In the local language, Kailua is a term that means “two seas” or “two currents”. This name is derived from the fact that the district is home to two lagoons or the two currents running through Kailua Bay. These features, however, are not the only natural wonders Kailua prides itself in. In fact, Kailua is not only home to the most pristine beaches in the island, but it also boasts of majestic mountains and calming greeneries and wetlands. Not only that, Kailua is also known for its beautiful history, culture, and people! Truly, if it is delightful island life that you seek, Kailua is your best bet in Oahu!

Kailua History

Prior to the arrival of Captain Cook, Kailua was known to be the ancient capital of Oahu’s kings and royalties. One notable king is King Kamehameha I, who, in 1795, conquered Oahu in his pursuit to unite the Hawaiian Islands. To show his appreciation to the warriors and chiefs that helped him in this quest, he bequeathed to them the Kaiwanainui Marsh and old Kailua, which comprised several ponds and lands. These natural resources were used in agriculture, particularly in the cultivation and farming of taro, rice, and sugarcane, which remain to be Hawaii’s top crops at present.

Of course, like all places, Kailua became subjected to reshaping and modernization. For Kailua, this started during World War II, where many portions of land were sold to the government for the expansion of army bases, and some used for the construction of churches, schools, and hospitals. Shops, bakeries, and supermarkets sprouted, too, which also contributed to the increased population of this part of Oahu Island.

Kailua Products

Today, Kailua does not only offer a magnificent nature experience but an equally splendid shopping experience, too! What makes Kailua a unique shopping district is its locally crafted items, home-grown goods, and quirky boutiques showcasing what Kailua aesthetic and culture is all about.

One of the more popular shopping destinations in Kailua is the Global Village, which features handcrafted local jewelry, accessories, gift items, and many other products created by local designers, and even eco-minded businesses which contribute a part of their profits to charitable organizations within Oahu and Hawaii. If you want to contribute yourself to such causes, make sure to drop by at Kailua’s Global Village!

Global Village Kailua

Another shopping must-try in Kailua are its farmers’ markets. The most popular in the city is Kailua Farmers’ Market, where local farmers, vendors, and artisans sell their produce, crafts, and many other local and sustainable products, with the aim of supporting Kailua’s farms, food businesses, local craftsmen, and the like. Kailua Farmers’ Market has been operating in Pali Lanes Parking Lot for the past two years, but it is currently looking for a new home within the city. An alternative, while Kailua Farmers’ Market has not yet settled, is the Lokahi Kailua Market, which similarly features local products, health and wellness items, delicacies, and more—best enjoyed with Kailua music in the background, of course!

Other Kailua Information

Staying for a while in Kailua? Fortunately for you, there are a lot of things to see and try in this part of the Island!

  • Of course, a trip to Kailua would not be complete without a trip to the beach! If you want some fine white sand, clear blue waters, and just some plain good fun under the Hawaiian sun, Kailua Beach is a perfect choice. It stretches around 1.5 miles along Kailua Bay, which is equipped with restrooms, showers, and other important amenities for the safety and enjoyment of all guests.

Kailua Beach Park

Bookworms, rejoice! Kailua has a very special book shop for you called BookEnds, which is one of the last few book shops on Oahu Island, and the only one left in Kailua Town. What sets BookEnds apart from other bookstores is its extensive Hawaiian Book section, with stacks of books featuring the rich Hawaiian culture and talking about the beautiful Hawaiian life. This portion of BookEnds is where most tourists spend a lot of time at!

BookEnds Kailua

Want a view of lovely Kailua from up above? Go and try the Lanikai Pillbox Hike! Also known as the Kaiwa Ridge Trail, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike rewards hikers with some of the most stunning views of Oahu’s windward side upon arrival at the peak. Note, though, the hike might be physically strenuous for some, so better gauge your physical ability and skill level before going on this hiking adventure.