Visiting the Hawaiian Home of Lilo & Stitch
When we planned our trip to the islands of Hawaii last year, of course we watched "Lilo & Stitch," the adorable Disney animated movie based in Hawaii, to get even more excited about our adventures.
You may know that we are huge Disney fans, frequenting Disney World, Disneyland, and we recently enjoyed our first Disney Cruise.
I ended up researching the movie a bit to see where the inspiration and ideas came from, and I found that the town that Lilo and Nani live in is based off of the real Hawaiian town of Hanapepe located on the gorgeous island of Kauai.
READ MORE: A Trek Though Kauai's Koloa Heritage Trail
As a Disney fan, when you find that you can actually visit the home of "Lilo & Stitch," that side trip is automatically added to the plans!
The town was chosen for its vintage, authentic, sleepy quality, so, of course, it's not a huge tourist destination. We actually love areas that are secret gems. Resorts, crowds and shopping centers just don't equal Hawaii or a Hawaiian experience to us.
After a morning at Kauai's Waimea Canyon and lunch of delicious shrimp, we headed for Hanapepe!
The only reference to "Lilo & Stitch" in Hanapepe is a painted mural on the empty Aloha Theatre. We were actually glad that they didn't go overboard with the Disney references or try to capitalize on it. The charm of this town is its authenticity.
Hanapepe's number one attraction is the Historic Hanapepe Swinging Bridge, built in 1911 for locals to easily cross the river. Of course, we had to go check it out.
Right near the bridge, we found a great little shop called Aloha Spice Company. They sell spices that are made right there in Kauai. We love shopping local when we travel, and we love trying new things, so taste-testing some made-in-Hawaii spices was right up our alley.
The Aloha Spice Company makes a variety of spices, rubs, and seasonings, and most of them were on a table to be tasted. I absolutely loved the Black Lava Hawaiian Sea Salt, not only for the quality, but because it reminds me so much of the lava and black sand beaches of Hawaii.
If you'd like to order a few of these Hawaiian spices, check out the Aloha Spice Company website.
Overall, we absolutely loved the small town of Hanapepe. It's such a great change of pace from large, tourist-filled areas like Waikiki. This is real Hawaii. The people, the buildings, and the swinging bridge were all charming. We totally see why Hanapepe stole the hearts of the animators of Disney's "Lilo & Stitch"!
Thanks for letting us visit, Hanapepe! We hope to see you again!
Have you visited Hanapepe? What is your favorite Hawaiian town? Let us know in the comments below! We'd love to hear from you!
This story originally appeared on the Just Chasing Rabbits blog.
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