Big Island – Kona, the West Side


Hawaii, the islands of Aloha, is the only state of the USA located in the Pacific Ocean. It is a paradise, a land where mother nature is seen at its greatest. This is the only state made up of islands. The state mesmerizes with its various wonderful landscapes. It has everything, an active volcano to a lush green rainforest, beaches to deserts, waterfalls to craters, tropical gardens to chilly mountains, and the list goes on. A must visit place!

Yellow hibiscus, also known as Pua Aloalo or Ma`o-hau-hele
Hawaii State Flower

Big Island, as the name suggests, is the largest island among all Hawaiian islands. Big Island is attractive for its diverse landscape and weather. The island can be smoothly divided into two halves: KONA, the West Side and HILO, the East Side. The west side is more dry, sunny, and has more attractive beaches. Hilo, the east side, is more humid and has lush rainforests, valleys, and waterfalls.

These photos are from our four nights stay at Big Island from an 8 day trip to Hawaii during the first week of October, 2016. I could not stop adding photos as the island is paradise with stunning landscapes.

KONA – the West Side

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Quick Facts and Tips

  • Best time to visit
    • Weather and good deals: Apr to May, Sep to Oct. Dec to Mar is better, but could be expensive
  • Fly Into
    • Kona International Airport
    • Hilo International Airport
    • Honolulu International Airport, then taking a short, 35-40 minute flight to Kona or Hilo
  • Clothing
    • Weather is warm, so pack lightweight casual t-shirts, shorts, sundresses, tank tops, capris, skirts, swimsuits, rain gears and a light jacket for the cool evenings
  • Be sure to check Big Island Dept of Transportation website for the traffic alerts and current road closures before heading out
  • Best things to do
    • Papakōlea Green Sand Beach: This is a spectacular beach with green sand and cliffs, turquoise color crystal clear water and surrounded by beautiful landscape. Papakolea Beach also known as Mahana Beach is located at Puu o Mahana on the island’s southern tip. Green Sand Beach is one of the only four green sand beaches on earth. It gets its name from the green glassy crystals (Olivine) that make up most of the sand on this beach. Driving all the way to Green Sand beach is illegal. Shared rides/ATVs are available, not sure about legality. 2 and 1/2 mile one way walk, very easy to get lost, windy and hot, bring water.
    • Hapuna Beach: One of the best and largest family beaches on Big Island with an amazing ocean color and beautiful white sand. The beach has many facilities like shelter, paved parking lots, picnic pavilions, restrooms, showers, and paved walkways to the beach. Hapuna also offers good conditions for swimming, bodyboarding, sunbathing and snorkeling.
    • Manini’owali Beach: Amazing ocean color, crystal clear water, soft white sand, great cove with black lava rocks make this beach even more gorgeous. The beach has facilities like  paved parking lots, paved walkways, picnic tables, restrooms, and showers.
    • Lapakahi State Historical Park: It’s a large area of ruined ancient Hawaiian fishing villages. This 1 mile easy trail offers beautiful views of the ocean, the archaeology, and history.
    • Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site: This park is known as the “Temple on the Hill of the Whale.” It shares the history of the early stages of the Hawaiian Kingdom and preserves the National Historic Landmark ruins of the last major Ancient Hawaiian temple and other historic sites. The trail winds through a ruined stone temple, built by King Kamehameha in 1719, along the shoreline and offers beautiful ocean and hill views. There is a small museum, a gift shop, and restrooms. No entry fee.
    • South Point Cliff: South Point is the southernmost point of the island and is a great spot for cliff jumping. It is about 50 miles from Kona, take extra caution while driving as roads are narrow. Awesome place to get away from the crowd and enjoy the power and beauty of the ocean, even if you choose not to go for the thrill of cliff jumping.
    • Mouna Kea
      • Free nightly stargazing at visitor station, Tue-Fri, 6 pm – 10 pm. It gets cold here, dress accordingly
      • Visiting the Summit: Not an easy drive, 4WD is a must, Check Visitor station for more information