The Island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, is the youngest and largest of all the Hawaiian islands. This destination is incredibly diverse, and it can be difficult to create an itinerary that encompasses everything it has to offer. From spectacular volcanic landscapes and beautiful beaches to lush rainforests and cascading waterfalls, this short guide will help you make the most of your time on the Big Island.
Visit the Volcanoes
The Big Island comprises of 5 volcanoes, including three active volcanoes. A visit to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will give you a chance to get up close and personal with these natural formations. Take the Kilauea Iki trail for an impressive view of the landscape. This trail takes you from the lush rainforest right into the caldera, where you can marvel at what the effect of millions of years of volcanic activity can do.
Hit the Beach
No trip to Hawaii is complete without at least one day spent at a stunning beach or two. Kona is the best side of the island for bright, sunny weather, and there are plenty of Kona hotels with easy access to great beaches. Hapuna State Beach, Manini’owali Beach, and Kaunaoa Beach are all great for water sports, swimming, or simply relaxing. Visit a black sand beach such as Waipi’o Beach or Punalu’u Beach for something a bit different.
Explore the Underwater World
Intrepid underwater explorers flock to Kona Marina to scuba dive with 18 foot manta rays. Watch these majestic creatures glide gracefully around you during a dive. You can take part in this dive both in the day or at night, and non-divers can get in on the action with a snorkel and a mask. The Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park is another great spot to snorkel, and you can see a huge variety of exotic sea life around the Captain Cook monument.
Visit a Coffee Farm
Visiting a coffee farm during a trip to Hawaii might sound unusual, but the Big Island is well known for Kona Coffee. These coffee beans are grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa and the Hualalai volcanoes, and they make excellent souvenirs for caffeine addicts back home. A tour of a coffee farm will give you insight into the workings of a working farm, and during the tour, you will get the chance to sample different types of Kona Coffee.
Explore the Hamakua Coast
The Hamakua Coast is perfect for road trippers who enjoy exploring amazing places behind the wheel. Begin your journey from Hilo and make your way to Waipio Valley. This route has multiple opportunities to stop and walk around. Along the way, you will come across the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, where you can take a short walk and the ʻAkaka Falls State Park. This park features two infamous waterfalls in Hawaii, the 100 foot tall Kahuna Falls and the 442 foot tall Akaka Falls. At the end of your journey, you will finally reach the wonderful Waipio Valley.