The Waipa Experience

Waipa Educational Tours

Kupu A‘e will be reserving the entire Waipā facility on Kaua‘i each Wednesday solely for the use of our clientèle. We offer three separate educational experiences for various interests and abilities. These tours are designed from a base educational program, and are adjusted for each team’s educational needs:

  • beginner’s introduction to the structure of the Hawaiian ahupua‘a (land management system) which provides an overview of the Waipā Foundation itself as a model for sustainable structured living and an important community resource. This tour also talks about the concept of “ola kino” (Hawaiian medicinal herbs) and their uses through la‘au lapa‘au, and how this affects their basic understanding of physical wellness and an important philosophy of self-care. Visitors gain hands-on experience with native plant species, medicinal herbs and Hawaiian cultural practices as a contrast to their own understanding of Western medicine and health. The ahupua‘a tour is a two and a half hour educational experience that includes an organic lunch prepared by  chef Nalani Kaneakua (one of the originators of Pacific fusion cuisine in the early 90’s at Jean-Marie Josselin’s Pacific Café) using produce grown from Waipā. This base tour cost is US$65.00 per person.
  • An intermediate educational tour that includes pa‘i ai (or poi-making) in the traditional Hawaiian style as well as an opportunity to visit and participate within the lo’i kalo farming process—kalo is the Hawaiian plant known to nutritionists worldwide as a “perfect food” containing high levels of fiber and vitamins, and having a very low glycemic index (especially as compared to the potato, its closest Western equivalent). Visitors will learn about the historical, spiritual and cultural significance which the natural environment and agriculture play within Hawaiian culture and the ahupua‘a system—as well as important analogues to the 21st-century way of life and organizational structure. The lo‘i kalo tour is a three-hour educational experience which includes an organically-grown lunch prepared by Nalani Kaneakua with produce exclusively grown at Waipā’s farm. The base tour price is US$75 per person.
  • The advanced educational tour is an in-depth look at the ahupua‘a system which also visits historic sites and modern projects located oceanside and within the inner—and usually inaccessible—valley of Waipā itself. This tour is normall inaccessible to all other visitors and represents a rarely seen glimpse into Kauai’s past. An additional hike through a reforestation project will demonstrate the function of pristine watersheds while providing panoramic views of the Halelea district and Hanalei Bay—as seen from vistas that no tourist will ever experience. An organic lunch prepared by chef Nalani is included. The base price of this three hour tour is US$75 per person.

Most visiting teams benefit from a minimum of eight to a maximum of fifteen participants per visit. Further information is available at, which better explains the Foundation’s mission experiential guidelines for understanding this innovative organization. Our experience is that teams—and individuals—leave Waipā with a renewed sense of accomplishment in their abilities, their understanding of cultures foreign to their understanding, the inner workings of their teammates and  Hawaiian island culture, and consequentially a much deeper respect for environmental issues in general.

Directions to the Waipā Foundation

Note: prior to visiting this facility, groups will need to send a signed copy of our liability waiver (PDF), and fill out an objectives assessment form online.

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