Welcome to Hawaiʻi the Big Island


Island Diversity

We doubt that it's possible to get 'island fever' on Hawaiʻi. The aptly named Big Island is fantastically diverse, with miles of highways – and, better yet, byways – to explore. Eight of the world’s 13 climate zones exist here, adding sensory variety as you circumnavigate the island. Gaze at vivid emerald cliffs, swaths of black-, white- and even green-sand beaches, majestic volcanic mountains (possibly snowcapped!), stark lava desert, rolling pastureland and misty valleys, weathered by rain, waves and time. Hawaiʻi is twice as big as the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and its dramatic terrain is ever fascinating.

Volcanic Wonders

Less than a million years old, Hawaiʻi is a baby in geological terms. Here you'll find the Hawaiian Islands' tallest, largest and only active volcanic mountains. Kilauea, on the eastern side, is the world's most active volcano, spewing molten lava continuously since 1983. If you see glowing, red-hot lava, you are witnessing Earth in the making, a thrilling and humbling experience. At 33,000ft tall when measured from the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the world's tallest mountain, and its significance cannot be overstated – as a sacred place to Hawaiians and a top astronomical site to scientists.

Ancient History & Modern Multiculturalism

Ancient history looms large on Hawaiʻi, a place of powerful mana (spiritual essence). The first Polynesians landed at Ka Lae, the windswept southern tip, still raw and undeveloped today. Kamehameha the Great, who unified the Hawaiian Islands, was born in Kohala and died in Kailua-Kona. Hula and oli (chant) are deep-rooted here, and Miloli‘i on the Kona Coast is perhaps the last Hawaiian fishing village. During the sugarcane era, traditional ways became intertwined with those of immigrant cultures: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese and more. This legacy is palpable in the mix of languages, foods and festivals. The most striking element of this multiculturalism is the pidgin vernacular.

Roads Less Traveled

Thanks to its sheer size, Hawaiʻi has lots of legroom. Enjoy the delicious freedom of the open road, where the journey becomes the main attraction. From east to west, the island has multiple personalities, and it's worthwhile experiencing them all. While the 'Gold Coast' – South Kohala to Kailua-Kona – caters to travelers en masse, most island towns are rural and exist primarily for residents. Even the capital seat, Hilo, is a former plantation town that's still slow-paced and populated by kamaʻaina (people born and raised here). Ultimately this down-home localness marks the real Hawai‘i. Don't miss it.


Top experiences in Hawaiʻi the Big Island

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Hawaiʻi the Big Island activities

$182.30 Day Trips & Excursions

Big Island of Hawaii Tour: Akaka Falls

This full-day nature tour kicks off when you are picked up directly from any of the Kona or Kohala resorts and hotels, and then heads north from Kona on a brief scenic drive, with snacks and refreshments provided throughout the day. On the way to the first destination, you’ll pass some of the island’s oldest volcanoes, as well as Hawaii’s largest ranch, the Parker Ranch in Waimea, which has been operating on the island since 1847.  The morning is filled with visits to some of the most majestic waterfalls on the Big Island. First, the views will stop you in your tracks at the Waipio Valley lookout, where a dramatic backdrop of verdant cliffs drops into the sparkling blue ocean. Continuing on the drive along the Hamakua Coast, more postcard-worthy views will pass by your window, ushering you to the next destination, Akaka Falls. This towering 442-foot (135-meter) waterfall plummets into a lush ravine at the center of a state park. You’ll enjoy a short walk through the vegetation for an up close view and plenty of photo ops. Next is a waterfall that’s small by comparison, but not by beauty: Rainbow Falls, a beautiful 80-foot (24-meter) waterfall with a giant banyan tree beside it. Around noon, you’ll get local style lunch of teriyaki chicken, grilled fish, steamed rice, and local purple sweet potato (Vegetarian meals are available upon request).  In the afternoon, explore the wonders of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, including steam vents, crater rim trail and the Halema'uma'u and Kilauea Iki crater lookouts. From there, you’ll have time to relax and take it all in at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, a great place to spot marine life from the shore, like Hawaii’s green sea turtles. On the leisurely drive back around sunset, you'll see views of South Point, the southern most point of the United States, and Kealakekua Bay, before arriving back in Kona or Kohala. If time permits, we may stop at a local coffee farm for you to taste some fresh Kona Coffee. Note: depending on weather condition and sunset time, tour may operates in reverse route.

$223.96 Day Trips & Excursions

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

View a spectacular sunset from the top of Mauna Kea and enjoy a unique stargazing experience on this Big Island adventure tour. After departing from Hawaii Forest & Trail's Kona Headquarters and a brief pickup from the Queens' MarketPlace in Waikoloa, you'll travel to a Hawaiian historical ranch in a 4x4 luxury van at the base of Mauna Kea. Enjoy a hot, picnic-style dinner (see sample menu in the Itinerary section below) at a former Hawaiian ranch site where you're provided with a warm, hooded parka. Then prepare to make the climb to the summit area of Mauna Kea, learning about the Big Island's cultural, natural and ecological history from your naturalist guide. From the summit, enjoy views of Mauna Loa and see Maui's volcano, Haleakala, along with other special points of interest. Stand among some of the earth's most powerful telescopes as you enjoy the sunset view. After sunset, travel to the Mauna Kea Visitor Station at 9,000 feet (2,743 meters), where your guide sets up a telescope for a personal, entertaining and educational star party. Learn how Mauna Kea's unique geography draws scientists from all over the world to study the heavens, and also allows for incredible nighttime views of the stars. Enjoy hot beverages and dessert as your guide gives a personal astronomy lesson before your return to Kona.

$122.95 Day Trips & Excursions

Big Island Grand Circle Island Tour

Recent and record-breaking volcanic eruptions have made international headlines. The pause in early August 2018 in earthquakes and collapse-explosion events at the summit of Kīlauea brings new hope that the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be reopened soon and we will once again be able to bring guests into the Park.  The latest itinerary for this tour includes a visit to Royal Kona Coffee’s headquarters, Punalu‘u black sand beach and lunch at the newly renovated Queen’s Court Restaurant in the historic Hilo Hawaiian Hotel with views of Hilo Bay and Mauna Kea. After lunch it’s onto Big Island Candy Company, the home for exquisite chocolate and mac nut treats and then a stop at not one, but two waterfalls – Rainbow and Akaka Falls! On the way back to Kona, stop at Hamakua Macadamia Nut to see macadamia nuts roasted to perfection. Royal Kona Coffee Mill & Museum Mauna Loa Volcano (seen in the distance) Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (drive-by) Lili‘uokalani Botanical Garden (drive-by) Lunch at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel (on own) Big Island Candy Company Rainbow Falls Akaka Falls Hamakua Macadamia Nut

$238.54 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Hawaii Volcano Tour with Dinner from Kailua-Kona

Vehicle: 15 Passenger Mercedes-Benz Mini-CoachKona Hotel Pick UpWaikoloa Hotel Pick UpLunch at Mauna Kea State ParkMauna Loa Lava Flows at Pu’u HuluhuluKaumana Caves State ParkPuna – Recent Lava Flows and McKenzie State Park Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Chain of Craters Road Lookouts, Steam Vents and views of the New Halemau’mau Crater.Dinner at Kilauea Lodge Stargazing at Volcano or Along Saddle Road (Weather Permitting)Hotel Return *Lunch and Restaurant Dinner Included.**Due to constantly changing conditions at Kilauea volcano, lava views and fountains are subject to change and are not guaranteed on this tour. We will do our best to show what the volcano provides. Kailani Tours Hawaii reserves the right to cancel due to unsafe conditions. In this event, Kailani Tours Hawaii may issue refunds.Lunch options (please specify your preference in the 'special requirements' field at checkout):Ham and Cheese SandwichTurkey and Cheese SandwichHerb Chicken WrapVegetarian Hummus Wrap*Each selection comes with either local fruit or a green salad.  Bottled water will be provided. Dinner options (please specify your preference in the 'special requirements' field at checkout):Eggplant MarinaraNew York Steak Fresh Catch Chicken MilaneseGerman Sausage PlateDinner entrees include a choice of homemade soup OR locally grown salad and our own homemade bread.Includes 1 non-alcoholic beverage. Coffee, Tea (Hot or Iced), Soft drink or Juice

$225 Outdoor Activities

Volcanoes National Park Small Group Twilight Tour

Begin your 12-hour, small-group tour with a visit to see two of the world's largest volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The region is locally known as the Saddle, and it's also home to some of the rarest plants and animals in the world. After a brief stop for lunch at Mauna State Park, continue east towards Hilo to explore a lava tube. Here you'll turn on your provided flashlight and look around these spellbinding passages that once carried molten rock from Mauna Loa's upper rift zones to the ocean. From there, head into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park via the Crater Rim Drive. The park, which is both a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Preserve, is filled with must-see spots such as the active Kilauea. Throughout the afternoon, your guide leads your group on moderate 1.5-mile (2 km) hikes, with breaks in between, along mostly flat trails; if need be, you can use provided walking sticks in areas with uneven or muddy terrain. Since Pele (the fire goddess said to live here) is unpredictable, it’s not guaranteed that you get to see lava flowing firsthand on this hike, but your guide will do their best to take you to prime viewing spots if the conditions are safe. When Kilauea isn't erupting, you actually get to walk the summit caldera, peer down steam vents, and marvel at the cinder fields. Such dramatic displays aren't the only natural wonders of the park. You'll also explore trails carved into a native rain forest before you head to a spot where you'll get to see active lava glowing at twilight.Your Big Island volcano tour includes a delicious picnic style dinner.

$65 Water Sports

Night Manta Ray Snorkel

Begin your day with check-in on the north side of Honokohau Marina, where you'll meet your guide who will instruct you on general snorkeling safety and snorkel gear fitting. Once everyone has properly fitted their equipment, it's time for departure out into the waters.It will be a short 20 to 30 minute cruise out into the open ocean off of the Kona coast before you get to the manta site. During your journey, you will be able to view the beautiful Hawaiian sunset. Once you arrive at the site, your guide and Captain will prepare you to go into the water to snorkel with the manta rays.Once you have completely immersed yourself in the experience of having swam with manta rays, it will be an easy climb back onto the boat for a ride back to the harbor. During this tour all of the required equipment is provided. The vessel you will be riding on is equipped with bathroom on board, and drinks & snacks are complimentary as well.