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  • 22
  • Aug
  • 2013

What are my shore excursion options on the Big Island of Hawaii?

HAWAII (The  Big Island) has two cruise ship ports–Kona and Hilo

The natural beauty and volcanic features of the big island are a draw for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. When your cruise ship stops in Kona, consider these popular places to visit or activities to do: 

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The Seine River cruise (preceded by a day in Paris) and then an extension to Madrid was one amazing trip, Wes Rowland did an amazing job of setting it up for us... He did everything so smoothly, and everything went according to plan... kudos to Wes, and although he's at a distance from me, I would use his services again in a heartbeat! — Joan

1.  Kealakelua Park & Captain Cook Monument. Enjoy a scenic a ride to see this major landmark on the Kona Coast.

2.  Place of Refuge. Learn the history of Kona Ahu’ena Temple, the Place of Refuge, and the Painted Church.

3.  Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park. Discover early Hawaiian history at this national historic park.

4. Holoholo Hualalai Craters. Take a 6-wheel drive up a rocky ramble to a hidden world of native beauty.

5Kohala Waterfalls. Take a 4-wheel drive and then hike in to the waterfall. You can actually sit under a cool rainwater cascade.
Cup of coffee on wooden table by ocean

6. A-Bay Beach. Take a transfer out to this expansive stretch of white sand. Perfect spot for swimming, windsurfing, snorkeling and diving.

7. Coffee Sampling or Culinary Tour.  Try Hawaii’s famous Kona coffee. Or book a culinary tour of a distinctive Hawaiian private home to experience their lifestyle and enjoy a meal they’ve prepared just for you.

8. Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm. Visit the only U.S. seahorse farm.

9. Whale Watching. Many kinds of whales can be seen off the west coast.

10. Sport Fishing. Charter a fishing boat to try your hand at catching marlin, ono, mahi, ahi and spearfish.

11. Rent a Catamaran and sail out to the reefs and snorkel and swim with the dolphins.

12. Atlantis Submarine Dive Explore life under the sea.

13. Glass-bottom Boat Ride. Enjoy a spectacular view of the Kona reefs—without getting wet.

14. Golf. Play the links at Makalei Golf Club – voted one of the “Best Places to Golf” by Golf Digest.

If your cruise ship docks at Hilo’s port, visit some of these popular places or try some of these activities:

1. Volcanoes National Park. Learn the secrets of the most active Puna Volcano. Stop at the Macadamia Nut Farm along the way.

2Tropical Botanical Gardens. Take a scenic drive along the coast to visit the gardens.

3Waterfalls. Visit the beautiful Akaka Falls, Kahuna Falls, or Rainbow Falls.

Hiker showing lava on Big Island, Hawaii

4Waipi’o Valley. You’ll need a 4-wheel drive to see the amazing view from the lookout.

5Mauna KeaIf you hike to the summit, you’ll be at the highest peak in the Pacific.

6Lava Tree State Park. Explore the “Land of the Frozen Fire” and learn about Hilo’s volcanic heritage.

7Kilauea Volcano. Explore  Pele’s “Goddess of Fire” on a walking tour, following a lava path down to the black sand beach.

8Lyman Museum & Mission House . Built by missionaries in 1839, the mission house is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and may be visited by guided tour.

9Culinary Hawaii Home Progressive Brunch Tour. Visit traditional Hawaiian homes and enjoy brunch with the owners.

10Farm Tour. Try Hawaiian-grown coffee, wine or handmade chocolates, or stop in at a lavender farm.

11. Imiloa Astromony Center. Visit the 3D planetarium.

12. Hamakua Coast. Visit the Hawaiian Vanilla Company.

13Zipline. View the rainforest and discover waterfalls as you zip by on this high-adrenaline activity.

14Kayak in Hilo Bay or along the Wailuku River, through the Kaumana Caves.

15Helicopter Ride. What a memorable way to view scenic waterfalls and “Circle of Fire” volcanoes!dolphin swim

16. Dolphin Swim. Dolpin encounters are available in open-ocean or controlled environments. Who doesn’t want to swim with these adorable creatures?

17. Golf.  Volcano Golf & Country Club, situated on the rim of the active Kilauea volcanic crater makes for an adventurous golf game.

Whatever you decide for your shore excursions,  our agents at can help you make all the arrangements.

What are the best things to do on Maui?

What are the best things to do on Oahu?

What are the best things to do on Kauai?

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