Hawaii (Big) Island

Hawaii's Island really is big - big spaces, big mountains, big rain, big lava, big beauty.  4,038 square miles of big, bigger than all the other islands combined.  And it's growing.  It's official name is Hawaii Island; it's nickname is Big Island.  There are two airports--one in the midst of a lava field in Kailua-Kona and another located in the "rainiest city in the U.S.," Hilo.

Hawaii Island is located at the southeastern end of the Hawaiian Island chain, and, at less than a million years old, is the youngest island.  It sits on a hotspot on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, which continues to percolate, and is home to Volcanoes National Park and its active volcano, Kilauea, a spectacular sight, indeed.  With a dozen different micro-climates, Hawaii Island offers a level of diversity found no where else in Hawaii.  Mauna Kea commonly serves up arctic-like conditions--yes, we mean snow--and some of the clearest skies in the world, attracting world-class scientists.

Hawaii Island is also known for its coffee, spectacular scuba diving, dolphins and green and black sand beaches.

Arts & Local Culture

The great King Kamehameha statue in front of Aliiolani Hale in Honolulu

Birthplace of Kamehameha. Heiau dot the island. Petroglyph fields and many stories--and artistic work--of fiery Pele.
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Beaches

Underwater photograph of sea turtle by Larry Winnik

White sand beaches. Green. Even black. Just watch where you step: That rock could be a turtle!
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Food & Drink

Ripe Kona coffee cherries in a basket

Locally grown mango, papaya, pineapple, coconut and coffee. We'll also help you find the right restaurant for your tastes.
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Hiking & Land Activities

hiking diamond head, oahu, close up of legs

The island gets bigger every day, as lava oozes out of the earth. Explore 5 national parks and try golf, zipline, maybe an ATV adventure.
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Music & Entertainment

Kumu Keala Ching dancing hula at Keauhou Beach Resort on Hawaii (Big) Island

King David Kalakaua is recognized as reviving the tradition of hula in Hawaii and two annual events honor the "Merrie Monarch's" efforts.
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Romance & Honeymoons

couple walking on beach, closeup of legs

Tour a coffee farm, dive with manta rays, dine at a beachside restaurant, watch sea turtles swim at sunset. Romance abounds.
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Sightseeing & Shopping

Greenwell Farms welcome sign in Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Sun & stars. Volcanoes. Waterfalls & valleys of kings. Volcanic hotsprings. Cowboy country. Navigating a big island requires a good strategy.
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Snorkeling & Water Adventures

Manta ray, underwater photograph, Hawaii Big Island

You may witness net-throw fishing. Snorkel with endemic fish. Dive with manta rays. Or watch lava flow into the sea.
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Spa & Massage

Ono Organic Farms dragon fruit on Maui

Ginger, coconut, tropical fruits, coffee and volcanic clay are some of the local ingredients used in facials, massage and body scrubs.
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Featured Articles

  • Slurp. Swoosh. Spit. Its the Kona Coffee Cupping Event.

    Destination: Hawaii (Big) Island   Article Type: Feature Stories   Article Source: Outrigger

    Kona coffee cupping competition judge takes a good sniffFor the past 25 years as an importer of green specialty coffees from around the world, John King has started his day—and sometimes spent entire days on end—cupping coffee. If you’re going to cup coffee, it doesn’t get much better than the annual Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, held every November.

     

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  • The Cupping Kind: The Remarkable Story of Kona Coffee

    Destination: Hawaii (Big) Island    

    Ripe Kona coffee cherries in a basket“When we were tall enough to walk, mother would give us a sausage can,” recalls 85-year-old Norman Sakata. “We would come home from school and fill the can with beans before dinner. After dinner, we’d go out with a kerosene lamp and pick more coffee. Every bean was money.”

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  • The Art of Making Vanilla

    Destination: Hawaii (Big) Island   Article Type: Feature Stories   Article Source: Outrigger

    hawaiian vanilla pupuA three-mile drive on a curvy, country road along Hawaii Island’s Hamakua Coast will take the full weight of your foot to make the increase in elevation and deliver you to Paauilo, 2,000 feet above sea level. Here, you will relax your foot and step out into the crisp air and face the hefty wooden doors of bright, yellow building with a tin roof that was once a slaughterhouse, coffee mill and is now home to a vanilla farm.

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  • Hamakua Harvest

    Destination: Hawaii (Big) Island   Article Type: Feature Stories   Article Source: Islands of Outrigger

    Hamakua Heritage Farms’ Janice Stanga has just shared with me a little-known fact: it’s pointless to eat mushrooms raw. Unlike vegetables, foodies’ favorite fungi release nutrition only when they are cooked. This is stupendous news for anyone who has tasted a medley of exotics flash-sauteed with garlic and extra-virgin olive oil, then simmered in their own juices and a splash of white wine. Stupendous news.

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  • Ten Fascinating Facts about Seahorses that I Learned from Ocean Rider

    Destination: Hawaii (Big) Island   Article Type: Feature Stories   Article Source: Outrigger

    seahorse at ocean rider on big islandOn three oceanfront acres just south of Kailua-Kona airport on Hawaii (Big) Island, an unusual fish farm quietly operates. For 13 years, Ocean Rider has bred and raised seahorses. That’s right, seahorses. They really do exist.

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  • NASA Astronauts. Scientists. And Hawaiian Gods & Goddesses.

    Destination: Hawaii (Big) Island   Article Type: Feature Stories   Article Source: Outrigger

    mauna kea observatories on big islandMauna Kea rises to 13,796 feet above the sea, centrally located in the middle of Hawaii’s largest island—Hawaii, also known as Big Island. It is the tallest mountain in the Hawaiian archipelago and, measured from its base at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, is the tallest mountain in the world, besting Mt. Everest by a whopping 4,441 feet.

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  • Shaken, Stirred and Moved by Manta Rays

    Destination: Hawaii (Big) Island   Article Type: Feature Stories   Article Source: Outrigger

    Underwater photograph of manta ray by Bo PardauI have long wanted to dive with the manta rays off the coast of Big Island. In Hawaii, dive operators claim the experience is the number one night dive in the world, and I have heard many stories about it.

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  • Beyond the Rim: Hiking Volcanoes National Park with a Guide

    Destination: Hawaii (Big) Island   Article Type: Feature Stories   Article Source: Outrigger

    Warren Costa, Volcanoes National Park guideKilauea is like that. It engenders deeper exploration. So you may hike Kilauea Iki Trail, you may walk through Thurston Lava Tube, and you may even make the 36-mile round-trip drive down Chain of Craters Road at sunset to—hopefully—witness distant streams of surface lava flowing to the sea. But then what?

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