lava boat tour sees lava flowing into the ocean at the Big Island of Hawaii

Big Island highlights: our tips to make your trip to Hawaii unforgettable

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These highlights for the Big Island are an efficient way to get to know our “favorites” of Hawaii:

Local food and snacks

Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore the culinary side of their vacation. The Big Island is one destination where you should do anything to avoid that trap. It is easy (and tasty!) to find local food in restaurants, farmers markets, supermarkets or, at the source, the farm/orchard.

Malasadas (Portuguese sugared fried dough snacks) are a great snack for when you are on the road. The combination of Kalua pig with one of the many locally produced microbrews never gets old, and don’t leave the Big Island without a taste of one of the world’s most famous coffees: Kona coffee.

Beaches on the big Island

If you like beaches you are in luck! The Big Island is a true paradise,  and has quite some amazing white, black and green sand beaches!

Do you wonder where black and green sand come from? Easy: lava and crystals! Read more about why the sand is white/green/black on these favorite Big Island beaches.

Activities on the Big Island

The Big Island spans 8 out of the world’s 13 climate zones, and the activities you can enjoy here are almost as distinct. You can be snorkeling tropical reefs and enjoy a snowball fight on the summit of Mauna Kea within a few hours. And then there is, of course, the unforgettable Manta Ray night dive.

Destinations on the Big Island. “Must includes” for your itinerary

These are our “local flavor” unmissable activities for each of the four largest cities on the Big Island: Hilo, Kailua Kona, Volcano Village and Waimea.

Kailua Kona

While in Kona make sure to connect with the ancient history of the Hawaiians. Make a visit (or two) to some of the petroglyph sites near Kona:


While in Waimea try to plan a visit the Big Island Brewhaus in Waimea for good Mexican food and homemade beer. Highly recommended after for example visiting the breathtaking cliffs of Waipi’o valley:

Volcano Village

If there is only one thing you can do in Volcano Village, let this be it. The Hawaii Volcanoes national park is for us the only “must visit” attraction on the Big Island!


A visit to Hilo isn’t complete without a stop at the Hilo farmers market for souvenirs and tasty food. Pick up some lunch for on the road, when you are taking one of the incredibly scenic drives close by.