Located just 10 minutes
south of Kona International Airport, Kailua-Kona is a lively seaside town that
is in the heart of the Kona Coast. Once a sleepy fishing village and a home for
Hawaiian royalty, Kailua town is now a place to shop, dine, and learn about
Hawaii's rich culture.
Kailua-Kona, also known
simply as Kona, has a history that looms much larger than its size would
indicate. Nestled at the bottom of the Hualalai Volcano on the Big Island of
Hawaii, this area was considered the premier place to live in ancient times due
to the excellent weather and water. British explorer Captain James Cook first
spotted Hawaii off the coast of Kailua-Kona. Kona is also where King Kamehameha
the Great died and where the ancient kapu (taboo) system was discarded.
Most people consider Kona
to be the center of the visitor industry on the Big Island. The town has an
intoxicating aroma, thanks in part to the Kona Coast's world-famous Kona
coffee. The main street, Alii Drive, runs along the oceanfront through the heart
of the city from Kailua Pier to the Kuamoo Battlefield, where many lives were
lost in fighting over the value of the kapu system.
Historic Hulihee Palace
and the Mokuaikaua Church are located right on Alii Drive. Later in life, King
Kamehameha lived near the current site of King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
until his passing in 1819. The Ahuena Heiau also resides at the hotel, a reconstructed
temple rebuilt by Kamehameha himself. This sacred site is on the register of
National Historic Landmarks and is just one of the significant places on the
Today, Kona is one of the
world's great sports fishing centers and one of the winter homes for Humpback
Whales during December to April.
Kona's shores abound with marine life from Spinner dolphins, tropical fish,
green sea turtles, and of course the famous Giant Kona Manta Rays.
The original Ironman Triathlon began in
Kona and is hosted annually to the World Championship. Kailua Pier is a great
place to watch the sunset and is the starting and finishing point of the
world-famous Ironman Triathalon
The Kona District
stretches about 60 miles along West Hawaii and is divided into North and South
Kona. South of town is Kealakekua Bay where Captain James Cook first set foot
on the island in 1778 and where he was killed. Nearby is Puuhonua o Honaunau, a
well-restored Hawaiian "place of refuge" from before Western contact,
complete with thatch-roof hale (hut) and heiau (temple) guarded by imposing kii
communities lie just upcountry on the flank of Maunaloa. Holualoa village is
dotted with art galleries. Going south through Kainaliu, Kealakekua and Captain
Cook, you can literally smell the coffee in this world-famous coffee-growing
The whole Kona region
buzzes with activity: triathletes at the Ironman in October, champion fishermen
at August's International Billfish Tournament, celebrants at festivals for
coffee and chocolate, plus cruise ship passengers, honeymooners, families, golfers,
film crews, backpackers, scuba divers, naturalists, shoppers, conventioneers
and vacationers from all walks of life any day of the week.
Tourists have discovered
the uniqueness of Kona and made it a popular destination. Ask any town resident
and you will learn how deeply the people love their town.
* Kona Average
temperatures: 76° in winter, 80° in summer
* Annual rainfall: 30