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Sure, there is certainly a touristy side to Kona, but if you’re willing to dig a little deeper you’ll discover there’s more to the Big Island than just the glossy brochure. Learn about Hawaii’s culinary culture through a cooking class, sip from the source at one of the island’s breweries, wander the farmers markets – those who seek shall find.

This depends on what your itinerary looks like, but as a guide, be sure to pack some reef shoes, lightweight clothing, a rain jacket, a backpack and some comfortable sneakers or hiking boots. Oh, and a sense of adventure and culinary curiosity.

The beauty of the Big Island is that there’s no shortage of things to see, do and devour. On the east side, you’ll find Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, an abundance of waterfalls and lush rainforest. On the west side, the Kailua-Kona side, you’ll find Pololu and Waipio Valleys as well as some of the island’s most beautiful stretches of beach.

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If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Hawaiian history and culture, visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or sample the local produce (and craft beers), Hilo is your place. If, however, you’re searching for pristine beaches, best to stick to the western side of the island, which is where you will find the tropical paradise of Kailua-Kona and indulge in a spot of snorkelling. Southern Kohala is where you will find the luxurious resort towns of Puako and Waimea.

There really is no bad time to visit, it just comes down to what you hope to do here. While technically the shoulder season, from April to May and again from August to October are often considered to be the best time as the crowds are slightly smaller than in peak season. If you’re considering a winter holiday, you’ll catch the whales during their migration.

It’s not just big in name, the Big Island is bursting with big personality. Visitors can fill their days learning about Hawaiian culture at the Lyman Museum, exploring actual volcanoes at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, wandering through the rainforest in search of waterfalls and swimming holes, snorkelling, checking out a coffee farm, eating poké, the list goes on and on!

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