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8 Greatest Issues to do in Kona, Hawaii – Bearfoot Principle


Positioned on the Large Island’s western coast, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii options turquoise blue waters and wonderful views of Hawaii’s tallest mountains. That means “leeward” in Hawaiian, the Kona Coast is understood for being calm and delightful and solely receives about 18 inches of rain a yr. So what are the perfect issues to do in Kona?

Planning a trip to Kona, Hawaii could be as stress-free 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 way more.

The Large Island of Hawaii is the latest 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 most important energetic volcano on the planet: Mauna Loa. The mountain stands at about 13,678 toes above sea stage, however rises an extra 30,000 toes from the underside of the ocean — making it taller than Mount Everest! On this submit, we cowl the perfect that the Kona Coast has to supply.

Whether or not you wish to go snorkeling or hike by a volcanic nationwide park, uncover the perfect 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 consists of sea arches, energetic volcanoes, rainforest, desert, and extra. You would spend days within the park seeing the whole lot it has to supply, or you’ll be able to pattern with a few-hour go to.

Once we visited Volcanoes Nationwide Park, we solely had a couple of hours and spent them climbing some straightforward trails and visiting overlooks and regardless of our time crunch, the expertise was informative and breathtaking. Certainly one of my new favourite enjoyable details got here from a ranger who informed us in regards to the two sorts of lava discovered on the island of Hawaii:

‘A’ā (pronounced ah-ah) lava appears to be like like a bulldozer simply plowed by it. It has tough edges and shaped by an explosive course of that left it wanting sharp and jagged. ​​Pāhoehoe (pronounced pah-hoey-hoey) however, seems smoother with ripples usually 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!

If in case you have a full day or a number of days in Volcanoes Nationwide park, drive the Chain of Craters highway right down to the ocean. The highway 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 an underground lava tunnel.

As of Could 2021, there isn’t a scorching lava presently within the park, however you’ll be able to see the place lava not too long ago sat on the backside of the Kilauea crater.

Volcanoes National Park // Discover the best things to do in Kona Hawaii including snorkeling with sea turtles and manta rays, visiting Volcanoes National Park, & more!
Coming into a Lava Tube / Picture: Ilana Newman

2. Hike into the Crater of a Volcano

Whereas visiting Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park, you’ll be able to hike into the crater of a volcano on the Kilauea Iki hike. This roughly four-mile hike descends by the plush rainforests right down to the naked solidified lava of a 1959 eruption. It’s a must-do for anybody who needs to expertise what being inside an previous volcano looks like. In case you solely wish to hike one path within the Nationwide Park, it is a nice choice.

The Kilauea Iki path is pretty average apart from the steep 400-foot descent and ascent on the aspect 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 scorching to the contact! Try the vegetation starting to develop which can be the primary to populate a recent lava discipline.

Discover the trailhead for Kilauea Iki on Crater Rim Drive. There are a couple of totally different locations you’ll be able to 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 aspect. Simply be sure to observe indicators for the Kilauea Iki path as you go.

Kilauea Iki Crater // Discover the best things to do in Kona Hawaii including snorkeling with sea turtles and manta rays, visiting Volcanoes National Park, & more!
Kilauea Iki Crater / Picture: Ilana Newman

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 america: Punalu’u Bake Store.

This bakery makes a speciality of scrumptious Hawaiian sweetbreads and Malasadas – sweetbread doughnut-like treats initially delivered to Hawaii by the Portuguese. Attempt flavors like taro, guava, passionfruit, or pudding-filled malasadas! It’s value a fast cease to choose up snacks or a meal.

4. Night time Swim with Manta Rays

Kona is understood for its ethereal manta rays. Snorkeling with manta rays is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do in Kailua-Kona at night time. Many firms present excursions in Kona to see manta rays, however there are some things it’s worthwhile to know earlier than snorkeling with these spectacular creatures.

Manta rays eat plankton and plankton is drawn to gentle. By shining lights into the water, the plankton swarm beneath the sunshine and if you’re fortunate, the mantas will rise in direction of the floor to eat the plankton. Manta rays affiliate gentle with meals they usually feed at night time.

Additionally, don’t contact the manta rays. The mantas have a mucus coating that protects them from micro organism. Touching it will probably 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 an alternative of a crowded boat.

Manta rays / Discover the best things to do in Kona Hawaii including snorkeling with sea turtles and manta rays, visiting Volcanoes National Park, & more!

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 suggests its reefs are given particular safety in opposition to human interference. Ensure that if you’re 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 just don’t depart dangerous chemical compounds within the water.

The bay is barely accessible by automotive from the jap aspect, which implies that to get to the north aspect the place the Captain Prepare dinner monument is and the place a lot of the spectacular snorkeling is, you both should hike or take a ship.

The hike is 4 miles with about 1300 toes of elevation acquire on the way in which again. You may also 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 without doubt one of the high issues to do, however how do you discover the perfect ones? Many seashores are crowded, however to search out the quiet ones, you might need to make somewhat further effort whether or not that be a tough highway 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 highway to succeed in the car parking zone. From this car parking zone, there are numerous seashores to go 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.

Kona Beach // Discover the best things to do in Kona Hawaii including snorkeling with sea turtles and manta rays, visiting Volcanoes National Park, & more!

7. Swim with Sea Turtles

Inexperienced sea turtles are one other one in all Kona’s sights. Whereas it’s by no means assured that you’ll find or be capable of swim with sea turtles, there are numerous seashores which can be identified for sometimes 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 can see the shells of those stunning animals as they swam alongside.

The following place we noticed sea turtles was on the Punaluʻu black sand seashore within the south of the Large Island. The turtles right here had been laying on the seashore and folks had been requested to remain 20 toes away from the turtles to offer them their area. In case you see sea turtles on a seashore or within the water, keep no less than 10 toes away from them and don’t contact them!

After seeing the ocean turtles on the seashore, I believed that that will be it. However on our final day in Kona, we had been swimming at Waialea seashore close to Waikaloa Village, one other Marine Conservation District. As I used to be snorkeling by the reef, 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 some of the unimaginable experiences of the entire journey.

Sea Turtles // Discover the best things to do in Kona Hawaii including snorkeling with sea turtles and manta rays, visiting Volcanoes National Park, & more!

8. Go to a Espresso Farm

One other among the finest 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 opinions and had a free tour with tastings. Our tour information was a Hawaiian school pupil who was residence for the summer time doing excursions. He was partaking and educated about Kona espresso and the farm itself.

Espresso was delivered to 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 some of the costly and famend coffees on the earth.

Right this moment, Greenwell Farms has espresso bushes which can be over 100 years previous they usually farm 85 acres. In addition they course of the espresso “cherry” from different smaller farms across the Kona espresso belt.

Kona coffee // Discover the best things to do in Kona Hawaii including snorkeling with sea turtles and manta rays, visiting Volcanoes National Park, & more!
Picture: Ilana Newman

We hope this information to among 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!

Discover the best things to do in Kona, Hawaii like swimming with sea turtles, visiting secluded beaches, and more!

Written by
Ilana Newman

Ilana is a author and photographer from the PNW however is presently primarily based in SW Colorado. When not writing, she could be discovered within the mountains, climbing, climbing, snowboarding, path working, or sitting by a river. Or, if it is raining, she’ll be baking one thing scrumptious and studying a ebook.

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