Positioned on the Large Island’s western coast, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii options turquoise blue waters and wonderful views of Hawaii’s tallest mountains. Which means “leeward” in Hawaiian, the Kona Coast is understood for being calm and exquisite and solely receives about 18 inches of rain a yr. So what are the very best issues to do in Kona?
Planning a trip to Kona, Hawaii could be as enjoyable or adventurous as you need and there are numerous enjoyable issues to do within the space together with visiting a espresso farm, climbing right into a volcano, snorkeling with manta rays, and rather more.
The Large Island of Hawaii is the most recent volcanic island within the Hawaiian island chain. Due to this, black rocky seashores line the coast with only some white sandy seashores intermixed. Additionally, the island itself consists of the biggest lively volcano on the planet: Mauna Loa. The mountain stands at about 13,678 toes above sea degree, however rises an extra 30,000 toes from the underside of the ocean — making it taller than Mount Everest! On this publish, we cowl the very best that the Kona Coast has to supply.
Whether or not you need to go snorkeling or hike by way of a volcanic nationwide park, uncover the very best issues to do in Kona on this planning information.
Greatest Issues to do in Kona — Mapped
High issues to do in Kona, Hawaii
1. Go to Hawai’i Volcanoes Nationwide Park
Hawai’i Volcanoes Nationwide Park covers a lot of the central and southern components of Hawaii island. The park contains sea arches, lively volcanoes, rainforest, desert, and extra. You would spend days within the park seeing every part it has to supply, or you possibly can pattern with a few-hour go to.
Once we visited Volcanoes Nationwide Park, we solely had just a few hours and spent them climbing some straightforward trails and visiting overlooks and regardless of our time crunch, the expertise was informative and breathtaking. Considered one of my new favourite enjoyable info got here from a ranger who advised us in regards to the two sorts of lava discovered on the island of Hawaii:
‘A’ā (pronounced ah-ah) lava seems to be like a bulldozer simply plowed by way of it. It has tough edges and shaped by way of an explosive course of that left it trying sharp and jagged. Pāhoehoe (pronounced pah-hoey-hoey) however, seems smoother with ripples typically nonetheless obvious even in previous lava. This lava got here out at a warmer temperature with decrease viscosity and strikes slower than the ‘A’ā lava. Search for these two sorts of lava as you go to the Nationwide Park and as you discover the island!
When you’ve got a full day or a number of days in Volcanoes Nationwide park, drive the Chain of Craters street all the way down to the ocean. The street passes by previous craters and petroglyphs and rewards you with beautiful views throughout the dramatic panorama and out to the ocean.
Additionally, take a look at Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) for a singular journey by way of an underground lava tunnel.
As of Could 2021, there isn’t a sizzling lava presently within the park, however you possibly can see the place lava lately sat on the backside of the Kilauea crater.
2. Hike into the Crater of a Volcano
Whereas visiting Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park, you possibly can hike into the crater of a volcano on the Kilauea Iki hike. This roughly four-mile hike descends by way of the plush rainforests all the way down to the naked solidified lava of a 1959 eruption. It’s a must-do for anybody who desires to expertise what being inside an previous volcano seems like. Should you solely need to hike one path within the Nationwide Park, this can be a nice choice.
The Kilauea Iki path is pretty reasonable aside from the steep 400-foot descent and ascent on the facet of the crater. When you attain the underside of the crater, you cross the lava following cairns. Steam vents with heat billowing out encompass the path and a few rocks are sizzling to the contact! Take a look at the crops starting to develop which can be the primary to populate a contemporary lava subject.
Discover the trailhead for Kilauea Iki on Crater Rim Drive. There are just a few totally different locations you possibly can start, both from the Kilauea Iki overlook car parking zone or the Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) car parking zone. Both means, the loop path traverses the rim of the crater earlier than descending down, crossing the crater, and heading again up the opposite facet. Simply be sure that to comply with indicators for the Kilauea Iki path as you go.
3. Go to the Southernmost Bakery within the US
Whereas driving from Kailua Kona to the Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park, cease on the southernmost bakery in the USA: Punalu’u Bake Store.
This bakery makes a speciality of scrumptious Hawaiian sweetbreads and Malasadas – sweetbread doughnut-like treats initially dropped at Hawaii by the Portuguese. Attempt flavors like taro, guava, passionfruit, or pudding-filled malasadas! It’s price a fast cease to select up snacks or a meal.
4. Evening Swim with Manta Rays
Kona is understood for its ethereal manta rays. Snorkeling with manta rays is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Kailua-Kona at evening. Many firms present excursions in Kona to see manta rays, however there are some things you want to know earlier than snorkeling with these spectacular creatures.
Manta rays eat plankton and plankton is interested in mild. By shining lights into the water, the plankton swarm beneath the sunshine and in case you are fortunate, the mantas will rise in direction of the floor to eat the plankton. Manta rays affiliate mild with meals and so they feed at evening.
Additionally, don’t contact the manta rays. The mantas have a mucus coating that protects them from micro organism. Touching it could possibly harm the coating and expose them to an infection. These are wild animals, and being underwater with them is a privilege.
Manta Ray Advocates offers an environmentally delicate Manta swim in a non-public setting from a seashore as a substitute of a crowded boat.
5. Discover Kealakekua Bay By Boat
Kealakekua Bay, which incorporates Captain Prepare dinner Monument, is a well-liked snorkeling space with spectacular reefs that holds each environmental and historic worth. It’s the place the place Captain James Prepare dinner first landed on the island of Hawaii and the place he was killed a yr later after disrespecting Hawaiian natives.
The bay is a marine life conservation district, which implies its reefs are given particular safety towards human interference. Be sure that in case you are snorkeling, don’t contact something! Reefs and fish are simply broken by people. It’s additionally necessary to make use of reef-safe sunscreen so that you simply don’t go away dangerous chemical compounds within the water.
The bay is simply accessible by automotive from the japanese facet, which implies that to get to the north facet the place the Captain Prepare dinner monument is and the place a lot of the spectacular snorkeling is, you both need to hike or take a ship.
The hike is 4 miles with about 1300 toes of elevation achieve on the way in which again. You can too kayak throughout the bay to get pleasure from snorkeling or take part in a ship tour that can drop you off to snorkel within the reef. Spinner dolphins are sometimes seen in Kealakekua Bay.
6. Go to Kona Seashores
Visiting Kona seashores is likely one of the prime issues to do, however how do you discover the very best ones? Many seashores are crowded, however to seek out the quiet ones, you may need to make a little bit further effort whether or not that be a tough street or a little bit of a hike.
A few of my favourite off-the-beaten-path Kona seashores included Mahai’ula seashore, which requires a few miles of tough street to succeed in the car parking zone. From this car parking zone, there are numerous seashores to move to, together with Makalawena Seaside, a brief hike throughout rocky lava to a secluded white sand seashore.
Kiholo Bay is one other protected space that requires a three-mile spherical journey hike to the glowing blue waters and black sand seashore.
7. Swim with Sea Turtles
Inexperienced sea turtles are one other considered one of Kona’s sights. Whereas it’s by no means assured that you will discover or have the ability to swim with sea turtles, there are numerous seashores which can be identified for occasionally having turtles within the water or basking on the seashores.
The primary sea turtle that I noticed in Kona, was within the water at Alula Seaside simply north of the marina north of Kailua-Kona. The water on this small bay was murky, however from the seashore, you could possibly see the shells of those lovely animals as they swam alongside.
The subsequent place we noticed sea turtles was on the Punaluʻu black sand seashore within the south of the Large Island. The turtles right here have been laying on the seashore and folks have been requested to remain 20 toes away from the turtles to provide them their house. Should you see sea turtles on a seashore or within the water, keep a minimum of 10 toes away from them and don’t contact them!
After seeing the ocean turtles on the seashore, I assumed that that may be it. However on our final day in Kona, we have been swimming at Waialea seashore close to Waikaloa Village, one other Marine Conservation District. As I used to be snorkeling by way of the reef, taking a look at fish, I regarded up and there was a inexperienced sea turtle swimming alongside in entrance of me. Seeing a sea turtle swimming in a reef was was one of the unbelievable experiences of the entire journey.
8. Go to a Espresso Farm
One other top-of-the-line issues to do in Kona is to go to a espresso farm! Kona espresso is understood worldwide as a full-bodied and scrumptious espresso and it solely grows within the wealthy volcanic soil on the slopes of Mauna Loa.
Many farms in Kona provide excursions, however the one we selected was Greenwell Farms as a result of it had good evaluations and had a free tour with tastings. Our tour information was a Hawaiian school pupil who was dwelling for the summer time doing excursions. He was partaking and educated about Kona espresso and the farm itself.
Espresso was dropped at Kona from Brazil within the 1800s and Henry Greenwell acknowledged how effectively it grew and began farming it within the 1850s. Quickly, his espresso caught worldwide recognition and Kona espresso turned one of the costly and famend coffees on the planet.
Right this moment, Greenwell Farms has espresso bushes which can be over 100 years previous and so they farm 85 acres. In addition they course of the espresso “cherry” from different smaller farms across the Kona espresso belt.
We hope this information to a number of the greatest issues to do in Kona helps you intend a visit to recollect!
Are you planning a visit to Kona or have you ever been? What are your favourite issues to do there? Depart a query or remark under!