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Overview

Beyond Keahou's condo coast the Big Island shows its heart and soul. Hawaii's tropical agriculture blooms in the rich soil and arid heat on the southerly slopes of Mauna Loa volcano. Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, Hawaiian chocolate, vanilla, mangoes, papayas and exotic flowers like protea and orchids thrive in the hot-house climate. Sample island bounty at roadside stands, farmer's markets, coffee farms, and macadamia plantations as you cruise Mamalahoa highway past splashy bougainvillea that glows neon bright in black lava fields. Explore Holualoa for local handicrafts like woven hats and mats at Kimura's Lauhala Shop. Dive boats crowd ...

Beyond Keahou's condo coast the Big Island shows its heart and soul. Hawaii's tropical agriculture blooms in the rich soil and arid heat on the southerly slopes of Mauna Loa volcano. Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, Hawaiian chocolate, vanilla, mangoes, papayas and exotic flowers like protea and orchids thrive in the hot-house climate. Sample island bounty at roadside stands, farmer's markets, coffee farms, and macadamia plantations as you cruise Mamalahoa highway past splashy bougainvillea that glows neon bright in black lava fields. Explore Holualoa for local handicrafts like woven hats and mats at Kimura's Lauhala Shop. Dive boats crowd Kealakekua Bay, a marine preserve of tropical species, and British navigator James Cook's death site. Observe imposing idols at Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historical Park where early Hawaiians ran to the City of Refuge to avoid death. Visit Hale O Kewawe heiau built in 1650. Travelers stay in Captain Cook's 1917 Manago Hotel ($32 a night and up) to dine on local specialty: fresh akule with macaroni salad. Venture down to Ka Lae, southernmost point in the U.S (next stop Tahiti). Trek to the Green sand beach (made of olivine). Press on to pretty Punalu'u's black lava sand beach before traversing the Great Crack in the badlands of the Ka'u desert.

Rick Carroll
About the Expert

Rick Carroll has written dozens of articles on Hawaii and the Pacific. His books include Great Outdoor Adventures of Hawaii, Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawaii's Fire Goddess, and Travelers' Tales Hawaii.

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Rick Carroll for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round.