Sunday, January 10, 2016

Discover The Highlights Of Kona On The Big Island Of Hawaii

By Rebecca Foster

Of the eight major islands that comprise the state of Hawaii, the island of Hawaii is geographically the largest. Called the Big Island, it is divided into districts, and Kona is one district or moku. This area is rich in Hawaiian culture and history. Here are some highlights visitors should see.

One of several National Parks, Puuhonua o Honaunau, is 180 acres of Hawaiian history and culture. To fully appreciate the grounds, there is a self guided tour where you can leisurely stroll through the remains of sacred temples that have been beautifully restored. There is a temple, very sacred to the Hawaiians, where the skeletal remains of 23 chiefs have been put to rest. There is the Great Wall that was built to protect the people. You can see evidence of the Hawaiian religious beliefs with wooden statues of Hawaiian Gods. This National Park is a snapshot of the history and culture of the Hawaiian people.

Keauhou Resort is great for vacationers who want spas, fine dining, golf courses and high end resorts. The weather is sunny, and you can see honu, Hawaiian green turtles, swimming in shallow tide pools. Nearby is the Historic Kailua Village, which every October hosts the starting line of the Iron Man Triathlon.

At the center of the Kailua Village you will find the Hulihee Palace. This palace was the summer home to Hawaiian Monarchs years ago. Built in 1938 is houses furniture, ornaments and artifacts original to the Hawaiian culture. The sense of history and culture of the monarchy is a history lesson in itself.

Kaloko Honokohau is another historical National Park. The Park has a wealth of man made and natural wonders. There are four sea to mountain land divisions, which the Hawaiians call ahupuaa. There are sacred temples and two engineered fish ponds. At the visitor center, you can learn all about the guided tours that are available.

Kealakekua Bay Historical Park is the place to go for snorkeling and scuba diving. The surrounding brilliant waters of the bay are exceptionally colorful with tropical fish and vivid coral reefs. The park is historic as this is the land that Captain James Cook first landed on when he sailed to Hawaii in 1778. Before Cook, the Hawaiians had not seen any Westerners. Despite the fact that he was killed in a dispute one year later, the Hawaiians esteemed him and erected an obelisk in his honor.

A small village called Holualoa is filled with coffee plantations and is home to art community. Volcanic soil contributes to the unique coffee been flavor. Some of the approximately six hundred coffee farms offer public tours. If you are in search of art and great coffee, you will find both here.

Narrow your scope of exploring as a tourist, and you will get a lot more out of the experience. The beauty of this island is not only found in nature. Learning about the history and culture of Hawaii is just as meaningful and allows tourists to really appreciate all the island has to offer. Westerners have come to the islands and left their large footprint, but if you look closely the old Hawaii is still there. It should not be missed.

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