Much of Kaʻu, the southernmost district in Hawaiʻi, feels comfortably stuck in the mid 20th-century. Large ranches and macadamia nut plantations abut forested highlands teeming with deer, goat and mouflon sheep. Below, old plantation towns fringe a sparse wind-swept coastal zone along the deep blue Pacific – the longest uninhabited coastline on the island.
We'll be frank: this isn't where you go for tons of warm aloha or, at least, not the openly given sort you find in more touristed areas. Here, locals fiercely protect their rural, stay-away-from-it-all culture: quashing coastal resorts, lobbying for protected land, pioneering off-the-grid living, and speaking lots of pidgin.
That being said, with the right attitude and sense of adventure, time spent in Kaʻu will add a welcome dash of intrigue to any itinerary.