You're probably more familiar with its coffee world-renowned for its flavor and aroma, and you would be right. Kona, part of the Kailua-Kona district of Big Island's West Side, is a coffee lovers paradise, and more. Blessed with ample sunshine and warm weather, pristine white sand beaches, and calm waters teeming with wildlife, Kona also beckons outdoor lovers of all stripes.
Given its central location to the West Side’s top attractions, Kona makes a fantastic base in Big Island to enjoy your Hawaiian holiday at one of our top resorts. We have a range of Kona vacation rentals on offer to suit your needs and travel style, so start comparing the condo rentals on our list and book the best one for you to start creating long-lasting Hawaiian vacation memories.
The Kailua-Kona historic village is an immersive place to begin your adventure while appreciating Hawaii’s culture and history. The area has ties to Hawaiian royalty: In his later years, King Kamehameha retired from royal life in Kailua-Kona.
Other notable landmarks in downtown Kailua-Kona provide insight into the area’s importance with the local nobility. Browse furniture and artifacts in the former vacation home of Hawaiian royalty at the Hulihee Palace. Then explore the 200-year old Mokuaikaua Church, the first Christian church in the islands.
Kona is a happening place. Plenty of shops and restaurants satisfy your usual city cravings, and a bustling nightlife caters to the party-loving crowd. South Kona boasts of calm and clear waters thanks to the presence of Mauna Loa shielding the area from winds. This makes the ocean waters in the area inviting for diving, snorkeling, and sailing all within reach of your Kona resort or condo rental.
Marine life flock to the area's waters, in turn attracting a crowd of wildlife enthusiasts eager to swim with dolphins, spy ‘honu’ or green sea turtles, or witness graceful giant manta rays on a scuba or snorkeling expedition. Kona also hosts the yearly deep-sea fishing event International Billfish Tournament taking place in August if you happen to be vacationing on the Big Island at the time.
Kona is not short on secluded white sand beaches, with one of the closest from the downtown area located in Kekaha Kai State Park. Kua Bay is an easily accessible beach with basic amenities and coupled with its allure, one of the most visited too. The crowds here make it a perfect spot for people-watching, otherwise, pop on down from your hotel resort on a weekday to enjoy this slice of paradise all to yourself.
For what many locals consider as the best snorkeling spot on the island, head to Kealakekua Bay famous as the landing site of Captain Cook when he first set foot in Hawaii. If you like hiking, the bay can be reached on foot via a vigorous hike.
You can also come by a kayak or snorkel tour, and venture into the water for an unforgettable day out after which your Kona resort accommodations will be welcoming you home for a nice relaxing evening. Plan your trip around whale season (November through April) to witness flukes up close peeking out of the water.
North of the bay, early Hawaiian temples (‘heiau’), petroglyphs, and fishponds can be found in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park. To the south of the bay is Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park which houses one of the most historically significant ‘place of refuge’ where ‘kapu’ breakers (breakers of the sacred law) can escape to, to evade punishment.
The cool upland slopes of Kona is the island’s fabled coffee-growing region thanks to the volcanic soil and frequent cloud cover. Holualoa is one of the most visited, not only for its coffee culture and coffee tours but also for its bohemian vibe. Mark your travel calendar in November and add a generous dash of festival spirit into your cup of joe when the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival energizes this side of the island.
There’s just so much to see and do on the island that you can enjoy from a Kona hotel and vacation rental. As one of the major towns on the West Side, Kona has some of the most centrally located and affordable lodging in Big Island, Hawaii. Book a Kona vacation rental today and start planning for a truly unforgettable Hawaiian getaway!