Gateway to the Big Island!

Kailua-Kona is your gateway to the Big Island of Hawaii with Keahole International Airport offering direct flights to and from the mainland and the other Hawaiian Islands. With warm tropical breezes, turquoise waters, and golden sands Kona offers something for everyone. This link brings you to a description of the areas.

Kilauea Volcano

The active volcano on Hawaii

Kilauea Volcano is the youngest volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Topographically Kilauea appears as only a bulge on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa, and so for many years Kilauea was thought to be a mere satellite of its giant neighbor, not a separate volcano. However, research over the past few decades has shown that Kilauea has its own magma-plumbing system, extending to the surface from more than 60 km deep in the earth. The summit of Kilauea lies on a curving line of volcanoes that includes Mauna Kea and Kohala. Hawaiians used the word Kilauea only for the summit caldera, but earth scientists and, over time, popular usage have extended the name to include the entire volcano.

How to get there?

Airways to paradise

Over the last few years a broad range of carriers have made the Big Island extremely accessible for people living on the west coast.  Many direct connections are offered from major cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego, Portland, Seattle.  Airlines that offer direct connections include US Airways, United, Hawaiian Air, and Alaska Air.

The Big Island

The Big Island is larger in size than all other islands combined!

Big IslandThe Big Island is Hawaii's largest Island at 4,038 square miles and its total size is twice the size of all other Hawaiian Islands combined.  The Island of Hawaii is built from five separate shield volcanoes that erupted somewhat sequentially, one overlapping the other.  Because Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are active volcanoes, the island of Hawaii is still growing.  Between January 1983 and September 2002, lava flows added 543 acres to the island.  The volcano's are all in different phases of their lifecycle:

  • Kohala - extinct
  • Mauna Kea - dormant
  • Hualalai - active but not currently erupting
  • Mauna Loa - active
  • Kilauea - active and erupting

Shield VolcanosAbout 22 mi southeast of Hawaii lies the undersea volcano known as Loihi. Loihi is an erupting seamount that now reaches about 3,200 feet below the surface of the ocean.  Continued activity from Loihi will likely cause it to break the surface of the ocean sometime from 10,000 to 100,000 years from now.  At 800,000 years old the Big Island is the youngest of the island chain. However, it was the first island discovered by voyaging Polynesians. The Big Island is the only Island still growing. Hawaii's volcanoes rise an average of 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) to reach sea level from their base. The largest and most famous, Mauna Loa built itself up to a height of almost 14,000 feet above sea level (4,169 meters). As a "shield volcano" they are built by accumulated lava flows, growing no more than about 10 feet at a time to form a broad and gently sloping shape. Hawaiian islands undergo a systematic pattern of submarine and sub-aerial growth that is followed by a specific pattern of eruption, building, and erosion. An island's stage of development reflects its distance from the hotspot. Kilauea volcano is the world's most active.

Due to the landscape the Big Island is the home to Parker Ranch, which is the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. The Parker Ranch, near the town of Kamuela, has approximately 480,000 acres of land. The ranch is the home of the world famous Paniolo, which is Hawaiian for Cowboy. The ranch features great rodeos, ranches, the arts, culture, fine restaurants and the Islands newest hospital. Parker Ranch even offers private education as Parker School became an independent day school to serve the area's high school students. Parker School is fully accredited in grades K-12 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Hawai'i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS).

South PointKa Lae (to locals known better as "South Point") is the southernmost point in the US. There is a constant 27 knots wind that blows east to west, 24/7/365. The oceans around the south point are very treacherous for this reason. The famous green sand beach is also located here. Papakolea Beach (also known as Mahana Beach) is what the name implies, a green sand beach. It is located at South Point in the District of Ka'u. There are only two green sand beaches in the United States, the other being in Guam. The beach gets distinctive coloring from olivine crystals found in a nearby cinder cone. Two of the tallest mountains in the Pacific - Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa - dominate the center of the island.

The island is the worldwide leader in harvesting macadamia nuts and orchids. Most of the world's macadamia nuts are grown on the Big Island. A tough nut to crack: it takes 300 lbs. per square inch to break the macadamia nut shell, hardest of all nut shells. The U.S. is the largest consumer of these nuts (51%) with Japan following at 15%. Macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fatty acid ("good" fat) and have been demonstrated to help reduce overall cholesterol levels. Nuts are high in minerals and protein and are part of a healthy diet. Hawaii growers are the world leaders in cultivation techniques.

ObservatoriesMauna Kea is home to the world's biggest telescope and more scientific observatories in one place than anywhere else in the world. Mauna Kea was recently chosen as the site for what will become the world's largest telescope - a mega-feat of engineering that will cost $1.2 billion, create as many as 440 construction and other jobs and seals the Big Island summit's standing as the premier spot on the planet to study the mysteries of space. The new telescope - known as the Thirty Meter Telescope - is set to be completed in 2018, following seven years of construction. Astronomers say the project is expected to spur big advances in their field and offer new insight into the universe and its celestial bodies, including whether any far-away planets are capable of sustaining life. The TMT will be able to see 13 billion light years away, a distance so great and so far back in time that researchers predict they'll be able to watch the first stars and galaxies in the universe forming.