Hanapepe, Kauai: Take a short trip west from Koloa on Highway 50 and find Hanapepe, Kauai. Once lauding itself as the "biggest little town in Kauai," Hanapepe's glory days are long gone but its captivating charm still exists today. Started in the mid to late 1800s by Chinese rice farmers, the town once housed numerous opium dens--some of which survived into the 1930s. Perhaps its uniqueness on Kauai was due it being the only non-plantation town on the island. Remembered still for its swinging river bridge and its rowdy bars and brawls, Hanapepe's decline started in the late 1970s around the time of the development of Lihue's Kukui Grove Shopping center. The 2000 census recorded a population of 2,153 and the town today is a bit of a curiosity. A few art shops and stores have begun opening again in "old town"; it's an interesting and easy diversion when exploring the island.
Pictures and Comments By Doug Porter