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THE BIG ISLAND - The Big Island is BIG! Don't be fooled by its characterization as an "island." Distances and driving times play a large part of your day when touring the island. THERE ARE NO FREEWAYS! Keep in mind there can be unexpected delays due to road repairs and other detours.
Driving times (estimated, depending upon road work):
EAST HAWAI`I & WEST HAWAI`I
HILO [East Hawai`i] - A sleepy (but charming!) town that is often times less favored over the Kona Coast due to Hilo's lush and cooler tropical climate. As the Island's county seat, lush Hilo is striking in its beauty: scenic gardens, uncluttered parks, and forests are bountiful. It is the gateway to the only surviving rain forest in the U.S.A.
KONA-KOHALA-WAIMEA [West Hawai`i] - With its sunny and mythical dry coast, its upland vistas and electric blue ocean, the Kona-Kohala Coast is considered a world class tourist destination. Most International flights enter the Big Island through Kona's charming mini airport. Kona is well-known for its famous Kona coffee products, "Reviera like coast", as well as its Hawaiian chocolate.
GETTING HERE AND AROUND - Most visitors rent a car; locals and others use the county's bus line called "The Hele-On!"
For a variety of Big Island Activities and Information, go here.
IT MAKES YOUR TRIP MORE MEANINGFUL IF YOU KNOW YOUR HAWAIIAN HISTORY! -
Historical buff? Understanding Hawaiian History: Hawaiian Commentary on Independence on Free Hawai`i TV
Americanization of Hawaii - What Americans should know about Hawai`i and its people. The illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Government is still contested today and has not been resolved. >More
Hakalau Forest Refuge -
Did you know that "at least half of the nation's plant and bird extinctions are Hawaiian species, and nearly a third of the nation's threatened and endangered species are unique to the Islands? Lokahi (Harmony) has been destroyed in half of our native rainforests and in 90% of dryland forests. - Conservation Council for Hawai`i"
For a Hawaiian experience in nature, consider visiting the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge.
LAVA, VOLCANOS, AND NATIONAL PARKS -
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK - Plan so you are there at lunch to take advantage of their (not so hot but okay) lunch buffet, or pack your a light snack so you can keep moving. If you decide to continue on to Kona via the Kau District and want to skip an early lunch, stop in at the Pahala Plantation for a snack before visiting the Hawaiian Green turtle breeding home at Punalu`u Black Sand Beach. We will leave the rest to your imagination!
Also, Check out the next Hawaiian Island now brewing off the coast of the Big Island of Hawai`i, called Loihi. Go here to visit Loihi!
Koloko-Honokohau National Park (Located just outside of Kailua Kona)
Great outdoor hiking. Check with the visitor's center for the latest information. If you plan to visit the fish ponds (a short drive), the road is very rough and we recommend you avoid this site until the road is paved. See web site.
Pu`uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park - Sacred area. (LEAVE YOUR BAD HABITS AT HOME!) Absolutely no food (except in designated picnic area adjacent to sanctuary). However, the serenity is magic. > More
Built between 1790-91 by Kamehameha I with the assistance of two stranded European sailors, John Young and Isaac Davis, Kamehameha I extended his reign over all Hawaiian Islands. The remains of John Young’s homestead may be toured at the site. Pu'ukohola Heiau was constructed for ceremonies related to war. > More info
PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST -
[Click here for Map] - These are places that will take up to 1 - 2 hours, depending upon your interest.
Hawai`i Tropical Botanical Garden (Hilo) Papaikou - Botanical garden described as the most beautiful area in Hawaii. Photographer's paradise Phone: 808-964-5233. > More info
World Gardens at Uma Uma - If you want an alternate garden to stroll, consider the World Botanical Gardens in Umauma. It is relatively new and they allow self guided tours. Some of the drive way in the gradens are still a bit bumpy but only in a small section. Check their web site for the latest developments.
BIG ISLAND CANDIES, Hilo - 808-935-8890 - They are more famous for their cookies than candies! FAB-U-LOUS and D-LICIOUS! Visit their web site.
Pua Mau Place - New botanical garden near Kawaihae - Web site.
Nani Mau Gardens (Hilo) - Offers self-guided tour through some twenty acres of lush, manicured gardens featuring native and exotic flowers, ferns, and trees. Ask about their all you can eat buffet luncheon. Phone 808-959-3500. > More info
Hawaiian Petroglyphs -
Hawai`i Island State Parks - > More info
Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens
It is the only natural tropical rainforest zoo in the United States. > More info
Kamehameha The Great Statue - Hilo
This bigger than life statue is part of Hilo's Wailoa State Park with museums, memorials, and manicured grounds.
Kamehameha The Great Statue - Kapa`au, Kohala
This is where the real statue of the king resides in front of the old court house on Highway 270. All others are replicas, including the one on the Iolani Palace grounds in Honolulu. > More info
Galaxy Garden at Paleaku Peace Gardens
Wonderful open gardens with facinating things to see. Check their web site for the latest information.
Just returned from your Hawai`i visit and forgot to buy enough gifts for friends, relatives, or that special person at the office? Great Hawaiian gifts await you on-line at CAPTAINPICARD.COM! From leis, art, wood gift items, and other Made In Hawaii products and Hawaiian music.
Lyman House Memorial Museum – Hilo. Hawaiian natural and cultural history; 1839 missionary home. Unique gift shop often overlooked. Walking tours. Phone: 935-5021. More Information
Pacific Tsunami Museum - Hilo. 808-935-0926. Located in Hilo bay front behind the King Kamehameha statue on Kamehameha Avenue. Web site
Hulihee Palace - Kona - Web Site
No dining establishment is always perfect, however, these are places we visit over and over. Remember, some of the best "dining" is packing a lunch and relaxing at one of the many public beaches that dot the Big Island. > GO HERE FOR A LIST OF SUGGESTED RESTAURANTS