Wailua, Hawaii

Located on the easternmost side of the Island of Kauai, the census designated area of Wailua is one of the most meaningful places in Hawaii. The word wailua means "two waters" in Hawaiian, and is an accurate name for this area surrounded by both rivers and the ocean. With a diverse landscape of forests, streams, mountains, valleys, residential areas, and the sparkling Kauai coast, Wailua is a stunning region of the Garden Isle, and is definitely worth visiting for anyone traveling to Hawaii.

Geography

Wailua River, Kauai by Bret Robertson Isometric view of Hale O Pi' Ilani Heiau

Demographics

According to the most recent census conducted in 2010, there were a total of 2,254 residents in Wailua, Kauai. Of the residents, roughly 31% are Asian, 33% are Caucasian, 25% are two or more races, nearly 8% are Pacific Islander, and 9% are Hispanic or Latino. The most common age group of the residents in this region is 18-64 years of age, representing 61% of the population, 16% are ages 5-17, and 16% are 65 years or older. In Wailua, the gender population is almost equal between men and women, with 50.35% of the population being female, and 49.65% male.

A 2012 estimate of the Wailua employment status reports that the median household income is about $61,000. The unemployment rate is at 6.3%, and the poverty level ranking at 10%.

The Association of the Religious Data Archives detailed that Kauai County (encompassing the whole island) had a total of 67,091 residents. Of these, the numbers reflect that approximately 91.3% of the population belong to either Protestant, Catholic or non-denomination Christian churches. Only 8.7% belong to other religions (such as Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, etc.).

History

Kauai is the oldest populated island in the state of Hawaii, and is famous for a wealth of notable historic events. Hosting the landmark of the first arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778, and the Royal Birthing place of the islands, Kauai has played a major role in Hawaiian history. In centuries past, Wailua as a region was the political and religious epicenter of the island, being home to both the island's royal family, ali'I and kahunas, as well as housing numerous places of worship, or "heiau." When guests travel to Hawaii, visiting the historical sites is an unforgettable way to appreciate the rich religious traditions that once occurred on these islands.

The most famous of these sites are the heiau of Wailua, which can be found on a trail leading through the valley along the Wailua River. Up on the summit of the Mt. Wai'ale'ale (meaning "overflowing waters") there is one such heiau called Ka'awako which is dedicated to Kane, the god of water and forest. Wandering the sacred grounds of historical heiau sites, should give visitors a good glimpse into the angst, struggle and reverence of religious ceremonious in Hawaii's past. The heiau of Wailua are recognized as national historic landmarks.

Another important historic feature of Wailua are the birthing rocks. In ancient Hawaii, Wailua used the sacred birthing ground for members of the Hawaiian Royal household, who would position themselves between certain large stones during labor. Located next to the Holoholoku heiau, in the Wailua River State Park, these birthing rocks were believed to be sacred and prophetic sites determining parts of the future for the ail'I born there. There was such a strong connection between the royals and this region, that ail'I who were not born in Wailua, would be considered commoners.

Attractions

Because inland Wailua is a highly residential area without any governmental buildings, it can be the perfect place to quietly vacation in this tropical paradise. There are nearby state parks, Wailua Falls, beaches, and an abundance of water sports for those who want to play in the ocean or kayak, canoe, or take guided tours up the Wailua River. Hikers will love journeying up to the idyllic Fern Grotto, or possibly shooting skeet or playing golf near Wailua. With peaceful neighborhoods, and easy access to some of the most stunning features of Kauai, spending time in Wailua is a must-do when you travel to Hawaii.