Big Island, Hawaii

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Big Island, Hawaii

The Island of Hawaii is known colloquially as the Big Island — a fitting nickname for an island twice the combined size of its neighboring counterparts! Big Island flaunts its colors like the plumes of a peacock: fierce reds of magma from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park contrast spectacularly with the bright white snow of Maunakea, while the electric black sands of Punaluu Beach stream into the emerald green of the Hamakua Coast’s rainforests.

The Island

While Hawaii Island may be the youngest island in the archipelago, it retains its prominence as the first island to be touched by man. Coming in the form of Polynesian voyagers from the Marquesas Islands 1,500 years ago, they would become the first Hawaiians. Native Hawaiian temple ruins, royal grounds, fish ponds, sacred burial spots, and petroglyphs all remain as evidence of this early culture. And Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park also retains many areas and items of historical significance. Throughout Hawaii’s era of discovery, Hawaii Island was divided among chiefdoms, leading to frequent skirmishes and contention between the factions. It was during this time that the last major religious “heiau” temple was built. In constructing a tribute to the war god Kukailimoku, King Kamehameha I hoped to bolster his efforts in uniting the Hawaiian Islands. He would go on to conquer the island and indeed unite the Kingdom. The temple is now the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site in North Kohala, and there are also statues and dedications to the Great King Kamehameha around Hawaii Island. Over the next centuries, Hawaii Island would be influenced by the influx of missionaries, along with a roaring sugar industry. Today’s Big Island continues as a cornerstone for the Hawaiian Islands’ beauty, culture, and eternal elegance.

Coffee & Lunch

100% pure Kona coffee is a rare commodity exclusively grown in north and south Kona. The high elevation, constant cloud coverage and rich volcanic soil from Hualalai Volcano in the upland slopes of Kona create an ideal coffee experience to cherish. As such, there are several coffee shops that are run by local roasters, as well as bakeries selling delights you will only find on the island.

Do & See

The Big Island is not only the largest island in Hawaii, it also has an active volcano to amaze visitors with an unparalleled view of the Earth in action. It is only one of the many natural and historical sites that enthuse visitors to the island annually.

Dining

Big Island restaurants include small family friendly seafood spots and exquisite fine dining. No matter where you go, you will be greeted by the welcoming island attitude and delicious food you will find nowhere else on the planet.

Bars & Nightlife

Big Island has a sleepier, more laid-back vibe than other Hawaiian islands, but that doesn't mean that the nightlife is dead. The resorts host night-time activities and events to keep guests busy, and a handful of bustling bars can be found around the island. Art is also alive and vibrant in small playhouses and movie theaters, some of which screen indie and foreign films, and there is always live music somewhere. And of course, the local specialty is the luau, a chance for visitors to experience the music and dances of the island, accompanied by fine food and finer company.

Shopping

The numerous Big Island resorts all offer interesting shopping options, as do the villages and downtown Kona. Even the most touristy spots can be exciting, but, if you dig a little deeper, you can find some coveted local favorites and have a much more rewarding shopping experience. Especially appealing is the artwork and houseware made from local materials, such as lava rock and milo wood, which can be found in boutiques and galleries across the island.

Tourist Information