Five reasons to visit Hawaii’s Kona


There are around one million reasons why you should visit Kailua-Kona, a town on the west coast of Hawaii Island (the Big Island), from erupting volcanoes, to night-time swims with majestic sea creatures, to relaxing on picturesque clifftop hotels.

Here are our top five picks of what to do in Hawaii’s Kailua-Kona:


1. Night dive with manta rays

At night, you can view these majestic manta rays — close relatives of other rays and sharks — either by swimming up close and personal with them on a scuba dive or from a canoe without even getting in the water.

Off the Kona coast, manta rays can grow to 15 feet from wing tip to wing tip, weigh more than 1500kg and can live for 40 or 50 years. But while they are huge, they are gentle, and do not possess stinging barbs like their stingray cousins.

As evening falls, tour boats gather and submerged lights illuminate the area where the mantas come to feed on plankton and perform amazing maneuvers as they feast.

It is a wildlife encounter beyond comparison.

Hawaii Volcano National Park
Hawaii Volcano National Park

2. Hawaii volcanoes

Kilauea and Mauna Loa at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been creating new land, while also devouring homes and roads since its most recent eruption in 1983.

As the most popular attraction among the Hawaiian Islands, thousands have seen its fiery glowing displays and walked through its otherworldly sulfuric clouds.

It’s a must-see, but prepare for a full day of driving, walking or hiking, and some superb sightseeing. 

Royal Sea Cliff Kona by Outrigger
Royal Sea Cliff Kona by Outrigger (Credit: Outrigger)

3. Experience clifftop resorts

Panoramic views of the Kona Coast are just one of the jaw-dropping appeals of Royal Sea Cliff Kona by Outrigger.

These private, family-friendly apartments, situated on dramatic lava-rock bluff and 7 acres of oceanfront, provides guests with breathtaking, ocean views. 

If you would like to take a day off from the sea, the resort features two outdoor pools (one an adults only), a hot tub, sauna, a tennis court, games toom, barbecue areas, and a courtyard with a cascading stream and tropical gardens.

4. Go to a traditional luau

Where can you listen to heart-pumping drums, learn hula and eat to your heart’s content? At a traditional Hawaiian luau.

A luau is a Hawaiian and Polynesian celebration that features music, entertainment, dancing, games, and plenty of traditional Hawaiian cuisine, such as pig, salmon, taro corms, and coconut milk-based desserts.

There are a number of companies that offer luaus for both malihini (newcomers) and kamaaina (longtime residents) around Kona where you can jam it out to Hawaiian music, then kick back and watch Polynesian hula.

5. Eat fresh 

With all of the fresh seafood and perfectly ripened tropical fruits, Hawaii is a gourmet paradise. Here are a variety of dining options available within a 5-minute drive in Kailua-Kona town, perfect to satisfy every taste bud:


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