Kona port has a history as a fishing village and home to Christian missionaries. It's now a very popular destination for water sports enthusiasts. Kona gets a lot of sunshine each year, with relatively little rain. At the Kona port of call, cruise ships are anchored offshore. Passengers are ferried to Kailua Village in the downtown area. The area right near the port is easy to reach on foot. Free bus service is offered for other attractions.
Ali'i Drive, the long main street, contains most of the shops. Kona coffee is the most commonly purchased item. Alii Gardens Marketplace has numerous vendors selling local items like handcrafted soaps, shell jewelry, woven bags, and wood items. The King's Shops is a shopping center that also has restaurants and nightly Hawaiian entertainment.
A unique Kona specialty called Donkey Balls is sold in two Kona locations of the same name. These oddly-named treats consist of chocolate-covered macadamia nut clusters. Hilo Hattie sells cute Hawaiian-themed items.
Things to See
The local scenery is very pretty, with the Hualalai Volcano nearby. Sunsets from this location are very impressive, with the best views seen from along the seawall. Some historic houses dating back to the missionary period are still found in the area. Kaloko-Honokahou National Park contains ancient petroglyphs. The Queen's Palace is still standing, as is the first church founded in the islands.
Snorkelers greatly enjoy the area's warm, pristine waters. Climate conditions make this activity possible nearly all year. Kahaluu is the best beach for snorkelers. You can also swim very easily in this area. Surfing is, of course, a popular activity. Surf shops with very knowledgeable instructors can introduce newcomers to the world of surfing. Sport fishing is another enjoyable activity.
A number of caves are located in the area that many like to explore. Hiking is an activity made easy by the area's pleasant climate. Bikers get to see a lot of pretty places easily, and four-wheeling expeditions are easily available. Some companies also offer Zodiac boat tours.
Two of the coffee plantations offer tours and good deals on their products. UCC Hawaii Coffee Factory Outlet offers two different tours. Bayview Farms gives away samples as part of its tours.
Saint Benedict's Catholic Church, a painted church, has colorful Biblical frescoes decorating the interior walls. St Peter's Catholic Church, known as the Little Blue Church, is a popular wedding spot. Moku'aikua Church is the oldest Hawaiian church standing. The Ku'emanu Heiau is a traditional Hawaiian sacred place, still visited by locals.
Restaurants and Bars
O's Bistro offers noodle dishes in a restaurant formerly owned by chef Amy Ota. You Make the Roll offers a good selection of sushi. Bubba Gump's has a nice selection of seafood. Pancho and Lefty's is a good place for Mexican food. The Coffee Shack is a popular local destination for breakfast and lunch.
Huggo's on the Rocks offers live entertainment most nights. LuLu's is an open-air, casual bar.