Kona, Hawaii is a popular destination for cruise ships with its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rich cultural heritage. As one of the top tourist destinations in Hawaii, Kona offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences for travelers of all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the island’s natural beauty, or immerse yourself in the local culture, Kona has something to offer everyone. In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the must-see attractions and local cultural experiences that you won’t want to miss on your next Kona cruise port stop.

Best Big Island Beaches

The moment you touch down on the stunning island of Hawaii, we bet one of the first things on your checklist is hitting the beach ASAP! We don’t blame you, and the Big Island has some of the most unique and beautiful beaches of all the Hawaiian islands. These include green sand beaches, black sand beaches, white sand beaches, snorkeling beaches, etc. Kamakahonu Beach is the closest beach to the Kona cruise port and is located right by the King Kamehameha Hotel

However, if you have some time to explore and are willing to take the drive to other beautiful beaches on Big Island, we have plenty other gems to share with you. 

  1. Makalawena Beach is the #1 rated beach on the Big Island. This is a totally secluded beach and it takes about 20 minutes to walk there from the area where you can park your car. It is all part of the adventure; You even get to walk on lava to get to the beach!
  2. Hapuna Beach has hit the top ten beaches multiple times out of all the islands, and it’s no joke! This white sand beach is open from 7 am to 8 pm daily and one thing to be aware of is that there is a $5 parking fee if you are parking your vehicle. Hapuna Beach is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, etc. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to see some whales in action!
  3. Mahaiula Beach is also a great choice. According to “Big Island Guide”, Mahaiula Beach is “peppered with black and white sands, sheltered tide pools, and beautiful seascapes along turquoise waters”. What better way to enjoy a fun beach day with swimming in the beautiful blue waters of Big Island than to spend it here?!

Five-Star Outdoor Adventures

We may be biased, but we are so confident that an adventure excursion will be the highlight of your trip. We have seen it and heard it all before! Your cruise to Kona will make it all worth it:) As you embark on this journey of a Polynesian ATV Tour, you will be able to see and feel the beauty that Big Island has to offer. Not only this, but you will be able to learn how culturally enriching each Polynesian Island is. This tour is a two-hour ride through the jungles in the city of Holualoa and during your ride, you will visit four islands located throughout Polynesia. This is a fun activity for families and children above the age of 16 are able to ride their own ATV. If there are children below that age or adults who prefer not to ride an ATV, we will have a UTV follow the tour for passengers to be able to enjoy the ride from a passenger’s perspective. Both are epic adventures! For a limited time only, use code earlybird10 for 10% off all ATV Tours by booking at least 10 days in advance. 

ATV tour through Big Island, HawaiiMust-Do Water Activities

What’s a Hawaii trip without some fun snorkel action? As mentioned before, apart from being the largest white sand beach out of all the islands, Hapuna Beach is a great spot for snorkeling. The best snorkeling spots are located on either end of the beach (shhh…experts say that the right end is the best spot to snorkel).

Our favorite snorkeling spot is called Two Step Beach, located just north of the City of Refuge. There is plenty of sea life, corals and the crystal blue waters will just take your breath away. Another reason why this place is unique is because it is surrounded by lava rock. 

Some things to be cautious of when coming to Two Step are:

  • Entering/exiting water near lava rocks can be dangerous
  • Take precautions based on weather conditions
  • Pay attention to possible sea/hazardous conditions
  • Know the local law and regulations, especially those concerning wildlife interaction

Immerse Yourself in Local Culture

If a Big Island ATV Tour isn’t your cup of tea, don’t fret! If you and your family choose to be a part of a Polynesian Carving Tour at Aloha Adventure Farms, your tour guide Mani, a fourth-generation master carver from Tonga, will take you up in a UTV to our Carving hut overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean waters. Your experience will include learning from Mani, using locally grown wood, and best yet, being able to take this souvenir with you wherever you go! We love that anyone who chooses to be a part of this tour will be able to take a piece of Hawaii with them always. Best part is that YOU created it!

Big Island Local Favorites - Polynesian carving tourShopping & Souvenirs

What’s a vacation without leaving a dent in your bank account?!🤪 One of the most popular and beautiful places to shop on Big Island is located in Waikoloa. With two shopping centers to choose from, both King’s Shops and Queens’ Marketplace offer a variety of shops for your entire family. Waikoloa Village is about a 40-minute drive from the Kona cruise port and the drive is absolutely beautiful! You will see the geography change from tropical to lava rock as you drive along the west side of Big Island. Some shops found here include: 

  • Na Hoku
  • Crazy Shirts
  • Giving Bracelets
  • Kokonut Drop
  • Rip Curl

If you’re looking for some yummy food after some shopping, here are some restaurants that are worth checking out:

  • Foster’s Kitchen
  • Island Fish & Chips
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill
  • Waikoloa Pizza
  • Sansei Seafood, Steakhouse & Sushi
  • Gypsea Gelato
  • Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill

The Big Island of Hawaii is an island full of natural beauty, wonders, and adventure. Whether you choose to spend your day snorkeling at Two Step Beach or take the thrilling ride through the jungles of Holualoa, we know your cruise to Kona will make it all worth it. Remember, if you choose to take a Big Island ATV Tour with Aloha Adventure Farms, you’ll be enjoying the cultural experience of a lifetime. Aloha & safe travels from the Kona cruise port!