What better way to discover everything Hawaii Island has to offer – and perhaps discover the precise area you’d like to make home – than exploring the incredible sights from north to south and east to west?
In this four part series, I’m more than happy to share my must-see-destinations in each of these regions together with brief descriptions of the surrounding residential communities. In part one, I detailed the best of North and South Kohala; this blog explores North and South Kona.
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
With about 1200 acres, the park protects the site of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. Among its many preserved resources are loko i‘a (two fishponds and a fish trap), kahua (house-site platforms), ki‘i pōhaku (petroglyphs), heiau (temples), burial sites, a network of historic trails and Honokohau Beach with its thatched roof canoe house. The early Hawaiians who lived here possessed in-depth knowledge of their natural environment and were ingenious in adapting this seemingly inhospitable, lava field environment for their use. They employed unique fishing and agricultural practices, built large fish ponds and discovered coastal pools with underground fresh water sources to support the villagers. Along with the historic sites found here, native birds – many endangered – can be seen, as well as honu, the beloved green sea turtles that use the beach as a natural resting place. Tidal pools abound with tropical fish and other sea critters. Well maintained hiking paths include the Mamalahoa Trail, a portion of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, and the Ala Hele Ike Trail leading from the park visitor center to Honokohau Beach.
The park is situated just a few miles north of Kailua-Kona Village, the largest commercial and residential community on Hawaii Island’s west side. All shopping, dining, banking, recreation and cultural activities, as well as numerous additional services are found here. A wide variety of real estate opportunities are available from new and more established suburban-type family neighborhoods to vacant land and oceanfront condo developments with resort-style amenities.
End of the World
This easy, scenic coastal trail is located in Keauhou, just six miles south of Kailua-Kona. The 0.8 round trip hike is suitable for all skill levels. While it offers great natural beauty for nature lovers and photographers of all ages and sizes, it ends at a dramatic lava rock cliff that attracts thrill seekers from near and far. They flock here to dive off it with two take-off sites available – one at about a 40-foot elevation and the other at 30 feet. This is definitely not for everyone, only those with strong swimming skills and equally strong knowledge of ocean conditions (currents, riptides, surge, etc…) should consider making the jump. Even small swells can make exiting the water and climbing back up the lava cliff rigorously challenging and dangerous.
Keauhou is a resort town with golf, tennis and boating high on the list of recreational activities. The majority of residential offerings are found in gated, luxury single-home communities or in gated condominium developments with amenities including swimming pools, tennis courts and fitness facilities.
Situated above Kailua-Kona and Keauhou at an elevation of about 1500 feet, Holualoa is the heart of Kona coffee country. It sits gently on the slopes of Hualalai Mountain, offering panoramic views of the ocean and Kona coastline. Historically devoted to farming, the town now shares its space with internationally acclaimed artists and musicians. Art galleries, boutiques, bed and breakfast inns, and a couple of restaurants are all part of the charm, attracting those looking for a laid-back bohemian lifestyle. The Donkey Mill Art Center, a non-profit art collective offering a diverse selection of classes for children and adults, is located here. Guest artists, ever changing exhibits, demonstrations and a small retail shop are all part of the mix. It’s definitely a not-to-be-missed destination for visitors and residents alike.
Properties range from charming, renovated coffee “shacks” and multi-acre properties with coffee and tropical fruit plantings to expansive ranches and luxury estates. Larger, commercial Kona coffee farms complete with roasting and retail facilities sometimes come to market.
Captain Cook Monument Hike
Captain Cook’s Monument Trail is a popular 4-mile roundtrip hike located near the town of Kealakekua. It features beautiful wildflowers, native birds and plants, as well as stunning views of the coastline and bay below. The path, steep with rolling rocks in some places and slippery when wet, has a difficult rating on the hiking scale. It descends some 1300 feet down from the trailhead off of Napo‘opo‘o Road, ending at Kealakekua Bay and the Captain Cook Monument. Follow Highway 11 south (about 12 miles from Kailua-Kona) to Napo‘opo‘o Road. The monument was built in 1874 to commemorate the fallen British explorer who was killed here in 1779. The hike is one of only three ways to access the monument – by boat or swimming are the other two. The bay is well known for its crystal clear water and sea life – spinner dolphins are frequently spotted here along with schools of tropical fish. Humpback whales visit the area during the winter months. Bring your swim suit and take a refreshing dip before heading back up the trail.
Second homes and vacation rental properties are abundant in this area, as well as farms and pockets of multi-acre single family estates. Bed and breakfast inns populate the hillside with stunning coastline and ocean views. Do you envision yourself as a rural innkeeper? These properties become available from time to time.
Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
I highly recommend taking the self-guided tour here to explore the ancient Royal Grounds that were once reserved exclusively for use by the chiefdom of Kona. Beyond the Royal Grounds border wall, you will find the Pu‘uhonua, where people found refuge after war or breaking a kapu (religious law). This walking tour is about a half-mile long and the path is made up of crushed coral sand and lava rock. One section of the island’s 1871 Trail traverses the park and takes you along coastal cliffs (two miles roundtrip) passing numerous ancient historic sites. One of Hawaii Island’s best snorkeling spots, “Two Step,” is found just outside the park to the north of its border. It’s known for its clear, calm waters and diverse sea life.
This region is all about agriculture with sustainable farming the most prevalent method for cultivating a variety of fruits and vegetables. It is also home to the southernmost part of the renowned Kona coffee district. Undeniably rural and somewhat remote, older, established neighborhoods populate the hillsides.
|For information on these attractions or about Hawaii Island real estate opportunities, please contact Ben Slough (S), Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, (808) 854-3375 or firstname.lastname@example.org.