The big island

Big island history

Born an island of both fire and ice, where land and sea meet in the earth’s greatest epic battle, is where we discover the Big Island of Hawai’i towering above the crashing waves. Home to two of the world’s greatest mountains, the world’s most active volcano, 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones, Hawai’i’s greatest king, and the wettest city in the United States, the Big Island of Hawai’i is an island like no other. It is an island of such proportions that all of the other islands in the main Hawaiian chain could fit inside it twice.  Hawaii, commonly called the Big Island, is the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago in the Central Pacific Sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean the landmass of the Big Island is approximately the same size as the state of Connecticut, about 4,050 sq. miles and still growing daily thanks to Kilauea Volcano on the eastern coast of the island.

Airport: Kona and Hilo airport

Things to do

Kilauea

Kīlauea is the youngest and southeastern most volcano on the Big Island of Hawai`i. Topographically Kīlauea appears as only a bulge on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa, and so for many years Kīlauea was thought to be a mere satellite of its giant neighbor, not a separate volcano. However, research over the past few decades shows clearly that Kīlauea has its own magma-plumbing system, extending to the surface from more than 60 km deep in the earth.

 

Waipi’o Valley

Located on the northern Hamakua Coast, the sacred Waipio Valley was the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I, and an important center for political and religious life in Hawaii. Not only is “The Valley of the Kings” an important site for Hawaiian history and culture, it’s also a place of dramatic tropical beauty.

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Green Sand Beach

The green sand is created by a common silicate deposit of Big Island lava called olivine, which stays deposited on this beach because it is heavier than the other, lighter components of the lava. It is possible to drive a four-wheel drive vehicle to the top of the beach, but the hike along the shore is better because you pass many ancient heiau dedicated to fishing. Swimming at the green sand beach is possible, but the surf is quite strong along the notorious southern shore.

 

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Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

Puuhonua O Honaunau on the Big Island of Hawaii is the most famous and best preserved of Hawaii’s ancient places of refuge. Designated a national historical park in 1961, this 182-acre site includes the puuhonua and a complex of archeological sites, including temple platforms, royal fishponds, sledding tracks and some coastal village sites. Join more than 375,000 visitors each year and immerse yourself in the rich history of the area and discover intriguing facts about the early Hawaiians’ way of life. 

 

At the park, you’ll encounter canoe builders constructing an outrigger canoe the way it was built in ancient times. There are demonstrations of traditional Hawaiian games, including spear throwing competitions. Examine a massive L-shaped wall, built around 1550 from thousands of lava rocks, which separated the chief’s home from the puuhonua. Inside this 1,000-foot-long wall are fine examples of temples and homes of old Hawaii.

 

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