It ain’t called the Big Island for nothin’.
The island of Hawaii is not only the largest in the island chain, but is larger than all the other islands combined. If you’re coming over to visit, chances are you’ll be looking to explore different areas, and might have a limited amount of time in each location. Though matter how long your trip is, you’ll definitely want to spend some time in Kailua-Kona, one of the most charming towns on the island.
We’ve taken the liberty of creating a two day itinerary for a weekend in Kona, so you can make the most of your time out in the sun instead of wasting it away planning.
Weekend in Kona – Day 1
Fresh Kona Coffee (and maybe a pastry)
Not only locally-loved, Kona coffee is internationally popular and celebrated as one of the best coffees in the world. Every coffee shop we’ve been to on this island has served delicious, local Kona coffee (you really can taste the difference).
If you’re spending a weekend in Kona, stop in and start your morning off right with a little caffeine and a lotta aloha. A couple of our favorite spots are the Green Flash and Kopelani Inc.
See fish, coral and. . .dolphins
When you imagined your Hawaii vacation there were probably pineapples and palm trees, grass skirts and exotic underwater wildlife. The marine life is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible and stunning aspects of the islands.
The Big Island has a couple of unparalleled locations for snorkeling and diving.
To truly experience the best of Hawaii’s reefs, we suggest hopping on board and boating out to the hard-to-reach areas. The boat crews have an impressively extensive knowledge of what you see, which makes the experience twice as enjoyable. They are also your best chance at seeing dolphins. They know where to look and what to look for.
We don’t want to get your hopes up, but by booking a tour with Sea Paradise, we guarantee you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of a pod swimming by. We also provide lunch and all the snorkel equipment you could need, truly making the convenience worth every cent.
Get excited about tomorrow night at Rays on the Bay
Watch a stunning Kona sunset at this modern kitchen and lounge while you enjoy a tropical cocktail. Then once it’s dark, see how the restaurant got its name.
The Sheraton shines spotlights onto the nearby ocean, which happens to be one of the most popular spots for manta rays. They feed on plankton near the water surface, and from the restaurant you can see them swooping through the waves. It’s an incredible vantage point, which will hopefully get you all the more excited for your adventure tomorrow night, where you’ll be up close and personal with the creatures for an experience the Travel Channel calls one of the top 10 experiences of a lifetime.
Weekend in Kona – Day 2
Try out body or boogie boarding
Kona is one of if not the best spot on the island to try out your wave-catching skills. There’s a couple surf shops in the area that rent boogie boards, you can also grab one for pretty cheap at regular ol’ grocery stores in the area. Or skip the board altogether and try body surfing instead.
Of all the beaches along the Kona shores, Magic Sands is one of the most popular for these pursuits. In the right conditions, catching waves is one of the best rushes you could get, but we always warn visitors that the ocean is powerful and unpredictable. Best practice is to watch the waves for a while before hopping in, and always pay attention once you are in the water. And lastly: if in doubt, don’t go out.
Grab fresh local fruit
No weekend in Kona is complete without a slice of mouthwatering homegrown fruit, purchased straight from the farmer.
Throughout the area you’ll probably see quite a few local fruit stands offering pineapple, mango, chopped up coconut and more (is your mouth watering yet?). Don’t put it off any longer, stop and beat the heat with refreshing and sweet local fruit.
Although it isn’t the most central, South Kona Fruit Stand is one of our go-tos. Plus, it’s easy to look up if the local fruit stands are being elusive and you’re trying to Google a location. Eat up, but don’t get too full. We want you ready for your final and (in our humble opinion, best) adventure.
Snorkel with manta rays
End your weekend in Kona with one of the most amazing things you could experience.
We have spent our lives exploring all the islands in Hawaii and have found very little that can compare with this unique opportunity. We really can not speak highly enough about this whole experience. If you’re looking for the right splurge, this is it by far.
Manta ray snorkel tours take groups out at night to witness the majesty and enormity of these creatures. They’re huge, sometimes measuring up to 20 ft across (or more!) The tours use lights to attract the manta’s food supply which means the hungry mantas appear almost immediately, and linger the majority of your time in the water. They get so close as they swirl underneath you (don’t worry, they’re harmless). The tour companies provide all the equipment including snorkels, wetsuits and flotation devices so you don’t have to worry about swimming (you can focus all that valuable energy on being wowed).
Do not wait to book this tour. Trust us. Click here to book your most memorable Kona (and Hawaii) moment.