September 3, 2007

A Day In/Near Hilo

Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii is a town that feels like much of Kauai does though that is an island. Hilo does have a university and a killer farmer's market (see top five list). Given how young the Big Island is, much of it is pretty remote with the most developed areas along its beaches and coast. While Hilo is your starting point for the day, you should definitely drive to the southern most point on the Big Island and find the Green Sand Beach.

My top five list for a day in or near Hilo:
  1. Green Sand Beach: Puu Mahana
  2. Volcano Village excursion and snack in the lodge
  3. Hilo Farmers Market and downtown
  4. Akaka Falls hike
Once again I only included four things to try since this is an enormous island without freeways or shortcuts. I recommend starting your day at Puu Mahana...It is primarily located on the slopes of Mauna Loa, the world's largest and most massive active volcano on the southwestern part of the island. To get to this beach, one must either use a four wheel drive or hike six miles from South Point, Ka Lae, the southern most tip of the United States.

If you cannot find it, then continue on your way to Volcano Village. Along the way stop instead at a black sand beach that is easy to find called Punaluu. Hopefully you won't be surrounded by tourists but it is worth a stop for the black sands and sea turtles.

Photo credit: S.F. Castellanos

Volcano Village is next as you head toward Hilo, and taking the driving tour around the crater is cool with places to pull over for close up views of steam vents and crater landscape. Very moon like and amazing to see!

Once you get to Hilo, enjoy the downtown waterfront area and stop in at the Farmers Market. Pick up snacks and water for the road north to your late afternoon hike around the Akaka Falls.

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