Temple Of King Kamehameha
This Heiau is a replica of the original temple that stood in this area. It is located at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel near the pier. This is where King Kamehameha spent his final years from 1812 to 1819. It was a 4 acre homestead with several houses and religious sites.
The next set of pictures are of the main road going through Kona called Ali’i Drive. During the beginning of our stay there was a storm, as you can see the surf is washing right over the seawall downtown.
The town is a nice area to hang out. You can go for a stroll along the seawall or sit in one of the cafes or restaurants to take in the ocean view. There are a number of small shops to explore, make sure to check out the ones that are hidden down litte alleyways. If nothing else, just plunk yourself down somewhere and soak up the atomosphere and do some people watching.
We came across a grassy area full of Outrigger canoes.
Santa Claus Parade And New Year Celebration
Kona Santa Claus parade and New Years celebration. It was a different experience for us to watch a Santa parade wearing flip flops and shorts. There were floats made up with Outrigger canoes, decorated golf carts and bands playing songs like Wipe Out. Santa was in his regular attire, we were expecting him to show up in surf shorts. A free outdoor concert is held each New Year’s Eve at the beach volley ball court next to the Hard Rock Cafe downtown. There were several local bands and singers performing.
Captain Cook Monument
Captain Cooks monument at Kealakekua Bay is not accessible by land, you have to get there by boat. This marks the spot where he was killed on February 14, 1779. You can book with a company or rent a kayak and paddle yourself from the other side of the bay. This is a very popular snorkeling spot. It’s about a half hour drive from Kona village.
St. Benedict’s painted church. It was painted in the early 1900’s by a Belgian priest to communicate Bible stories to non-English speaking Hawaiians. Off the main road not far from Captain Cook’s monument.
Watching Manta Rays At The Sheraton Hotel
If you go to the Sheraton Keahou Bay Resort about 15 minutes drive south of Kona you can watch the Manta Rays. Every night the hotel turns on some bright lights to attract them to their waterfront. The light attracts the plankton that the Mantas feed on. Go to the Crystal Blue lounge and you will be able to see them from the balcony that over looks the water. It’s best to go after 9pm. There are a couple of boats that take scuba divers and snorkelers to the area for night dive viewings of the Manta Rays. They shine really bright lights from the boats to attract them. The Mantas won’t come into the light at the hotels waterfront until the boats have left.
They gracefully sweep back and forth sweeping up mouthfuls of water to filter out the plankton. We were so fascinated with seeing the Manta Rays that we went a couple of different times. We thought about booking the night snorkel to get in the water with them, but couldn’t get up enough courage to do it. We talked to some people that did it and said it was amazing, maybe next time.
Beaches Near Kona
If you travel from Kona heading south on Ali’i Drive there are a couple of good beaches for swimming and snorkeling.