||Tropical... warm! Warmer than home!
The spirit and energy of creation surrounds you everywhere on Hawaii's Big Island. Polynesian legend claims the goddess Pele gave volcanic birth to the Islands of Aloha. Hawaii's Big Island is her latest and greatest creation. One island. Still warm from its fiery birth. Larger twice than its sisters combined and growing every day as its active volcano, Kilauea, sends new land to a steamy meeting with the ocean 4,000 feet below. Countless waterfalls feeding rain forests of botanical wonder add a fantasy flavor to the landscape. Massive black lava fields hint at the island's relative youth. And multiples of uncrowded beaches let you catch your breath amidst unspoiled beauty. It's thrilling.
During your vacation here on Hawaii's Big Island, you'll find yourself - renewed, refreshed, amazed, informed and deeply touched - by abundant, spectacular and unspoiled nature, by the warmth of an authentic Aloha spirit uniquely nourished by our contact with this living land (itself constantly in rebirth) - and by the sheer variety of all there is to see, to do and to feel. Hawaii's Big Island is famous as a magnet for the peoples of the world. When you feel the presence of this special place, you'll find out why - and you'll redefine your expectations of the word "vacation." You can begin your adventure right now! Dive into our site: you'll soon be "magnetized" yourself!
The ocean is never out of view on Hawaii's Big Island. And here, there are all kinds of ways to have fun in, on, or under the warm, crystal-clear water. There are 266 miles of coastline and 47 beaches here with diverse sand colors from pristine white to green to rich volcanic black.
Oceanfront resorts and tour companies offer all sorts adventurous water activities. Try parasailing, surfing, or windsurfing. Paddle a kayak, or canoe along the shores in Hilo Bay or the numerous coves that dot the Kohala Coast. You can rent your equipment and head out on your own, take lessons, or embark on a guided tour. Because of its pristine marine environment and crystal clear waters, Hawaii’s Big Island has become one of the world’s premier destinations for snorkeling and diving. The waters of Hawaii's Big Island are teaming with brightly colored tropical fish. To observe them close-up, snorkel from shore or board an excursion boat for a dive cruise. There are a variety of choices ranging from leisurely paced catamarans to zippy zodiacs. Scuba diving equipment is available for rent from the nearest dive shop, so you can explore the sea caves and coral belt that surrounds the Island. If you aren't certified, "resort courses" will have you qualified for an introductory course in just hours.
From mid November through May, the great humpback whales make their annual visit to Hawaii's Big Island. Keep your camera handy if you're on a whale watching tour; these gentle giants can take to the air at any moment. When you witness this spectacular sight, it will forever be engrained in your memory. Sport fishing is also hugely popular on Hawaii's Big Island. But not for whales, mind you. Marlin, mahi-mahi, ono, and ahi are often the catch of the day
To say Hawaii's history is fascinating would be an understatement. It is far more, and Hawaii's Big Island has been a large part of it. The Polynesians settled here long ago and their rich history continues to this day with the unique and colorful concoction of cultures. The Polynesian culture of ancient Hawaii is welcomed and has absorbed countless traditions and art influences from Asia and Europe, and the rest is history.
It's easy to immerse yourself in the culture here. Try dancing the hula and taking part in an authentic luau. Head upcountry and discover the uniquely blended Hawaiian, Portuguese, and Mexican cultures - still alive and well among Hawaii's Paniolos (cowboys) on the Island's giant ranches. Behold the culturally fused crafts and fine arts capturing the limitless horizons and exotic hues of the Island.
The culture of Hawaii's Big Island also has a way of seducing you when you don't even know it. It happens when you stumble upon an ancient petroglyph or a historic fishpond. You'll behold spots that were once maintained for ancient kings. You'll feel it as you grow closer to an ancient temple or sacred burial ground.
Should you make it to Kealakekua Bay to recall the story of Captain Cook, it was here he was slain in a scrap, along with Hawaiians back in 1779. History buffs will also want to stop at Laupahoehoe Train Museum, commemorating the Hilo Railroad (1899-1946) that hauled sugar, provisions, and people up and down the rugged coast. And, don't miss Puukohola Heiau built in 1790 by King Kamehameha as an offering to the gods to ask for success in his campaign to unite the Hawaiian Islands. All of your historical and cultural attractions include restoration, pampering, and healing free of charge.
Hawaii's Big Island is perfect for kids because there's not only so much to do, but there's so much to see. And, Hawaii's Big Island is just that, big. To minimize your time in the car, you might want to split your visit in two and stay on both sides of the Island. The Hilo side is great for exploring the waterfalls of the Hamakua Coast and the Kilauea Volcano. Move over to the Kona side for sun and fun on the beach.
Keiki (kids) love to learn fascinating new things. Hawaii's Big Island has a rich history and culture that's also entertaining for them. Many hiking trails will take you and your family to ancient heiau (temples) or past loi (flooded fields) where taro, the Hawaiian staple, still grows. An authentic hula performance based upon a chant that tells the legends of the Hawaiian people may be staged for visitors, to which kids become instantly glued. And, a road trip through the plantation towns of North Kohala will take you past the birthplace of King Kamehameha, the first King of the united Hawaiian Islands, which they'll think is pretty cool.
Parents enjoy the dozens of coffee farms, mills and shops along Highway 11, the 20-mile stretch from Kailua-Kona south to Honaunau. And, a cup or two of real Kona coffee is just the thing to keep up with the kids. The kids will want to hele on (get moving) and investigate tide pools, go snorkeling or whale watching, or explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There's nothing like watching a child's face light up at their first glimpse of a spewing volcano, a breaching whale, or a brightly colored tropical fish.
'Mana' is a Hawaiian word meaning power and spirit. The mana on Hawaii's Big Island is particularly strong. It is said that energy has ability to revitalize the mind, body, and spirit. The opportunities to experience this special healing power are abundant here. Between the beauty of the natural environment, the variety of outdoor activities, and the caliber of health and spa services offered, you will return from your visit relaxed and rejuvenated.
Spa treatments can help you find the inner quiet you're looking for, and they just plain feel good. The ancient Hawaiian lomi lomi is both a spiritual and relaxing massage technique. Other treatments you can experience include lehua honey rubs, papaya and ti leaf facials, vanilla-coffee exfoliation, poi body wraps, and oceanfront massages.
Exercise also contributes to your renewed sense of mana. Many resorts here offer fitness centers with everything needed to tone muscles, strengthen the body, and get the heart pumping. If you'd like a personal trainer to help plan your fitness vacation, many resorts have those as well.
Hawaii's Big Island is gaining a reputation for alternative health care, and it's no wonder given its natural beauty, history, and culture. Saturate yourself in its lavish opportunities and don't be surprised if you receive a mana makeover upon your return home.
Some say the key to relaxing is getting active. Hawaii's Big Island makes it easy to get out and play. Here, you can discover a new outdoor adventure every day of the week.
The terrain on Hawaii's Big Island is a big temptation for bicycle riders. Gorgeous shoreline roads, rain forest trails, and long and winding backroad paths almost beg for riding. Explore them with the respect they deserve and they'll provide you the ride of a lifetime. Bike rentals are available as well as guided bike tours.
For backcountry sightseeing sprinkled with awe-inspiring waterfalls, saddle up and explore the trails above Waipio Valley on horseback. Hawaii's Big Island also offers miles and miles of hiking trails. If you're an experienced backpacker, you may want to take on the Mauna Loa wilderness. Beginners should stick to shorter and easier hikes. Interesting trails can be found all over the Island, each with a spectrum of climate zones. You can hike a sandy coastal trail one day and climb the snow-covered summit the next. Of course, you'll also want to consider hoofing the 11-mile looped Crater Rim Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and taking the trek to see one of the most extraordinary sights of molten lava splashing into the sea.
Many of Hawaii's Big Island's astounding wonders are hidden. To see them sometimes you have to take to the skies. Take a thrilling aerial tour and you'll get a bird's eye view of the volcano, lush tropical valleys, rain forest waterfalls and multi-hued beaches. If you prefer exploring below the ground, try spelunking. There are fascinating lava tubes and caves here worth investigating. Other Hawaii's Big Island outdoor amusements include stargazing atop Mauna Kea, hunting, birding and camping.
If romance is an emotional attraction or aura, then Hawaii's Big Island is romance itself. Walk along the beach hand in hand and gaze at a shimmering ocean reflecting the pathway of the moon. Tell someone you love them with a whisper that stirs the soft plumeria-filled air. Kiss under a rushing waterfall. Pop the question at a candle lit dinner overlooking a paradise garden, and don't forget to order champagne.
While Hawaii's Big Island will put stars in your eyes, you can also appreciate them overhead. Head to the top of Mauna Kea with your loved one for the best and most romantic view. Few places on earth are better for watching the heavens.
Memories made on Hawaii's Big Island appeal to so many of the senses at once, it can be overwhelming. But couples who visit never seem to complain. In fact, they return again and again to drink in the beauty and keep love alive.
On January 3, 2003 the ongoing volcanic eruption of Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island turned 20 years old, becoming Earth's longest- ever recorded eruption in history.
Since 1983 Kilauea has produced a lava show filled with fiery scenes, fast-flowing underground movements and the slow tempo of surface flows that descend into the sea. Each act and scene causes onlookers to inhale with anticipation and exhale with exultation as Pele, Hawaii's Fire Goddess, demonstrates her power.
Kilauea's eruption has added more than 570 acres of new land to Hawaii's youngest but largest island in the state aptly nicknamed the Big Island. More than 2.5 million visitors flock to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to witness this breathtaking fireworks display and the diverse landscape that surrounds Hawaii's most active volcano.
Enter the national park entrance located among the lush greenery of ohia rainforests at a cool and misty 4000-foot elevation. Drive to the lava viewing area at sea level and witness the dramatic change of scenery as sharp edges of a'a lava and smooth, sinewy pahoehoe lava begin to dominate the landscape.
Once at the lava viewing station, the hike over crisp layers of a'a and hardened pools of smooth pahoehoe brings eager visitors to stand within a few yards from the fiery glow of Pele's land-making power. It is truly marvelous to watch land in the making as the red-hot lava crawls across a fresh layer of hardened, black lava. From the depths of this fertile lava landscape, verdant plant life will spring forth and flourish, adding to the park's distinction as an International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours every day of the year, providing volcano viewers with a spectacular Kilauea show. In addition, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers miles and miles of fantastic hiking trails through varied terrain and unique ecosystems, a variety of museums, the Volcano House hotel and a consortium of local artwork at the Volcano Art Center.