Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour 1
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Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour

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Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to a Big Island Kona things to do tour. When I took my two-week trip to Hawaii, I quickly learned that each island has its own personality. Kauai is the Charlotte, Oahu is the Miranda, and then I guess Maui is the Samantha.

Well, I guess if I am extending this analogy, then the Big Island is the Carrie. You know, it’s kind of split between its sunny side and its rainy side, much like Carrie was so often torn between Big and Aidan.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Big Island Kona Things to Do

#1 TOP PICK

Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
BIG ISLAND TOUR
✔️ Black sand beaches
✔️ Visit a volcano

#2 PICK

Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour 3

KONA FOOD TOUR
✔️ Delicious Hawaiian treats
✔️ Expert local guide

#3 PICK

Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour 4

ALL OTHER KONA TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

The Big Island is also quite Big, why I suggest booking this fantastic guided excursion as a Big Island Kona things to do tour from Kailua-Kona. It will take you to all the most famous natural beauty spots on this gorgeous island in one easy trip.

Check rates and availability for this incredible tour right here.

Then get ready to join me for an amazing day!

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Where to Stay?

For your Big Island Kona things to do tour, you’re going to want to stay in a hotel in Kona. Unfortunately, these hotels can get to be crazy expensive, especially if you visit during spring vacation, like I did.

That’s why I recommend staying at the Aeolian Ranch. It’s on a gorgeous property with beautiful horses and gardens that you can stroll at your leisure. There’s free coffee and wifi in the morning, so it’s quite convenient. More importantly, it’s actually affordable, so you can save your vacation money for fun stuff.

If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.

And if you’re looking for other hotel options in Kona, check out these fantastic prices on many other hotels in Kona.

You can explore the best deals on many hotels in Kona here.

This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay as the base for your Big Island Kona things to do tour. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Morning: Black Sand and Volcanoes

The tour leaves at a fairly early hour–my pickup time was around seven in the morning. The duration of the tour was about eleven hours, and that’s because you’re seeing the whole island. That’s why I suggest making your dinner reservation as late as you possibly can, and make sure it’s located right in downtown Kona so you don’t have to worry about getting an Uber.

Check rates and availability right here.

Our guide, who was a lifelong Big Island resident, was full of an astounding amount of information. Seriously, there was no way that I could remember all of it, even if I had the memory of a Jeopardy champion, and I was also an elephant.

However, I do want to give you a hint about what to expect with…

Approximately Top 5: Big Island Kona things to do tour

Big Island Kona things to do tour
1) Coffee Plantation

You might be aware that Hawaii is famous for its wonderful coffee. People have Hawaiian coffee shipped to their houses all over the world. Possibly penguins even have the coffee shipped out to Antarctica. That’s how popular this coffee is.

That’s why we’re lucky to be able to try some coffee at the Bay View Farms. Our guide, whom I shall call Ted, took us on a lovely walking tour of the farm, so we could see exactly how the coffee is made. There are coffee plants all over the farm, but there’s also banana trees and gorgeous flowers, so it’s a scenic walk, even if you already know how coffee gets made.

They make different roasts at Bay View, like medium and dark, and they also make a rarer peaberry coffee, which is made with smaller beans. The peaberry coffee is more expensive than the regular coffee, but that doesn’t make it less popular because every time I check the website, the peaberry coffee is sold out.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Of course you get to sample some coffee for free, and then you get to take a bag or two of coffee beans home with you, not for free.

I bought a bag of coffee, and I regret nothing because it made my mornings feel a little special, as if I were still back in Hawaii. At least until the coffee ran out.

Big Island Kona things to do tour
2) Punalu’u Bake Shop

This bakery is famous for its Hawaiian sweet breads, known as malasada. They’re actually a Portuguese treat, and they show the influence of Portuguese immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands.

As I mentioned, this tour leaves early in the day, so you probably won’t have time for breakfast. That’s why it’s nice that we had some coffee, and we’re now moving on to breakfast at the Punalu’u Bake Shop.

If you’ve ever had a jelly donut or a cream-filled donut, then you’ve had something very similar. However, these malasada are special because they come in uniquely Hawaiian flavors. I opted for lilikoi, aka passionfruit, and I ended up licking all the frosting off my fingers.

Big Island Kona things to do tour
3) Black Sand Beach (Punalu’u Beach)

Hawaii, as a state, is hardly starved for natural beauty. In my time in Hawaii, I visited four different islands and saw enough gorgeous places to last these old eyes a lifetime. However, I can honestly say that the black sand beach, aka Punalu’u Beach, is one of the most memorable sights I beheld in my entire time in Hawaii.

Of course, the black sand isn’t of mysterious origin. It’s created by lava from the nearby volcanoes flowing into the ocean. (Don’t worry about the volcanoes. They didn’t erupt during my Big Island Kona things to do tour, so I’m sure they won’t erupt during yours.)

However, just knowing where the black sand comes from doesn’t make it less magic in appearance.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

You’ll have some free time to wander the beach and explore the area. When you’re ready, it will be the time on your Big Island Kona things to do tour to get lunch, which is included with the price of the tour. Just be aware that if you have dietary restrictions, like being vegetarian, you’ll have to notify them before the day of the tour.

Ted explained that the lunch was chicken teriyaki because Japanese food is so popular in Hawaii. It was certainly warm and flavorful, which made me feel happy and full until dinner.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Also, don’t miss the chance to see the rare green turtles that hang out in the water near the beach. Ted helped us spot them, which can be tricky because they look like rocks. (Can you see the turtle in my photo above? I promise he is there if you look carefully.

Big Island Kona things to do tour
4) Volcano Time!

At last! We’ve made it to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, in case you’re trying to check all the national parks off your bucket list. And we’ll be meeting the craters of Kilauea, perhaps the most famous volcano of them all.

Ted warned us that this was still an active volcano, and that we should be careful around it. Sometimes people do ridiculous things like try to climb in the steam to get warm, and this is a good way to die extremely quickly. So don’t let this happen to you!

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Speaking of an active volcano, we learned that the caldera of Kilauea had actually been re-shaped back in 2018 by a giant flow of magma. (A caldera isn’t the same thing as a crater; it’s more like a sinkhole.)

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to walk around the volcano and take all the photos you want.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

You’ll probably also see these red flowers around the volcano. Ted told us there’s a legend that the goddess Pele fell in love with a man, but he already had a girlfriend, so Pele got angry and turned him into a tree. The gods had pity on the girlfriend and turned her into this red flower and placed it on the tree, so she could be with her boyfriend forever.

I really hope they asked the girlfriend if that was okay with her first. I mean, I’ve been in love, but I’ve never loved a guy so much that I wanted to be a flower on top of him, if he were a tree.

Big Island Kona things to do tour
5) Lava Tube!

Lava! Tube! It’s a Tube! Made of Lava! If you’re not already excited to go inside Lava Tube, I don’t know how to help you, Internet Stranger.

The proper name of this lava tube is actually Nahuku, or the Thurston Lava Tube. This tube is over 500 years old, which is crazy, considering it looks kind of like an exhibit built in the 1980s for a children’s science museum. However, it’s nothing of the sort. It. Is. Lava. Tube.

PS. It’s very hard to take a good picture from inside a lava tube.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

See what I mean?

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Afternoon: Waterfalls and Views

Our first portion of this Big Island Kona things to do tour has been very volcano focused, with the black sand beaches and what not.

Now, we’re heading to the lusher and more delicate side of the Big Island. We’ll visit two of its most stunning waterfalls, and we’ll head to one of its most spectacular viewing points. On top of that, we’ll get back to Kailua-Kona in time for dinner!

Ready? Then let’s not waste any more time!

Three Fascinating Facts: Big Island Kona things to do tour

Big Island Kona things to do tour
1) Ooh, Can I see a waterfall?

The first stop on the afternoon portion of our Big Island Kona things to do tour is the colorfully named Rainbow Falls. These falls are closer to Hilo, which is on the rainy side of the Big Island, than it is to Kailua-Kona, where this Big Island Kona things to do tour started.

It’s also one of the largest cities in Hawaii, especially outside of Oahu. We’ll be getting to Hilo on another 24 hour itinerary on this website very soon.

You probably won’t get to see any rainbow in the falls on this tour because they only come out on sunny mornings. But you can still enjoy the legend of Maui, a giant lizard, and the Rainbow Falls. Apparently, this Mean Lizard trapped Maui’s mother under the Rainbow Falls, and Maui had to come chase him off and kill him in the nearby Boiling Pots.

I personally would not attack the mother of a powerful demi-god, but maybe that is why I am not a giant lizard.

Big Island Kona things to do tour
2) Ooh, do we get another waterfall?

You do! And I think the Akaka Falls State Park is more exciting than the Rainbow Falls. This isn’t so much because the falls are more impressive. The Akaka Falls are nice, but it can be hard to get a good photo of them, though there are several viewing points.

No, the exciting part of the Akaka Falls is the surrounding state park. You’ll have some time to walk around on your own and explore this park, which is a bit like stepping into a forest primeval.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

See what I mean? I could actually feel myself turning into a dinosaur, like perhaps a velociraptor, as I strolled past these ferns. No wonder they shot part of Jurassic Park in Hawaii.

Just be warned, it can be a little difficult to find your way out of the Akaka Falls State Park, especially if you are distracted by the beauty and majesty of all this natural splendor.

You get to the park by descending a long staircase, and then you walk a loop around until you return to the staircase. However, it’s possible to miss the staircase out if you aren’t looking for it. Not that this happened to me. Ahem.

Big Island Kona things to do tour
3) Ooh, what’s that spectacular view?

That’s the Waipi’o Valley Lookout, our final stop of the Big Island Kona things to do tour. This is an amazing view, but Ted told us that it’s not possible to go down into the Waipi’o Valley because it’s unstable.

I mean the land is unstable, I don’t mean that the valley is emotionally unstable and will boil your pet rabbit if you break up with it.

Remember, the famous Hawaiian king Kamehameha was from this area, and it’s an important spot for Hawaiians, historically. Ted told us that the Rock is planning to star in a movie about the life of Kamehameha, and if you’ve seen any portraits of Kamehameha, you can see that the Rock is pretty much the only actor who could ever play him.

Keep a look out for some adorable cats who like to hang out in this area and make friends by the parking lot.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Also, keep an eye out for the public restroom because we’ve got a ninety-minute drive back to Kailua-Kona ahead of us.

Your guide will keep you entertained with tales of the sights you’ll see along the road, especially the unique desert, but I’ll save those secrets for Ted himself to tell you.

Big Island Kona things to do tour
24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of the tour I can share with you for now. You’ll have to book the Big Island Kona things to do tour for yourself to see them all for yourself!

Check rates and availability for this incredible tour right here.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Evening: Dinner at Island Lava Java Bistro

After your tour is over, it will be time to head straight for dinner. You’re going to want to stay in downtown Kailua-Kona, where your guide dropped you off. It sometimes takes a while for an Uber to show up in Kona, and we don’t want to be late for our reservation.

That’s why I suggest heading to the Island Lava Java Bistro for dinner. It has a central location, uses tons of Hawaiian ingredients in its cooking, and makes excellent cocktails. I wanted to start with a light appetizer, so I got the Island Lava Java salad.

Yes, it’s made with macadamia nuts. In Hawaii, everything that can be made with macadamia nuts is made with macadamia nuts. It’s also made with local greens and local goat cheese. I totally didn’t know that Hawaii makes goat cheese, but I bet those are some happy goats, considering that they live in paradise.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

For my main course, I selected the macadamia nut crusted fresh catch. (I told you everything is mac nuts in Hawaii!)

It’s served with herbed potato, spinach, and a mango beurre blanc, which is a nice tropical touch. In Hawaii, you always have to order the fresh fish, if you can. That’s just science.

Big Island Kona things to do tour

Had enough mac nuts? No, you haven’t! This is Hawaii! Eat your mac nuts! They’re good for your hair and skin anyway. This is a passion meringue tart with lilikoi (passionfruit) curd, a mac nut crust, and fluffy meringue. (The menu specifies that the meringue is fluffy.)

This tart was sweet and tart, just as a tart should be, but I couldn’t finish the whole thing. If you could, te salut, Internet Stranger.

At this point in your day, I assume you’ll be absolutely exhausted. We woke up early this morning to see some black sand and volcanoes, and we kept it rocking all day until we fell face first into a tub of mac nuts. Until tomorrow!

Big Island Kona things to do tour

That’s A Perfect Big Island Kona things to do tour

If you thought this article was funny, check out my hilarious travel guide Get Lost.

What would you do on a Kailua-Kona day trip? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Kona now? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Big Island Kona Things to Do

#1 TOP PICK

Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
BIG ISLAND TOUR
✔️ Black sand beaches
✔️ Visit a volcano

#2 PICK

Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour 3

KONA FOOD TOUR
✔️ Delicious Hawaiian treats
✔️ Expert local guide

#3 PICK

Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour 4

ALL OTHER KONA TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours on the Big Island.

You can also add 24 hours in Honolulu. You can go on a circle tour of Oahu. You can then try what to do in Kona HI. There’s what to see on Kauai. You can experience a snorkel tour in Maui. Add on the best things to do in Lahaina HI.

Check out what to do in Wailea Maui. Look at the best Pearl Harbor tours in Honolulu. Explore the best tours in Oahu Hawaii. Finally, try the best things to do at Hilo Hawaii. Go for the best tours in Kona Hawaii.

Best Big Island Kona Things to Do Tour 8

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