Hilo Culture & history

Our most recommended Hilo Culture & history

Hilo: Historic Hawaii Hamakua Cruise

1. Hilo: Historic Hawaii Hamakua Cruise

Grab your camera and get ready for a sightseeing cruise that will provide you with stunning photographs and beautiful memories for years to come. During this small and intimate tour, spend 2 hours viewing lush tropical landscapes, secret coves, beautiful waterfalls, and visiting ancient Hawaiian villages. You will see the remains of Hilo's plantation-era sugar mills including the 1900s-era Papaikou Mill that is now a popular spot with surfers. Be sure to capture majestic photos of Mauna Kea, the world's largest volcano, as well as Kilauea, the world's most active one. The two tallest and most active volcanoes in the world, all visitors should be sure to make time to see these mountains of fire, which are both located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. While on the waters keep an eye out for playful spinner and bottle-nose dolphins; these crowd favorites love to put on an acrobatic show next to the boat. Throughout the tour, your guides will share insightful stories and fascinating facts about the history and culture of Hilo and Hamakua. Reserve your spot in the boat today.

Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

2. Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

Experience Hawaii's Big Island at your own pace with a self-guided driving tour. Stops include Hulihe's Palace, Magic Beach, and the Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Your tour of the Big Island begins outside the quaint town of Kailua-Kona. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. As you drive, you’ll see the historic Hulihe’e Palace, once the vacation home of the island’s royalty. Continue south to Magic Beach, where the sand sometimes simply disappears. After that is Kahalu'u Beach, a perfect place for snorkelers, followed by the sacred Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Next, pass the remnants of Hikiau Heiau, an important religious site in ancient Hawaii. Past that is the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park for those looking to learn more about the island’s history. See the Honaunau Rodeo Arena and learn all about Hawaii’s cowboys. Next up is Pebble Beach, where you’ll get to know the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. You’ll also have the option to check out the Kula Kai Caverns, left by ancient volcanic activity. Continuing on, reach the startling Punalu'u Beach, which features totally black sand. The route then passes an old sugar plantation, followed by the huge volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Pass by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can explore the island’s volcanoes up close. After that, drive through the picturesque town of Hilo. Then, cruise through the almost impossibly scenic Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. Find surfers catching waves next at Honoli'i Beach. After that is Onomea Bay, featuring a spectacular hiking trail with views that can’t be beaten. Then, admire the astonishing flora at the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. Continuing on, you’ll arrive at the surprising sight of the Honohina Hongwanji Mission, a historic Buddhist temple. Next pass the Laupahoehoe Train Museum before reaching Laupahoehoe Point, a spectacular ocean vista. Don’t forget to snap some photos. Anyone hankering for a snack will definitely want to stop at the Hamakua Harvest Farmers Market before continuing on to the cowboy town of Waimea. Up next are a pair of great beaches: Hapuna Beach is the largest white sand beach on the island and Beach 69 is beloved by locals, so take your pick. Then you’ll arrive at the Kings Highway Foot Trail, where you’ll have the chance to see the ancient Waikoloa Petroglyphs. After that are another few scenic overlooks, followed by the beautiful Kekaha Kai State Park. Your tour concludes here, just north of where it began.

Big Island: Volcanoes & Winery Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

3. Big Island: Volcanoes & Winery Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

See the best of Big Island, Hawai’i, on this guided tour. Visit active volcanoes at the National Park, watch sea turtles on Punalu’u beach, and stop at a coffee farm and winery for breakfast and lunch. Admire the 80 ft tall Rainbow Falls, and the beauty of the coastline at Hamakua, Kona, and Ka'u. Start your adventure with a pickup by van. Head into the Kona district, the heart of coffee country, to visit a mountain coffee farm. Sample a wide selection of Kona coffees and enjoy a continental breakfast while you look over the coast. Next stop is Punalu’u. Drop into the local bake shop to pick up some treats and continue to the black sand beach. The area is home to many turtles, including the endangered Hawksbill, and is where many of the first Polynesian explorers landed. Head inland to a winery and tea farm situated between two volcanoes. Sample unique wines grown at 4,000 feet of elevation and stop for a scenic lunch. Then, continue to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to admire the active volcanoes Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Your final visit will be to Rainbow Falls, an 80 foot waterfall that plunges over the entrance to a natural lava cave. The Hawaiian goddess Hina, mother of Maui, is said to dwell in the cave, and on a sunny day, rainbows appear in the mist around it. Cruise back along the beautiful, lush coast of Hamakua and get dropped back at your starting point to end the day.

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What people are saying about Hilo

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 14 reviews

Be sure to follow the directions for downloading the audio to go with your trip. Otherwise, customer service was very helpful in helping us find our errors. Excellent narrative as you go along the given route.

This was well worth it. As a solo traveler, I enjoy going at my own pace. I learned alot from the recordings. The gps is also on point.

The narration about the history of The island was great. We learned so much. The price was also a good deal.

We really enjoyed being able to go at our pace. Very informative and educational

Nice and informative tour to explore the island. Everything went well.