On the coast of Big Island, Hawaii, you will find the cute little town Kailua-Kona. It’s the perfect starting point for a lot of Hawaiian adventures, like boat tours and loads of watersport activities. Kailua-Kona is surrounded by some amazing places with unique nature, like the Volcano Hualālai north of the town.
Enjoy a stroll along the promenade or rent a car to explore the Kona coast! Of course you can also wind down on one of the many beaches around Kailua-Kona and enjoy the tranquillity of Big Island!
- Our favorite beach: Magic Sands Beach
- Our favorite restaurant: Big Island Grill
- Our favorite boat tours in Kailua-Kona: Captain Cook Snorkeling Tour in Kealakekua Bay
- Our favorite watersport in Kailua-Kona: Clear Bottom Kayak Rental in Kailua-Kona
Language and currency in Kailua-Kona
Like in the rest of Hawaii, there are two official languages in Kailua-Kona on Big Island - English and Hawaiian, the native Hawaiian language. If you speak English, you get around easily in the tourist destinations around Big Island and Kailua.Kona. But of course people will be happy if you learn some basic Hawaiian vocabulary, like Aloha (Hello and Goodbye) and Mahalo (Thank You).
The currency in Kailua-Kona is the USD, and you can easily exchange your currency in the local banks. Credit Cards are also widely accepted in the tourism areas on Big Island.
Getting around in Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona on Big Island is a great starting point for adventures all around the island. However, to explore the most beautiful spots, the best thing is to rent a car. The easiest option is to pick up a rental car at the airport after landing. You can easily book the car in advance online and choose the most convenient and cheapest option for you.
There is also public transportation available between the main destinations on the island, for those who don’t want to travel around too much and prefer staying in one spot. Taxis and rideshare apps are also quite common around the bigger towns.
Best things to do during your holidays in Kailua-Kona
The Honokohau Settlement is an archeological site inside the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Park, just north of Kailua-Kona on the coast. It’s a historic place of ancient Hawaiian civilizations, and used to be a place where early settlers used to go fishing. The location between the mountain and sea attracts a lot of marine life, which made it an important spot for fishing even hundreds of years ago. Today you can admire the sea turtles and a lot of unique bird species around the Honokohau Settlement and in the Kaloko National Park.
This former vacation home from the Hawaiian royal family was built of lava rock at the end of the 18th century. It’s located in the historic part of Kalia-Kona and can be visited today thanks to the reformation done by Daughters of Hawai’i, who turned it into a museum. You can visit Hulihe'e Palace and admire a lot of artifacts from the Hawaiiwan kingdom, as well as typical furniture from the era. If you’re interested in the history of Hawaii, it’s a Must-See during your stay in Kailua-Kona.
The Hualālai Volcano is an active volcano, which has been dormant for over 2000 years, but expected to erupt this century. It lies inland behind Kailua-Kona, and is the third-youngest volcano of Hawaii. On the flanks of the volcano, you can visit the Puʻu Waʻa Waʻa forest park, which is home to a broad variety of unique flora and fauna that live around the volcanic landscape of Hualālai.
Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation
Coffee lovers visiting Kailua-Kona on Big Island will be delighted to learn that there is some exquisite coffee produced locally! Thanks to the rich soil from the Hualālai Volcano, coffee from the Kona coast is famous worldwide for its rich aroma. On the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation you can join a free tour of the farm to learn about the plantation, or book a private tour and enjoy some tasting of the different tastes of coffee!
The best boat tours in Kailua-Kona
The Kona Coast is simply amazing, and surely there is no better way to explore the unique coastline than with a boat tour in Kailua-Kona! We have the best variety of boat tours on Big Island of course!
Join us on the Kealakekua Snorkel and Sail along the Kona Coast to visit the incredible Kealakekua Bay and admire the Captain Cook Monument. This area is also a marine sanctuary, which means that there is a lot of fascinating marine life. Enjoy watching dolphins, sea turtles, manta-rays and depending on the season, even whales in their natural habitat!
If you want a shorter tour to watch the dolphins and whales, you can come along on the Afternoon Marine Adventure in Kailua-Kona to sail along the coast. Thanks to the rich marine life, we don’t have to go out for too long to still be able to enjoy the magical experience of seeing wild dolphins in front of the Kona coast!
Looking for something more exclusive? Of course we also have private charters in Kailua-Kona. This way you can customize your boat tour and celebrate special occasions on your private cruise along the Kona coast, or simply enjoy some quality time with your family or friends on board a private boat!
The best watersports in Kailua-Kona
For those of you visiting Kailua-Kona and Big Island, and looking for something more adventurous, we also have the best watersport activities! How about Night manta ray snorkeling in Kona? This is an absolutely unique experience where you get to snorkel in the dark to observe manta rays in the wild! Sounds unbelievable? Well, we will make it happen during your stay in Kailua-Kona!
If you don’t want to go that crazy and prefer a watersport during the day, join us for the Clear Bottom Kayak Rental in Kailua-Kona. Paddle in our kayaks that have a clear bottom and allow you to admire the underwater sea life while sitting comfortably! Given the sheer variety of colorful fish around Kona Coast, this kayak tour will allow for some incredible memories.
Families visiting Kailua-Kona will love the Family Fish and Snorkel in Kona! This is a fun tour you can do with your kids to bond during your holidays on Big Island. There are a lot of fish of all different sizes to catch off the coast of Kona, and with the help of the experienced guides, you and your family will have a blast on this fishing trip!
What and where to eat in Kailua-Kona
Big Island is famous for amazing nature, but did you know that there are also some delicious regional dishes? One of those dishes you need to try when visiting Kailua-Kona is Musubi! Musubi is a piece of grilled spam between two blocks of rice and wrapped with nori. It’s a super popular snack in Kailua-Kona, so make sure to try it during your stay here. You can get Musubi at most snack spots, and one of the most popular ones is Broke Da Mouth Grindz & Catering.
The Loco Moco is another classic dish on Big Island! It’s a beef patty on top of rice, with gravy and a fried egg on top - sounds yummy, right? At Island Ono Loa Grill you can try it for yourself!
One very special drink that is local to Big Island is Kava. It’s an ancient drink that has been used in Polynesian ceremonies and cultural events for decades. Kava is made of the Kava root, and served with cold water. It has some sedative effect and creates a slight feeling of euphoria, but not in such a strong way as alcohol or Cannabis, so you don’t have to worry about drinking Kava! In Kailua-Kona you can try it at Kanaka Kava.
Enjoy the beautiful beaches around Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona is located right on the coast, and has some amazing beaches to offer. You don’t even need a car to enjoy some sun and sea. Beach lovers will love their stay on Big Island and have lots of beautiful beaches to choose from!
This is one of the most popular beaches in Kailua-Kona, given its super central location right in the heart of the town. It’s a small sandy beach surrounded by palm trees, and a perfect place to enjoy some calm water for snorkeling and refreshing yourselves after soaking up the sun. The sea at Kamakahonu Beach impresses with its turquoise color, and will make you feel like paradise in the middle of the town.
Did you ever dream about swimming with sea turtles in crystal clear waters? At Alula Beach, north of Kailua-Kona, you can make this dream come true! Since you do need a car to get to this beach, it’s not super crowded, so you can enjoy some privacy during your beach day at Alula Beach. Thanks to the sheltering rocks, the water at this beach is rather calm, so even though there are no lifeguards, you can safely swim in the beautiful water. It’s a great beach to relax at with your family!
Kua Bay, also known as Maniniʻowali Beach, is a 20-minute drive away from Kailua-Kona, but if you have the chance, you should definitely visit this little piece of heaven! Laid in the middle of nature, and blessed with white sand and turquoise waters, it is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of Big Island. During Winter, you can even surf some decent waves in this bay, and during summer you can enjoy the rather calm water for snorkeling. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some dolphins passing through the bay!
Whatever you decide to do during your holiday in Kailua-Kona, we promise you will love the boat tours and watersports. Sunshine and a lot of fun are guaranteed! For any further tips or requests, feel free to contact us anytime.