Kona is located on the the Island of Hawai’i also known as The Big Island. Famous for it’s coffee producing areas, Kona is also steeping with historical significance and one of the places we enjoy going to learn more about the early Hawaiian peoples. Kailus-Kona is the center of the city’s activity and located just 15 minutes south of the Kona International Airport.
Yes, one of us is a serious coffee fan so one of our first stops was to a local coffee shop to taste some of the locally grown organic coffee. That just wasn’t enough though! We decided to do a bit of WWOOFing at an organic Kona coffee farm for a few weeks to see how this amazing beverage is produced. Some of the hardest work we have ever done, but a great learning experience nonetheless. If you ever get to Kona, check out Lyman Farms for some of the best organic Kona Coffee around.
Pu’uhonua O Honaunau – Place of Refuge National Park
Located 20 miles from the downtown area of Kona, this marvelous park provides a true glimpse back into Hawaiian history. You will take a step back in time and learn how the Pu’uhonua or Place of Refuge was once used as a safe haven for those who broke the sacred laws or Kapu and faced certain death. If you made it to the Place of Refuge, your were forgiven and would not be harmed.
Be sure to take a free ranger-led tour of the area to get the full story of this historic location. Also, not to miss if your timing is right, is the annual cultural festival typically held in June. You can learn from the traditionally dressed locals how the ancient Hawaiian people used to live while honoring their traditions and cultures.
The Painted Church is located just a short distance from the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau – Place of Refuge National Park and a visit here while in the area is a must-do. The interior walls of the church were painted by Father Velghe, a self-taught artist. His inspiration was the Gothic cathedral of Burgos in Spain. His painting of scenes from the Bible and lives of the saints were very important teaching tools at a time when many people could not read or write. It is a beautiful sight.
Diving with Manta Rays
The diving in Hawaii is simply spectacular and there are many dive shops to choose from if you are interested in doing some SCUBA. We chose Big Island Divers for a night of diving with manta rays we will not soon forget. You can choose to either snorkel or dive starting at twilight. Either activity will give you great exposure to these magnificent rays. Big Island Divers also had a videographer capturing the entire encounter with an option to purchase a DVD at the end of the dive.
Enjoy your Hawaiian experience and Aloha!
You can find more destinations on our “Why We Love” page. Check back, because it is growing. We are also accepting guest posts on this series, so if you have a place you love and want to share it with our readers, send us an email here or add a comment below and we will be in touch.