Hawai`i’s Big Island

Aloha!

Why do more visitors who are returning for a Hawaii vacation to the Hawaiian Islands come back to the Island of Hawaii (“the Big Island”) than any other island?

The reasons read like a fantasy checklist of adventure, fun, and romance: a user-friendly erupting volcano, another volcano sometimes capped with snow in winter, beaches covered with (take your pick) white, black, or green sand, an ocean offering superb snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep sea fishing, powerful native Hawaiian cultural sites from antiquity and today, delicious international dining where “Hawaii Regional Cuisine” was born, visitor-friendly farms and orchards growing world-famous coffee, macadamia nuts, exotic fruits and flowers, world-class resorts and quaint bed & breakfasts, wonderful Hawaii wedding and honeymoon opportunities, golf courses that are both challenging and gorgeous – we could go on and on.

We invite you to hele mai – come along!

Big Island Visitors Bureau

http://www.gohawaii.com/big-island

Island Highlights

Beaches
We have white sand beaches of course, but we also have black sand and a beach with green sand made from olivine crystals. Some of our beaches are finely manicured and packed with activities, backed by world-class resorts. Others are beautifully wild and remote. Every beach in Hawaii is open to the public, and Big Island state and county beach parks are highly rated by national travel magazines like Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure, and “Dr. Beach,” Stephen Leatherman from the University of Maryland.

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Rejuvenate
Getting a lomilomi Hawaiian massage while lying in the open air beneath the proverbial swaying palm, the ocean rhythmically lapping at the shore just feet away – this is one of those died-and-gone-to-heaven experiences you won’t soon forget. Or how about an aromatic body treatment using island-grown herbs and spices? Or a vigorous rub-down using hot lava rocks smoothed and rounded by years tumbling in the surf? Or a yoga or pilates class? Spaficianados will find a wide selection of exquisite treatments and fitness opportunities on Hawaii island.

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Kohala Coast
The Kohala Coast is often perceived as a hedonistic delight – no wonder it’s known as the “Gold Coast”. A series of upscale resorts and home developments rise up from the dramatic black lavascape like rare blooms, surrounded by exceptional golf courses and great beaches (all open to the public), and offering extraordinary dining and luxurious destination spas. The island’s best beaches lie on the Kohala Coast, and less than eight inches of rain falls in an average year. This is the playground of the well-heeled traveler, but it welcomes everyone with an array of hidden and not-so-hidden charms.

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Manta Rays
Manta rays are creatures that also relish the West Hawaii marine scene. These graceful creatures are commonly seen at night, near shore in fairly shallow water, and a number of scuba diving and snorkeling charters offer special night diving trips so humans can interact with them. Related to sharks, these gentle creatures feed on microscopic sea life attracted to light. Manta ray sightings from shore seem to be more common during the summer months.

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was unveiled in 1916 and has since been showing off as home to the world’s most visitor-friendly volcano. Volcano goddess Pele has been putting on a non-stop show since 1983, making the Big Island still bigger. Each day, hundreds of visitors drive to the end of Chain of Craters Road, then hike onto the lava to see the glowing river of lava flow into the sea. The eruption may go on for hundreds of years – or it may have already stopped.

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Halemaumau
There’s a lot more to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park than the eruption. There’s the steaming, sulfur-painted crater at the summit, Halemaumau. There’s the lush rainforest with plants and birds that exist no where else on the planet. There’s the geological history book spread across the volcanic landscape. There’s the culture of Pele, the tempestuous goddess who resides in Kilauea.

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Paniolo Culture
The Big Island offers a fun variety of ways visitors can saddle up for an unforgettable paniolo experience, from scenic storytelling tours by horse-drawn wagon to a hands-on chance to take the reins and run with a real cattle drive. Choose from a diverse selection of beautiful, unique environments: tropical Waipio Valley stream and waterfall trails, the wide open green spaces of Parker Ranch at sunset, the far upcountry pastures of Kahua Ranch, or the southern reaches of a historic trail to Kealakekua Bay.

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Mauna Kea
Hawaii Island is home to the most prized astronomical site on the planet. Perched high atop Mauna Kea, rising 13,796 feet above sea level, 11 telescopes representing 13 countries are watching the heavens and making discoveries almost beyond our imagination. All this is possible not just because of the elevation, but also because our air is so clear and light pollution is minimal. Here, experts and visitors alike are afforded a show few can experience and none will forget. On a clear night, the stars light the sky like glitter. The sunsets, from above the clouds, are also spectacular. Guided stargazing tours are available.

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Lava Tubes
Yes, you really can go spelunking on the Big Island. Lava tubes are one of the most intriguing geological features caused by Hawaii volcanic eruptions. These caves form when spatter from a river of lava gradually builds up walls and a ceiling. Then, when the flow of lava stops and the last of it passes downhill, a cave is formed. These caves can be a few feet high and only yards long, or they can stretch for miles with high ceilings. There are several guided lava tube tours on the island.

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Snorkel
Snorkel from shore or board an excursion boat for a dive cruise. The Big Island’s waters are teaming with brightly colored tropical fish. Marine mammals are protected and should not be approached by boat or swimmers, however, no one has told the dolphins and turtles and it’s perfectly okay if these sometimes-curious creatures decide to approach you. Most of the best snorkeling is on the island’s west side. Fish tend to hold court near rocks and reef, but when you explore there make sure you don’t venture too close to breaking waves that will put you between a rock and a hard place. Ask locals about conditions and places to avoid, and note that only some beaches have lifeguards.

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Agriculture
Hawaii Island is an agricultural cornucopia growing a dazzling variety of products including macadamia nuts, coffee, orchids and other tropical plants, papaya, mango, cacao, jackfruit, vanilla, ginger root, kava, goat cheese, honey, hearts of palm, and exotic fruits like durian, rambutan, star fruit, cheremoya, figs, lychee, and dragon fruit. Farmers grow all of the above and more. Not to mention ranchers raising sheep and cattle, and aquaculturists with tanks full of lobsters, pearls, and micro-algae.