Waimea, Kauai County, Hawaii


Embodying the tryst of colorful culture and vibrancy of the modern times, Hawaii is a truly remarkable state. Most people identify the Aloha state with the vivid images of idyllic clear aquamarine seas and humongous blooms in the juiciest hues. Paradise may not really exist on earth but Hawaii is as close the real utopia. All of the small and big islands in this state reflect nature's bounty and goodness. Without a doubt, when the high heavens showered his blessings on lands of the earth, Hawaii is among the lucky ones that were bestowed with extraordinary beauty.

Kauai, among the eight major islands of the Aloha state, houses the rustic Waimea village. This little piece of paradise, with a land area of 38.8 square miles or 100.5 square kilometers, can be perfectly described as a comfort zone as it features an interesting bunch of tourist-friendly destination spots.

According to the 2000 demographics data, this town is a cozy home to approximately 7,028 residents. Apart from the native Hawaiian dwellers, several Asians (15.61%) and native Americans (20.29%) abound the place. Population density in this western part of Kauai was pegged at 70 per square kilometer of 181.4 square mile. Though considered as the biggest village in Kauai, when it comes to land size and population, Waimea is a census-designated place. In Waimea, there are approximately 2,371 households with a mean size of 2.95. A little more than 18% of these households are individuals living alone while 39% are families with younger offsprings or those who are no older than eighteen years old.

Waimea's History

The Kauai island, where the rustic Waimea is nestled, was formed through volcanic eruptions as depicted by the famed Waimea Canyon. The most ancient, if not oldest, among Aloha state's eight major islands, Kauai is said to be the base of an active volcano during the pre-historic times. Historians believe that years ago, the volcano in this island used to erupt every so often. Eventually, the place wasn't able to tolerate more pressure and soon collapsed. The gigantic breakdown resulted in lava flows, the remnants of which are still evident nowadays in Waimea Canyon.

The interesting geological history of Waimea, and Kauai in general, is the subject of several books and journals. Scientists believe that Waimea in Kauai island is actually the original name of the active volcano nestled in the place. After a landslide, which resulted in the massive erosion on the eastern corner of Kauai, an erosion of Kauai's other volcano (named Lihue, also among the booming towns at present) soon followed. Since then, natives from other towns and island relocated to Waimea and the adjacent areas.

In 1778, prominent European explorer Captain James Cook was believed to set foot on the rustic town of Waimea before any other explorer did. Cook's initial visit to the island prompted the coming of foreigners who eventually settled in the island. This triggered feud between the native inhabitants and foreigners, resulting in a series of bloody skirmishes that lasted for years. Kauai island, including Waimea, is among the very few areas in the Aloha state that wasn't manipulated by the great Hawaiian ruler, King Kamehameha I.

Waimea's Attractions

Waimea serves as an ideal backdrop for every tourist's dream getaway. People who dig relaxed and laid-back kinds of vacation will thoroughly marvel at the exciting destination spots offered by this subtly sophisticated village.

For starters, tourists must allot time to visit the historic and poetic Waimea Canyon near the Mile Marker #23. Also reffered to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" or "The Little Grand Canyon" by the late great Mark Twain, this astounding 10-mile structure mirrors the lush history of Waimea village. The canyon, more than 35,000 feet deep and 1 mile long, bears the marks of lava and volcanic eruptions in the past. There may be few other prominent canyons in and outside the United States but Waimea canyon is definitely worth visiting. Tourists who may want to see this canyon should just make sure they have enough gasoline since there's no gas station near the area.

In nearby lovely Koke`e State Park, one can mellow down and gently feel the soft touch of early morning or afternoon breeze while enjoying the magnificent view of Waimea coast. With an ample 4,000 acres and over 40 trails stretching from the Waimea canyon to Alakai Swamp, this captivating state park is excellent for hiking and brisk walking. Even non-hiking enthusiasts are bound to appreciate the place and the wonderful time spent walking. While on the same track, drop by the fascinating Koke`e Museum and The Ranger's Station for some rare finds, including the map or guide of the place.

Though not exactly located at Waimea, tourists are also advised to visit the adjacent Salt Pond Beach Park for a fabulous wet and wild adventure. This village also has their share of charismatic crafts and arts shops and open markets.

Waimea's Economy

Partly due to the frequent rainfall and volcanic eruptions in the past, Kauai island (including the quaint town of Waimea), is adored with arable earth that enables healthy growth of crops and flora. It is notable that Kauai is among the most abundant in all of the islands in Hawaii. In Waimea, in particular, taro plantations and flower farms are the primary sources of exportable agricultural goods. As a matter of fact, Waimea is fondly called the "the land of the pink taro" because of the distinct tint of the bountiful crop grown in this town.

The overall stable economy of Waimea can also be attributed to the blossoming flower farms, especially those growing carnations and roses. As the main producer and exporter of carnations in the islands of Hawaii and the United States, Waimea earns an average of $250,000 a year worth of leis and cut flower exports. With a four-acre carnation farm in this side of Kauai, farmers cultivate as much as twenty interesting varieties of this bloom. Rose, with over 24 varieties commercially grown, is also equally profitable as it brings in $3.5 million annually. For ten years, rose industry in Waimea remains to be strong and expanding. Though not as lucrative as carnation and rose, protea is also grown in Waimea as well as in its neighbor towns.

Regardless of a flourishing agriculture, only a fraction of Waimea's employee population is working in farms and related industries. According to the 2000 data, a mere 4.7% are employed in farms, fisheries, and forestries. Majority of the working population, 31.6%, have jobs inclined to the industries catering to tourists. With a stark household income of approximately $47,726, Waimea's future is as bright as vibrant carnations, roses, and proteas.

Waimea's Statistics:

Population: 1,698
Households: 752
Median resident age: 45.9 years
Median household income: $63,833
Median house value: $369,600
Land area: 2.1 square miles
Latitude: 22°13'N
Longitude: 159°29'W
Zip code: 96722
County: Kauai
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