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Hawaii The Big Island
(Lonely Planet) ISBN 978-1741047158 1741047153

Hawai'i The Big Island describes thirty-five themed itineraries for nine regions of the Big Island: Hamakua Coast, Puna, Mauna Kea and Saddle Road, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kau, Kona Coast, Kailua-Kona, Kohala and Waimea.

The 304-page Lonely Planet guidebook provides information on everything you need for planning a Hawaii vacation, active holiday or family trip - hotels, attractions, restaurants, stores, festivals, parks and beaches.

Detailed, well-organized and informative, is a useful resource book that makes you want to visit the Big Island.

Big Island food tour

Colored tabs denote regional chapters. Each region begins with itineraries that specify number of days and miles, attractions and a route map. Hilo, for example, has a Foodies' Tour that visits the Hilo Farmer's Market, Café 100 for loco moco (rice topped with a hamburger, fried egg and brown gravy), Mehana Brewing Company, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitors Center, Seaside Restaurant for mullet, Hilo Bay Café and Big Island Candies for chocolate-dipped macadamia shortbread.

The Hilo chapter specifies the population of Hilo (41,000), where to find Internet access (Bytes & Bites), beaches (e.g., Leleiwi Beach Park), sights (e.g., 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i) and a downtown Hilo walking tour.

Hawaii street maps

Excellent colored maps detail 41 locations around the Big Island as well as town and city streets. Symbols identify restaurants, stores, hotels, campsites, national parks, picnic areas and locations for surfing, snorkeling and cycling. Colored photos depict Hawaii scenes, beaches, sunsets, petroglyphs, flowers, plants, animals and traditional ceremonies.

A chapter on Big Island myths and legends features descriptions and stories about Pele the volcano goddess, Ku the god of war, virility and humankind, Lono, the god of peace and agriculture, and Kanaloa, the god of ocean and sea winds.

Readers learn about kahuna (priests), who recited stories (some up to two days-long) of Hawaiian oral mythology. Hawaiian Kumulipo (Source of Life) is a chant that tells the epic story of the origin of mankind and Pele, who materializes in the form of lava eruptions and lives in Halema'uma'u Crater on Kilauea.

Tours of coffee plantations

A sidebar in Hawaii The Big Island provides information on coffee plantation tours and coffee tastings (Holualoa Kona Coffee Company, Kona Blue Sky Company and Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation).

Highlights sidebars specify must-see attractions. On the Hamakua Coast, for example, highlights include the best beach (Waipi'o Beach), the best activity (Pepe'ekeo four-mile scenic drive) and best view (Waimanu Valley from Muliwai Trail).

What to do on The Big Island

Top Picks sidebars specify things to do on the Big Island. For example, in Ka'u, kids can fly kites at South Point, see sea turtles at Ogling Punalu'u Beach Park, and explore lava tubes at Kula Kai Caverns.

The two-day itinerary for Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park includes the Kilauea Crater scenic drive, the Jaggar Museum, the Thurston Lava Tube walk and Kilauea Iki, a four-mile hike, to see the Ohia Forest, mile-wide crater and steam vents.

World's longest lava tube

Readers learn about the longest lava tube in the world, 41-mile-long Kazumura Cave, created by Kilauea Volcano 500 years ago.

A sidebar explains the differences between Hawai'i (which contains the 'okina punctuation mark), meaning the ancient island of Hawai'i (Big Island), and Hawaii (without the 'okina) referring to the state. A Hawaiian language sidebar translates a few useful Hawaiian words like mahalo (thank you) and aloha (hello, welcome, goodbye).

Annual rainfall and temperature charts for Hawaii specify monthly weather for Hilo, Kailua-Kona, Mauna Kea, Volcano and Waimea.

Hawaii by Lonely Planet


  • Best Big Island experiences
  • Island itineraries
  • Outdoor activities & adventures
    • At sea
      • Bodysurfing & bodyboarding
      • Diving
      • Fishing
      • Kayaking
      • Kitesurfing
      • Parasailing
      • Sailing
      • Snorkeling
      • Surfing
      • Whale watching
      • Windsurfing
    • On land
      • Caving
      • Cycling & mountain biking
      • Golf
      • Helicopter & airplane tours
      • Hiking & camping
      • Horseback riding
      • Running
      • Spas
      • Stargazing
      • Tennis
      • Yoga
  • Green Big Island
    • The Big Island goes green
    • Sustainable Big Island
    • On the ground
    • Helpful organizations
    • Environment
    • The land
    • Wildlife
    • National State & County Parks
  • Kailua-Kona
    • History
    • Beaches
    • Sights
    • Activities
    • Kailua-Kona for kids
    • Tours
    • Festivals & events
    • Eating
    • Drinking
    • Entertainment
    • Shopping
    • Sleeping
    • Around Kailua-Kona
      • Keauhou Resort area
      • Holualoa
  • Kona Coast
    • South Kona Coast
      • Honalo
      • Kainaliu
      • Kealakekua
      • Captain Cook
      • Honaunau
      • Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
      • Ho'okena
      • Miloli'i
    • North Kona Coast
      • Honokohau Harbor
      • Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
      • Keahole Point
      • Onizuka Space Center
      • Kekaha Kai State Park
      • Ka'upulehu
      • Kiholo Bay
  • Kohala & Waimea
    • South Kohala
      • Waikoloa Resort area
      • Mauna Lani Resort area
      • Puako
      • Mauna Kea Resort area
      • Kawaihae
    • North Kohala
      • Akoni Pule Highway (Hwy 270)
      • Hawi
      • Kapa'au
      • Pololu Valley
    • Waimea (Kamuela)
      • Sights
      • Activities
      • Tours
      • Festivals & events
      • Eating
      • Entertainment
      • Shopping
      • Sleeping
    • Around Waimea
      • Kohala Forest Reserve
      • Waimea back roads
  • Mauna Kea & Saddle Road
    • History
    • Sights
    • Activities
    • Tours
    • Festivals & events
    • Sleeping
    • Around Mauna Kea
    • Mauna Loa's northern flank
    • Saddle Road hikes
  • Hamakua Coast
    • Honoka'a
    • Kukuihaele
    • Waipi'o Valley
    • Kalopa State Recreation Area
    • Laupahoehoe
    • Kalekole Beach Park
    • Honomu
    • Akaka Falls State Park
    • Pepe'ekeo 4-Mile Scenic Drive
  • Hilo
    • History
    • Beaches
    • Sights
    • Activities
    • Walking tour
    • Hilo for kids
    • Festivals & events
    • Eating
    • Drinking & entertainment
    • Shopping
    • Sleeping
  • Puna
    • Kea'au
    • Highway 11 (Volcano Highway)
    • Pahoa
    • Highway 132
    • Red Road (Hwy 137)
    • Highway 130
  • Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
    • Sights
    • Hiking
    • Festivals & events
    • Eating & drinking
    • Sleeping
    • Around Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
      • Volcano
  • Ka'u
    • Pahala
    • Punalu'u
    • Whittington Beach Park & around
    • Na'alehu
    • Wai'ohinu
    • South Point
    • Ocean view
    • Road to the sea
    • Manuka State Wayside Park
  • Big Island myths & legends
    • The Hawaiian Pantheon
    • Pele, the fiery volcano goddess
  • History & culture
  • Food & drink
  • Planning your trip
  • Festivals & events calendar
  • Directory & transportation
  • Behind the scenes
  • Map legend


Luci Yamamoto & Conner Gorry

More information on the Big Island:

Hawaii by Helicopter

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