Travel to Kona, the heart of historic HawaiiClose your eyes and imagine Hawaii. Chances are, you’re imagining Kona. The Hawaii Island’s leeward side soaks up 300 days of sunshine a year. The Kona region sprawls up and down the island’s coast, with coffee plantations, fascinating historic sites, perfect snorkeling waters, funky little towns and world-famous resorts creating the definitive blend of Hawaiian experience. Manta rays and sea turtles ply the sparkling waters offshore, while the state’s largest white-sand beaches stretch to the north.
Ancient intrigue meets modern luxury
The expansive area around Kona packs together everything Hawaii has to offer. The traditional sacred sanctuary at Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park preserves ancient temples and striking carved wooden images, providing an unparalleled glimpse of traditional Hawaiian culture. Not far away, renowned resorts like Kona Village combine rustic atmosphere with first-class accommodations. Some of the world’s most spectacular golf courses can be found not far from bucolic coffee country best seen by horseback.
Construct your Kona experience
This sliver of island overflows with adventures. A custom Kona vacation package provides a convenient way to make sure you see everything you want to see. If you want to wander from the splendid beaches of Hapuna State Park to the leeward side’s luxe resorts to the laidback farm country of the interior, it helps to have hotels, cars and activities booked in advance. The lands around Kona are as naturally rich and culturally diverse as some whole countries. A place with this much going on deserves its own well-crafted Big Island vacation itinerary.
KONA VACATION FIVE WAYSHere are five ways to dive deep into Kona life.
1. Glimpse the Royal Lifestyle at Hulihee Palace
This two-story villa in the town of Kailua-Kona, built from lava rock in 1844, served as a vacation home for a series of Hawaiian kings and other nobility. Today, the Palace houses a museum of the state’s unique history and heritage.
2. Pay Tribute to the Ironmen (and Women)
Every October, Kona hosts the Ironman Triathlon. While competitors suffer for glory in a grueling series of swimming, cycling and running, spectators just get to savor one of the world’s most intense sporting challenges.
3. Get Caffeinated in Holualoa
Hawaii is America’s only coffee-growing state, and Kona beans are among the most sought-after in the gourmet java world. Over 600 coffee farms surround the artsy village of Holualoa, making it the perfect place to liven up your island stay.
4. Hang With the Captain at Kealakekua
The epic drama and complexity of Hawaiian history is on display at Kealakekua Bay, a sacred center where Captain James Cook made first contact with the island’s native culture. Things didn’t go so well—and today, a memorial stands near where Cook met his demise.
5. Cruise Alii Drive
Kona’s not really known for its urban scene, but this scenic and lively promenade forms the heart of Kailua-Kona. Cool shopping, a laid-back tropical ambience and killer sunset views make Alii worth a drive, a stroll and definitely a stop.