The Island of Hawaii is known colloquially as the Big Island — a fitting nickname for an island twice the combined size of its neighboring counterparts! Big Island flaunts its colors like the plumes of a peacock: fierce reds of magma from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park contrast spectacularly with the bright white snow of Maunakea, while the electric black sands of Punaluu Beach stream into the emerald green of the Hamakua Coast’s rainforests.
US Dollar, $1 = 100 cents
West Hawaii Today — www.westhawaiitoday.com
Hawaii Tribune-Herald — www.hawaiitribune-herald.com
The Hawaii Independent (online) — www.thehawaiiindependent.com
Most stores are open daily from 9:30 am to 9 pm or later. Most bars and clubs close around 2 am.
The Island of Hawaii: 200,629 (2020)
The State of Hawaii: 1.4 million (2021)
The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce
75-5737 Kuakini Highway
+1 808 329 1758
While Hawaii Island may be the youngest island in the archipelago, it retains its prominence as the first island to be touched by man. Coming in the form of Polynesian voyagers from the Marquesas Islands 1,500 years ago, they would become the first Hawaiians. Native Hawaiian temple ruins, royal grounds, fish ponds, sacred burial spots, and petroglyphs all remain as evidence of this early culture. And Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park also retains many areas and items of historical significance.
Throughout Hawaii’s era of discovery, Hawaii Island was divided among chiefdoms, leading to frequent skirmishes and contention between the factions. It was during this time that the last major religious “heiau” temple was built. In constructing a tribute to the war god Kukailimoku, King Kamehameha I hoped to bolster his efforts in uniting the Hawaiian Islands. He would go on to conquer the island and indeed unite the Kingdom. The temple is now the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site in North Kohala, and there are also statues and dedications to the Great King Kamehameha around Hawaii Island.
Over the next centuries, Hawaii Island would be influenced by the influx of missionaries, along with a roaring sugar industry. Today’s Big Island continues as a cornerstone for the Hawaiian Islands’ beauty, culture, and eternal elegance.
The Big Island is not only the largest island in Hawaii, it also has an active volcano to amaze visitors with an unparalleled view of the Earth in action. It is only one of the many natural and historical sites that enthuse visitors to the island annually.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Punaluu Black Sand Beach
Two Step Snorkeling
Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor
Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast
Kau Scenic Byway — The Slopes of Mauna Loa
Akaka Falls State Park
Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona)
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Hamakua Heritage Corridor
Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site
Pololu Valley Lookout
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
Imiloa Astronomy Center
Kilauea Iki Trail
Big Island restaurants include small family friendly seafood spots and exquisite fine dining. No matter where you go, you will be greeted by the welcoming island attitude and delicious food you will find nowhere else on the planet.
Honu's on the Beach Restaurant (Kailua-Kona)
Brown's Beach House Restaurant (Waimea)
WSW — Whiskey Steak Wine (Hilo)
Don The Beachcomber (Kailua-Kona)
Beach Tree (Kailua-Kona)
100% pure Kona coffee is a rare commodity exclusively grown in north and south Kona. The high elevation, constant cloud coverage and rich volcanic soil from Hualalai Volcano in the upland slopes of Kona create an ideal coffee experience to cherish. As such, there are several coffee shops that are run by local roasters, as well as bakeries selling delights you will only find on the island.
Hawaiian Style Cafe (Waimea)
Kaʻū Coffee Mill (Pahala)
Gramma's Kitchen (Honokaa)
Kona Coffee Cafe (Kailua-Kona)
Punalu'u Bake Shop (Naalehu)
Number 3 (Kohala Coast)
Lagoon Grill (Waikoloa Village)
Cafe Pesto (Hilo)
Big Island has a sleepier, more laid-back vibe than other Hawaiian islands, but that doesn't mean that the nightlife is dead. The resorts host night-time activities and events to keep guests busy, and a handful of bustling bars can be found around the island. Art is also alive and vibrant in small playhouses and movie theaters, some of which screen indie and foreign films, and there is always live music somewhere. And of course, the local specialty is the luau, a chance for visitors to experience the music and dances of the island, accompanied by fine food and finer company.
On the Rocks (Kona)
Cronies Bar and Grill (Hilo)
Hawaii Calls Restaurant (Waikoloa)
Uncle Robert's Awa Bar & Farmers Market (Kalapana)
Island Breeze Luau (Kailua-Kona)
Beach Tree Bar (Kailua-Kona)
Kahilu Theatre (Waimea)
Aloha Theatre (Kealakekua)
Sam's Hideaway (Kailua-Kona)
Honokaa People's Theatre (Honokaa)
Mask-Querade Bar (Kailua-Kona)
Don's Mai Tai Bar (Kailua-Kona)
Blue Dragon Tavern & Cosmic Musiquarium
Hilo Brewing Company (Hilo)
Kona Brewing Company (Kailua-Kona)
Humpy's Big Island Alehouse (Kailua-Kona)
Hilo Town Tavern (Hilo)
The numerous Big Island resorts all offer interesting shopping options, as do the villages and downtown Kona. Even the most touristy spots can be exciting, but, if you dig a little deeper, you can find some coveted local favorites and have a much more rewarding shopping experience. Especially appealing is the artwork and houseware made from local materials, such as lava rock and milo wood, which can be found in boutiques and galleries across the island.
Prince Kuhio Plaza (Hilo)
Just Ukes (Kailua-Kona)
Keauhou Shopping Center (Kailua-Kona)
Bentleys Home & Garden Collection (Waimea)
Hilo Farmers Market (Hilo)
Parker Ranch Center (Waimea)
Sig Zane Designs (Hilo)
Basically Books (Hilo)
Big Island Candies (Hilo)
Ueshima Coffee Corp (Holualoa)
The Shops at Mauna Lani (Waimea)
Big Island Bees (Captain Cook)
Kona Wine Market (Kailua-Kona)
Hula Lamps of Hawaii (Kailua-Kona)
Queens' MarketPlace (Waikoloa Village)
Kings' Shops (Waikoloa Village)
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Company (Keaau)
Alii Gardens Marketplace (Kailua-Kona)
Kilauea Kreations (Volcano)
Best Time To Visit
The months from June to September are known for their warm weather and pleasant water temperatures. Rainfall is at its lowest during this time. If you are looking for more affordable flights and accommodation rates, you should visit Hawaii in September, October or November. Whale watching season also starts in November.
Citizens of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Kingdom of Brunei can visit the United States for up to 90 days without applying for a visa (as well as citizens of Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino). Citizens of these countries must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling. All other travelers must obtain a visa before visiting the United States. International travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the country.
Kona International Airport (KOA)
Kona International Airport (KOA) is the busier of the two airports on the Island of Hawaii. Located near the town of Kailua-Kona, the airport serves western Hawaii island, including the resorts of the North Kona and South Kohala districts.
The airport is located seven miles from Kailua, and about 25 miles from Waikoloa. It is accessible by car, taxi and shuttle bus. The Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency Hele-On bus operates a very limited service between the airport and Kailua-Kona town.
Address: 73-200 Kupipi Street Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
Phone: +1 808 327 9520
More Information: The full name of the Airport is Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole
Hilo International Airport (ITO)
Hilo International Airport (ITO) is one of two major airports on Hawaii Island. Most flights to the airport are from Honolulu International Airport. Hilo International serves most of East Hawaii, including the districts of Hilo and Puna, as well as portions of the districts of Hāmākua and Kaʻū.
Hilo International Airport is accessible by car and taxi. Public transit, Hele-On Bus, is also offered by the Hawaii County.
Address: 2450 Kekuanaoa Street, Hilo
Phone: +1 808 961 9300
The Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency provides public transportation around Big Island on the Hele-On bus. Additionally, the Transit Agency offers a Shared Ride Taxi program which provides door-to-door transportation within the urbanized area of Hilo.
Uber and Lyft are available on the Big Island. Both companies have designated pick-up/drop-off areas in Kona and Hilo airports.
Most taxis on the island are in and around Kona. Flagging a car on the street can be difficult — try and order your ride by phone.
The following cab companies serve Big Island: Kona Taxicab LLC (+1 808 324 4444), Global Rider (+1 808 631 9196), Dakine Taxi (+1 808 329 4446).
Chain pharmacies — CVS Pharmacy, Safeway, Walmart, Costco, Longs etc. — as well as smaller neighborhood stores operate on the Big Island, and while working hours may greatly vary, a few are open 24/7. Pharmacy signs are often in red and white, and they are often located inside department stores. Most of the pharmacies sell both prescription as well as over the counter medicine.
Address: Safeway Pharmacy, 75-971 Henry Street, Kailua-Kona
Phone: +1 808 327 6778
Sending parcels and letters in the US is a relatively straightforward process. The most common method is through the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPS offers a variety of services for sending mail, including First-Class Mail for letters and postcards, Priority Mail for packages, and Priority Mail Express for overnight delivery. To send a parcel or letter, you will need to take it to a USPS post office or use a USPS blue collection box. Use the USPS website to find the nearest post office or collection box to your location. Additionally, you can also use private couriers such as FedEx and UPS, which often provide a wider range of services and faster delivery times, but generally at a higher cost.
Address: US Postal Service, 74-5577 Palani Road Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
Phone: +1 800 275 8777
Country code: +1
Area code: 808
All power sockets in the United States provide a standard voltage of 110–120V with a standard frequency of 60Hz. Plug type A has two flat parallel pins.