Off the beaten track: Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site

Puukohola Heiau Tclf org
Photo credit: tclf.org

Located beside the small port town of Kawaihae, the Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site is an impressive structure. Built in the late 18th century by Kamehameha I, this site is inextricably linked to the founding of the Hawaiian kingdom. Hiking trails and birdwatching make this well-worth a visit.

History

Pu’ukohola Heiau played a critical role in uniting the Hawaiian Islands. Kamehameha I built the temple due to a prophecy from a priest named Kapoukahi. The priest, told Kamehameha that if he constructed a heiau (temple) on the hill called Pu’ukohoā, and dedicated it to the war god, he would then be able to conquer the islands. The temple was originally built by Kamehameha I in 1790-91. Thousands of men worked for almost a year to build the temple. Upon completion of the temple a chief rival was sacrificed to the war god. Kamehameha I then gained control over the Hawaiian Islands. The monarchy he started lasted from 1810 until 1893.

Where is it?

Photo credit: hawaiitribune-herald.com

The Park is located at 62-3601 Kawaihae Road, Kawaihae. The town of Kawaihae is small with only a few shops and places to eat. This area is the driest part of the entire state of Hawai’i – there is less than 10 inches of rain a year here. 

Directions from Kona International Airport:

Take Highway 19 North for 27 miles. Turn left (north) onto Highway 270 (Kawaihae Road) and go 1/2 mile to the Park entrance (on the left side of highway). Turn left off the highway onto the park road. The Visitor Center is located down the hill just before Spencer Beach County Park.

Directions from Hilo:

Take Highway 19 North 67 miles. Continue on Highway 270 (Kawaihae Road) to the Park entrance (on the left side of highway). Turn left off the highway on to the park road. The Visitor Center is located down the hill just before Spencer Beach County Park.

Directions from North Kohala (Hawi/Kapa’au):

Take Highway 270 South 20 miles to the Park entrance (on the right side of highway). Turn right off the highway on to the park road. The Visitor Center is located down the hill just before Spencer Beach County Park.

Arrival of Keoua Below Puʻukoholā by Herb Kane

What to do

Pu'ukohola and Mailekini heiaus
Photo credit: JustyCinMD / flickr.com

Entry to the historic site is free and the visitors center is open 7:30am – 5pm daily. The visitor center contains a museum with some great exhibits, including an amazing traditional koa wood spear display, and a popular rock-lifting display. There are also some original paintings by artist and historian Herb Kane (the museum is due to reopen to the public November 15). There is also a great view of Puʻukoholā Heiau from the visitor center itself.

There are also a number of hiking trails.

  • The Parkʻs loop trail (1/2 mile)
  • From the Park to Mau’umae Beach (about 3/4 mile) along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail
  • From the Park to Hāpuna Beach (about 3 miles)

Depending on the time of year the Park is a great place to watch the sea life near the shoreline. In the winter it’s a great place to spot humpback whales, while sometimes black-tipped reef shakes and spinner dolphins can also be seen. Or get to the Park early and enjoy the wide variety of bird life.

Pu'ukohola Heiau 2021
Photo credit: nps.gov
Photo credit: nps.gov

Fun fact: Puʻukohola Heiau is best viewed from Kawaihae Harbor Road in the late afternoon. This aspect, with Mauna Kea in the background, makes for a great photo.

Other sites

Also in the Park are some other historical sites of interest.

  • Mailekini Heiau – this was a temple converted into a fort with mounted guns to protect the port.
  • Hale o Kapuni Heiau (Shark Temple) – submerged just off the shoreline of the Park, this temple was for worshipping the shark god that protected the local area.
  • John Young Homestead – the remains of the home of a British sailor who became stranded on the island and then became an advisor to the King.
  • Pelekane (The Royal Courtyard) – just below the temples is the courtyard where foreign dignitaries were received.

If you’re interested in Hawaiian history a visit to the Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site should be near the top of your list. The majestic structure is a fascinating legacy of Kamehameha I’s reign. While its close proximity to nearby Hāpuna Beach makes it the perfect place to visit before a day at the beach. 

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Top 3 coffee farm tours on the Kona Coast

Photo credit: bigislandguide.com

The Kona Coast is home to a thriving coffee growing industry. The Kona Coffee Belt stretches from the hills above Kona down the coast into South Kona. Learn all about Kona Coffee and how itʻs made! We’ve selected our favorite coffee farms to visit on the Big Island.

Kona Coffee Belt Big Island Hawaii
Photo credit: our38ftlife.com

What makes it Kona coffee?

Only coffee grown in the districts of North and South Kona is defined as Kona coffee. The coffee trees grow well on the slopes of the Hualalai and Mauna Loa Mountains, in rich volcanic soil, afternoon cloud cover, and cooler temperatures.

Check the label to be sure it’s 100% Kona coffee. If it’s labeled as Kona blend it means that it contains as little as 10% Kona coffee beans with the rest being a mix of beans from Brazil, Central America, Africa and Indonesia.

How does the coffee process work?

Kona coffee is picked by hand, then pulped, dried and hulled. The beans are then dried and roasted. The key to good coffee is perfecting the art of roasting. After roasting is when oxidation begins and the coffee is at its freshest.

100_Kona_Coffee_Heavenly_Hawaiian_2
Photo credit: heavenlyhawaiian.com

1. Heavenly Hawaiian Farms

Located 20 minutes from downtown Kona, Dave & Trudy Bateman have been operating their coffee farm since 2005. Take the tour, and enjoy a free sampling of their coffee, or enjoy a coffee in their very own coffee bar on the property – the first farm side coffee bar in Kona!

The Tour

Monday – Saturday, every hour from 9am – 4pm. All Ages. Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm.

Tour Length: 1 hour

Cost: $6 each

Heavenly Hawaiian Farms

78-1136 Bishop Rd.
Holualoa, HI 96725

(808) 322 7720

https://heavenlyhawaiian.com

Heavenly Hawaiian
Photo credit: our38ftlife.com
gw-view-of-farm
Photo credit: greenwellfarms.com

2. Greenwell Farms

The Greenwell Family has a rich history of farming and ranching in Hawaii dating back to the 1850s. Greenwell Farms is also renowned for Kona Coffee. Spread over 80 acres, the coffee farm is one the biggest on the island.

Greenwell Farms has a free 45 minute guided tour, daily from 9–3pm. The tour includes a sampling of Kona Coffee. Private and group tours are also available. The farm is located 25 minutes south of Kona.

No reservations are required for these tours. Make sure you arrive 10-15 minutes before the start of the tour.

The Tour

Farm Tours: 9am – 3pm 
(last tour departs at 3pm)

Tour Length: 45 minutes

Cost: Free

Greenwell Farms

81-6581 Mamalahoa Highway
Kealakekua, Hawaii 96750

(808) 323-9616

https://www.greenwellfarms.com

free_farm_tour
Photo credit: greenwellfarms.com
hula-daddy-kona-coffe-beans
Photo credit: inspiredimperfection.com

5. Hula Daddy Kona Coffee

Lee and Karen Paterson have been running Hula Daddy since 2002. Take the private 1 hour tour with coffee tasting or book a private group tour. Visit the orchard and the roasting room. Hula Daddy coffee comes very highly rated by coffeereview.com.

The Tour

Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Hours: 10am to 1pm (except for major holidays)

Closed: Monday, Friday and weekends. Minimum of 2 people to book a tour. 

Tour Length: 60 minutes

Cost: $20 each

Hula Daddy
74-4944 Mamalahoa Hwy
Holualoa, HI 96725

(808) 327-9744

huladaddy.com

hoodie-logo-250x250-circle
Photo credit: huladaddy.com

There is nowhere better to enjoy coffee in Hawaii than the heart of the Kona coffee belt. So if you’re a coffee addict then be sure to make time to visit one of the many coffee farms along the coast and enjoy the unique taste of 100% Kona coffee.

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Wind and cloud patterns on the Big Island

Clouds 5 Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Kona Coast

The Big Island is dominated by a pattern of east-northeast trade winds with an average wind speed of 18 miles an hour for the majority of the year. The terrain of the Big Island, with its high mountain peaks, causes the trade winds to flow around the mountains. This means there is less rainfall on the summits of these mountains. It also means that the leeward side of the island (and the other Hawaiian islands) is typically drier than the windward side of the island – hence Kona is generally dry with low rainfall while Hilo experiences a high annual rainfall.

Clouds 3 Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Big Island

Wind and cloud patterns on the Big Island

The heating and cooling processes of the islands in conjunction with patterns of trade winds contribute to causing these puffy cloud trails. Scientists have determined that as the sun heats the islands, clouds begin to form over the leeside of the island, with the trade winds carrying the warmed air downstream. The surface pressure downstream drops and the convergence increases. The warm air rises, condenses and the cloud trail extends in length. At night the islands cool and the cold air hinders cloud formation as the air moves downstream.

Clouds 1 Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Big Island

On the Big Island the Kona Coast has its own unique cloud processes. Typically clouds begin to form along the coast before noon, while the ocean remains free of clouds. By early afternoon cloud along the coast has extended out to sea. By nightfall the temperature has dropped in the coastal area covered with cloud – indicating that a cloud deck (a bank of cloud that has formed a layer at a specific altitude) has formed.

Clouds 2 Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Big Island

The topography of the Big Island greatly influences the wind and cloud patterns. The strong easterly winds around both the northern and southern ends of the island form a ‘westerly reverse flow’. This flow reaches up to 2000 meters in altitude, just below the dominant easterly trade winds. During the day, as the island heats up, the westerly reverse flow grows stronger and moist air is carried to the Kona Coast. Clouds begin to form on the slopes along the coast, but the reverse flow stops the warmth created by the island from forming the cloud trail typically seen on the other islands.

Clouds 4 Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Mauna Kea, Big Island

The Hawaiian names for wind, clouds and rain

Hawaiians have many names for sky and cloud formations. These names demonstrate the Hawaiian culture’s profound connection to the physical environment.

  • ao puaʻa – these are cumulus clouds of different sizes massed together. These types of patterns are common on the Kona coast, and indicate that good weather is ahead and not a storm.
  • ao pehupehu – common in summer, these refer to cumulus clouds increasing in size. Often present with trade winds, these formations grow darker (especially at their base) causing rain on the windward slopes.
  • hoʻomalumalu – sheltering cloud
  • hoʻoweliweli – threatening cloud
  • ānuenue – rainbow, considered to be a favorable omen
  • ua loa – an extended rainstorm
  • ua poko – a short spell of rain
  • Kūkalahale – the name of a type of wind and rain famous in Honolulu.
  • kili hau – an ice-cold shower, or a cold drizzle.
  • makani – a general term for wind. The prevailing northeast trade winds of Hawaiʻi are called moaʻe, aʻe, aʻe loa, Moaʻe Lehua, or moaʻe pehu. A leeward wind is a Kona wind.
  • Kaiāulu – the name of a gentle trade wind famous in song at Waiʻanae, Oʻahu.
  • ʻōlauniu – the name of a wind on Hawaiʻi. The figurative translation means promiscuous, and a literal translation means coconut-leaf piercing.

The Hawaiian Islands’ cloud patterns are influenced by winds and mountain height as well as the heating and cooling processes of the island itself. These factors affect the cloud formation on the leeside of the islands helping to create this puffy cloud trail phenomenon. On the Big Island though, clouds are formed by more complex processes that create a typically sunny morning, followed by a cloudy afternoon with an increased chance of rain.

Further reading

International Pacific Research Center. (2008). The Cloud Trails of the Hawaiian Isles. IPRC Climate, 8(2). http://iprc.soest.hawaii.edu/newsletters/newsletter_sections/iprc_climate_vol8_2/cloud_trails_hawaii.pdf

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The cattle egret: Hawaii’s elegant predator

Late summer has brought with it the arrival of a flock of cattle egrets to Horizon Guest House. These brilliantly white birds have found a summer home in the monkey pod tree in the upper pasture. Here they roost at night while during the day they follow the animals, keeping flies and insects at bay.

Cattle egrets originated from Africa, arriving in South America in the late 19th century before spreading through most of the continental United States in the 1940s.

They were first introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in 1959 by the Board of Agriculture and Forestry, in conjunction with local cattle ranchers. The birds were an attempt to try and combat the plague of flies that were affecting cattle herds. The flies were responsible for causing lower than usual weight gain in cattle, as well as causing damage to their hides.[1]

In total, 105 birds were released across the islands. By the early 1980s their population had exploded to approximately 30,000 birds.

Cattle egrets typically grow to around 20 inches and are usually seen in large flocks, within close proximity to wetlands.

Our visiting cattle egrets have quickly found a home in the pasture with the horse, donkeys and goats. The birds are content to follow the herd as it migrates about the pasture during the course of the day. Typically, you’ll find the birds perched on the backs of Sunny (the horse) and Poncho and Lefty (the donkeys).

In this way they provide a useful service to the animals, feeding on the flies that might be bothering them, as well as any insects.

Nest predators

Their impact on other endangered birds though is significant. Cattle egrets are known nest predators. In particular, they prey on the nests of the Hawaiian duck (koloa), Hawaiian stilt (aeo), Hawaiian common moorhen (alae ula) and the Hawaiian coot (alae keokeo). There are even instances of cattle egrets taking prawns from aquaculture farms![2]

The original intention of introducing cattle egrets was to use them as ‘biological control agents’.[3] Instead, these birds have joined a long line of other introduced species that, having failed to solve their original objective, have become part of a bigger problem – causing disruption to indigenous fauna.

Control order

In 2017, a control order was introduced for migratory bird species in Hawaii.[4] This control order targeted cattle egrets and barn owls. It identified them as invasive and threatening to native species. It also concluded that these bird populations could not simply be keep under control by non-lethal means. The order sanctioned the culling of cattle egrets by state and federal employees of specified agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Recognizing the fragile nature of Hawaii’s ecosystem is important to understanding why such action is necessary. Invading or introduced birds like the cattle egret have changed the habitat of some of our most precious and endangered species.[5] Controlled culling of cattle egrets may be the only way Hawaii can safeguard some of its most precious residents from the threat of extinction.

The cattle egret is an elegant bird and provides a service to cattle and other animals, but it’s relationship with endemic species remains problematic.

References

Cattle egret. (n.d). [1] Kaelepulu Wetland. https://kaelepuluwetland.com/birds/cattle-egret/

Cattle egret: Bubulcus ibis. (2012, August 13). [2] Hawaii Forest & Trail. https://www.hawaii-forest.com/cattle-egret-bubulcus-ibis/

Fish and Wildlife Service Interior. (2017, August 24).[4]Migratory bird permits: control order for introduced migratory bird species in Hawaii. Federal register: the daily journal for the United States government. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/07/25/2017-15471/migratory-bird-permits-control-order-for-introduced-migratory-bird-species-in-hawaii

Gosser, R. (2017).[5] From solution to problem: the irony of invasive species. Ke Kalahea, (4). https://hilo.hawaii.edu/news/kekalahea/the-irony-of-invasive-species-2017

Paton, P.W.C., Fellows, D.P. & Tomich, P.Q. (1986). [3] Distribution of cattle egret roosts in Hawaii with notes on the problems egrets pose to airports. ‘Elepaio, 46(13), 143-147. https://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/paton/paton6.pdf

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Integrating solar hot water on the Big Island

Solar hot water Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii

The Big Island is known for sun, surf and adventure. Here on the Kona Coast we have an abundance of sunny days that make it the perfect location to install solar panels. Horizon B&B has integrated solar hot water to help reduce the cost of heating water by electricity. This system is simple to implement and low-maintenance.

Domestic solar hot water supply

The Horizon Guest House domestic hot water supply is supplemented by a separate solar system. First installed over twenty-five years ago, the solar panels are all located in positions to best maximize the power of the sun.

There are two solar panels located next to the vegetable garden. Water is pumped from the house to the solar panels whenever the sensors on the panels detect that the temperature of the panels is greater than the temperature of the hot water heater in the house. When this occurs the pump system is activated. The water is circulated out to the panels, heated, and then sent back to the house.

Delta-T thermostat on the hot water heater

Swimming pool solar hot water

The solar system is also used to heat the swimming pool water. A larger bank of panels is located on the hillside below the pool. On sunny days, the sun heats a sensor near the pool. This sensor compares the temperature of the water in the pool with that of the temperature of the panels. When there’s enough temperature difference between the two, a valve opens and water is sent to the solar panels to heat the pool. When the sun goes away, the sensor cools and it automatically shuts the valve.

Solar hot water Horizon

Guest wing solar hot water supply

There is a separate bank of solar panels to heat the domestic water supply for the guest wing. These panels are located on the hillside below guest room number 4. When the sensor heats to a certain level, the water is circulated to the panels.  

The sensor on all three banks of solar panels will activate the circulation of water when the temperature difference reaches 15 degrees. For example, if the temperature in the hot water heater is 127 degrees then the temperature in the solar panels needs to reach 142 degrees before the valve will open and the water is sent out. We have set the hot water heater to switch to electric only when it goes below 110 degrees. As a safety precaution the temperature shut-off is 160 degrees. This is to avoid sending water that would simply be too hot back to the water heater. The water sent to the water heater remains at temperature for 2-3 days due to the water heater being well-insulated.

Solar hot water helps heat our outside shower

The solar hot water system has been a great way to utilize the power of the sun to help heat the water needed to run the bed and breakfast. These systems are relatively easy to install and the differential temperature thermostat is key to integrating solar panels with a standard electric hot water heater.

Further reading:

In 2010 it was mandated that solar water heaters be complusory on all new single-family homes constructed in Hawaii.

https://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-energy-news/solar-hot-water-heaters-mandatory-in-hawaii

 

 

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Custom cycle tours on the Big Island of Hawaii

Cycle tour Big Island Hawaii Horizon B&B

Have you ever wanted to cycle the Big Island at your own pace? Ever wondered what it would be like to do a cycle tour without having to worry about your luggage? With a customized cycle tour you can do all of this as well as making Horizon Guest House a destination on your itinerary.

2 Cycle tour Arrival Horizon Guest House Hawaii

Lifecycle Adventures offers customized bicycle tours on the Big Island of Hawaii. They take care of all the logistics, transporting your luggage to your destination while you enjoy the day’s cycle route. A support van is always close by if you need anything.

Cycle tour arrival Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Bruno, Lifecycle Adventures host

Lifecycle are operated by locals who live and cycle on the island. Bruno will take care of all your cycling needs, and help plan the best cycle itinerary to meet your ability.

Cycle tour arrival luggage Horizon Guest House Hawaii

Enjoy the cycle ride and relax in the knowledge that your luggage will arrive safely at your destination.

Janet Michael Nancy David
Janet, Michael, Nancy and David

Our most recent Lifecycle Adventurers. Their itinerary included a route down the Kona Coast from Waikaloa.

Dinner with a view

Cycle tour dinner prep Horizon Guest House

After a day out on the bicycle what could be better than grilling out by the pool. If you’d rather not eat out, Horizon Guest House has everything you need to make dinner. This option is perfect if you’ve spent the day cycling to Horizon and would rather sit back with a glass of wine.

Cycle tour dinner Horizon Guest House

On tour

Cycle tour cycle day Horizon Guest House
Returning to Horizon

This touring group stayed two nights and cycled down to Two Steps on day two. Cycling the Big Island is all about the variation in both climate and landscapes. Whether it’s the white sand beaches north of Kona, the coffee country and sweeping vistas of South Kona, or the mint-green hill country around Waimea, a cycle tour is a great way to see the island.

Photo credit: David Goldbloom

Spend the day out on the bicycle and return to Horizon to soak in the views from your guest room lanai.

Cycle tour animals Horizon B&B Kona
David feeding Poncho

Make sure you leave time on your cycle tour to visit with the Horizon farm animals. Clem always has snacks on hand for Poncho and Lefty (the donkeys), and Sunny (the horse).

Cycle tour animals B&B Horizon Kona
Michael and David admiring Sunny

Cycling tours are available year round, starting or ending in either Waikoloa or Kona. Tour length is typically between 3 to 10 days. There are two types of tours – self-guided or guided.

On a self-guided tour the local guide will organize your transfers, luggage delivery, and will also be on call for any help in the event of flat tires or mechanical problems.

On a guided tour the local guide will explore a destination with you and a support vehicle will be available at all times.

Cycle tour animals Horizon B&B Kona
Sunny loves to be feed and brushed.
Cycle tour Horizon B&B Kona
Photo credit: David Goldbloom

Day two

Cycle tour dinner Horizon Guest House Kona
Nancy and Janet

The tour group preparing dinner and enjoying another amazing Kona Coast sunset.

20 Cycle tour Nancy and Michael Horizon GH
Nancy and Michael

Photo credit: David Goldbloom

Dinner by candlelight...

Cycle tour final photo Horizon B&B
Photo credit: David Goldbloom

Enjoy the best of the Big Island at a slower pace with a custom cycle tour on the Kona Coast. 

For more information about Lifecycle Adventures https://www.lifecycleadventures.com/hawaii-bike-tours/ 

For more information on cycling on the Big Island check out our blog post https://horizonguesthouse.com/2019/10/12/the-horizon-bicycle-diaries/ 

Special thanks to Bruno at Lifecycle Adventures, and to David for supplying some amazing photos.

To make a reservation at Horizon Guest House click the Book Now button below.

To Grill or Not to Grill?

South Kona has many great restaurants, from casual to fine dining, but sometimes, at the end of a long day of adventures on the Big Island, staying in and grilling out sounds even better.

At Horizon Guest House we offer an alternative to restaurant dining – our very own BBQ area. Located right next to the infinity pool, our BBQ area is complete with everything you need. We have a large gas BBQ, an ample-sized bench area for food preparation, a working sink, and all the dishes, flatware and cooking utensils you could need.

Give yourself a break from the restaurant routine

Nothing is better than a home-cooked meal. Here at Horizon you can enjoy everything a traditional bed and breakfast has to offer as well as the ability to cook out. Make the most of produce from local farmers markets, locally sourced meat and seafood, and grill your choice of steak, chicken or fish on our BBQ.

Grill with a view

Enjoy your meal at one of the nearby tables overlooking the pool and the Kona Coast. Toast the sunset at the end of the day, safe in the knowledge that you can have a drink without worrying about having to drive – your room awaits only a short walk away.

Not just dinner

Fancy a lazy afternoon BBQ by the pool? Use the poolside kitchen area to make lunch as well. All guest rooms have their own refrigerator and guests are welcome to use the much larger shared refrigerator in the guest utility room.

Horizon Guest House laundry Big Island Hawaii
Utility room with guest refrigerator

The guest refrigerator is the perfect place to store all the groceries you need for your lunch or dinner creation. The poolside kitchen area is already stocked with a basic set of utensils but let Clem know if there’s something else you need for the meal you have planned – he’s more than happy to help make your lunch or dinner unforgettable.

Tip: Don’t hesitate to buy that bottle of wine – we have wine glasses you can use, and of course an ice cold refrigerator to keep it chilled.

Where to shop

Now you’ve decided to grill out, so where should you shop? Let us help. Below is a list of local stores, beginning near the airport and heading south toward Horizon Guest House. Most are on Highway 11 or a short distance down a side road.

1. Costco

Costco Kona Hawaii
Photo credit: https://bit.ly/36ro31a

Familiar to all Americans, Costco has everything you need. For non-residents, please be aware you will need to be a Costco member to shop here. Only 12 minutes, or 4.6 miles, from the Kona Airport. Hours: Mon – Fri 10:00am – 8:30pm, Sat 9:30am – 6:00pm, Sun 10:00am – 6:00pm. More details https://www.costco.com/warehouse-locations/kailua-kona-HI-140.html

2. Safeway

Safeway Kona Big Island Hawaii Horizon Guest House
Photo credit: https://bit.ly/37ARcbG

No membership necessary. Great all-purpose grocery store. Located on Henry Street, just above Wal-Mart and about 500 feet from Highway 11. Open 24 hours. https://bit.ly/2t3FIOM 

3. Kona Butcher Shop

Kona Butcher Shop Kona Big Island Hawaii
Photo credit: https://bit.ly/36oVqS8

New to Kona, this butcher shop opened just last year and supplies locally sourced meat and seafood. Hours: Tues – Fri 10:30am – 6pm and Sat – Mon 11am – 5pm. http://konabutchershop.com

4. ChoiceMART

ChoiceMart Captain Cook Hawaii
Photo credit: https://bit.ly/37wkg3P

Less than 10 miles from Horizon Guest House, and often called ‘our country mini Safeway’, it stocks a great variety of groceries, a good selection of produce and has a new seafood deli section. https://www.choicemarthawaii.com

Added bonus – Kona Brewery is on tap. Purchase a growler (jug) of your favorite Kona Brew. https://konabrewingco.com

So why not take advantage of something that few B&Bs offer – outdoor kitchen facilities – and enjoy a homemade meal beside the pool with the magnificent Kona Coast as your backdrop.

To make a reservation at Horizon Guest House click the Book Now button below.

Author: Angus Meek

The Kona Street Market & Sunset Saturdays

Kokoua Village Stroll Kona Street Market
Photo credit: www.historickailuavillage.com

For one Sunday afternoon every month Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona’s historic village is closed for traffic and the street transformed into a vibrant, pedestrian-only marketplace. The Kona street market is known as the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll and makes for a great way to shop, dine and buy locally made produce – all while supporting a special community event.

Kona Stroll Big Island Hawaii
Photo credit: www.bigislandguide.com

When is it?

The Kona Stroll is held on the third Sunday of every month between 1–6pm. This year the dates for the Kona street market are as follows:

Kona Stroll 2020

January 19, February 16, March 15, Saturday, April 4 coincides with Hawaiian Mission Bicentennial celebration, May 17, June 14, July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, December 13.

Kailua-Kona Stroll Big Island Hawaii Kona Street Market
Photo credit: www.bigislandguide.com

Where is it?

75-5677 Ali’i Drive. This stretch of Ali’i Drive runs along the waterfront in Kailua-Kona’s historic village. This picturesque location, overlooking Kailua Bay, gives locals and tourists alike the opportunity to stroll the marketplace, as well as adjoining shops and restaurants.

What to expect at the Kona Street Market

Stalls sell a range of merchandise including koa wood products, natural oils, and plenty of other homemade creations – including jams and chutneys. There are also food stalls and arts and craft sellers.

 

Fun fact: Kokua is a Hawaiian word that means to help others. In this context it encompasses the idea of helping others in the community by giving your time. Think of your stroll amongst the marketplace as a way to help support the local community.

Kona Street Market
Photo credits: www.historickailuavillage.com

An Afternoon at Hulihe'e Palace

Hulihee Palace Kona Street Market
Photo credit: www.wheretraveler.com

In the heart of Kailua-Kona’s historic village is Hulihe’e Palace. Originally built as a vacation home for Hawaiian royalty in 1838, the palace is used today to showcase Victorian-era artifacts from the reign of King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi’olani. Also on show – koa wood furniture, portraits, kapa*, feather work, Hawaiian quilts and other royal artifacts.

On the same Sunday as the scheduled Kona Stroll the palace holds an ‘Afternoon at Hulihe’e Palace’ – a festive cultural afternoon with hula and mele (chants, songs or poems). This is a great way to experience local Hawaiian culture – suitable for the whole family.

Hulihee Palace Kona Coast Big Island Street Market
Photo credit: www.bigislandguide.com

The concert, held on the palace lawns, features free music and performances from the Hulihe’e Palace Band and the Merrie Monarchs Chorale as they perform traditional and modern Hawaiian music. The music starts from 4pm.

Did you know? *Kapa is the Hawaiian word for barkcloth. Usually made out of paper mulberry, hibiscus or even breadfruit bark, Hawaiian kapa is different. Hawaiians use a watermark to decorate kapa. These watermarks are small designs that can be seen clearly when the kapa is held up to the light. Kapa was often used for clothing, or even bed covers for those lucky enough to be of a chiefly caste.

For more information on this fascinating subject: https://www.mauimagazine.net/beauty-in-the-bark/

Missed the Kona Stroll?

Hawaiian Sunset Saturdays
Photo credit: www.thisweekhawaii.com

If you missed the stroll why not head along to another great free event held on Ali’i Drive in the historic village. Hawaiian Sunset Saturdays is held on the last Saturday of every month from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. This community event is a great way to celebrate the amazing Big Island sunsets with live music and hula.

Bring a beach blanket or a lawn chair and enjoy the view.

Where? The lawn at Coconut Grove Marketplace, 75-5809 Ali’i Drive.

To see a complete listing of all the dates for the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll and Hawaiian Sunset Saturdays, download the PDF here.

Hawaiian Sunset Saturdays Kona Big Island Hawaii
Photo credit: www.thisweekhawaii.com

To make a reservation at Horizon Guest House click the Book Now button below.

Author: Angus Meek

Manta Ray Diving on the Kona Coast

Last Updated on January 4, 2021 by Horizon Guest House.
Manta Ray Kona Hawaii Big Island Horizon B&B
Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

The Big Island of Hawaii is famous for many things but perhaps one of the most popular and unique attractions is the manta ray night dive. Don’t worry if you’re not a certified diver – snorkelers can still experience the thrill of being close to these majestic creatures.

Why are manta rays so special?

The manta rays inhabiting the Kona Coast are reef manta rays, one of the largest species of manta rays in the world. These amazing creatures can grow in size to anywhere between 12 and 18 feet. Life expectancy can be anywhere up to 50 years.

Manta rays are filter feeders – they survive on plankton. By gliding through the ocean with their giant mouths open they filter the plankton out of the water. The reef manta rays are so-called because they prefer to stay close to the coast of the Hawaiian islands.

Did you know? Manta rays derive their name from the Portuguese and Spanish word for ‘mantle’ which is a blanket-shaped trap historically used to catch this type of fish.

Manta Ray Night Diving Kona B&B Horizon
Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

Why night dive with the mantas?

A night dive with mantas is essential in order to see these great creatures up close. Their prey, the plankton, are light sensitive and are drawn to the glow of dive flashlights – providing a perfect meal for the manta rays.

This creates the perfect environment for a close encounter with the mantas. If you choose to scuba you will be weighted so that you can sit comfortably on the sea floor around a collection of dive lights, a kind of ‘campfire’, while the mantas circle above – almost like a scene out of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’.

If you choose to snorkel you’ll have a very similar experience at approximately 30 feet above. Snorkelers gather around a floating raft with bright lights that also attract the mantas. The dive itself lasts for approximately 45-60 minutes. The mantas will swim very close, but don’t worry they’re too focused on enjoying their meal to worry about you!

Fun fact: Don’t be afraid! The manta rays are large but harmless. They do not have stingers, barbs or teeth.

Where are the mantas?

There are two principal dive sites. The main dive site is near the Kona Airport runway, about a 25-30 minute boat trip from Honokohau Harbor. In this location there can be as many as two dozen mantas congregating during a night dive. The other, less well-known site is near the Sheraton Hotel in Keauhou Bay.

Several companies run charters out to these dive sites – we recommend Big Island Divers https://bigislanddivers.com/

Sustainable manta ray snorkeling

If you prefer a less crowded snorkel experience then Manta Ray Advocates might be for you. They adhere to strict guidelines to make sure the manta rays don’t get disturbed by your presence. They approach the mantas from the beach, an eco-friendly alternative to sightseeing boats. Experience the thrill of the manta rays in a safe, private setting, and in a small group (each group is limited to 6).

Manta Ray Dive Kona

 

Did you know? In Hawaii the manta rays are a protected species – it is illegal to hunt or fish them. Hawaiian mythology depicts the manta as catching the setting sun in their mouths before swimming to the other side of the island to deliver the sunrise. Find out more about manta ray preservation and protection from Manta Ray Advocates https://mantarayadvocates.com

What else might I see when diving on the Kona Coast?

Open Ocean Ray Kona Hawaii Horizon Guest House
Open ocean manta - Chill Ray / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

While it’s almost guaranteed* that you’ll see reef mantas during the night dive, there’s plenty to see during the day too. If you’re lucky you might see the pelagic or open ocean manta. I was lucky enough to spot one (see above), an individual that had never been photographed before.

*Big Island Divers offer either a 50% discount on a seat for another manta charter, or a 100% discount on standby availability seats for another one-tank manta charter, if no mantas are seen during a dive.

Did you know? Mantas, like humpbacks, have individual markings. These markings are catalogued by marine biologists. Let me know if you see the manta I photographed – it’s officially named ‘Chill Ray’.

Open Ocean Ray Chill Ray Kona B&B Horizon
Open ocean manta - Chill Ray / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

Whether scuba or snorkeling you’ll see plenty of yellow tang (a surgeon fish).

Yellow tang Kona Hawaii Horizon Guest House
Yellow tang / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

Almost as equally prevalent is the raccoon butterfly fish.

Raccoon butterfly fish
Raccoon butterfly fish / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

Don’t forget the turtle! An encounter with a sea turtle is an unforgettable experience.

Sea turtle Kona Hawaii Big Island
Sea turtle / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

When scuba diving at the Kona Airport dive site you may encounter Hawaiian garden eels. These eels rise out of the sand to feed but keep part of their body in their burrow in order to instantly pop back down when threatened.

Anthias damsel fish Kona Hawaii Big Island
Bi-color anthias and black and white damsel fish with Hawaiian garden eels in the background / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

There is also plenty of cave diving on the Kona Coast – some near the manta dive sites. Here you’re likely to see fish that feed at night like the menpachi, see below.

Menpachi Kona Hawaii Big Island Horizon B&B
Menpachi with a solitary cleaner wrasse / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

You may also see soft coral on cave ceilings and walls.

Soft Coral Kona Hawaii
Soft coral / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

If you’re lucky you might even see a ‘ruby’ among the coral – a flame angelfish.

Flame angelfish Kona Hawaii
Flame angelfish with kole surgeon / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

Count yourself extremely lucky if you spot our endangered monk seal. Rarely seen anymore, but it’s still possible.

Monk Seal Kona Hawaii Horizon Guest House
Monk seal / Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

Don’t forget to book your dive trip early – the manta ray dives and snorkel tours can book up fast.

To make a reservation at Horizon Guest House click the Book Now button below.

Author: Angus Meek

Top 5 hiking trails on the Kona Coast

Captain Cook trail Kona
Captain Cook Monument trail / Photo credit: Lang Parker

Stretch your legs and work off those holiday cocktails by taking a hike during your stay on the Big Island. There are plenty of spectacular hiking trails on the Kona Coast – these are our top 5

1. Captain Cook Monument Trail

The Captain Cook Monument trail is 1.8 miles each way. We recommend you start your hike early, taking care on the trail as you descend down into the bay – look out for wild pigs and goats. Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge) will be visible once you emerge from the tall elephant grass that surrounds the trail for the first mile or so. Toward the end of the trail there are two paths – one directly down to the bay, and the other to the monument. The change in elevation is 1300 ft. so be prepared for the return hike by making sure you bring plenty of water, sunscreen and appropriate footwear. Don’t forget your snorkeling gear – Kealakekua Bay has some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii.

Fun fact: The land within the chained-off area surrounding the Captain Cook Monument is actually the only remaining British territory in the United States.

Getting there: The Captain Cook Monument trail is approximately 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona. Turn onto Napo’opo’o Road from Highway 11 and the beginning of the trail is around 50 yards from the turn off. Parking is on the roadside.

Drive time from Horizon: 20 minutes north

Captain Cook trail
Photo credit: Horizon Guest House

2. Makuala O'Oma Trail

Makuala O'Oma Trail Kona Hawaii
Photo credit: https://bit.ly/2Dw9NrN

The Makuala O’Oma trail is a 1.5 mile loop trail located at the Makahi Street trailhead above Kailua-Kona. There are a number of additional trails accessed from this starting point but this loop is perfect for hikers of all abilities. The track cuts through lush forest, remaining shaded and cool the entire way – the temperatures are significantly lower at this elevation (3500 ft.) than in Kailua-Kona. We recommend using a map (alltrails.com provide comprehensive maps) or GPS on your phone, since some of the trails are not well marked.

Fun fact: In the mid-1990s the Hawaii State Department of Forestry and Wildlife, in partnership with TREE (the Tropical Reforestation & Ecological Education organization), began a reforestation program for koa trees in the area.

Getting there: Head out of Kailua-Kona on Kaloko Drive and turn onto Makahi Street. The trailhead is at the end of the street. Park on the side of the road.

Drive time from Horizon: 55 minutes north

Makuala O'Oma Trail Kona Hawaii 2
Photo credit: Hawai'i Birding Trails https://bit.ly/2Dw9NrN

3. Makalawena Beach Trail

Makalawena beach Kona Hawaii 2
Photo credit: Erin Hinz

What could be better than a hiking trail to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island! Makalawena Beach is part of Kekaha Kai State Park and the hike is approximately a 4 mile return journey. From the parking area (see the Getting there section below) walk west on the road where you’ll eventually find a gate just north of Makalawena. The beach is another quarter mile from the gate. Don’t forget to stay on the beach as the surrounding area is private property.

Fun fact: Kekaha Kai State Park comes from the Hawaiian phrase ke kaha kai, which means ‘the shore line’.

Getting there: You can hike to Makalawena Beach from the north or the south. We recommend the hike in from the north. From Highway 19 north of Kailua-Kona turn off onto the dirt road just south of the road to Kua Bay – between mile markers 88 and 89. Park just off the highway before the road conditions get rough (4WD vehicles may travel farther but we don’t recommend it).

Drive time from Horizon: 57 minutes north

Makalawena beach trail Kona Hawaii 1
Photo credit: Donnie MacGowan

4. Pu'u Ku'ili Trail

Pu’u Ku’ili is the cinder cone clearly visible from highway 19 north of Kona. An easy hike, this short walk is perfect to begin or end the day – and an incredible location to view the sunrise or the sunset. The trail approaches the cone by ascending the western ridge to the summit. From the small parking area below, this hike is less than half a mile, with an elevation change of only 175 feet. Tip: Combine this mini-hike with the longer hike to Makalawena beach.

Fun fact: Don’t stay too late, the gates to Kua Bay shut at 7pm. If you want to arrive for the sunrise, park on the side of the road near the locked gates and walk in.

Getting there: From highway 19 take the paved road to Kua Bay, between mile markers 88 and 89. Follow the paved road for a half mile until you pass Pu’u Ku’ili. There is a small parking area to the left – either park here, or farther down at the Kua Bay parking area and walk back up the road.

Drive time from Horizon: 59 minutes north

5. Manukā Nature Trail

Manuka Nature Trail
Photo credit: W Nowicki CC BY 3.0, Link

The Manukā Nature trail is part of the Manukā Natural Area Reserve and the trailhead is at the Manukā State Wayside Park. This is a 2 mile loop trail, and includes a pit crater. Take care on the track, the terrain is quite rocky and can be challenging. Allow a couple of hours to complete the loop.

Getting there: Manukā State Wayside Park. Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 11), 19.3 miles west of Na’alehu.

Fun fact: The Manukā State Wayside Park contains an arboretum (a botanical collection of trees) originally planted in the mid-19th century and now boasts more than 40 species native to Hawaii.

Drive time from Horizon: 28 minutes south

Manuka Trail Hawaii Pit Crater
Photo credit: Jeremy Dye

To make a reservation at Horizon Guest House click the Book Now button below.

Author: Angus Meek