunset dinner cruise or sample local island food at a traditional Hawaiian Luau with fire dancing, hula and Tahitian drumming to entertain you. Learn how to Surf or Stand Up Paddle. Kayak up the Wailua River to Secret Falls. Be adventurous and explore off the beaten track on an ATV Tour or Zipline high above the tree-tops.

Our staff at Great Vacation Retreats were recently treated to a new 4x4 scenic adventure tour of historic Kipu Ranch! They explored breathtaking viewpoints expanding over 3,000 acres of lush landscape and overlooking the Hule'ia River Valley. They were able to travel deep into Kauai's tropical jungle interior and their knowledgeable tour guide delved into a variety of plant life, historic landmarks and a few blockbuster movie spots including Pirates of the Caribbean, Outbreak, and Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

By personally experiencing many of the island tours we are able to recommend the best activity adventures to our guests. We are able to ensure your vacation is fun-filled and memorable!

Click here to Select Your Island Activities Online. Our Activity Concierge will contact you personally to discuss your options and confirm your reservation. You may also email
Island Sunsets

Kauai is the westernmost island in Hawai'i and offers amazing sunsets over the Pacific ocean.  There are many great spots around Kauai to bid the sun farewell for another day.  The sun moves from South to North between Winter and Summer, so depending on which season you are staying on Kauai will determine the best places to see the sunset. Poipu Beach is a world renowned destination not only for its beaches but for its perfect location for sunsets and sunrises. This is especially true in the winter and spring months. Hanalei Bay is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai. Located on the north shore of the island, it offers the best viewing during the summer and fall months. Polihale Beach, on the west shore of the island, is a local favorite and offers great year-round viewing of sunrises and sunsets, with dramatic colors and many viewing locations, including Barking Sands and Polihale State Park. 

Real Estate on Kauai 

Dreaming of owning property on Kauai? 

View our Real Estate Listings and Kauai MLS at 

We welcome you to call us with all your real estate needs and questions. 

Click here to view our current vacation rental specials on our web-site