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Big Island of Hawaii - South Kona Coast
Welcome to the Big Island of Hawaii ~ The South Kona Coast ~ Part 5 of Our Tour
Aloha! E komo mai!
Hele mai! Hele mai!
Mahalo for continuing on our tour of the Big Island of Hawaii!
If you missed the last 4 buses (pages) of our tour you can catch them at:
- The Big Island of Hawaii - Part 1 - North Kohala - Kamuela - Waimea
- The Big Island of Hawaii - Part 2 - Hamakua Coast
- The Big Island of Hawaii - Part 3 - Hilo
- The Big Island of Hawaii - Part 4 - Volcano Area - South Point
The Big Island of Hawaii, also named Hawaii, is the most diverse of all the Hawaiian Islands. You can travel around the Big Island in one day and go from white sand beaches to snow capped volcanoes; from cacti on cattle ranches to tropical rain forest; from black beaches to green sand beaches; and then on to live erupting volcanoes. All in one day!
But wait! You don't want to do it all in one day!
Relax, Take Your Time, Enjoy!
There is so much to see and do on a Big Island of Hawaii that you really don't want to try to see and do everything all in one day if you don't have too.
Take a day to explore each quadrant of the island to get a better feel of the Hawaiian culture.
It is well worth it to take your time and plan on staying for a while.
There are so many unique and interesting things for you to enjoy while visiting the Big Island of Hawaii. You don't want to just drive around the island without stopping and miss it all!
Take a chance. Slow down and absorb the beauty; slow down and experience the diverse cultures and life styles; slow down and savor the exotic tastes and aromas that the Big Island of Hawaii has to offer.
This is a Hawaiian Hale (House) - Tradition Requires You Remove Your Shoes Before You Enter
Eh! No Forget! You Gotta Remove Your Shoes Before You Go Inside
Elepaio Slack Key - by Keola Beamer
Press the play arrow and listen to the beautiful and heart-felt music of Keola Beamer, while you take the Big Island of Hawaii Circle Island Tour - Part 5, along the Kona Coast with me.
Ho'okena Beach Park
Ho'okena Beach Park - South Kona
After leaving Ka'u on the last page of our tour, and heading towards Kailua-Kona, our first stop is Ho'okena Beach Park.
Ho'okena is part of the Honaunau area of Kona and the Ho'okena Beach Park is one of my favorite beaches (I have many - hard to decide the best) to spend a weekend or just a day in the sun having fun with my loved ones.
It brings back a lot of fond memories of weekends spent with family, swimming, fishing, partying and camping on the beach.
Ho'okena is a very magical area of Hawaii and was once home to an ancient Hawaiian heiau (sacred place of worship - temple). It was built under a frozen lava flow in the cliffs by the beach. One can feel the powerful mana (spirit) while at the spot.
It is a great place to swim, snorkel, camp out, party or just have a cookout. Many times the entertainment from family and friends playing Hawaiian music on the beach is one of the best parts.
Spinner Dolphin in the Water Off Ho`okena Beach
Lava Tube at Ho`okena Beach
The fishing here is great too. Often we've gone diving with just a Hawaiian sling (spear) and brought back our dinner to pulehu (BBQ ) over the fire on the beach.
While out diving you can sometimes find yourself swimming with spinner dolphins as they like to congregate there. They are very playful and seem to enjoy the company in the water.
If you walk towards the southern part of the beach and look up, there is a lava tube that you can explore, but it is very dark, you'll need a flash light. Depending on the height of the kiawe, or mesquite trees, it is probably hidden from plain view. If you didn't know it was there, you probably wouldn't see it.
If you walk to the right of the beach from the road entrance, there are a lot of tide pools and a few blow holes, which are always fun. Don't turn your back to the water when down by the tide pools as a huge wave could come up and take you away.
Opihi Cling to the Ocean Lava Rocks
At Ho`okena Beach you can find opihi clinging to the rocks to eat. Opihi are cone-shaped limpets, native to the Hawaiian Islands.
The shells look like a Chinaman's hat and the meat of these shellfish is a favorite delicacy in Hawaii.
We normally eat them raw, however, they taste like escargot when they are barbecued in their shells over a fire with garlic and white wine.
Prying opihi loose from the rocks is called pounding opihi, and requires a swift technique using what looks like a putty knife. to harvest these morsels from the rocks.
Pounding opihi can be very dangerous endeavor in some areas because of the high surf and the slippery rocks.
Pounding opihi in high surf can be quite dangerous.
I can remember, as a child, my Uncle holding me upside down over a cliff, with my opihi bag tied around my waist and my opihi knife in my hand, so that I could swiftly pry the big opihi off the rocks on the side of the cliff before a wave would crash against me and the rocks..
When a big wave would come crashing in he'd lift me up by my ankles and when the wave subsided and went back out to sea he lowered me down again to get those succulent opihi clinging to the rocks with the strength of Samson.
Hawaiian Opihi Shell Necklace
Jewelry is made from the opihi shells, by sanding down the rough and ridged exteriors to expose the beautiful varieties of colors in the shells.
The shells are then highly polished and covered with a protective coating. Adding a large polished opihi shell to a few strands of pearls is a true thing of beauty.
Opihi shells are made into unusual and very attractive jewelry, often accompanied with puka shells or cowrie shells.
View of Ho'okena Beach Park
A Little About Ho`okena Beach Park
Often times at sunset you can see the manta rays and the honu, sea turtles, swimming near the shore and it is a great place for night fishing or squiding with the use of Hawaiian torches.
Camping is Allowed at Ho'okena
1. Designated areas have been set aside for camping
2. Bring camping gear, beach gear, dive gear
& water proof camera.
3. Bring guitars & ukuleles
4. There are bathroom and shower facilities
5. The shower is solar heated and very HOT!
Use with caution.
6. Take out what you bring in;
but don't take what doesn't belong to you.
Leave the rocks and sand.
7. Please DON'T litter up the beach.
Leave it nicer than how you found it.
8. Put out all camp fires before leaving.
9. Have FUN!!
This CD is a classic that belongs in everyone's Hawaiian music library!
5 by Ho'okena - Ho'okena Hawaiian Music
Beautiful Hawaiian choral music of the kind that is not frequently heard much any more.
There are guest appearances of Robert Cazimero and Keali`i Reichel. on this recording.
This CD won the 1986 Ka Himeni Ana award, an all-acoustic choral competition.
Honaunau Coastline ~ South Kona
Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
City of Refuge
Our first stop in Honaunau is Pu'uhonua o' Honaunau, or the Place of Refuge of Honaunau.
The photo on the right is a shot of a replicated hale (home) at the park. Next to it is a brackish stream that runs into the ocean by the park. The fresh water comes from underground springs and mixes with the sea water.
This is one of the most visited and sacred places on the Big Island of Hawaii that is open to tourist visitation.
On the walk through this sacred place you will see the ancient heiau, sacred temple, ancient fishponds, the ki'i, (carved wooden statues that are incorrectly called tikis), and several ancient villages.
You can feel a sense of calm and security that surrounds the place. Every time I walk in the vicinity of the ancient heiaus I get chicken skin (pidgin for goose bumps).
Even the sea turtles, spinner dolphins and humpback whales seek out this serene and beautiful refuge. Camping here is not allowed.
The 182-acre Place of Refuge is now preserved as a National Historical Park but in ancient times it was a pu'uhonua (place of refuge).
Boat House at Pu'uhonua o' Honaunau
Pu`uhonua o Honaunau Video - Video About Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Ancient Hawaiian Law
In the days of ancient Hawaii, any Hawaiian who had committed a crime, or broken a kapu (taboo) would be protected if they were able to reach the heiaus at the pu'uhonua.
In the ancient times of my ancestors, the punishment for breaking a law, no matter how minor, was most certain death.
The only option for survival was if the kapu breaker could get to a pu'uhonua (sanctuary) where he would be protected and forgiven by the kahuna (priest).
Ancient footprints found in the hardened lava close to the pu'uhonua are believed to have belonged to someone so intent on reaching safety that he walked through the hot, soft lava to reach the place of refuge.
Most of the laws in ancient Hawaii were centered around the ali'i (royalty), as they were of the highest rank in the Hawaiian caste system.
A maka'ainana (commoner) or a kauwa (slave or untouchable) could not walk in the shadow of a king. A maka'ainana and kauwa had to immediately prostrate himself, face down upon the ground, in the presence of the ali'i.
The penalty for not obeying one of the kapus of the chiefs was death. There was no tolerance for the law breakers in ancient Hawaii. The laws were tough and the judgments were carried out carried out swiftly.
Some kapus of the ali'i nui (highest chiefs) were considered equal to those of the gods.
This drawing by Jacques Etienne Victor Arago depicts the death of a man for breaking a kapu.
Because the ancient Hawaiians relied on nature for all things, the kapu ai system was followed with reverence and respect for the natural world that they lived in. This aloha aina, love of the land, made the kapu ai, system one of the earliest examples of environmental protection.
Fishing was allowed only in certain seasons, for certain species. The Hawaiians knew that fishing this way would conserve the natural resources and keep their main food source plentiful.
Opelu, mackerel, could only be fished half of the year, the other half being kapu. The ancestors understood that opelu was not only a main food source, but was also important in the food chain to feed larger fish such as ahi, yellow fin tuna. Aku, the spinjack tuna, could only be fished when the opelu were kapu. This rotation of the fish that could be fished and what couldn't be fished, also coincided with the natural breeding times of ocean life.
Certain fruit were reserved only for royalty and kapu to the commoner. For example, bananas were kapu to maka'ainana, commoner men. Women and men also ate separately and on different diets.
Ancient Hawaiian Royalty was the Highest Class
It was kapu for the kauwa (slaves or untouchables) being the lowest class, to marry an upper class citizen. The Hawaiians believed that the kauwa were so contaminating that it was kapu to share a meal with them, to touch them or to sleep near them.
Even the shadow of the kauwa could not fall on one of their superiors. It was believed that the inferiors would pollute the pure superiors of the chiefs and warriors and again, the penalty was death.
The kauwa were most often the victims used for human sacrifice at the luakini heiau (sacrificial temple) however anyone that had broken a law and was sentenced to death, could become a human sacrifice.
There was no such thing as an 'accident' or 'not on purpose'.
There were no excuses. The law was the law and the penalty was death.
The only ones that had the power to pardon, or spare a life over a broken kapu were the ali'i nui (high chiefs) and the kahuna (priests) of the pu'uhonua, or place of refuge.
Women and the Kapu 'ai System
Also, foods for husbands and wives had to be cooked in separate ovens and eaten in separate structures.
During the four principal kapu periods of each month, women were forbidden to ride in a canoe or have intimate relations with the opposite sex.
Women were also kept in separate hales, houses, during their menstruation periods and could not be visited by the men during this time. The men felt the power of women at these times and felt it best to keep them contained. During their pregnancies, women had to live in separate hales from their husbands. A violation of the law was certain death.
Other kapu seasons were during preparation of an approaching religious ceremony, such as the makahiki festival time, when the ceremony had had come to an end, before going to war, or when an ali'i was ill.
Incidentally, it is an interesting fact that early Hawaiians were seldom sick until the coming of the haoles, foreigners, who brought their diseases with them.
Added note: The term haole is not a derogatory term, as so many people from the mainland assume because of their lack of understanding of the Hawaiian language and culture. I myself am hapa haole, part white, and am not offended by being called haole, because that is partly what I am.
Law of the Splintered Paddle
The Changing of the Kapu 'ai System
It has been told that in the year 1782, the soon to be greatest chief of all, Kamehameha I, had an experience that resulted in the enactment of a law that was to become one of the most well-known of all his laws.
As the story goes, Kamehameha I had set out from Maui one day in a canoe to make a raid off of the Puna coast on the Big Island of Hawaii.
He came upon two enemy fishermen who, upon seeing the invading chief, fled to the shore to warn the other people of the village.
Kamehameha chased after them across a lava field. While running, one of his feet was caught in a rocky crevice. Unable to free himself, he was at the mercy of his enemies.
Realizing Kamehameha was stuck and was not able to free himself, the two fishermen who he had been chasing, came back and attacked him. The men beat Kamehameha using their canoe paddles as weapons.
The story says that the men attacked him so severely, that one of their paddles splintered when they struck Kamehameha on the head. His beaten body was left to die. Kamehameha did not die, and when he recovered from the attack he never forgot it.
Later, after Kamehameha came to power he recalled that incident and commemorated it in one of his best known edicts,
Mamalahoe Kanawai which means "Law of the Splintered Paddle". This law was designed to protect the innocent and helpless from wanton attacks such as the one he had been subjected to.
This means that anyone who is weak is entitled to protection and assistance, and to respect, even from the King.
Read More of the Law of the Splintered Paddle
ʻAi Noa - The Ending of the Kapu`ai System
Kamehameha II (King Liholiho) is credited with overthrowing the kapu system in 1819.
The king sat down to eat with commoners and women in public and abolished the kapu`ai.
Hewahewa, who was the highest ranking Kahuna from Oahu, renounced his office, because of his anger over this relinquish of power.
King Liholiho then decreed that all the temples should be abolished throughout the kingdom.
Across the entire island chain the priests followed the command and by this single act many heiaus were forever abolished.
When the kapu system was overthrown, it was not only the ending of the kapu 'ai law but also the complete overthrow of the entire power of the Hawaiian ali'i (monarchy), class and the Hawaiian religious beliefs of the Kahuna (priesthood).
This act was a deliberate relinquishing of power over the common people and an act of liberation for the whole society from the binding force of the kapu akua (laws of the gods) and the kapu ali'i (laws of the chief).
Mark Twain stated, "There exists no other society in the history of the world in which the kings ended their own divine right to power."
This drawing by the French artist, Jacques Etienne Victor Arago depicts "Ooro, one of the first officers of Kamehameha II, 1819, the same year as this historical ending of the kapu 'ai system.
The end did not come without a fight, however. Many Kahunas, lower chiefs and warriors were angered over this breaking of the Hawaiian law and felt that this edict was the end of the Hawaiian people and their rule of their own domain. Who knew at the time how prophetically true those feeling were?
More can be read about the battles that surfaced from this overthrow of the kapu system at Big Island of Hawaii ~ Kailua-Kona
The missionaries wasted no time in assisting with the destruction of the ancient Hawaiian heiaus upon their arrival and replacing them with churches in their effort to "cleanse" the Hawaiian Islands of their pagan ways.
Ancient Hawaii by Herbert Kawainui Kane
Herbert Kane's is not only a fabulous artist, his writings of the history of Hawaii are superb.
I highly recommend this book as one of the most accurate depictions of the early days of the Hawaiian Islands.
The art work that you see on this page were painted by Herbert Kane. I used the cover of this book to show you how the ali'i of old would have looked. This book is HIGHLY recommended for anyone interested in the true history of Hawaii written by one of Hawaii's favorite sons
The Legends and Myths of Hawaii
Written by King David Kalakaua, this book gives an excellent view of ancient Hawaiian law and Hawaiian mythology.
In the early 19th century, and under the rule of Kamehameha II (King Liholiho), a group of religious and political leaders conspired to overthrow the centuries-old native Hawaiian religion and kapu traditions.
This was the prequel to the conspiracy to overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy. It was all over monetary greed and power by these political and religious leaders none of whom were of Hawaiian ancestry.
King Kalakaua wrote this book with the hopes of restoring this cultural dissolution and returning to his people the full majesty of the ancient Hawaiian traditions.
Honaunau, Captain Cook District
St. Benedit's Painted Church - In Honaunau on the Big Island of Hawaii
St. Benedict's Painted Church
After leaving Pu'uhonua o' Honaunau, we will make a quick stop at a very quaint yet artistically interesting little church in Honaunau, at the slopes of Mauna Loa (long mountain), not too far from "The Place of Refuge".
The history of the church began early in 1842 when Father Joachim Marechal, was assigned to care for both South Kona and Ka'u Districts. The original chapel, was known as St. Francis Regis Chapel.
It wasn't until 1899, when a young missionary priest from Belgium, by the name of Father John Berchmans Velge, took over the diocese at St. Francis Regis Chapel.
He moved the church from it's original location up to the lower slopes of Mauna Loa, made repairs on the church and re-christened it in honor of St. Benedict.
It was moved again in 1980 to where it is now, when faced with the imminent threat of lava when Kalapana was covered.
Father John was quit the artist and was "God inspired" to paint the interior walls of the church with some striking scenes of various Biblical events.
Father John designed and painted the interior of the church in a trompe-l'oeil style of a miniature European gothic cathedral in Burgos, Spain.
The columns are decorated with Hawaiian texts. His murals soon became famous, and St. Benedict Church became known as "The Painted Church of Honaunau."
St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church
84-5140 Painted Church Road
Captain Cook, Hawaii (HI) 96704
Visit the Painted Church Website to learn more of the history.
Painted Ceiling of St. Benedictine's Church
Inside the Painted Church -Videos
Photo by Jan Russ
Driving down Napoopoo Road we are heading to Kealakekua Bay which is one of my favorite snorkeling, diving and fishing spots, but you must be an expert swimmer-diver to be able to handle the water depths and tides here.
Napoopoo Road is a curvy, scenic drive that winds past coffee farms and country stores down to the bay. I have always loved the drive down to the bay as this area is quite rural and the road is reminiscent of old Hawai'i
Kealakekua Bay is the site of the first contact between Europeans and Hawaiians. It was where Captain James Cook came ashore in late November of 1778. The photo above is of the 27-foot white marble monument that was erected to commemorate the historical event. The monument is a far distance from the actual landing site,
An interesting bit of trivia is that the piece of land that the monument resides on is the only piece of land still owned by the British. British ships still come to shore at the monument to clean and repair it, as needed.
The name Kealakekua translates to "pathway of the God," because it had been prophesied in early Hawaiian legend that it would be at this very spot that the god Lono would return to usher in a new age.
Kealakekua Bay was also the site of Captain Cook's death. The exact location is about a mile and a half swim from the beach through open ocean in what can sometimes be shark infested waters.
Mostly hammerhead sharks are the type of sharks seen in the water during the swim to the monument but not to worry, hammerheads are not known to be a threat to man.
There are only four species of shark that have been known to attack man and they are the great white, the white tip, the tiger shark and the bull shark.
A little later I'll tell you a story about my brother, the beer and the tiger shark while fishing at the Kealakekua Bay.
Exploring Kealakekua Bay
British Version of Captain Cook's Death
The version of the history of Captain Cook's death on this video is only slightly accurate. It is a mixture of the British and Hawaiian version. We believe our version to be the true story.
In those days, there wasn't a written language. All of history was past from one generation to the next orally in songs, chants and story telling. There was not a reason for a lie in the telling of the event for the Hawaiians. There was nothing to lose or to gain. It was just an event that was. That was not the case for the British.
It is a well known part of Hawaiian history that when the Makahiki festival would end each year, it was kapu for anyone to be out and about except for the ali'i (chiefs or kings) and the Kahuna (priest).
The punishment for anyone breaking this kapu was instant death.
Captain Cook and his men returned to shore at Kealakekua Bay when the Makahiki had ended, because of a broken mast that need repairing.
The Captain was unaware of the Hawaiian law, or surely he would not have allowed his men a shore.
The Hawaiians, when seeing the sailors on land, then realized that the Captain was not a god or he would have known about the kapu and would not have allowed his men ashore.
This was the reason for the fighting and the death of Captain Cook. The Captain and his men had broken a kapu and the breaking of the law was death.
The story of the theft of a long boat by a Hawaiian for the nails, was a fabrication. There were not any maka'ainana (commoner) or a kauwa (slave) around when the Captain came to shore because of the kapu.
The people of Hawai'i knew not to be out and about because of the penalty of death. The fighting that commenced over the breaking of the kapu was between the Chief's guards (who the Chief had called to enforce the law) Captain Cook and his men.
Captain Cook was killed because of the breaking of the Hawaiian law, not because of a theft made by a maka'ainana (commoner) or a kauwa (slave).
The Hawaiians realized at that time, that the good Captain was not a god or he would have known it was kapu for his men to be out and about.
Looking Out from Napoopoo
Hiking to Captain Cook Monument
This fellow in this next video mistakenly states that the Hawaiians ate Capt. Cook. This is not true. The Hawaiians are not nor have they ever been cannibals.
They did practice human sacrifice, but they did not eat people or each other.
Uhu ~ Parrot Fish
The uhu, or parrot fish, can be seen while snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay.
There are several varieties of parrot fish in Hawaii and they are all gorgeous, but the two most common come in two different color blends.
The one shown above in the photo with multi-hues of aqua, green and lavender, is a male.
The females are multi-hues of red, black and orange. These fish are not only beautiful, they are very good eating too. They have firm white flesh with a sweet flavor.
Snorkeling at Capt. Cook Monument
Kikakapua ~ Butterfly Fish - Kealakekua Bay
The kikakapua (butterfly fish) is seen here with a yellow sea anemone on the right of the photo.
My Brother, the Beer and the Shark
One day my brother and I were hungry for some fresh fish so we set off for Kealakekua Bay with fishing poles in hand. Before heading down Napoopoo Road it was getting pretty warm that day so we figured be had better get some beer to take with us. We stopped at old Sam Higashi store and bought a case of beer and off we went.
We hadn't brought a cooler with us, so when we got to the pier at the bay, we dropped our beer into the water to stay cool on the ocean floor. Whenever we wanted a beer we'd just dive in and get one.
We had a great day of fishing! We caught plenty fish, friends stopped by to have a few beers with us and talk story, it was the end of an all in all great day.
Kealakekua Bay at Sunset
As the sun started to slip behind the horizon we figured we better dive for the last of the beer before the sun went down complete and we wouldn't be able to find it in the dark.
Just as I was about to dive in to retrieve the beer, a tiger shark swims up close to the pier, right on top of our beer!
My brother comes down to see what the hang up is and follows my stare at the water. He looks out at the ocean, as the sun is quickly descending into the horizon and the sky is changing from blue to pinks and shades of purple. He looks back down at the lazy circle of the tiger shark around the last six-pack of our beer.
I look at the shark circling our beer and I look at him and say, I'm not diving in there....to hell with the beer."
At that moment there was a huge splash as my brother cannon-balled into the water. All I saw was a huge wall of water push up in front of me and the shark take off at high speed back out to sea.
Up out of the water comes by brother with the 6-pack in one hand yelling, "I don't care who he thinks he is, he's not getting my last beer!", as he gets out of the water laughing.
My brother's got more olos than he's got brains and I think this time the shark was more scared of the sudden splash in the water than I was scared of the shark!
So that is the story of my brother, the beer, and the shark. You had to have been there.
At the time it was pretty funny to us, I wouldn't advise anyone else doing it. The tiger shark is extremely dangerous indeed as seen in the photos below.
Tiger Shark Attack
Here is an example of how a tiger shark can can tear into you.
It really is no laughing matter!
Tiger sharks tend to be territorial and will attack to protect their territory. Stay out of their way!
This photo belongs to Alan and Megan Finley, a couple who was vacationing in Maui when Alan was attacked.
Below is a Short Video with a reminder to have respect for Hawaii's ocean life.
Diving, Snorkeling and Swimming Etiquette While in Hawaii - Respect the Ocean & Sea Life
Kokua Malama Kai - Help Take Care of Our Ocean
Humuhumunukunukuapua'a ~ Hawaii Trigger Fish
My Little Grass Shack
This Hawaiian song references our state fish the Humuhumunukunukua'pua`a.
Lyrics to My Little Grass Shack
I want to go back to my little grass shack
In Kealakekua, Hawai`i
I want to be with all the kanes and wahines
That I used to know long ago
I can hear the old guitars playing
On the beach at Honaunau
I can hear the old Hawaiians saying
Komo mai no kua i ka hale welakahao
It won't be long till my ship will be sailing
Back to Kona
A grand old place
That's always fair to see, you're telling me
I'm just a little Hawaiian
A homesick island boy
I want to go back to my fish and poi
I want to go back to my little grass shack
In Kealakekua, Hawai`i
Where the humuhumunukunukua'pua`a
Go swimming by
Where the humuhumunukunukua'pua`a
Go swimming by
Source: Noble's"Hawaiian Favorites" Copyright 1933, 1961 Miller Music Corp, - This song was introduced in Kona, Hawai`i at the July 4th canoe races, 1933.
Harrison gave the song to John Noble to publish, who revised the music to give it an almost new melody without changing Cogswell's words. This was done to dispel the claim that others had written the song.
Once published, the song became a smash hit. Noble turned over the royalties to the Sherman Clay Co. in San Francisco for $500.00 advance royalty, giving the credit to Cogswell and Harrison.
Several versions of "My Little Grass Shack"
Kona Coffee Living History Farm & Greenwell's Living History Country Store
Leaving Kealakekua Bay, we are headed into the town of Captain Cook and there are two stops worth mentioning if you enjoy living history.
Plan stops at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm and the old Greenwell Store, which are both a part of the Kona Historical Society If you have any interest in the history of Hawai'i you will love these places.
Kona Coffee Living History Farm
The Kona Coffee Living History Farm belongs to the Uchida family that began farming it in the late 1800's. This farm is on the National Register of Historic Places. Completely restored by the Kona Historical Society, it includes the 1913 farmhouse surrounded by coffee trees, a fudo (Japanese bath), kuriba (coffee-processing mill), and hoshidana (traditional drying platform).
Self-guided tours include the orchard, farmhouse and coffee-processing mill. Samples of the aromatic Kona Coffee are served at the end of the tour.
You are able to experience how the people lived and worked in eras gone by as everyone at the living farm and Greenwell's Store are in authentic costume.
The Kona Coffee Living History Farm is open to visitors Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
$20 for adults, $7.50 for children 5 through 12, Children under 5 are free.
Please call for special group arrangements
Video of the Kona Living Coffee Farm Museum - Kama'aina Backroads
A visit to the H.N. Greenwell Store at Kalukalu will take you back in time, to Kona mauka (towards the mountain) in the 1890s, a multi-ethnic society centered on ranching and farming. The H.N. Greenwell Store is the oldest surviving store in Kona and one of the oldest buildings in the district.
Henry Nicholas (H.N.), built the 1,000-square-foot general store in Kealakekua from lava rock and lime mortar around 1875. It doubled as the community's post office, and customers flocked there to pick up their mail, groceries, necessities, non-essentials and the latest gossip.
The store was the hub of the community back then, and the living history program that is there now provides a fascinating glimpse of what everyday life was like for ranchers, farmers and their families in up mauka (mountain) Kona in the late 1800s.
Inside the H.N. Greenwell Store
You Too Can Enjoy the Kona Coffee from the Greenwell Store
The Chocolate with Macadamia NutKona Coffee from Greenwell's is my all time favorite! It is the best in the world!
The H.N. Greenwell Store Visiting Hours:
Monday-Friday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
Admission is $7.00 for adults, $5 for seniors (60+ years old) and $3.00 for children ages 5-12. Children under 5 are free. Reservations are not needed, but you may call to check availability.
Early Thursday afternoons, Portuguese sweet bread is pulled piping hot from traditional brick ovens and served with Kona coffee.
All of the employees dress in period costumes which really gives you the feel of what it was like to live in the islands back then.
For more information please visit the Kona Historical Society
Kona Coffee Berries
Koa Coffee Plantation
Up the road from the Greenwell Historical Store is the award winning Koa Coffee Plantation.
The Koa plantation was started in 1997 and named after the beautiful, Hawaiian hardwood, the Koa tree, which is indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands.
The Koa farm is vertically integrated to allow better control over the quality of their Kona Coffee from the hand picking of the coffee cherries to milling operation.
In 2002, the Koa Plantation became the very first farm in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii to use a revolutionary wet-processing system from Columbia that is ecologically and environmentally efficient.
For years, visitors to Hawaii have been taking the taste of Kona back home with them in the form of 100% Kona coffee. Now you can have it shipped direct to you from Kona.
The unique environment of the tiny Kona Coffee Belt works to create the ideal growing conditions that produces these premium quality coffee beans. There is no mistaking the full rich flavor of Kona coffee.
The coffee trees flourish in the rich volcanic soil, on the slopes of the south Kona Coast mountain range, warmed by the morning sunshine and watered by the afternoon liquid sunshine.
The coffee berries are hand-picked at their peak and then sun-dried naturally to bring out its characteristic flavor. The final step is micro-roasting at the farm in small batches. This process ensures the natural freshness of each and every bag of Hawaii Roasters 100% Kona Coffee.
When you open a bag of the award winning Koa Coffee, the aroma of the organically grown beans will take your senses back to the islands.
The Kona Hotel in Holualoa - Pink Kona Hotel in Holualoa
A slight detour off Hwy. 11 leads to a funky up mauka (mountain) village that appears to have no intention of entering the 21st century.
Holualoa, less than 20 minutes from Kailua town, is a collection of old buildings strung out along a short stretch of scenic Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy. 180) in Kona coffee country.
You'll know you've reached Holualoa when you see a fluorescent-pink building called the Kona Hotel. The hotel, built by the Inaba family in 1926, is now operated by the original owners' son and his wife.
This hotel is not so much restored as it is delightfully maintained in its original early 1900s style. The 11-unit establishment features rooms with shared bathrooms at rates that start at $55 a night. They can now be booked through AirBnB
Once A Bustling Hub for the Kona Coffee Growers
During the early 1900s, Holualoa was a very busy, horse, donkey and Model-T community as it was the central location for commerce.
The town was once a farming community, and still is surrounded mostly by coffee farms in the Hualalai Mountain Range. The Hualalai Mountain Range are the mountains that overlook Kailua-Kona.
Today in Holualoa, the main industry is still growing mountain Kona coffee, but is now home to a quaint, laid back, blossoming art community that has brought new vitality to the town.
Here is where you can find an interesting blend of artists and crafters; art galleries, featuring local artisans; pool halls, a cafe and saloons, spread throughout the town.
There is also a general store, and a few small island shops that include an ululele shop, a gift shop and a Mrs. Kimura's Lauhala Shop. Mrs. Kimura's specializes in weaving hats, baskets, mats and accessories from the dried leaves of the lauhala tree.
Kimura's Lauhala Shop Holualoa Hawaii
Kimura's Lauhala Shop, has been there since, I think 1914, but I'm not positive. For sure, it's been there as long as my mother can remember and she is 95.
Kimura's Lauhala Shop is the best place to pick up handmade lauhala items, such as hats and baskets. You would be amazed at the beautiful works of art of the traditional Hawaiian style weaving that can be found in the Kimura's shop.
The Kimuras' granddaughter, Alfreida Fujita, and their great-granddaughter, Rene Kimura run the shop today.
The Holualoa Inn
The Holualoa Inn is one of the best bed and breakfast places in Kona!
The ambiance is fabulous, the meals are fabulous, and the hospitality is full of the warm aloha spirit that is so prevalent in this area.
The Inn also supports many local artist by hosting showings for their art work. The above photo is a birds-eye view of the inn and it's surrounding area. If you book your stay with them online, at their website, they will give to a discounted rate.
For a lovely fresh, locally grown, organic lunch or dinner there is the Holouakoa Cafe, which is a laid back European style coffee house. Believe me, you will love it there! This shot was taken from the cafe's lanai. The service is just as casual and laid back as the Holualoa community, which is a subtle reminder to take it easy, don't rush, just kick back and smell the coffee!
They are located at:
76 5900 Old Government Road, Hōlualoa, HI 96725
Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary
The Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary of Holualoa is a place of interest to see while visiting Holualoa. The blond zebra in the photo below comes from this ranch.
Founded in 1998, the Three Ring Ranch is a private, non-profit, exotic animal sanctuary located on five acres above Kona. It is home to zebras, nene (rare Hawaiian goose state bird), hawks, owls, flamingos and reptiles, as well as many other rare, endangered and exotic creatures.
The Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary operates for the rehabilitation and possession of raptors and endangered species. They are one of only 38 fully accredited sanctuaries in the country.
Their Nene Program:
The Three Ring Ranch has now become a "Retirement Community" for some of the State's Nene (Hawaiian Goose) population. This means that captive birds beyond the age of reproduction and wild birds that are non-releasable can live with them.
These birds serve as ambassadors, allowing adults and children to see them up close and personal.
Please help to take care of the animals by becoming a Three Ring Ranch Supporter and making a donation here: Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary
Holualoa Ukulele Gallery
Located at the old Holualoa Post Office the Holualoa Ukulele Gallery opened in January 2003. Here at the gallery you can pick up beautiful, handmade ukuleles, get an ukulele lesson, order a custom made ukulele, or just hang out and "talk story" with the ukulele makers.
Recommended Links from Holualoa Village
- Kimura Lauhala Shop
Home of the handmade Hawaiian style woven lauhala.
- Holualoa Village Association
What's old and What's New in Holualoa
- Cliff John's Gallery
you can find Cliff or one of the other artists demonstrating wood-turning, wood sculpting, wood carving or painting on the front porch of the shop in Holualoa. This is a must see in Holualoa.
- Coffee Times - Hawaiian Weaving - A Meaningful Legacy
Weaving was once such a highly developed skill that many of the pieces rendered by artistic Hawaiian women of old are considered works of art today.
- Holualoa Ukulele Gallery
We specialize in only locally-made instruments and also collector instruments, old music sheets from the early 1900s, framed related art, and other ukulele-related items. Also featured are Hawaiian shirts, feather hat lei, wall-hangings & frame
100% Pure Hawaiian Kona Coffee Soap
These natural soaps are crafted using natural herbs, spices & clays.
They are scented with 100% pure essential oils and contain no artificial colors or fragrances. The ingredients are carefully chosen for their many benefits, including moisturizing, cleansing, & soothing just to name a few.
The rich aroma scent of freshly brewed Hawaiian Kona coffee, mixed in with a hint of cinnamon and a pure blend of wonderful moisturizing oils makes this soap not only alluring to your nose but fabulous for your skin.
The soaps are made with a base of olive oil along with coconut, vegetable, sesame, avocado, macadamia nut, and kukui nut oils which are amazing skin moisturizers.
They also have hazelnut oil and shea butter with a touch of pearberry, for a rich luxurious lather with a scent of a Hawaiian morning.
Since ground coffee is a natural exfoliate and helps move away dead skin cells it also makes a great defoliator. This soap is excellent for all skin types and believe me, you will love this soap.
Big Island of Hawaii - Part 6
Thank you for visiting and continuing on with our circle island tour of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Please continue with us to Part 6, of our Big Island of Hawaii Tour.
In part 6 of the tour we will be continuing on along the west coast of the Island of Hawaii to Kailua-Kona, my hometown and the deep sea fishing capital of the world.
It is also home to the annual Iron Man Triathalon Race.
Please visit next the Big Island of Hawaii - Part 6 - Kailua-Kona