Kailua Kona, commonly referred to as just “Kona” or “Kailua”, is a quiet seaside town full of local color and history. Kona was formerly known as a sleepy fisherman’s town, but has blossomed into the tourism capital of the Big Island. Representing the vibrant center of Hawaii’s west coast, Kona is known for its stunning sunsets, fishing, snorkeling, and world-renowned Kona Coffee.
Things to See
Kona is famous for its pleasant climate, averaging about 300 days of sunshine a year. The city’s weather offers the perfect setting to get out and enjoy all the thrilling activities that Kona offers. Two of the most popular beaches, Mauna Kea and Hapuyna, are known for their white sandy shores and clear waters. These beaches, among many others, are impeccable for snorkeling. For the daring, a night dive to swim with manta rays is a great way to get your adrenaline pumping. The Big Island is home to multiple championship golf courses, such as the Big Island Country Club, Makalei Golf Club, and Kohanaiki. All the courses on the island are carved and molded from ancient lava flows along the coastline, offering a unique touch to your game. While in Kona, be sure to visit Ali’i Drive, the main street of Kailua-Kona, where you can take a historic Kailua Village walking tour, visit the Kailua Pier, shop the local farmer’s markets, and pay a visit to Hulihe’e Palace Museum.
Hotels in Kailua-Kona
There are several hotels across the city, ranging from family-friendly spots just a short walk from the Beach to locations that are ideal for business travelers. Options and amenities abound, making it is easy to find a location and style best-suited for the activities you have planned for your trip to Honolulu.
Where to Stay
Historic Kailua Village is located near the center of the city. It is the perfect place for oceanfront dining and shopping along Ali’i Drive. It is also home to many historic sites, including Kailyua Pier, the oldest church in the Hawaiian island, Mokuaikaua Church, as well as Hulihe’e Palace which displays historic artifacts of the royalty that once lived there. To explore the local culture of Kona, head over to the coffee farms and Holualoa Village and let the locals tell you their stories. There are many hiking trails along the south side of the city, suitable for a range of difficulty levels from short beginner hikes to much more challenging courses.
How to Get to Kailua-Kona
Kona International Airport (KOA), also known as Keahole Airport, is the most convenient option for fliers, offering interisland service from Honolulu and Kahului and some trans-Pacific services as well. The airport offers a shuttle service, the Keauhou Honu Express Shuttle, to and from various attractions along Ali’I Drive. Rental car services are offered just outside the airport terminals as well, which you may want to consider if you plan to explore the city thoroughly on your own.
Hawaii Kona coffee accounts for about 95% of all coffee produced on the Big Island. Dive into the history of these magical beans.