Kona, on the west coast of the Big Island, should be enjoyed like the coffee growing in its volcanic earth: slowly. But should you only have time for the espresso version of Kona, here are the best things to do in Kona in one day.
The Best Things to do in Kona in One Day
Breakfast In the Hills
The Kalua Koa Cafe and Garden, high up in the hills of Kona, is a cross between a lovely garden and a delicious retreat. While Kona coffee is obviously a must, the French toast or the frittatas on their farm-to-table menu could keep you from ever reaching the coast.
There are two ways to reach the monument: you can paddle over with a kayak, going along with companies like the Kona Boys, who, during the paddle, offer up stories of the royal bay once off limits to the plebeians under the throne. Kona Boys are also permitted to dock where the famous captain had been assassinated. But if you want to save money, you can hike down for free. While the history of Kealakekua Bay is quite interesting–kings are buried in the lava tubes marking the cliffs, X marks the spot where Cook was assassinated, and a chain framing Cook’s monument is actually British soil–it’s the snorkeling that is the major draw. Claimed as the best place in all of Hawaii to snorkel, on account of the visibility and abundance of sea life, it’s where I saw two baby reef tip sharks hiding out in a little cave. This was interrupted by about two dozen Spinner Dolphins, that, after I swam out to the vast blue of the ocean, circled me for the better part of ten minutes, their gray and blue bodies looking spectral through seawater.
Pine Trees Cafe
For lunch, head over to Pine Trees Cafe, a no frills eatery that dishes up tasty bites. Going with fish or barbecued pig will never let you down.
Sunset at Pine Trees
For surfers, it’s one of the best places to paddle out, as it has solid waves with the least amount of vibe. For those who prefer no waves, small pools built along the shoreline protect against the charging swells. For campers, you can set up a tent for only a few dollars each day. Regardless, it’s one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset.
A Night at Ray’s on the Bay
The Sheraton’s Ray’s on the Bay serves up a bevy of local beers, solid entertainment, and one of the most impressive after-dark ocean scenes: enormous manta rays pull into the cove and flash their giant white undersides to the tipplers above.