Hilo Travel Guide

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Mauna Kea over Hilo

Mauna Kea over Hilo


Hilo is a sleepy, rainy town located on Hilo Bay on the Windward (Eastern) side of the Big Island of Hawaii.  Hilo has some tourist activities, also has an airport, a few hotels, and miles of beautiful coastline.  White sand beaches are rare in Hilo: black sand and lava rock are more common.

Hilo is laid back Hawaii Island, versus the touristy side in Kona.   Hilo makes a great place to stay for a few days to visit this side of the island and it is less expensive than Kona.

Downtown Hilo has some nice old architecture, such as the Federal Building.  Also the Tsunami Museum is housed in the former Bank of Hawaii building...you can actually watch a documentary movie in the former bank's vault.      There is also the Lyman Museum and this one has some Hawaiian exhibits worth seeing.

You can do a daytrip to the Puna Area and  do a beautiful drive along the lush scenic routes.... you can stop in the city of Pahoa to stock up with groceries at the organic food supermarket,  or drive nearby to a hiking trail.

Another good daytrip is to Volcanoes National Park.   You can spend a whole day there driving  around and going down the Chain of Craters Road and then hiking to the lookout point so you see the lava flowing in the ocean (the island is still growing)

You can also drive north of Hilo and visit the Akaka Falls and the Botanical Gardens. Within an hour's drive north of Hilo there is the Waipio Valley....the scenery there is breathtaking, and be sure to stop at some of the towns on the way.

Roughly halfway between Hilo and Kona on the  Saddle Road (Rte. 200), you can visit the Mauna Kea observatory.   The view is impressive, and if you have a good car (4 wheel drive recommended) you can drive to the Observatory on top...the view is incredible, and in the winter (December months) you may be able to catch some snow up there, as it is over 3000 meters high.  On the way there (just outside of Hilo), you can stop at the caverns, and also at the Rainbow Falls. (good hiking here)

Hilo offers very excellent opportunities for off the beaten path traveling in the islands, definitely a  destination not to be missed, which could also be coupled with a few days visiting South Kona  and the North Kohala Area on the other side of the island.  A rental car is strongly recommended as public transport is very sparse.


September 10, 2006 change by worldtraveler19 (2 points)

October 24, 2005 change by mwhawaii

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