Hawaii’s big island is a truly incredible place shaped by volcanic activity and convergent cultures. Here are the top 5 destinations on the island.
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The ancient royal families of Hawaii would travel to Kailua to rest. The village is now considered to be an important historical zone. King Kamehameha I spent his final years living near the pier in this area, which still has a touch of the regal about it. He was the first king to unite all of the islands of Hawaii into one state. These days, the village has a vibrant nightlife as well as historic temples and buildings.
Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
The Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is a fantastic place to learn about Hawaiian-Polynesian traditions. The park is on the site of a royal refuge – a place where lawbreakers and defeated warriors could escape to in order to be protected by the gods. The site of the original refuge – which dates from the 18th Century – has been restored as a historical park. Lono, the God of life, was believed to protect outlaws and disgraced people so that they could seek redemption in a similar way to how religious buildings offered sanctuary in Medieval England. Today, visitors can gain an insight into Hawaiian religious beliefs and customs during a visit to the park. Only a short drive from the popular Kona hotels, this sacred place is a must-see for people that want to understand more about the Hawaiian people and their relationship to the divine and the islands.
King Kam Beach
King Kam beach – named after the famous ruler that united the islands – is a popular and safe public spot known for pristine sands and incredible wildlife. If you are keen to snorkel, then this is the beach for you. An incredible variety of marine wildlife inhabits the coral and sand reefs around the beach. Because it is sheltered by a lagoon, the beach is safe enough for children to snorkel– making it a perfect destination for families.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Hawaiian islands are volcanic. They are the very peaks of vast volcanoes that form an underwater chain. The islands grow by around 2.75 inches every year due to volcanic activities. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park enables visitors to see geological upheaval in action. The Hawaiian goddess of fire Pele was said to reside in the Halemaleu crater, which is still active and immensely impressive to this day. Volcanoes are not just significant in the creation of Hawaiian geography. They have been instrumental in creating the environment in which we all live.
At 13,800 ft tall, Mauna Kia is the tallest mountain on the island. It offers stunning views – and not just during the day. It is home to an extremely important observatory due to the incredible lack of light pollution. Care should be taken when visiting the mountain, and it is recommended that you head there with an experienced guide.