5 Ways to Experience the Kona Lifestyle

5 Ways to Experience the Kona Lifestyle

  • Kris Hazard
  • 10/4/22

Kailua-Kona, or Kona, is a true gem of Hawaiian beauty. From the awe-inspiring viewpoints over the crystal blue waters to the fantastic weather that beckons you to spend time under the sun, Kona is the epitome of a luxurious and tranquil oasis.
If you hear the waves calling your name, you might be looking at Kailua Kona homes for sale. Or, maybe, you’re visiting North Kona real estate for business or pleasure and trying to find the perfect afternoon activity. No matter the reason, you don’t want to miss these must-see and must-experience spots to get a feel for all that beautiful Kona has to offer.
While there are plenty of touristy spots on the island if you really want to live like a local and get an incredible Kona experience, keep reading. These are the five best things to do while you’re in Kona.

Mauna Kea Observatory

The Mauna Kea Observatory is truly a must-stop on the island, with breathtaking views of the entire island. If you have never been here before, you should know you need a 4WD to make it up to the summit. This isn’t a suggestion; 2WD vehicles are actually not permitted farther than the paved road. You can also only go to the summit during the daylight hours. Once night falls, drivers are no longer allowed on the road. The Mauna Kea Weather Center posts daily updates on the summit road conditions, as it can be closed due to ice, snow, or intense winds.
You can choose to travel to the visitors center, or drive all the way to the summit itself. The visitors center should be on your list, as you can visit the official store, get amazing views of the area, and even hike around the area. If you only have a short time to visit, this is the best way to do it.
With the proper vehicle, you can drive all the way to the summit, and the views are spectacular. If you’re using a telescope, this is by far the best spot on the island for stargazing. At the time of writing, tours of the Mauna Kea Observatory were suspended, but when the center reopens, you can visit the observatory and use the telescopes that made the observatory famous. If you own North Kona real estate or live in the area, keep an eye on their website so you can schedule a tour when the facility is reopened.

Paradise Helicopter Tours

There may be no better way to explore the island than with Paradise Helicopter Tours. This is an experience everyone should have once on the island, and if you’re looking at Kailua Kona homes for sale, maybe more than once! There are a few helicopter tours in the area, but Paradise is one of the most comprehensive and best-reviewed options.
Paradise Helicopter Tours offers Oahu, Lana’i, and Hawai’i Island tours of varying lengths. The Kohala Coast and Waterfalls Tour is especially impressive and covers some of the many hard-to-reach waterfalls and sights. If you want something a little more exotic, the Doors Off Lava and Rainforest Adventure have you looking directly down into the world’s most active volcanoes and exploring rivers of frozen lava.

Manta Ray Dives

There is no shortage of water-based tours on the island. After all, most people come to the area looking for sunshine and an ocean experience! However, doing a manta ray dive may be the best way to experience not just the gentle beauty these animals have but the gorgeous ocean they live in.
There are several different tour companies in the area that have manta ray tours, including Sea Paradise and Coral Reef Adventures. Most tour companies operate out of Keauhou, near North Kona real estate. The best tours are those that happen at dusk. As the sun sets, manta rays become more active and start feeding off the plankton near the shore. Manta rays can look incredibly intimidating and can grow to nearly 30 feet. However, these animals are intelligent and very gentle. It’s completely safe to snorkel with them and observe their nightly feedings.

Whale Watching Tours

This seasonal activity is a favorite for residents and those looking to escape the winter months stateside. Tours for whale watching near Kailua Kona typically only run between the months of December and March, when the humpback whales are migrating from Alaska.
If you get lucky, you can end up so close to a pod that boaters can hear their songs above the water. Their calls travel, though, and underwater, you can hear pods sing from as far away as 20 miles. Hawaiian Adventures and Ali’i Adventures both have whale-watching tours available seasonally.

Kona Coffee Plantation Tours

Photo courtesy of Greenwell Farms
The islands are known for many things, and coffee is at the top of the list. Touring a coffee plantation is a great way to spend the day and learn more about how the coffee bean is grown and processed. There are several great coffee farms on the island to choose from.
If you’re near North Kona, don’t miss Greenwell Farms. Tours of the farm are inspired by the Napa Valley Wine Tour and are available each day. Visitors can tour the farm, learn about how the coffee is grown, and then taste the final product. Private tours have to be scheduled but are worth it if you’re passionate about coffee and want to really dive deep into what makes a great cup of joe.
If you’re near South Kona, stop into Rooster Farms. Rooster Farms creates an amazing cup of coffee, and their brew won the 2016 Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Cupping Contest. Everything on the farm is grown organically, and it’s all handled on the property, from seed to coffee bean. Tours are available by appointment only, so consider planning.

Are you looking to buy?

Are you convinced that North Kona is where your heart is? When you’re ready to make the jump and start living the island life, reach out to Kris Hazard. Kris is one of the best agents selling Kailua Kona homes for sale, and she has 20 years of experience in this incredible market. There is truly no one better to handle your transition to Kona living, so call Kris today and see what sort of life awaits you on the island.

*Header photo by Kris Hazard

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