Come explore the rich history of the youngest (and still growing) Hawaiian Island! From the birthplace of King Kamehameha to the site of Captain Cook's death, Hawai'i Island offers a variety of cultural and historical adventures.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
No trip to Hawai'i Island would be complete without paying homage to the volcano goddess Pele! It's truly amazing to see Mother Nature's power. There's so much to do and see in the park and nearby, you may want to spend a day or two nearby. Don't miss the petroglyphs and lava tubes. If you can swing it, the helicopter ride over the volcanoes is a once in a lifetime experience! The volcano is amazing to view at sunset so you can truly experience the glow. Stop by the Visitors Center for information about the volcanoes, maps and mementos of your visit. Park is open 24/7/365 for your convenience.
Words cannot describe the beauty you'll see here. There's a rich and interesting history described on the placards from the viewing area, so please respect it. You can hike down the valley and also enjoy horseback riding through the valley. Be sure to stop by the world famous Tex Drive-In for Portuguese Malasadas on the way!
Humpback Whale Watching
Humpback whales visit Hawaiian waters each year from November to May with the peak of the season being from January to March. They leave the Alaskan waters in the fall and head straight to Hawaii, taking 6-8 weeks to travel some 6,000 miles, in order to mate and give birth to their calves. It's a testament to willpower, determination and a beautiful reminder of the power these mammals exert during their 45-50 year life span.
Hike & Snorkel at Captain Cook Monument
Visit the place where Captain Cook met his demise at the hands of Hawaiians. Heading towards Captain Cook on HI-11, just after the intersection at Mamalahoa Bypass Road stay straight and you'll be on Napoopoo Road. Around 82 Napoopoo Road in Captain Cook you'll probably see cars parked alongside the road. Park here and hike down to Captain Cook Monument. It’s a winding but well-traveled trail that's about 1.8 miles down. Did I mention you'll be going down?? Way down... which means the way back up - which is mostly in full sun - is UP - about a 1,500 ft difference in elevation! Recommended to go about 7am, swim for a few hours then hike back up before it gets too hot. Bring water, hat, SPF, snorkel gear and wear good hiking shoes.
Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park (City of Refuge)
Archaeological park featuring sacred burial spots, Native Hawaiian temple ruins, royal grounds, ponds and petroglyphs.
1871 Trail in Captain Cook
Maka o Hule Navigation Heiau (temple)
Located on the northern Kohala Coast off the 270 between mile markers 14 and 15, you will need to park and make a short hike (1.8 miles roundtrip) to see these navigational wonders. The upturned stones point with remarkable accuracy to such South Pacific geographic locations, such as the Polynesian Islands, Tahiti and the Marquesas. Located between the 14 and 15 mile markers on Highway 270, turn makai on the road to Mahukona Beach Park. This park has a decent amount of parking, but is at an old industrial site and there is no beach.
Puako Petroglyph Park
The largest concentration of petroglyphs in the Pacific lies within the 233-acre Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District. These Malama Petroglyphs were made thousands of years ago. The field has over 3,000 carvings including paddlers, sails, marchers, dancers, and family groups, as well as dogs, chickens, turtles, and deity symbols.
A variety of Hawaiian food such as poi, taro, poke, haupia cake, lomi lomi, loco moco, opihi, malasada, huli huli chicken, kalua pork, shave ice (get it with Mac Nut ice cream!) can be found throughout the island at various stalls and restaurants throughout the island.
No visit to Hawaii would be complete without attending a luau! Enjoy traditional dinner, tropical drinks, music and traditional Polynesian dance, drum and storytelling. Available on different days at various locations. Advanced ticket purchase recommended. Arrive well before ticket time for best seating.
Watch a Hawaiian Sunset
Sunsets in Hawaii are more than just something that occurs on a daily basis. It's a time to unite with others and bear witness to all we are given. It's a time to reflect upon the day, what we accomplished and all our good deeds. A time for us to contemplate what we are yet to accomplish and things we should have done or said differently. A time to reflect on promises made and maybe not kept. A time to reflect on the possibilities of what tomorrow brings; and things we may do differently. Take a walk down the road from the condo just before sunset and you'll be among locals and other visitors quietly reflecting.
You can "get lei'd" at the airport or even at the Kona Farmers Market among other places. Part of Hawaiian culture for centuries, Lei's historically have been made from flowers, shells, leaves, seeds, vines or feathers strung together and worn around the neck. A Lei is a gift of aloha and hold special meaning dependent upon when given and the items from which they are made.
Several other cultural and historical sites can be found here