Big Island Hawaii

Big Island Hawaii
 

Big Island, Hawaii Big Island, Hawaii

A Tropical Paradise of Volcanoes, Beaches, and Culture

After we departed Maui, the Big Island was our next stop. Our itinerary there was to spend time in Hilo and Kona, such that we could explore both sides of the island. This is the one Hawaiian Island that we had not previously visited, so our expectations and imagination were primed. We had a good game plan for what to do & see, we had all of our reservations in order, and we thought we were ready for anything. And then the reality of the "Kona Low" took over on the windward side of the island.

This is our Big Island Video, click the image to start it playing. If you enjoy our videos click here to subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

The Kona Low is a weather phenomenon that affects the Big Island of Hawaii. It is a low-pressure system that develops off the coast of the island, typically during the winter months. The Kona Low can bring heavy rainfall, strong winds, and high surf to the island, causing flooding and other hazards. However, it can also bring much-needed moisture to the dry regions of the island. The Kona Low is closely monitored by meteorologists and can have a significant impact on the weather patterns of Hawaii.

If we had known, or researched more, about the Kona Low - we would have probably spent less time in the Hilo area. Read on and you will able to see what we mean.

Travel Tile
 
Hawaii & Polynesian Interesting Facts
  • Hawaii is the World’s Largest Island Chain - It’s also the most remote landmass on the planet. While there are seven inhabited islands, there are another 125 for a total of 132 Hawaiian islands. These cover a span of nearly 1,500 miles across the Pacific.
  • The beaches in Hawaii come in 5 different colors (or more) - Everybody knows that Hawaiian beaches are amazing, but not everybody knows that they are also multi-colored. You can find your typical white-sand and brownish beaches, but you’ll also find black, red, pink, and even green. Much of this color variation has to do with the volcanic nature of the islands.
  • Hawaii has over 3,000 species of native plants and animals - The islands’ isolated nature makes them home to an impressive amount of different plants and animals that exist nowhere else on Earth. This also means that many of these species are endangered or threatened. You can find an almost endless amount of tropical plants, and there are no native land predators.
  • There are only 13 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet - If you have ever wondered why Hawaiian words can be so long and repetitive, it’s because there aren’t many letters to choose from. The only ones used are A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P and W. 5 vowels and 8 consonants. The ' character is a glottal stop called an “okina”.
  • Mauna Kea is (technically) the world’s tallest mountain - Hawaii is home to the tallest mountain in the world. This is another fact that leaves many people scratching their heads. Manua Kea is not the tallest above sea level, but it is the tallest from floor to summit, measuring in at 33,500 feet. This makes it close to a mile taller than Mount Everest!
  • The Big Island of Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes - The island is still growing and is home to the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea. There have been 61 historical eruptions, and since January 1983 eruptive activity has been continuous along the east rift zone. Mauna Loa is also among Earth’s most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since 1843. The shield volcano covers half of the island of Hawaii and is the world’s largest, most massive volcano. Click here to view a National Park Service page that will explain further and give you the history of these volcanoes.
  • Big Island's Size - At 4,028.0 square miles, it is the largest Hawaiian Island.
  • Spam in Hawaii - In Hawaii and Guam, more spam is eaten per person than anywhere else in the world. The average Hawaii resident consumes more than five cans of Spam each year. We would suggest you read "the history of Spam in Hawaii" to learn more about this subject.
  • The Kīlauea Caldera - It has an extreme length of 2.93 miles, an extreme width of 1.95 miles, a circumference of 7.85 miles and an area of 4.14 square miles. It contains Halemaʻumaʻu, an active pit crater near the caldera's southwestern edge.

 

 

 

Big Island Hawaii 7 Day Itinerary
 
 

IMAGE CREDIT: This image is the property of PerryPlanet via Wikimedia Commons and the CC0 1.0  license.

Here is a suggested one week itinerary, but first a few things we learned that we thought you might find useful:
  • If we were to visit the Big Island again we would stay in one location and drive to the various locations. There would be some additional driving to see the entire island but you would only unpack once.
  • The Kohala coast (northwest section of the island) is the most exclusive side of the island with big resorts and beaches. If luxury hotels or resorts is your thing, then that area might be where you want to stay.
  • You can watch the weather and pick the best days to visit Volcano National Park or the waterfalls in the Hilo area. So change the days depending on what you want to see.
  • The windward side (eastern) of the Big Island receives a consistent amount of rainfall, if you plan on visiting that area, bring a rain jacket or umbrellas. We went through a serious amount of rain fall while we were in Hilo.
Day 1: Arrival Day and Kona/Kohala Coast Exploration
  • Arrive at Kona airport.
  • Check into your condo or resort in Kona or the Kohala Coast. If staying at a condo, pick up some food if you arrive before check in time.
  • Find an Oceanfront place to eat dinner and enjoy the sunset. Click here to see a Google Search Results list for "ocean front restaurants near waikoloa village".
Day 2: Enjoy a resort/pool day, golf day or beach day, etc. Snorkeling and beaches
Day 3: Explore the Waterfalls along the HamaKua Coast
Day 4: Resort Day or Stargazing - Two thoughts on this day
  • Drive to Mauna Kea - or attend a Stargazing tour at Mauna Kea - Take a guided stargazing tour to see the night sky and learn about astronomy. They last about 7.5 to 8 hours. Extremely informative and people get amazing imagery of the night sky. Or just drive up to the 13,796 feet above sea level for some amazing views. You would need a 4WD to get to the summit.
    NOTE: There are several tour companies, click here to view a Google Search Results list of tour companies.

or if Mauna Kea is not your thing…

  • Resort Pass - If you aren’t staying at a resort consider a day pass at the Hilton Waikoloa Village or other resort. At Hilton Waikoloa swim with the dolphins.
    NOTE: click here to go to the site where you can obtain a Resort Pass for the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
Day 5: Visit Volcano National Park - this will be a full day's trip.
  • Get up early and drive to the park - 1 hour and 44 minute drive. We would suggest that you review a map of the Big Island before starting this trip, as there are only several ways to go from the west side of the island to the Volcano National Park. Assuming that you would want to return via Hawaii route 11, you will want to drive to the park via Hawaii route 190/200/11.
  • Stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center, get a Park Map
  • Take the Crater Rim Drive: This 11-mile scenic drive takes you around the rim of the Kilauea Caldera and offers stunning views of the volcano and surrounding landscape. You can stop at several overlooks and parking areas to take photos and explore.
  • Walk through the Thurston Lava Tube: This is a short but fascinating walk through a natural lava tube, which is a tunnel formed by flowing lava. It's a unique geological feature and a great way to experience the park's volcanic history up close.
  • Hike to the Kilauea Iki Crater - From Kīlauea Iki Overlook: 3.3 mile (5.3 km) loop. Plan for approximately 2 to 3 hours. Out and back
  • Drive from there to the west side of the island through the Ka’u Forest. It’s coffee country. Stop and get malasadas or a snack at the Punalu’u Bake Shop and do some coffee tastings along the way. There are numerous coffee plantations on or near Hawaii route 11 including one of our favorites - Kaʻū Coffee Mill Plantation.
Day 6: Snorkel Trip or Whale Watching in the winter
  • Consider a whale watching tour if it’s winter time or snorkel Kealakekua Bay or take a Night-time stingray snorkel tour.
    NOTE 1: Click here to view a Google Search Results list for "big island whale watching tours".
    NOTE 2: Click here to view a Google Search Results list for "big island night-time stingray snorkel tours".
Day 7: Return Home

Drive home, unpack, etc, etc, etc.....

How Deep is the Ocean Surrounding the Big Island
Image is the property of "Shaded Relief" and is licensed as a Public Domain image

The Pacific Ocean depths near the Big Island of Hawaii are among the deepest in the world, with depths reaching over 6,000 meters. The ocean floor in this region is characterized by steep, rocky slopes and canyons that are home to a diverse range of marine life, including deep-sea corals, sponges, and other organisms.

Min & Max Depths near the Big Island
  • The ʻAlenuihāhā channel separates the island of Hawaiʻi and the island of Maui. The maximum depth of this channel is 6,100 feet (1,900 m), and the channel is 30 miles wide. It's considered the most dangerous channel in the Hawaiian islands, due to the strong winds.
  • The Hawaiian Trough (20 miles north of the Big Island) is about 18,045 feet deep and has a radius of about 8.7 miles. It is also known as the "Hawaiian Deep".

Big Island Destinations Map

The "Big Island" is officially known as the island of Hawaiʻi and received this nickname for a good reason: it is the largest island in the United States with a total surface of 4,029 square miles (10,433 square kilometers)! Its surface area is also greater than that of all other Hawaiian islands combined.

Kona Airport Big Island
Above image is the property of dronepicr via Wikimedia Commons using the CC-BY-2.0 license

We do not normally describe, or talk about, airports in our Travel Blog. However, Kona is unique in that as you land here and notice all the blackened ground in and around the airport, you realize that the blackened ground is the result of lava flows. Much of the runway is built on lava flow from the 1801 Huʻehuʻe flow from the Hualālai volcano. This flow extended the shoreline out an estimated 1 mi (1.6 km), adding some 1.5 sq miles of land to the Big Island and creating Keāhole Point. The airport opened on July 1, 1970, with a single 6,500-foot runway; the previous smaller airstrip was converted into the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.

Even after we picked up our rental car and proceeded north on Hawaii route 19, there were a number of blackened areas that we could see. It was only after we reached the eastern swing of route 19, that the blackened areas were no longer visible. Click here for a map of our driving route to Hilo from the Kona Airport.

 
Big Island Northside

Even though we flew into the Kona Airport, we decided to drive around the northern coast of the Big Island Click here for a map of our route from the Kona Airport to Hilo. because we had never been here and we wanted to see everything we could. Besides which, there was a Portuguese Bakery in Honokaa that we wanted to stop at! The drive is interesting because as you proceed north you depart the "high desert" like environment of the leeward side and you enter the rain forest appearance of the windward side of the island. Little did we know yet, that a Kona Low was going to bring occasional torrential rains to the eastern side of the island! A "Kona Low" describes a switch in the prevailing wind direction over the islands. Typically, Hawaii's weather is dominated by the trade winds which blow from the northeast - however the Kona Low causes moisture rich air to go to places that it does not normally go to and precipitation increases are the end result.

The eastern side (AKA windward side) of the Big Island is covered in green, lush, tropical rainforest. This is made possible by the large amount of rain that falls there, averaging around 140 inches of rain per year! This area is home to many of the Islands' waterfalls, and has interesting terrain, shaped by the rains and winds. Banyan and Bamboo trees are common, and grow to considerable size.

To see where we went in Honokaa and to see an image of the great malasadas there - click here.

 Background Info from Wikipedia 

Hawaii is the largest island in the United States, located in the state of Hawaii. It is the southeasternmost of the Hawaiian Islands, a chain of volcanic islands in the North Pacific Ocean. With an area of 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2), it has 63% of the Hawaiian archipelago's combined landmass. However, it has only 13% of Hawaiʻi's population. The island of Hawaiʻi is the third largest island in Polynesia, behind the two main islands of New Zealand.

NOTE: The Big Island is the largest Island in the United States.

Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo - a DoubleTree by Hilton   Map

This was our hotel while we were in Hilo for 4 nights, good location as regards beautiful bay views, restaurants, etc - but - the weather was frequently intense rain showers. We had brought good rain gear with us, so we decided that we would just deal with the rain and not let it disrupt our explorations. The weather pattern known as the "Kona Low" was the cause of all the increased rainfall, and given that Hilo is already known as the "fourth wettest city in the USA" (averaging 126.72 inches yearly), residents & tourists alike were utilizing rain gear of all types to deal with the heavy rain.

 
DoubleTree Logo
Click the image above to go to the Hilton Doubletree Website
 
The Liliʻuokalani Park & Gardens   Map

Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens is a 24.14-acre park with Japanese gardens, located on Banyan Drive in Hilo adjacent to the Grand Naniloa Hotel. The park's site was donated by Queen Liliʻuokalani, and lies southeast of downtown Hilo, on the Waiakea Peninsula of Hilo Bay.

The park features meticulously landscaped gardens with lush vegetation, meandering pathways, koi-filled ponds, and picturesque bridges. Its authentic Japanese design, complete with traditional lanterns and hedges, creates a tranquil atmosphere ideal for relaxation and contemplation.

Carlsmith Beach Park   Map

We had been told that turtles were quite frequent at this beach, unfortunately, the turtles did not get the memo that we were looking for them, but we did find some pretty neat lagoons.

One of the Carlsmith Beach Park's main attractions is the series of natural pools formed by lava rock formations, known as "Queen's Bath." These calm, brackish pools are perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and they provide a safe and relaxing experience for visitors of all ages.

The park's expansive lawn area, shaded by swaying palm trees, offers a peaceful setting for picnics and sunbathing. It's also a fantastic spot to witness the breathtaking sunrise over the Pacific Ocean.

Hilo Area Waterfalls   Map
Akaka Falls State Park

Located 16.6 miles from our hotel, there are actually two waterfalls; Akaka Falls (442 feet high) and Kahuna Falls (100 feet). The walkway is paved for the entire route around the grounds (.4 mile) and there are roughly 200+ steps, so the trail is not wheelchair accessible. The parking lot is not large, and you should arrive here early in the day to avoid the tour buses that will start arriving after 10am.

The hike through the jungle to see the two waterfalls is not strenuous, and the views are constantly changing as you walk along.

Wailuku River State Park - Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots

Within the 18 mile-long Wailuku River, near downtown Hilo, one can find the Rainbow Falls - 80 feet tall and almost 100 feet in diameter. Rainbow Falls got its name from the fact that on sunny mornings around 10am, rainbows can be seen in the mist thrown up by the waterfall.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river was formed by at least two lava flows coming from Mauna Kea, the oldest being as old as 10,500 years old, which is the same flow that formed Rainbow Falls. The “Boiling Pots of Wailuku” article by Katie Yamanaka states that the Boiling Pots get their name due to the sensation that happens when it storms, making the river rise and creating the “Boiling” look within the pots.

The Boiling Pots area are located approximately 1.7 miles west of Rainbow Falls accessible via Waianuenue Avenue.

Big Island Hilo Area   Map

We were able to cover quite a bit of ground during our stay in Hilo, as far north as Akaka Falls State Park, Rainbow Falls & Boiling Pots, as well as downtown Hilo. Carl Smith Beach Park to the east of Hilo, as well as Richardson Ocean Park. Point being, there is quite a bit to see and do here. If the weather had cooperated, we had plans to do even more but that will have to wait for another trip here.

As you can in the above images, we narrowly avoided getting caught in a rain induced rock slide that closed the highway we were taking down to the beach near the Hawai‘i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden (Old Mamalahoa Highway, Papaikou). Needless to say, we had to turn around and go back up to the highway! The size of those boulders made it clear that it was going to take some effort to clear the road.

We had plans to visit the Waipio Valley area, but discovered that Hawaii had stopped allowing private vehicles to traverse the only road in that valley. Waipio Valley Road is open to locals who live or work there, or if you are in a tour bus - but otherwise you are precluded from driving on that road. We might have taken the tour bus, but with the weather being so erratic, we decided to skip it.

 Background Info from Wikipedia 

Hilo is a census-designated place (CDP) and the largest settlement in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, which encompasses the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 44,186 according to the 2020 census. It is the fourth-largest settlement in the state of Hawaii and largest settlement in the state outside of Oahu.

Volcanoes National Park   Map

Since we were going to be driving from Hilo to Kailua-Kona anyway, and since the park is sort of "on the way" and as we have never been that close to a volcano, it was an easy decision to make to go to the park. Wow, we toured about amazed at the Kīlauea caldera (see above image). If you go there, be sure to stop at the Visitor Center as they have maps and a great deal of good information for your visit.

Exploring the Kilauea Caldera Area

The concept of standing next to a caldera this large, and realizing that what you are looking at is a "volcano plug" and that if that plug were to "let go" that you would be obliterated - is amazing. And then we walked through a "lava tube"!! The entire experience was something that defies explanation, it was other worldly indeed!

The caldera is massive; it has a length of 2.93 miles, a width of 1.95 miles, a circumference of 7.85 miles and an area of 4.14 square miles. That is a huge whole in the ground! You can drive around the caldera on Crater Rim Drive and that will allow you to circumnavigate the entire caldera. We decided to only drive around the northern and eastern side of the caldera, as we wanted to be in the Pahala area of the island next.

A Few Interesting Facts about Kilauea
  • Kilauea is a shield volcano, which means it has a broad, gently sloping cone, similar to the shield of a warrior. Shield volcanoes are the largest volcanoes on earth.
  • Kohola is the oldest volcano on Hawaii Island at more than one million years old and Kilauea is the youngest at between 300,000 and 600,000 years old.
  • Since 1823 Kilauea has had 61 different eruptions.
  • In 2014 Kilauea's lava flow threatened to destroy the Hawaiian town Pahoa, but the flow stopped short of the town and by 2015 the threat appeared to be greatly reduced.
  • Kilauea is currently the world’s most active volcanic mass.

NOTE: We'd like to thank the folks at "Soft Schools" for the above facts about Kilauea. If you would like to view their entire list of facts, click here.

 Background Info from Wikipedia 

Volcanoes National Park encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive shield volcano. The park provides scientists with insight into the development of the Hawaiian Islands and access for studies of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes, glimpses of rare flora and fauna, and a view into the traditional Hawaiian culture connected to these landscapes.

Hōlei Sea Arch   Map

From the Park Visitors Center, head southeast on Crater Rim Drive and follow the signs to Chain of Craters Road. The Sea Arch is approximately 22 miles away.

This magnificent sea arch is a result of the relentless pounding of the ocean waves against the volcanic rock over thousands of years, creating a stunning archway that stands over 90 feet tall and 80 feet wide.

Visitors can reach the Hōlei Sea Arch by taking a short hike from the nearby parking lot. The hike takes visitors through a barren, otherworldly landscape of black lava rock, which only adds to the mystique and beauty of the arch. Overall, the Holei Sea Arch is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Hawaii's Big Island, and it offers a glimpse into the power and beauty of nature.


 Image Credits 
  • Image # 1 is the property of  Niagara66 via Wikimedia Commons using the CC BY-SA 4.0 Creative Commons license.
  • Image # 2 is the property of  Robert Linsdell via Wikimedia Commons using the CC BY 2.0 Creative Commons license.
  • Image # 3 is the property of  NPS Natural Resources via Wikimedia Commons using the CC BY 2.0 Creative Commons license.
  • All other images, unless otherwise noted, are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC.
 
Nāhuku Lava Tube   Map

This is one of many such tubes on the Big Island, and it was created by a river of molten lava. When a lava tube is active, lava travels along its floor at temperatures that exceed 2,000º F (1090º C). When the supply of lava stops at the end of an eruption, or if it gets diverted elsewhere, it leaves behind an empty cave.

When this lava tube was discovered in 1913, the roof of the tube was covered with lava drippings. Unfortunately, those soon disappeared due to souvenir collectors. Help protect this incredible resource by not touching the walls or delicate tree root systems hanging down.

 Image Credits 
  • Image # 1 is the property of  Mikeo via Wikimedia Commons using the Public Domain license.
  • Image # 2 is the property of  leahleaf via Wikimedia Commons using the CC BY 2.0 Creative Commons license.
  • All other images, unless otherwise noted, are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC.
 
Hilton Waikoloa Village   Map

This was a day trip we made from Hilo, just to get out of the constant rainfall! This 62 acre oceanfront resort offers a taste of the island life, poolside relaxation, a really nice Dolphins lagoon, multiple pools, beaches/lagoons and even a Disney style tram to move people about the facility.

There are tennis courts, a fitness room with fitness classes, and a running track. They also offer all sorts of water sports including paddle boarding and kayaking in the 4 acre saltwater lagoon. There are also three swimming pools, including one with a spectacular 175 foot water slide and a waterfall, and one that is an adults only pool. There are two championship golf courses available at the resort; You can play a round at either the Waikoloa Beach Resort’s oceanfront Beach Course or the King’s Course on the sunny Kohala Coast.

Hilton offers a "Day Pass" (good for 10am to 5pm) which allows you full access to all of their amenities. If you make a minimum $50 food and beverage purchase, they will also validate your parking ticket as well. It isn't cheap, but given that Hilo was going through torrential rains, it felt great to kick back and enjoy a sunny day, watch the Dolphins play, and explore.

As you can see in our images, this is a very large hotel complex but it is really nicely laid out. Each of the pools (and the lagoon) are widely separated from each other, and there are numerous facilities to make your visit or stay as comfortable as possible.

Hilo to Waikoloa/Mauna Kea Drive  Map

The drive from Hilo to Waikoloa brings you alongside Mauna Kea on Hawaii route 200. It is an interesting drive, and it is fascinating to see that Mauna Kea has snow at the top! It is a wee bit nerve wracking to think that you are on a road, in an area between two huge volcanoes (Mauna Kea & Mauna Loa), and if either were to erupt, you could be obliterated!

The height of Mauna Kea allows the summit to be constantly snow covered, as you can see in the above image.  Map We could have made a stop at the Mauna Kea Observatory, which is approximately 15 miles from Hawaii route 200 (formerly known as Saddle Road), but we could already see the snow on the summit and we were ready for some sunshine that we knew we'd have at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort. If you have more time, then you might want to consider visiting the summit observatories - they are described as providing the best star gazing that you will have ever seen.

It helps to have read that Mauna Loa last erupted in November 2022, so we could somewhat assume that we would not be caught in that volcano's eruption as we drove by. Mauna Kea last erupted 4,500 years ago - so it was reasonably safe to assume that we would not be caught up in an eruption from that volcano either. Note that the USGS says that Mauna Kea will eventually erupt again.

 Background Info from Wikipedia 

Mauna Kea's peak is 4,207.3 meters (13,803 ft) above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaiʻi and second-highest peak of an island on Earth. The peak is about 38 meters (125 ft) higher than Mauna Loa, its more massive neighbor.

Big Island Coffee Farms & Plantations  Map
  

Above image is the property of HylgeriaK via Wikipedia Commons using the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. All other images are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC unless otherwise noted.

Because the drive from Hilo to Kailua-Kona via Volcanoes National Park was a very long day, with a lot of stressful driving, we wound up stopping at several interesting coffee establishments along the way, including; Kaʻū Coffee Mill Plantation   (Pahala, HI) where we got to see a huge macadamia nut tree grove as well as the coffee farm.

After we got a few more miles down the road, we stopped at the Miranda Coffee Farm Cafe   (Naalehu, HI) and had an excellent iced coffee. In between those two stops, we had malasadas at the Punalu'u Bake Shop   also in Naalehu.

There are more than 650 coffee farms of all sizes clustered along the ±20 miles of scenic roads on the Hualalai and Mauna Loa slopes. Many of these farms offer tours to the public, click here to view a web page describing various Kona Coffee tours that are available.

This turned out to be a 145+ mile drive, through some really interesting areas - however - all on curvy, narrow two lane roads.  Map

NOTE 1: Ka'u coffee beans are recognized around the globe for their intense flavor, smooth delicate flavor and low acidity. Grown next door to the Kona Coffee belt, Kau Coffee has been dubbed the "cousin of Kona." Point being, both the Kaʻū Coffee Mill Plantation and the Miranda Coffee Farm Cafe sell Ka'u coffee and not Kona.

NOTE 2: Coffee comes from trees and not bushes. Coffee trees are pruned short to conserve their energy and aid in harvesting, but can grow to more than 30 feet in height. Click here to read a complete description regarding coffee plants.

NOTE 3: Kona coffee is the market name for coffee (Coffea arabica) cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa. Ka'u coffee is also considered to be "coffee arabica". Click here for a more detailed description of Kona and Ka'u coffees.

Coffee Plantations Explorations

On our drive through Naalehu & Pahala and on to Kailua-Kona, we passed through areas where coffee plantations are numerous. As route 11 winds its way through the hills, visitors are treated to stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean, rolling green hills, and rugged volcanic terrain. You will want to keep your camera at the ready, because some of the coastline views are amazing.

Kailua-Kona Area   Map
This image is the property of Calbear22 via Wikimedia Commons with a Public Domain License.

Since we were scheduled to fly back to the mainland from Kona Airport to Los Angeles, our plans were to depart Hilo and move over to Kailua-Kona. This would leave us within 7 miles of the airport, in a town that is loaded with restaurants and beautiful coastline. As you see by our images, the coastline is very pretty, and cruise ships arrive here frequently. However, we had thought we had left all of the rain behind in Hilo, but it chased us all the way across the Big Island and we got rain in the morning of our last Saturday.

We didn't realize how popular the area was until we started doing some research for this web page, ie; Kailua-Kona is the start and finish of the annual triathlon Ironman World Championship  , the Kona Coffee Festival  , and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament  .

Kailua-Kona Scenes

Our condo was situated in a great location, and there was a excellent view of the bay as well as the surrounding area. Numerous restaurants and pubs surrounded us. The front steps of our condo were on Ali'i Drive, and the Ocean was just on the other side of the street. Image # 1 above was our view as we came out the front door of the condo building, image # 2 is the condo building, image # 3 is south of the condo approximately 1/2 block and image # 4 is our condo building's parking lot.

NOTE: Just wanted to point out that we rented this nice condo through VRBO, and we have always had very good luck with them! We don't want to sound like an advertisement for VRBO, but they have global reach now that they are a part of the Expedia Empire, and we've used them for rentals all over the world and have never had any problems.

NOTE: Click here to view this VRBO rental on the VRBO website

Searching for Pele's Well

We wanted to search for and visit "Pele's Well" (located within Wawaloli Beach Park  ) which is a lava tube that surfaces just below the surface of the Ocean. We were sure that we were pretty close, but we did not apparently get to the correct location. Even so, this area was interesting and we explored it as far as we could.

Manini'owali Beach at Kua Bay

Once the rain relented, we decided to drive up to Kua Bay as our research had shown us that the beach there was very pretty. What we did not discover during our research, was that parking there is limited and is available only along the narrow road that leads there. We were fortunate to be in a tiny car and were able to grab a parking spot!

WARNING: The parking here is limited, you need to get here early in the day or you may not be able to find a parking spot.

  • New Hotel on the Big Island from the "Travel & Leisure" Site
  • Visit the Big Island on "Lonely Planet" Site
  • Google Search Results list for "Big Island Restaurants"
  • Google Search Results list for "Best Restaurants on the Big Island"
  • Best Things to do in Hilo from "The Crazy Tourist" Site
  • Google Search Results list for "accommodations on the Big Island"
  • Things to do on the Big Island from the "Get Your Guide" site
  • Just Traveling Thru Travel Planning Tips
  • Visit our Youtube Channel
 

 

 

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