As Hwy 11/Mamalahoa Hwy winds southward, the greenery thickens and the ocean views become more compelling and it can be hard to tell where towns start and stop. Captain Cook is signaled by the historic Manago Hotel, which began in 1917 as a restaurant catering to salesmen on the then-lengthy journey between Hilo and Kona. The stout building remains a regional touchstone for travelers and residents alike.
Captain Cook is also where you access Kealakekua Bay, plus a great selection of B&Bs and down-home cooking. Sinewy Napoʻopoʻo Rd, which eventually becomes Middle Keʻei Rd, webs between the mountain and the ocean and is a pretty place to drive without an agenda. The many ‘No Spray’ signs are put up by organic farms (or even just homeowners) that are warding against state pesticide spraying.