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Kailua Kona, HI

Kailua-Kona often referred to as "Kona" by the locals is nestled at the bottom of the

Hualalai Volcano

. It is the main western city of the Big Island of Hawaii. In ancient times, the area was considered the premier place to live due to the excellent weather and good water. Many kings made their homes here. Later, missionaries built churches and residences turning the tiny fishing village into a small seaport. It was the home of King Kamehameha I who united the Hawaiian Islands. Now Kona has become known for sport fishing, snorkeling, sunsets and coffee, which is cultivated on the slopes of Mount Hualalai. Because the mountains block the northeasterly trade winds, Kona gets very little rain and enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Kona is also home to the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament and the... Read more

Kailua Kona, HI

Destination:
Kailua-Kona often referred to as "Kona" by the locals is nestled at the bottom of the

Hualalai Volcano

. It is the main western city of the Big Island of Hawaii. In ancient times, the area was considered the premier place to live due to the excellent weather and good water. Many kings made their homes here. Later, missionaries built churches and residences turning the tiny fishing village into a small seaport. It was the home of King Kamehameha I who united the Hawaiian Islands. Now Kona has become known for sport fishing, snorkeling, sunsets and coffee, which is cultivated on the slopes of Mount Hualalai. Because the mountains block the northeasterly trade winds, Kona gets very little rain and enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Kona is also home to the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament and the Ironman Triathlon World Championship.

The community was established by King Kamehameha I to be his seat of government when he was chief of Kona before he consolidated the rule of the archipelago, and it later it became the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The capital later moved to Lāhainā, and then to Honolulu. Royal fishponds at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park were the hub of unified Hawaiian culture. The town later functioned as a retreat of the Hawaiian royal family. Up until the late 1900s, Kailua-Kona was primarily a small fishing village. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the region has undergone a real estate and construction boom fueled by tourism and investment.

Geography

Kailua is located along the shoreline of Kailua Bay and up the southern slope of Hualālai volcano. There are no major rivers or streams in Kailua or on the Kona side of Hawaii.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 39.9 square miles (103.3 km2), of which 35.6 square miles (92.3 km2) are land and 4.2 square miles (11.0 km2), or 10.67%, is water.

Kailua-Kona is bordered to the north by Kalaoa, to the south by Holualoa, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean from Kailua Bay in the south to Honokohau Bay in the north. The Kailua-Kona postal code is 96740 (post office boxes – 96745).

Climate

Kona has a tropical, semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) with warm temperatures year-round, typical of its latitude in the tropics. It is the warmest place in the United States of America in January on average. The coolest month is February, with an average high temperature of 81.2 °F (27.3 °C), while the warmest is August, with an average high of 86.9 °F (30.5 °C). In addition to being the warmest place in the United States in January, it is also the city with the highest record low in the United States with an all-time low temperature of 56 °F (13 °C). Humidity is generally between 50% and 70%. Kona is generally dry, with an average annual precipitation of 32.05 inches (814 mm). Mornings are typically clear, while thermal clouds created in the day raise the temperature during the day.

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Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Kailua Kona, HI: Port Information


Cruise ships anchor offshore, and passengers are transported ashore by tender boats (right to the downtown).
There is an open-air trolley that goes around the town. We recommend you try it to see the beauty of this place.   

Get around Kailua Kona, HI


Traffic was pretty minor before, but in recent years has become more congested. Driving in tourist-oriented areas can be slow, but the town is generally not large enough to have serious problems. Walking is a manageable way to travel in town, but you should rent a car if you want to get to resorts, beaches, and other cultural locations.

Kailua-Kona is a place for the ocean and outdoor recreational activities. Surfing, fishing, diving, boating, snorkeling, and swimming are all popular sports in Kailua-Kona, as are hiking, biking, caving, and four wheeling. There are also many important cultural sites in the town, including the first Christian church in the islands, the Queen's Palace, and petroglyphs that can be found at

Kaloko-Honokohau National Park

.

What to see in Kailua Kona, HI


  • Coffee plantations. Coffee plantations abound, see for example Bayview Farms, which has a short free tour and samples of the Kona coffee.
  • Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park (The visitor center, Hale Ho'okipa, is located half a mile north of the entrance to Honokohau Harbor. Alternatively, access the south end by way of Honokohau Boat harbor). Honokohau Beach usually has plenty of Hawaiian green sea turtle (Honu) basking in the sun to see (keep 20ft/6m away). You can also snorkel in the 'Ai'opio fishtrap, the canoe house, and the historic Hawaiian sites. Beach is best accessed from the south side. 
  • Sadie Seymour Botanical Gardens at Kona Outdoor Circle Educational Center.

What to do in Kailua Kona, HI


  • Sea Hawaii Rafting, 73-1397 Hiolani St, ☎ +1 808 325-7444. 9 AM-5:30 PM. Get up close and personal with the Hawaiian coastline and marine life with Sea Hawaii Rafting. Zodiac adventures are state of the art and environmentally friendly. Offer whale watching excursions, waterfall tours, and private charters. 
  • Yoga Hale, 77-6530 Naniloa Dr, ☎ +1 808 938-9980. Offers two class sessions daily in our relaxing home studio. The studio can accommodate up to 15 people per class in a comfortable poolside environment. Yoga mats are available (nominal fee) as well as props & towels. Offering 4 types of classes, Yoga Hale provides a calming environment and class structure that novices and yoga experts can enjoy. 
  • Kona Surf Adventures, 74-5606 Pawai Pl Ste 103, ☎ +1 808 334-0033. Learn to surf with instructors. All instructors are CPR, First Aid and lifeguard certified as well as trained in professional rescue. 
  • Kahaluu Beach

    . There is great snorkeling at a local beach park called Kahaluu. It can be crowded, but it's pretty worth it. You can rent equipment in town and at the beach. Kahaluu also has a lovely little bar next to it when you're tired of drinking salt water.
  • Hawaii Lifeguard Surf Instructors, 75-5909 Alii Dr (between Alii Cove and Kona Reef Resort), ☎ +1 808 324-0442. Takes 2 1/2 hours. Professional surfing lessons and paddle tours 7 days a week. 13+ years in business. Taught by certified lifeguards. 
  • Yoga Flow for Your Soul, 74-5563 Kaiwi St (in Kona's Old Industrial Area), ☎ +1 808 329-0005. Classes blend elements of Jivamukti Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, and Mindfulness Yoga.
  • Jacks Diving Locker (Manta Ray Night Dive/Snorkeling), 75-5813 Ali'i Dr (Next to the old Kona surf hotel), toll-free: +1 800-345-4807. Great place to go night diving and see huge Manta Rays.
  • Kekaha Kai State Park (just north of Kona on Hwy 19; coming from Kona, go past mile marker 89 and turn left towards the water at the sign for the Veteran's Cemetery). Also called Kua Bay, Kekaha Kai is an absolutely beautiful white sand beach and a local secret until recently. Theoretically, the beach is closed on Wednesdays but not in practice. The beach is mostly used for bodyboarding as it has a steep shorebreak and can be dangerous to inexperienced swimmers. Newly paved road (ok for 2WD) all the way to the beach. Beach has bathrooms, fresh water fountains, and showers.
  • Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures (WHOA), Honokohau Small Boat Harbor, ☎ +1 808 854-4401. 4 hrs tour. Ride the fastest Navy SEAL boat in HI and snorkel places other boats do not go. Discover the wild side of Hawaii and the marine life up close and in a secluded setting. Your captains are world class freedivers and underwater photographers with over 20 years experience on the ocean. 
  • Hawaii Flight Adventures Inc.Kona International Airport (KOA), ☎ +1 808 640-9622, e-mail: buster@hawaiiflightadventure.com. Aircraft rental for visiting pilots, all levels of flight instruction, multi-engine time building, and air tours.

What to eat and drink in Kailua Kona, HI


Eat

Budget

  • Bongo Ben's Island Café, 75-5819 Alii Dr (Under Lulu's, next to Coconut Grove MarketPlace), ☎ +1 808 329-9203. They have good lunches, OK breakfasts and a great location.
  • The Coffee Shack, Hwy 11 in Captain Cook (between mile markers 108 and 109). Great food-awesome views in this tiny little restaurant overlooking Kealakekua Bay. Breakfast and Lunch items. If you're on you're way to Volcano National park, be sure to get up early and to make this a stop on the way.
  • Habaneros, 78-6831 Alii Dr, #K4 (in the Keauhou Shopping Center near the movie theaters), ☎ +1 808 324-4688. A cute little restaurant that serves authentic Mexican for lunch and dinner.
  • Pancho and Lefty's, 75-5719 Alii Dr. Great Mexican food on the Big Island, right on one of Kona's main strips. Service is so-so, but the food is great and the price is good.
  • U-Top It, 75-5799 Alii Dr (Located in the strip mall behind Lava Java on Alii Dr next to Coconut Grove), ☎ +1 808 329-0092. Breakfast and lunch. You have to try the crepes!

Mid-range

  • BaLe, 74-5588 Palani Rd (Kona Coast Shopping Center, near KTA grocery store, on Palani Dr), ☎ +1 808 327-1212. Local-style food, though some of the dishes have a Southeast Asian twist.
  • Big Island Grill, 75-5702 Kuakini Hwy, ☎ +1 808 326-1153. Serves authentic local food.
  • You Make the Roll (Hiyashi's), 75-5725 Alii Dr Ste D101, ☎ +1 808 326-1322. Although the restaurant itself is nothing more than a take-out counter with a few outdoor cafe-style tables, looks are deceiving. This sushi restaurant is a hidden gem, tucked away in the rear of the Kona Marketplace (entrance faces Sarona Rd.), near Sandwich Island Divers. The sushi is delicious.
  • Original Thai, 75-5629 Kuakini Hwy (North Kona Shopping Center), ☎ +1 808 329-3459. The location is a little difficult to find but the food is delicious.
  • Bubba Gump's, 75-5776 Alii Dr, ☎ +1 808 331-8442. A pretty good chain restaurant. Oceanfront dining overlooking the Kona Pier.
  • Outback Steakhouse, 75-5809 Alii Dr (Coconut Grove Market Place), ☎ +1 808 326-2555. An Australian themed steakhouse restaurant. Although beef and steak items make up a good portion of the menu, the restaurant offers a variety of chicken, ribs, seafood, and pasta dishes.
  • Longboard Legends, Unit 102 - 75-5742 Kuakini Hwy, ☎ +18083292211. Monday-Saturday: 11:00-21:00, Sunday: 12:00-20:00. Pizza. Good for dine in and takeout. 10, 20 and 28in Pizza sizes. Medium is very generous in size. Excellent toppings. 

Drink

  • Huggo's. Another good place to hang out, especially Huggo's on the Rocks which is next door and usually has a band. It's right on the water with great sunsets.
  • Jamba Juice.
  • Java on the Rocks. Huggo's on the Rocks in the morning for Coffee drinks and Oceanside seating.
  • Kona Brewing Company. A pub known for great handspun pizzas, local organic salads and fresh beers on draft that you can't find anywhere else. Every Sunday evening local musicians provide live entertainment.
  • LuLu's. Just down Aliʻi Drive and upstairs from Bubba Gump's, is open air and is a pretty cool place to hang out and knock back some beers.
  • Quinn's Almost By The Sea. Known for their fish sandwiches.

Shopping in Kailua Kona, HI


The main shopping drag in Kailua-Kona is Ali'i Drive. In addition to lots of bars and restaurants, here you'll find a variety of shops catering to many different interests. Lots of small shops here sell T-shirts, sunglass, sandals, and souvenirs of all sorts. Others specialize in jewelry or local arts and crafts.

  • Kona Coffee. Kona Coffee is widely recognized as one of the top coffees in the world. Look for 100% Pure Kona Coffee, as there are many 10% Kona Blends that do not have the same taste. UCC Hawaii Coffee Factory Outlet, enjoy Roastery Tours and Roastmaster Tours.
  • Donkey Balls. These world famous premium chocolate covered Hawaiian macadamia nuts are known for their quality and weird name. Named #1 treat in Kona for years. In Historic Kainaliu.
  • ABC stores. Everything from deli, groceries, fine wines & spirits, drugs & cosmetics, gifts, souvenirs, and local apparel. Four locations in Kailua-Kona.
  • Costco, 73-5600 Maiau St (between town and the airport).

Safety in Kailua Kona, HI


Theft is a big problem in cities as well as beaches and parks. If you are camping on a beach, keep bags locked in a car (but don't assume that they are safe in the trunk, especially if you are driving a rental) and keep valuables in a hidden money belt. Although Hawaii is generally considered relatively safe, it does have some violent crime, especially in Honolulu. Consequently, women should not walk alone in unlit areas. Although Honolulu has one of the lowest violent crime rates of metro areas in the U.S., use your common sense. Stay smart and act as if you were in your own home city: lock doors, lock cars and don't leave valuables lying around.

In general, do not bring anything to the beach that you will not use. If you absolutely must, keep valuables to a minimum (such as money), and bring a friend. If you are using a rental car and do not have valuables in it, leaving the window open can ward off window damage from break-ins. Purchasing local bumper stickers and placing them on your car can also ward off would-be thieves, who may mistake your car for being a local's.

Hawaii isn't the best place in the U.S. for gambling. Unlike most of the lower 48s, Hawaii is one of the few U.S. jurisdictions with a strictly enforced law against gambling of any type. All forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii, and it isn't recommended to get involved in any activity of the sort. In fact, promoting gambling to any degree is a class C felony in the state.

Language spoken in Kailua Kona, HI


Hawaiian and English are the official languages of Hawaii. However English is by far the main spoken language. There are some subtle differences in usage, but standard English is universally understood in Hawaii. Hawaiian "pidgin" English, spoken by many locals, incorporates bits of Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese and many other languages, in addition to its own unique idioms. As Japan is the most important international tourist market in Hawaii, many tourist destinations offer information in Japanese and have personnel who can speak Japanese. There are also many ethnic communities that speak languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Ilocano, Vietnamese, Korean, Samoan, and the native Hawaiian language.

LOCAL TIME

8:01 am
August 23, 2019
Pacific/Honolulu

CURRENT WEATHER

24.95 °C / 76.91 °F
light rain
Sat

26 °C/79 °F
light rain
Sun

26.11 °C/79 °F
light rain
Mon

26.26 °C/79 °F
light rain
Tue

26.65 °C/80 °F
overcast clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

USD

1 EUR = 0 USD
1 GBP = 0 USD
1 AUD = 0 USD
1 CAD = 0 USD

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