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BEACHES SNORKELING AND DIVING
HANGING IN KAILUA AND HILO TOWNS
NATIONAL PARKS & BIRD WATCHING
WAIPIO VALLEY AND
MAUNA KEA AND
BEACHES, as in life is a:
Honl's Beach Just a short 1 minute walk south of our condos along an easy grassy path. Tom Morey, inventor of the modern Boogie Board, first tried his invention here in 1971.
White Sands a.k.a. Disappearing Sands a.k.a La'aloa Beach
It's called Magic Sands because when rough surf hits, all of the sand is emptied off the beach and temporarily moved out to sea. No need to worry, it all comes back eventually. Right on Alii Drive, maybe 5 min. drive south of us.
Kua Bay, a.k.a. Manini‘owali Beach
One very nice beach, very close. They just put in a new access road that not everyone knows about. Located off the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway north of Kona between mile markers 88 and 89 opposite the West Hawai‘i Veteran's Cemetery. Road closed on Weds (you have to hike 1 1/2 miles down the road on that day). Weekends very busy
About 15 min drive north of us.
Hapuna Beach and Resort, public parking on Makai (ocean) side of Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway.
Early morning is best at this beach.. I like to move towards the Resort north end of the beach, worth the walk. Tad of snorkeling in that little cove north of the beach.
About 45 min drive north of us, worth it, beautiful drive.
UNDER THE SEA:
"We do not want to go in the water"
Check out The Atlantis Submarine http://www.atlantisadventures.com/kona.cfm
48-passenger submarine, 35-minute journey.
Kailua Bay Charter Companies Glass Bottom Boat http://www.konaglassbottomboat.com/ 36' glassbottom boat carrying up to 24 passengers. Viewing boxes, covered from the sun.
"I've snorkeled a couple of times and want to do it again" or "We are a family/group and have lots of different skill levels"
Fair Wind http://www.fair-wind.com/ offers 2 different snorkel boat adventures
The Fair Wind II is a covered catamaran that goes to Kealakekua Bay Marine Sanctuary, considered one of the best sites you will find anywhere in the state. Covered and comfy with lots of flotation devices including boogie boards with viewers, masks. Nice wide stairs going into the sea and slide. Offers BBQ on most of their cruise's.
For more advanced snorkeling: Fair Winds second boat: Hula Kai is a covered hydrofoil catamaran that goes to two spots in South Kona, "Ridges" and "Rob's Reef." afternoons . Mornings they do Kealakekua Bay and Turtle Rock in south Kona. They offer great breakfast and afternoon BBQ.
Ridges has lava fingers that make ridges underwater, with coral and fish.
Rob's Reef is at First Flow, with new lava fingers and boulders. New and more established coral. There are caves, including one that you can swim far into guided by a crew member for a "Blue Grotto" effect.
This boat is really is for advanced snorkelers who already have experienced the "coral bowl" of Kealakekua Bay. The water is much deeper, fish larger and colors not as plentiful. If this is your first trip, regardless of your of your expertise consider Fair Winds or another operator to Kealakekua Bay.
Sea Paradise http://www.seaparadise.com Covered catamaran goes to Kealakekua Bay, plus another stop south of Kauhou, off the coast at the Hokulia golf course.
Body Glove http://www.bodyglovehawaii.com/ 65 foot catamaran going to Pawai Bay. flotation & water toys, stairs and slide. You can snorkel or dive on these trips.
Dolphin Discoveries www.dolphindiscoveries.com Shade canopies on a adventure raft. AM trip: Kealakekua Bay and Pu'uhonau o Honaunau aka Place of Refuge. PM trip: Kealakekua Bay.
Seaquest http://www.seaquesthawaii.com/ rigid hull inflatable rafts
All three Snorkel Adventures snorkel at Kealakekua Bay, Their Morning Adventure & the South Kona tours snorkel at Honaunau Bay aka f Pu`u Honua o Honaunau (The Place of Refuge). Their expedition tour also snorkels at a third site which varies and is chosen the day of the tour based upon prevailing conditions.
Body Glove http://www.bodyglovehawaii.com/ 65 foot catamaran going to Pawai Bay. flotation & water toys, stairs and slide. You can snorkel or dive on these trips, even if you have never dived before.
Kahalu'u Beach Park is the perfect spot for a shore snorkel! If you are a first timer or have a life long snorkeling passion this place is not to be missed. Very protected and almost always calm this area is fed by a fresh water springs, up to 10 million gallons per day. Swim with huge schools of colorful fish and sea turtles! The beach itself is salt-and-pepper colored sand and there are shady trees surrounding it. There is a sandy entrance to the water for snorkelers on the north side of the beach. This is more like a tropical lagoon less than 8 ft deep, and in most places, less than 4 feet deep. if you are a good snorkeler, go farther out toward the breakwater. Facilities include a pavilion, rest rooms, showers, a lifeguard tower, and parking. There are concession stands including beach rental gear and shave ice.
"Two Step" in Honaunau Bay: Drive south from Kona past Captain Cook and take the well-marked turnoff to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (Place of Refuge). Turn at the sign to the Place of Refuge, and then take the first narrow road on the right. It's one-way, so you'll come out back on the main road when you leave. You can park along the road if there's a space, or pay $5 to park in the lot at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (Place of Refuge). No beach here, you can get into the water anywhere along the rocks, but I suggest you go in and out of the water at the spot where the rock is neatly worn into two steps (hence the name) which drops into the ocean. Easy to sit on the step, put on your snorkel gear, and launch yourself off. Lots of coral, dolphins and turtles here. If you are a good snorkeler, head out from the steps and slightly to the left (watch out for boat traffic) and see the coral covered lava fingers and canyons in the deeper water. If the surf is up, be careful getting out, don't get slammed onto the sharp lava rock.
Hanging in Kailua Town can take a full day by foot. Here are just a few highlights:
1. Kailua Pier, Kamakahonu and the Ahu'ena Heiau.
The Ahu'ena Heiau is the sacred Hawaiian temple where Kamehameha spent his last seven years in power before his son Liholiho succeeded him.
2. King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
The lobby is full of cultural displays and portraits of Hawaiian royalty. Make sure to check out the Herb Kawainui Kane mural and paintings, true treasure.
The oldest standing church in Hawaii. Features a display of the vessel Thaddeus, the first ship to bring missionaries to Hawaii.
4. Hulihe'e Palace (my favorite)
John Adams Kuakini, then governor of Hawaii, had it built as his personal residence.
5. UFO Parasailing
6. Shave Ice in tropical flavors.
7. Farmers Market
8. Shopping from tiki trinkets to fine art you will find it all in Kona Town.
9. Luau's within walking distance:
Royal Kona next door and Island Breezes at the King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel.
10. Whale watching, dinner cruises, snorkeling and diving boats launch from the pier.
Plus canoe paddling and stand up paddling. Get your surf on!
Hilo Town and Surround
Visit the Hilo Farmers Market on Wednesday or Saturday (Saturday is a bit larger).
Walk the several blocks from the market towards the river. Go up a block or two and walk back towards the market, and beyond. If you like snow cones (we call it "Ice Shave" in Hilo) be sure to stop in at Wilsons by the bay on Kamehameha ave... about 3 blocks from the farmers market. The tend to open kind of late.. around noon.
Walk Banyan Drive and the Japanese garden dedicated to Queen Lili'uokalani, really lovely. Make sure to walk the nearby bridge out to the adjacent "Coconut Island" (towards the ocean from the garden).
Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens
The Pacific Tsunami Museum
Akaka Falls State Park
Wonderful walking loop with lots of stairs with some spectacular bamboo and plantings. The falls are amazing and this is one of my favorite places to visit. There are 2 paths so try to take in both.
VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK
Volcano National Park http://www.nps.gov/havo It will take you about 2 1/2 hours to drive to the Volcano National Park from Hale Kona Kai.. going the south route on Highway 11.
The Park is open 24 hours a day, year round.
Kilauea Visitor Center is open daily from 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Jaggar Museum is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. You can get enough done in a day to feel like you saw the park, we call it a drive through Volcano. $10.00 per vehicle - 7 days pass.
Kilauea Visitor Center located just beyond the park's entrance station.
Thurston Lava Tube
Pu`u Pua`i Overlook
If you have more time and want to do a hike our favorite is Kilauea Iki, it will take you through both rain forest and a barren crater. About 2 - 3 hour hike.
Seeing the lava flow is going to be up to Pele (Godess of the Volcano) check out:
Volcano National Park info on Lava Flows into the Ocean
Dinning in Volcano Village:
Thai Thai Restaurant 19-4084 Volcano Rd, no web site. perfect for dinner.
Kilauea Lodge Restaurant. http://www.kilauealodge.com/ Charming place for a romantic dinner offering European and Hawaiian dishes.
Kiawe Kitchen no web site 9-4005 Haunani Road, perfect for pizza or a sandwich between hikes at VNP.
Pu`uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge National Park)
http://www.nps.gov/puho/ Culture and a National Park all in one!
just might be my favorite place to bring visitors. Similar to a living museum you will feel like you are part of the culture of the Hawaiian people and their Alii (Chiefs). 1/2 day is all it takes to see this.
Eating nearby Pu`uhonua o Honaunau
If you are not in a hurry my all time favorite is The Coffee Shack http://www.coffeeshack.com/ Location and views to die for, breakfast and lunch only, service can be slow so not a place if you are in a hurry. The coffee and pastries are amazing, sandwiches made with homemade bread and salads all local greens.
A "hole in the wall" for dinner would be Manago Hotel and Restaurant http://www.managohotel.com/accomm.html#dining known for their pork chops, pan fried fish and potato-mac salad this is heavy eating at its best :)
Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge is my favorite http://www.fws.gov/hakalauforest/ you are required to have a reservation. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for the 50-mile trip, which takes almost two hours each way from Hilo or Kona. I doubt your car company will let you go, so check. There is a tour you can take: http://www.hawaii-forest.com/adventures/hakalau-forest-wildlife-refuge-birding.asp
Support local farmers, it is the best way to give back to the island, your money goes right to the people who live and work here.
Ask questions! "I would like a mango for today and one for Weds."The farmer will be happy to show you how to know the ripeness and help you choose.
Try a white pineapple, less acid and sweeter.
Try different Mangos, there are over 100 varieties. You will see lots of Haden and Pirie. But there are also:
Chinese, Common, Mapulehu, Momi K, Ah Ping, Fairchild, Gouveia, Harders, Keitt, Pope, Rapoza, Ataulfo and Exel. I love Keitt's it is very juicy. I can eat strawberry Papayas at every meal, my daughter likes them cold, she says they taste better than ice cream, at 3 for a dollar why not!
The Keauhou Farmer's Market
(Saturday, from 8:00AM to noon at Keauhou Shopping Center) is a tad more expensive but it has a more "designer" selection. South end of Alii drive Kailua-Kona in the shopping center.
Kailua Village Farmer's Market
(Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday some farmers are there.) this is a large market.On Alii drive, sorta across the street from Bubba Gumps Kailua-Kona. Lots of artisans in addition to your fruits and veggies.
Alii Gardens Marketplace
(Wed.-Sun., 9am-5pm.) mostly local art and crafts with some produce. Alii Drive half way between Kona Town and Keauhou mauka (mountain) side.
Kona International Market
(Tuesday - Sunday, from 9am to 5pm) is mostly arts and crafts, clothes and such. Some nice stands for produce. Kona's Old Industrial Area on Luhia Street
Na'alehu Farmer's Market
Located in the parking lot of Ace Hardware Main Na'alehu Street in on Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Excellent quality and prices!
Volcano Farmers Market
From 6:15 am to approx. 8:45 am or till pau (done or sold out).
at Cooper Center (Wright Road), Volcano Village I go for the flowers and baked goods..
Hilo Farmer's Market
Such fun. Amazing produce, flowers, baked goods, art, crafts and box lunches. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday. corner of Mamo and Kamehameha Ave.
Has a market 7 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturday. Go there when it is Strawberry season...Wonderful flowers and home made goodies to eat. Located on Hwy 19 next to the 55 mile marker
Has "Under the Banyans" Saturdays, 7:30 - 1:00 pm. Great produce, good prices.
Open every day but in full swing on Saturdays
• 16-550 Old Volcano Rd
Makuu Farmer's Market near Pahoa
It's open on Sundays only and usually winds down by 2PM
Doing Waipi'o Valley by tour is a "must"! Rental cars, even jeep rentals, are forbidden by contract to drive down into the valley. You have some great tours from the rim down, to consider.
A fun horseback adventure down to the valley, not nose to tail. This is often a favorite of many visitors, if you like horses and nature this is for you.
Monday - Saturday Two tours daily about 2 1/2 hour rides.
Waipio Valley Wagon Tours
http://www.waipiovalleywagontours.com Mule drawn wagon down into the valley, great for families and larger groups.
10:30AM, 12:30PM And 2:30PM daily ahout 1 1/2 hours long
Waipio Valley Shuttle
(tel. 808/775-7121) a 90+ -minute bumpy guided tour.
Mon-Sat 9am-4pm). Get your tickets at Waipio Valley Art Works, on Highway 240, 2 miles from the lookout.
Eating before or after your tour:
Tex Drive In
http://dutchhawaii.com/default.aspx - restaurant in Honokaa - plate lunch, snacks, and breakfast. Known island wide for their amazing malasadas!
WAIMEA aka KAMUELA
Anna Ranch http://www.annaranch.org/ is one of my favorite places to bring visitors to. Anna Ranch history began in 1848 and Anna Leialoha Lindsey Perry-Fiske (born in 1900) was an amazing woman who ran the ranch during her life roping, riding, mend fences and tending cattle yet maintained an " etiquette" of ladies of the day. You can tour the house, which has been brought back to the original beauty of Anna's day and offers a rare insight into the lives of ranchers and this remarkable woman. The tour also includes the grounds and gardens.
Eating in Kamuela
http://www.hulisues.com/ is a great local sorta "hole in the wall" place to eat while you are in town.
http://www.paupizza.com/ for a quick bistro or pizza
http://www.merrimanshawaii.com/merrimans-hawaii2.php for finer dinning
Mauna Kea Visitors Center is free and fun for all ages.
Open every day from 9AM until 10PM at the 9,200 foot (2,800 meter) level. Free stargazing programs at the Visitor Station every night. Check our Calendar of Events for upcoming outreach events and the Saturday program schedule.
Tours to the top:
Mauna Kea Summit Adventures
Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure by Hawaii Forest & Trails
Ka Lae, Hawaiian for The Point
Also known as South Point, is believed to be the first place the Polynesians landed on Hawai'i. When you turn off of 11 you will drive about 12 miles through wind swept range lands and a farm of giant windmills. Ka Lae is the southernmost spot in the United States, and the waters off of the point are deep and hostile. Keep in mind many rental cars companies do not allow you to drive this road, even if you rent their jeeps, be sure to check and make sure you are not voiding your contract.
Pu`u Mahana (green sand beach):
If you are at Ka Lae and have the time, consider the one hour walk (about 6 miles) to Pu`u Mahana (green sand beach) ocated on the slopes of Mauna Loa. One of only 2 green sand beaches known to the world, it is also known as Papkolea Beach. This wind swept hike encompasses the Big Islands landscape with volcanoes, ocean, and topical vegetation. What makes the sand green? It is made from olivine crystals or peridot which from the cinder cone, eroded by the ocean. This not a good swimming spot the waters are turbulent, but a great hiking destination. If you decide to climb down into the cone, do not climb down the loose sand of the north side. On the south side there is a break in the lava rock which offers handholds and descends to a trail which hugs the cliff, Keep in mind all rental cars companies do not allow you to drive this road, even if you rent their jeeps, be sure to check and make sure you are not voiding your contract.
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach
A treasure and easy to get to. Beautiful black volcanic sand, with Hawaiian green sea turtles (honu) basking on the shore or looking for some limu (algae) to eat in the tidepools. There is an ancient heiau is within a short walk of the picnic tables. While this place can be busy when a tour bus pulls up, just wait 10 minutes and they will be gone. If you continue east. past the entrance to the beach, you will come to the town of Naalehu.
If you are hungry check out this great place for their famous Sweet Bread, pastries and plate lunches.
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