The Amazing Island of Hawaii

The Big Island (officially named Hawaii) is the largest island in the United States’ Hawaiian archipelago in the Pacific. Its diverse terrain spans colored-sand beaches at Papakolea (green) and Punalu’u (black) to lush rainforest. Within Volcanoes National Park, there are 2 active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Hapuna Beach and Kahalu’u Beach Park in the west are popular snorkeling sites.  There something to awe every visitor from all parts of the world.

 

Akaka Falls State Park you will see two phenomenal waterfalls on one short, pleasant hike. The 0.4-mile hike will take you through a lush rainforest filled with wild orchids, bamboo groves and draping ferns.As you follow the paved footpath, you’ll first see 100-foot Kahuna Falls. Continue to follow the loop around the bend, and you’ll discover towering Akaka Falls which rises to 442-feet into a  gorge. Beautiful Akaka Falls is perhaps the island of Hawaii’s most famous waterfall. The falls is easily accessible.

 


Waipi’o Valley is deeply cut into the mountain, with three thousand foot cliffs and some waterfalls up to fifteen-hundred feet. Inhabited for hundreds of years by Hawaiians growing taro and other crops, most of the history of the valley was wiped out completely in 1946 by a powerful tsunami. Since then, a small community of people who generally want to avoid society live here, some permanently and some seasonally.  Will be the hike of a lifetime to visit this amazing valley and beach.

 


At its heart of Volcanoes National Park are the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, both active volcanoes. The Crater Rim Drive passes steam vents and the Jaggar Museum, which features volcanology exhibits and a viewpoint overlooking Halema’uma’u Crater. Thick ferns mark the entrance to the Thurston Lava Tube (Nāhuku). The Chain of Craters Road weaves over lava. Trails crisscross the park.

 


Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau (Place of Refuge)  preserves the site where, up until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a kappa (one of the ancient laws) could avoid certain death by fleeing to this place of refuge or puʻuhonua. The offender would be absolved by a priest and freed to leave. Defeated warriors and non-combatants could also find refuge here during times of battle. The grounds just outside the Great Wall that encloses the puʻuhonua were home to several generations of powerful chiefs.

 


Papakolea Beach (Green Sand Beach) The beach itself is carved in a 49,000 years old cinder cone belonging to the Mauna Loa volcano that contains the green crystals (olivines) that give the beach its name. Papakolea is, by far, one of the most amazing sites you will ever see in the world.  It truly is an awe inspiring spot.  And the trip i to the beach; well that’s an adventure all in itself.

 


Punalu’u Beach is the most famous black sand beach of Hawaii and is also known as just ‘Black Sand Beach’. Besides the obvious black sands, another reason for the popularity of this beach is that you can often see endangered Hawksbill turtles and green turtles basking in the sun on the beach.

Punalu’u is an expansive and easily accessible black sand beach on the Big Island. It is a great place to go for swimming, snorkeling, a coastal hike.  Or just sit on the sand relax and enjoy the view.

 


Parker Ranch was founded in 1847 and is one of the oldest ranches in the United States, pre-dating many mainland ranches by more than 30 years. The ranch encompasses approximately 250,000 acres (100,000 ha) of the island, Parker Ranch is among the nation’s largest cattle ranches.[1]

During World War II part of the ranch was used as a Marine Corp training base called Camp Tarawa. The Marines conducted training maneuvers there in preparation for the assault of Iwo Jima.

 


Mauna Kea Summit is a fantastic place for looking at the stars and is home to some of the world’s best telescopes. There are many ways in which you can fit stargazing in your itinerary: from a nighttime picnic to an adventurous visit to the summit of Mauna Kea.

 


The Painted Church located in the south Kona district (Hōnaunau) is officially called the st. Benedict roman catholic church. It was built in 1842 in Kapalelua, and was moved to its present location around 1880.  This church is known as the “painted church” because of an extremely industrious Belgian priest (Father Jean (or John) Berchmans Velghe). Father John painted the interior of the church with 3D depictions from the bible and the lives of the saints. These were very important teaching tools in a time when many people couldn’t read and write.