Big Island, Hawaii
An interesting little resort town on one of the coasts of Big Island, Hawaii. While it doesn’t seem very populated, it is one of the Big Island’s most popular cities as well as one of its largest (census 2000: population 9,870). Its one of the main spots where tourists go for rest, relaxation, and a night life. My visit was a day onwards into the evening … dropping by for a seafood lunch, snorkeling the reefs, lounging in the sun, exploring an old fort, seeing sea turtles, and frolicking around with cocktails meeting some of the locals. I enjoyed the town, but wasn’t impressed with its weekend nightlife offerings. Definitely more low-key than I’m used to. Kona is the center of commerce and tourism in West Hawaii.
The proper name for the area is “Kailua-Kona” (according to the post office to differentiate itself from the larger Kailua on windward Oahu) though most popularly known as “Kona Town” or “Kona”. It houses its own airport and with Hilo make up the air traffic for the island. The area was first established by King Kamehameha I as the homeplace for the government as well as the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaii. (Capital moved to Lahaina then to Honolulu at later dates) From its inception until the late 1900’s, Kona served primarily as a small fishing village but then overwent a humongous construction boom fueled by tourism and commerce. Kona keeps a pretty warm temperature annually – the coldest month is february with a average high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit an an average low of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. August is the warmest month with an average high of 88 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 74 degrees. The area is susceptible to vog (volcanic smoke/fog) from Kilauea. Kona is most popular for its coffee that comes from a variety of Coffea arabica cultivated on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa. The most popular area of Kona is Ali’i Drive which is Kailua’s oceanfront downtown street beginning at the Kailua Pier towards historic spots southwards including the Ahu’ena Heiau, Kamakahonu royal residence, Hulihe’e Palace, Historic Kona Inn, Mokuaikaua Church, La’aloa Bay, Kahulu’u Bay, and a historic fort.