Hilo: Eat, Play, and Stay in Charming Historic Hilo on the Big Island
Hilo is the largest city on Hawai‘i Island, known for its rich history in the sugarcane industry, home to historical storefronts and a flourishing downtown community. Hilo owes its jungle like setting to the 120 inches of rain it receives per year- more than any other city in the US. But, there are plenty of sunny days to enjoy your Hilo vacation rental. In recent years, visitors have come to know Hilo as an endearing vacation spot revered for its waterfalls, restaurants, and art galleries.
Poke is the unofficial food of Hilo, and our poll from Big Island Agents shows Suisan Fish Market is the #1 location for the tasty treat. Don’t just take our words for it though, all the proof you need is in the line out the door at lunchtime. What is poke? Poke is raw fish, usually Ahi, mixed with seasonings like limu (seaweed), green onions, Hawaiian hot peppers, shoyu, and many other signature fixings. Suisan carries a long tradition in Hilo as being the favorite location for fresh fish. Perched along the bay, if you arrive early enough in the morning you can watch as fishing boats unload their catch to Suisan’s dock, then go inside and purchase the freshly cut fish. If raw fish isn’t to your liking, there’s a whole host of restaurants in Hilo. Cafe Pesto along Hilo Bayfront offers freshly made pizzas, Conscious Culture Cafe is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly eatery, or Hilo Bay Cafe for island-inspired cuisine with a stunning view of the bay are just a few of the offerings.
Hilo is best known for the Merrie Monarch Festival. Drawing crowds from all over the world, Merrie Monarch is dedicated to King David Kalakaua, affectionately known as the Merrie Monarch. The festival features the world’s premier hula competition and includes art exhibits, craft fairs, demonstrations, performances and a parade through Hilo.
World famous Hilo Farmers Market is the best place for fresh local fruits and vegetables. Exotic fruits, orchids, fresh vegetables, and handmade local crafts abound at Hilo’s main attraction. Located at the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street, the big market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays from around 7 am to 3 pm, however, local fruit and vegetable vendors can be found at this location daily.
A Hilo vacation wouldn’t be complete without a trip to iconic Rainbow Falls. The 80 ft waterfall, also known as Waianuenue, is just outside of historic downtown Hilo. A short walk to the Rainbow Falls lookout from free parking and facilities is a popular location for rainbow spotting and taking in the beautiful jungle scenery that makes Hilo such a great place to vacation.
Hamakua Coast – The Perfect Hawaii Vacation Experience
Hamakua is the region of Hawaii Island’s northeastern coast where vacationers find unbridled rural beauty and breathtaking ocean views. North Hilo/Hamakua coast vacation homes offer a chance to stay in the middle of Hawaii’s agriculturally rich area and arguably one of the most beautiful places on the Big Island.
Ocean view vacation rentals along the Hamakua Coast are an ideal location to relax or jumping off point for thrilling local attractions. Most notable sights of the North Hilo/Hamakua Coast include stunning Waipio Valley, Laupahoehoe Point, and Akaka Falls.
Charming Honomu town is home to Akaka Falls, a 442ft waterfall surrounded by lush tropical jungle and triple tiered Umauma Falls are a must-see to believe natural wonder. Take a zipline tour next to dramatic waterfalls, or enjoy local coffee at Hilo Shark’s Coffee Honomu location. During the 1800s into much of the 1900s, the Hamakua Coast was predominantly sugar cane plantation lands and Honomu offers a true step back in time.
Waipio Valley is located at the end of Hwy 240 in Honokaa, offering jaw-dropping views of cobalt blue waters below and a crescent-shaped black sand beach. Experience the secluded village within Waipio Valley by horseback or mule-drawn carriage. Besides gorgeous scenery, Honokaa is home to Tex Drive-In and their famous malasadas (Portuguese donuts) among other local eateries.
The Honokaa People’s Theatre hosts bands, comedians, and shows popular movies in their 525-seat preserved theatre. Each April the Laupahoehoe Music Festival brings music lovers from all over to enjoy everything from classic rock to slack key guitar performances. Rural life of the Hamakua is just minutes north of Hilo, and easily accessible for visitors. Locally run country stores, farmers markets, and roadside stands offer additional amenities as well as add to the rural charm.
One hot spot to visit on the road trip is the If your timing is right, you can go lava viewing at Kilauea Volcano. The eruptions have been continuous since 1983, making it one of the most active volcanos in the world. After all the hiking and wandering the Hawaiian countryside, rest in our beautiful Hamakua Coast vacation rentals.