As cruise ships are not able to dock here you will be tendered ashore to downtown Kailua Village.
At the pier you can catch a trolley to go around the town. It costs $1 per person. It is open air and you can make some wonderful photos. It will take you up to the shopping area (Target) and then all the way down to Magic Sands (beautiful white beach sand) and Kahaluu Bay for snorkeling. The drop off for is at the Outrigger hotel. Walk through the open air lobby and follow the walking path along the water. Beautiful grounds and views here.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
The Big Island of Hawaii is divided in half by three volcanoes, Hualalai, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa. To the east is the Hilo side which is the windward side of the island, and to the west is the Kona side which is the leeward side of the island.Kona is famous for sportfishing, snorkeling, sunsets and coffee. It means "leeward" in Hawaiian. The northern portion of the Kona side of the Big Island is also known as the Kohala district. The weather and ocean conditions can be vastly different on each side of the island depending on the time of year and the predominant trade winds. The Big Island is large and diverse, boasting 11 of the world's 13 climate zones. Because the mountains block the northeasterly trade winds, the Kona side of the island gets very little rain and enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year.
Nestled at the bottom of the Hualalai Volcano, is the main western city of Kailua-Kona. In ancient times, this area was considered the premier place to live due to the excellent weather and good water. Many kings made their homes here. Later, missionaries built churches and residences turning the tiny fishing village into a small seaport.
The main street, Ali'i Drive, runs along the oceanfront through the heart of the city from Kailua Pier to the Kuamo'o Battlefield. This charming town mixes numerous historical sites with modern tourist attractions. Restaurants, shops, and hotels abound. Sunsets viewed from the seawall are almost always spectacular.
Kailua Village is easiest explored on foot.
The rest of the island has Free Island-Wide Bus Service on all Scheduled Routes!
Car rental: There is an Enterprise in Kona, as well as the Thrifty and Dollar at the King Kam Hotel across the street from the tender pier.
Many boats offer all kinds of excursions (party, fishing, snorkeling etc.)
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here
The Big island of Hawaii is diverse culturally and geographically making this a most interesting and educational place to visit. The world renowned erupting Kiluaea volcano and ancient petroglyphs dating back hundreds years. The Big Island is also home to best snorkeling and diving cove in the islands, Kealakekua Bay, and is the very spot where captain James Cook was murdered.
Most people do not know: Mauna Kea Volcano, the tallest mountain in the world, measures 32,000 feet from its base to its summit at 13,796 feet above sea level.
Shuttles for Hilo Hattie's (a famous Hawaiian clothing store) and Wal-Mart will pick you up at the pier.
There is a farmer's market Wed-Sun, 7am to 4pm.
The official U.S. currency is the United States dollar (symbol: $). ATM's everywhere.
Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used and accepted, even for transactions worth only a few dollars. In fact, in some cases, it may be the only way to make a transaction. Note to overseas visitors: Prices of goods and services always seem lower than they really are, as taxes and gratuities are seldom included.
Most states have a sales tax, ranging from 2.9% to nearly 10% of the retail price; 4-6% is typical. Sales tax is almost never included in posted prices (except for gasoline, and in most states, alcoholic beverages consumed on-premises), but instead will be calculated and added to the total when you pay.
Tipping in America is widely used and expected. While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:
The U.S. has no official language at the federal level, but English is by far the standard for everyday use. Several states have declared their official state language as English. Spanish is also official in the state of New Mexico, where it is widely spoken; French is official in Louisiana and the Hawaiian language is official in Hawaii, but neither approaches the use of English and are official for primarily historical reasons.
In major metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, many drugstores and supermarkets are routinely open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, while department stores, shopping centers and most other large retailers are typically open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and often with shorter hours on Sundays - generally 11 a.m. or noon to 5 or 6 p.m. On holidays, the tendency is to remain open (with the exception of the most important holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day where stores are generally closed)
Holidays in the USA
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