If you enjoy lush tropical rainforests, picture-perfect waterfalls, black-sand beaches and guava-scented breezes, then you won't want to miss the Hamakua Coast. Driving the coast is an adventure on wheels, and it's sure to dazzle. It rains a lot on this side of the island (usually late afternoon or at night), creating lush greenery and gleaming rainbows. There are botanical gardens and beach parks, easy hiking trails through Hawaiian forests, and scenic drives to lookouts over dramatic coastlines and gulches filled with vine-wrapped trees, often with the bright orange blossoms of African tulip trees adding dashes of color to the mix.
The centerpiece of this magical part of the Big Island is the Waipi'o Valley. The island's second-most popular attraction (after Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park) is spectacular; as one visitor gasped to her husband, "This is the Hawaii we've been looking for!" Verdant green palis (cliffs) with waterfalls cascading over them to pools a thousand feet below, the Pacific Ocean crashing onto a black-sand beach, gushing streams, flowers and rainbows; this is the Hawaii we've all been looking for.
Experience the places you visit more directly, freshly, intensely than you would otherwise, sometimes best done on foot, in a canoe, or through cultural adventures like art courses, cooking classes, learning the language, meeting the people, joining in the festivals and celebrations. This can make your trip life-changing, unforgettable.
All of the detailed information you need is here about the hotels, restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing. But we also lead you to new discoveries, turning corners you haven't turned before, helping you to interact with the world in new ways. That's what makes our adventure guides unique. Written by two island residents, here is the most extensive and up-to-date guide by far.