The Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii is a large, beautiful island comprised of many climates, towns and ways of life. It is a melting pot of cultures, styles, and architectures. From the towering mountain of Mauna Kea, to the desolate deserts of Kau, there are all walks of life thriving here. Discover the Big Island of Hawaii
Embrace adventure and beauty; take the path less traveled and discover the rugged, rural landscape of North Kohala. Steeped in history and lore, the towns of Kapaau, Hawi and Kawaihae create a sleepy, nostalgic aura that harkens back to the days of old Hawaii. The land here is ancient, with deep, rich soil, towering trees, and babbling brooks. It is not uncommon to encounter lots and homes with 360-degree views encompassing the Pacific Ocean, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai, Maui and the Kohala Mountain Range.
The windswept shores of South Kohala are littered with scores of sandy beaches; pockets of shining white sand nestled between long stretches of jagged lava coast. With less than 10 inches of rain falling here annually, the skies are cloudless for most of the year- making it the perfect spot for luxury resorts and condominiums. These resort communities take advantage of several beach parks, including Hapuna State Beach Park- a family friendly beach with white sands that seem to go on forever.
In stark contrast to the desert like coastline, the hills of South Kohala are covered with large cattle ranches, and green pastures. The paniolo town of Waimea sits at the base of the Kohala mountains, where it’s residents enjoy the quiet country life. Rodeos and other town gatherings are common place in Waimea, where the smile on your face is as important as the grit in your craw.
For many, the Big Island experience all starts on the sunny Kona coast, which has attracted both Hawaiian Royalty and worldly travelers alike for over 200 years- and is now the most populated region on the Big Island.
North Kona is comprised of many small villages, including Keahou, Holualoa and Kailua-Kona. Kailua Kona is the Big Islands tourism capital- a fishing village that has grown into a bustling hive of economic growth. Home of Kona Coffee, The Ironman Triathlon, and The Billfish Tournament- not to mention countless boutiques, malls and restaurants. There’s no shortage of tourist activities either, with your choice of scuba diving, surfing, hiking and snorkeling- the number of activities you can participate is truly limited only by your imagination.
South Kona is home to such rustic landmarks as the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu, Cooks Monument in Kealakekua Bay, and The Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative in Napoopoo. Its beauty is lush and green with farms dotting the hillside. The beautiful Wailapa Valley has farms that produce some of the best coffee on the island- and in the world.
The sleepy little town of Kainaliu Greets you as you enter South Kona- its history and culture evident by the architecture and mild mannered locals that populate both sides of the highway. You can find a cloister of colorful stores and boutiques here. Fine dining and local style plate lunches are also available from more than a few restaurants along the road.
Flowing streams and cascading waterfalls riddle the tropical countryside of North Hilo. Residents of Laupahoehoe and Ninole live a humble, quiet and simple country life. Once a major player in the sugarcane industry, North Hilo takes advantage of the deep, rich soil that has formed thanks to the older land- unlike the west side of the island, the land in and around North Hilo hasn’t seen a lava flow since ancient times.
The older lava flow has allowed nature to carve and sculpt the land over time, using wind and water as its gouge and chisel. The end result is a landscape unlike any other- ancient, tropical foliage surround streams and waterfalls that spread to the coast.
Much like North Hilo, South Hilo enjoys rich, nutrient infused soil and landmark waterfalls. The coast here is old and covered in natural beauty. South Hilo is home of UH Hilo, Rainbow Falls and the City of Hilo itself.
The city of Hilo is Hawaii’s second largest city- and continues to thrive today thanks to newer businesses that choose to occupy the older buildings in heart of downtown Hilo. Hilo is an old city- saturated in culture and history. It’s historical gravity is matched only by it’s hypnotic, innate beauty. On a clear, sunny day there is no place in the united states more beautiful than Hilo Bayfront- with picturesque views of coconut island and it’s plethora of charming, old timey boutiques, markets and restaurants, Hilo truly stands alone.
Just North of Hilo you’ll find the district of Hamakua- a lush, fertile section of the island that offers its residents and visitors the opportunities to observe both coastline and white capped mountain views. The towns of Honomu and Honokaa are mostly made up of large plantation parcels.
In ancient times, Hawaiians would use these areas to harvest wood for their canoes and collect the feathers needed to make royal capes, or 'ahu'ula. The 'ahu'ula were made up of thousands of bird feathers; bright yellows and dark, deep reds make the 'ahu'ula striking and unique- true masterpieces.