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Hilo Town

Suitable for:
Everyone, families
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Well known, but not overcrowded
TouriSpot
Insider Tip
Allow time:
10 Hours
Optimal arrival time:
06:00 Clock
Cost:
free
Suitable for:
Everyone, families
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Well known, but not overcrowded
TouriSpot
Insider Tip
Allow time:
10 Hours
Optimal arrival time:
06:00 Clock
Cost:
free

Hilo Town - Description

Hilo is the largest city on the Big Island with a population of over 47,000. It is also the capital of Hawaii County and thus of the entire island. Hilo is framed by Hilo Bay, which has often been the victim of a tsunami.

Around 1900, people began to build a protective wall at Hilo Bay, but it proved useless when a 14-meter tsunami destroyed most of the city in April 1946. 159 people lost their lives. The cause of the tsunami was an earthquake off the Aleutian island of Unimak. As a result, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center was built, which can detect and predict tsunamis at short notice with the help of sensors throughout the Pacific. On May 23, 1960, Hilo was again hit by a tsunami, in which 61 people lost their lives. The main cause of the high death toll was ignoring the warning signals. This tsunami was triggered in Chile and was the strongest quake of the 20th century with a magnitude of 9.5.

The location of the city is responsible for Hilo being one of the rainiest cities in the world. Over 3000 mm of precipitation falls annually. Due to the location on the rainy side of the island, the number of visitors on the "Hilo-Side" (east side) is significantly lower than on the warmer, dry west side. The "Kona-Side" has therefore the larger tourist volume. Nevertheless, almost a million visitors a year come to this small town with its 1950s flair, which even has its own university. Hilo is a popular starting point for visits to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which can be reached quickly via Highway 11. Helicopter flights over the volcanic areas also depart from Hilo airport. Or the famous Saddle Road, which runs from east to west and is unique because of the different vegetation and climate zones.
Nevertheless, or even because of the many rainy days, Hilo can offer some unique highlights. Where there is a lot of rain, there is also a lot of vegetation. As the Hawaiian says so well: "No rain, no rainbow. No rain, no waterfall". Therefore, in Hilo you will find, among other things, numerous beautiful gardens with exotic plants, a dream for every nature lover.

Once in Hilo, there is something for everyone, from culture to shopping to nature adventures. In Hilo you will find a lot of sights, like the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii (for star lovers), the Pacific Tsunami Museum or the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. Shop your heart out at the Hilo Farmers Market and then relax at Queen Liliuokalani Gardens. During the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, which takes place every year in March/April, all accommodations are fully booked. It makes sense to book early.

What we say

Florian
Sun worshippers are better off on the Kona side to the west. But the Hilo side in the east is clearly the more attractive. Due to the higher rainfall, there is much more lush vegetation, waterfalls (Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls) and scenic roads leading through bombastic jungles. However, I experienced Hilo mostly in the sunshine. So it is not that bad with the rain. Also, from Hilo, the Volcanoes National Park or the towns of Pahoa and Kalapana can be reached quite quickly within 40 minutes by car. If I had to choose a site (and also the associated airport) due to limited vacation time (2-3 days), I would clearly choose Hilo. However, if you spend a whole week on Big Island, you will manage the whole island. Another tip: For the arrival I recommend an early flight. First, they are much cheaper than during the day, second, you are then directly to the sunrise in Hilo! Backpackers can stay at the "Hilo Bay Hostel". (101 Waianuenue Avenue, www.hawaiihostel.net). You should not have big demands here, but from 32$ you get a bed in a sea bed room and you can be in the city or at the water in a few minutes on foot. If you prefer something closer to nature, you can stay at Arnotts Lodge near Richardson Beach Park.
Our checklist & tips:
  • Richardson Beach Park on the outskirts of Hilo
  • Relaxing in Hilo City Park
  • Choose early flight, so you start the visit to Big Island with a sunrise.

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Map and contact data

Longitude: -155.0763513657349
Latitude: 19.716376665087942

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