Hawaii Cruise Destination Profile
The eight main islands of the state of Hawaii include: Maui, Oahu, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai, Niihau and Hawaii (the Big Island)
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The Keauhou Trolley
This open air trolley features 22 stops along a route traveling Alli Drive and Palani Rd. Visit shopping areas, restaurants, attractions, beaches and more. You can board the trolley at the Kailua Pier for $2.00 per person per transfer.
Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (August).
Kailua is the start and finish of the annual Ironman World Championship triathlon (October)
Annual Kona Coffee Festival (November)
ports > destinations > Kailua Kona
Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Kailua-Kona is located on the west side (Leeward side) of the island of Hawaii - to avoid confusion with the state of Hawaii, the island of Hawaii is usually called the "Big Island". Kailua-Kona is the center of commerce and tourism on the western half of Hawaii Island. Its post office is designated Kailua-Kona to differentiate it from the larger Kailua located on windward Oahu, and it is sometimes referred to as "Kona" in everyday speech. Kailua-Kona is mostly a continuous strip of eateries, fancy shops and hotels.
The Big Island is home to the most active volcano in the world, located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as the largest mountain in the world in volume (Mauna Loa) and the tallest mountain in the world as measured from its base on the sea floor to its peak (Mauna Kea).
- More about Hawaii Seismic Activity
- Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO)
- HVO Air Quality
- Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (NOAA)
- More about earthquakes: USGS
Good to Know
Port of Entry
Cruise ships anchor in Kailua Bay and passengers are brought to the pier by tender boat. The pier is located on Alii Drive near the heart of Kailua-Kona and within easy walking distance of most attractions.
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Things to do and see
Mauna Kea (13,796 feet), the largest mountain in the world (measured from its base) is a dormant volcano which has become an international center for astronomy. Due to its altitude, latitude, and the lack of interference from city lights, Mauna Kea provides among the best sites on earth for telescopes and several astronomical observatories are located on its summit. The austere Mars-like landscape dotted with technological marvels is worth a look; if it is clear you might also get a look out to Maui. The elevation is high, and there are few tourist support facilities so hiking and exploring are discouraged. No admission charge.
Puuhonua o Honaunau
Great place to visit if you're interested in learning about Hawaiian heritage. Tours, traditional craft demos, simulations of the Hukilau (fishing with ti leaf ropes) and other activities can be seen here (schedules vary).
Lapakahi State Historical Park
Partially-restored fishing village dating back 600 years but abandoned in the 1800s. Located in Kohala, north of Kona, on Highway 270. No admission charge. Self-guided tour.
Van and horseback trips are available from the scenic crest down to the gorgeous valley floor.
A waterfall eleven miles north of Hilo boasts a tremendous sight as the water tumbles 440 feet to its base. The trip from the parking lot around to see Akaka and the smaller Kahuna Falls is about 20 minutes and is suitable for children and anyone who can navigate steps. Akaka is the most spectacular of several waterfalls along the northeast coast of the island on the highway from Wiameia to Hilo.
The beaches of the Big Island, especially on the Kona side, have been consistently voted amongst the best beaches in the world.
Pristine white sand beach unencumbered by modern tourism. Access to this beach is a 20 minute hike from Kekaha Kai Park.
Kehaka Kai Park (Kua Bay)
Good swimming and snorkeling beach. Services include bathrooms, showers and fresh water drinking fountains. Located north of Kona.
Kapoho Tide Pools
Calm conditions offer excellent snorkeling opportunities. The pools are spring-fed, and some are volcanically heated. Limited services available. Located on the southern Puna coast.
The Bay is a marine life conservation district and a popular destination for kayaking, Scuba diving and snorkeling. Settled over a thousand years ago, the surrounding area contains many archeological and historical sites such as religious temples, and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Located on the Kona coast about 12 miles from Kailua-Kona.
Punalu'u beach has black sand made of basalt, (created by lava flowing into the ocean which explodes as it reaches the ocean and cools.) Not a good swimming beach. Located on the southeastern Kau coast, between Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the small town of Naalehu.