Talking about the weather is usually chit chat but not when you visit Hilo! This windward area gets more than its fair share of rain but is all the more beautiful because of it.

(Top) Lychee and black sand beaches of Hilo. (Bottom) There’s always weather to talk about in this town.

My recent visit to the Big Island gave me the opportunity to stay on the Hilo side for the first time, which was nice because I didn’t have to drive back to Kona each day (other side of the island). I actually stayed in the tiny town of Volcano, at a quaint place called the Volcano Country Cottages. I’d highly recommend this for a cozy, quiet and private night. (No coqui frogs). The owner recommended the awesome extreme lava walk that I wrote about.

We got on the road to explore the Puna area. Road signs for Lava Tree State Park caught our eye, and we decided to check it out. I read the guide book as we drove and just at the part where it said to “look up,” I did and was so glad to have done so at that moment! This road is beautiful and completely covered by a tree tunnel of Albizia trees. The park is lush, green and takes about 30 minutes to stroll through. Lava and trees meet up to produce petrified ghosts of themselves, looking similar to gnomes. Overall, it was an interesting and quick walk that left you rooting for the trees.

Next stop was the very popular snorkeling beach Pohoiki. I didn’t go in the water, as it was a bit rough, but there were lots of people who did, and many others who enjoyed the tidal pools carved out of black lava rock. It would be good for children, too, as the pools were deep enough to sit in. Another place I chose not to swim at was at the beautiful black sand Kehena Beach. From what I observed, it’s used more by local nudists, who are friendly and warned us that the water is much more dangerous than it appears. In fact, many visitors get in trouble by underestimating the h3 currents.

(Top) Lava trees that are so fascinating, they get their own state park. (Bottom) A beautiful Hilo hot spring.

For the first time, I finally got to experience a hot spring. We went to the naturally-heated pool at Ahalanui. It’s an actual lava-lined freshwater pool improved with a rock wall and steps. The pool is up against the ocean, so it gets refreshed with each wave. The water is warm, clear and calm. A local told me that the pool was not always warm. An eruption in the 60s changed the venting underground and voila! It became naturally heated. Yeah to Madame Pele.

Ending with a quick note about Hilo, I highly suggest you’d check out the downtown farmers market on Saturday and Wednesday. It has the best prices in the state for fresh produce and goods. Lucky for me, it was lychee season, a notable Hilo fruit. I stuffed myself to the gills with them for a very envious price. The downtown area has some interesting shops and restaurants, but I didn’t have time to explore, which means I’ll just have to go back again!


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