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It's no surprise that Kona and Kohala have become the playground for the rich and famous, but that's really a 'secret'. But, since nobody can refuse celebrity gossip, here's one you don't want to miss. In the last ten years, the airport in Kona, Keahole, has seen over fifty private jets parked in its hangars during the holiday season. And, for us, new 'Big Island' settlers, we are just happy to drive a good two hours on weekends, not to unwind, but to do 'more'. Kona is a busier, noisier place, with loads of perks and amenities to shop, see bigger events, with more restos to satisfy one's epicurean cravings. I like going to ritzier full service supermarkets, where i'm told, i may bump into Mr Gates, Mr Buffet, Roseann Barr, and other 'who's who', who happen to keep homes in the area. I want to see Pierce Brosnan, and Oprah Winfrey, but they their hideaways are in Maui.
Meantime, Kona keeps us on our toes as there is plenty of exciting action going on all year round. Kailua Kona is the most famous tourist spot on the Big Island. "Kailua" means "Two Seas" and "Kona" Means "His'n'Hers". In Early Hawaiian Royalty History, Kona was an area that King Kamehameha I designated to be his seat of government, being the chief. Also Royal Hawaiian family would come and go relax and take some leisurely time, both male and female.
Kona Hawaii Ironman World Championship Triathlon. By far the biggest event the Big Island Plays host to is the Kona Hawaii Ironman World Championship Triathlon. It has been held annually since 1978 in the city of Kona. The race has been held in the fall since 1982, prior to which it was held in the spring. The race consists of the swim in Kailua-Kona Bay, the bike ride across the Hawaiian lava desert to Hawi and back, and the marathon along the coast of the Big Island, from Keaihou to Keahole Point to Kailua-Kona; finishing on Ali'i Drive. The current Ironman course record was set in 1996 byLuc Van Lierde (Belgium), whose winning time was 8 hrs 4 mins 8 sec.
Climate.The coldest month in Kona is February and the average high in February is 82°F (28°C) while the average low is 67°F (19°C). August is the warmest month and the average high is 88°F (31°C) while the average low is 74°F (23°C). Humidity is generally between 50% and 80%. The temperature change between night and day is greater than the temperature change between winter and summer. Mornings are typically clear while thermal clouds created in the day raise the temperature during the day.
Snorkeling and Diving. Kealakekua Bay and Honainau, are probably the best snorkeling and diving spots on the island. Keep an eye out for the green sea turtles and Hawaiian Spinner dolphins that frequent these locations! Kealakekua Bay is a Marine Life Conservation District with brilliant waters filled with coral and schools of tropical fish.
Kealakekua Bay is an important historic location as well, marking the death of Captain James Cook in 1779. Cook was the first British explorer to establish contact with the Hawaiian Islands in 1778. Only a year later, he was killed in a skirmish with native Hawaiians. A white obelisk on the shore of Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park memorializes his death. If you keep driving south, you will eventually get to South Point and the green sand beaches. Continuing past South Point and onto the other side of the Island will take you to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and on to the town of Hilo.
Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.The history of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament and Kona started over 50 years ago, when Peter S. Fithian founded the HIBT. Since then, HIBT has earned its iconic status in big-game fishing tournaments and is known as the grandfather of all big game fishing tournaments. This invitational tournament is built upon honor, prestige and strict adherence to International Game Fish Association rules for world records.
World Class Accomodations to Charming BnB's
There's a special place and budget for every traveler. Accommodations come in a wide variety. You have world class resorts and hotels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, and then for the more adventurous, there's camping on remote beaches. With establishments like the Four Seasons, the Fairmont, and Hyatt Regency, Kona boasts of some of the finest hotels, trendiest stores, and most challenging golf courses found on the planet. Hawaii bed and Breakfast establishments can be as diverse as the population. In certain areas you will find inexpensive humble accommodations, with a simple breakfast, and others will make you feel like royalty. The fancier Bed and Breakfasts are like mini hotels, with Pool, Hot tub, full service Kitchen,maid service, and more. The only difference is that there are only usually five to ten tenants at max.
Aliʻi Drive is Kailua's oceanfront downtown street where some historic places are located. It is a great place to watch the sunset.The Historic Kona Inn and other shops are on the street. Churches on the drive include Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaiʻi's first Christian church built in 1820, and Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church. Parks include La' aloa Bay (also known as Magic Sands or White Sands Beach) and Kahalu'u Bay.
Home grown Beer by Kona Brewing Company is an award-winning microbrewery located in Kailua-Kona. Its three flagship beers are widely distributed throughout Hawaii, making Kona the top selling craft beer in the islands. Kona’s Longboard Island Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale and Limited Release beers Wailua Wheat Ale and Pipeline Porter are distributed in select markets throughout the United States and Japan. Kona Brewing Company was started in the spring of 1994 by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. Kona Brewing Company’s Kailua-Kona Pub on Hawaii’s Big Island opened in November 1998.
Kona Coffee Farm Estates
Kona Coffee.In 2006, Forbes featured Kona Koa Coffee among the most exquisite and "pricey" coffees in the world.At about 20 cents per cup, they say this brings a whole new perspective to styrofoam cup coffee. Estate kona coffee is coffee that is grown, harvested, roasted and packaged all from one plantation or "estate." It is never blended with coffee beans from other farms; but is a pure reflection of one estate’s production.
In Kona, further south, the road gains elevation and you will pass a string of tiny villages and small coffee farms. You will notice the air becoming cooler and the foliage lusher, as you are climbing the slopes of the Hualalai volcano. On the slopes of the mountain, is the historic Kona coffee belt where there are dozens of small coffee farms and stores along the way, as well as spectacular valleys and postcard views of the coast. Near the mountain towns of Holualoa, off of Route 180, are several Kona Coffee plantations that offer free guided tours of their facilities and free samples of their fresh Kona coffee. On these farms, the coffee beans are grown, hand-picked, milled and roasted, and finally brewed fresh.
Kona coffee is cultivated on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts. This coffee has developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. Only coffee from the Kona Districts can be legally described as "Kona". The Kona weather pattern of bright sunny mornings, humid rainy afternoons and mild nights creates favorable coffee growing conditions.
The tradition of running family farms has continued throughout Kona. There are approximately 800 Kona coffee farms, with an average farm size of less than 5 acres (20,000 m2). In 1997 the total Kona coffee area was 2,290 acres (9 km2) and green coffee production just over two million pounds. Because of the rarity and price of Kona coffee in the marketplace, some retailers sell so called 'Kona Blends'. These 'Kona Blends' are not a combination of different Kona coffees but rather a blend of Kona and Colombian, Brazilian or other foreign coffees. These blends usually contain only 10% Kona coffee and 90% cheaper imported beans.
Current Hawaiian law requires blends to state the percentage of Kona coffee on the label. There is no matching Federal law. Some retailers use terms like Kona Roast, or Kona Style. To be considered authentic Kona coffee, the State of Hawaii's labeling laws require the prominent display of the words '100% Kona Coffee'.
For more info: http://www.factsoncoffee.com/kona-coffee.html
Next time you think about a Hawaiian vacation, go ahead go to Wakiki, but don't forget to visit the Big Island. You never know what surprises are in store for you. At best, maybe you'll get to meet Island Voice in person.