Two Perfect Days in Kona

An Adventurous and Culinary Tour for the Senses in the Historic Hawaiian Town of Kailua Kona

Article by Jamie Ronning

Photography by Jamie Ronning

Originally published in Bend Lifestyle

As winter fast approaches, the sound of a tropical escape already begins to sing its siren song, beckoning us to take a dip in endless turquoise waters. I can think of no better place to ditch the snow for snorkeling than beautiful Hawai’i. But which island you ask? Well, let me invite you to consider one of the best kept secrets of Hawai'i. The rugged and dynamic ʻāina (land) known as Hawai’i Island, aka the Big Island. You’ll find everything from world class luxury resorts and locally sourced cuisine, to snorkeling and epic natural wonders. On the leeward side is the old historic town of Kailua-Kona. Whether you’re a “lounge-by-the-pool-all-day” kind of traveler or more of the adventure seeking type, Kona has something for everyone. As you journey along on my two perfect days, you’ll quickly see, like I did, that Kona has a deep, rich story to tell. Let’s turn the pages together!

My journey began as I arrived at the palm tree lined entrance to the beautiful Kona Village. The original resort, destroyed by a tsunami in 2011, was recently rebuilt back to its original charm but with modern touches. My hale (room), was perched atop lava rock, looking over the bay with the ocean only a few feet away. It could not have been more picturesque.

After a relaxing morning, I took off (literally), on my Kohala Coastline helicopter tour with Paradise Helicopters. The sights were epic and Tyler, our pilot, was a wealth of knowledge about the island’s history. It made the experience that much more captivating.

From there, I decided to check out Aloha Vibes, a vibrant and modern oceanfront bar and grill located in Kona Town in the historic Kona Inn, the first hotel constructed in Kona and now a shopping center. The views were spectacular and the cocktails were beautifully crafted. From the restaurant’s overall aesthetic to its unique menu, everything at Aloha Vibes is done with intention.

Day two started early with my kayak tour with Kona Boys in Kealakekua Bay, one of the largest sheltered natural bays on the Big Island. The early morning snorkel was a dream and the dolphins stopped by to say hi!

After a long day out on the water, I made my way up north to Lava Lava Beach Club for a late lunch. Lava Lava, an institution in Kona, is best known for its beachfront location and colorful island cuisine. My table was a mere few feet from the water, with toes in the sand. After a long morning on the water, I wanted something hearty. Their pineapple chicken fried rice bowl (served in an actual pineapple) did the trick. The food was incredible, and the ambiance and live music leaves you coming back for more.

I decided to head back to Kona Village for one last evening of relaxation after a busy day. I grabbed a cocktail from The New Moon, a schooner (formerly owned by the original owners of the Kona Village), turned poolside bar and relaxed by the beach in a lounger propped in the shade between two palm trees. The perfect ending to a whirlwind two-day Kona adventure!  




My fave: The French toast, locally sourced Kona coffee, and complimentary baked goods.


Drinks and Appetizers

My fave: The House Gin & Tonic, one of the best you’ll ever have. The Poke Sampler and the teppan beef ribeye steak are a must.


Sunset Dinner and Dessert

My fave: Their famous fish and chips or the togarashi seared ahi.


Happy Hour

My fave: The Big Island Cadillac Margarita or the Coconut Mai Tai. The coconut shrimp and if you love pineapple, the pineapple chicken fried rice bowl. Comes served in an actual pineapple.

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