Kailua-Kona has become world-famous for several things. First and foremost probably due to the triathlon "Ironman", which takes place every year in October since 1978 and in which the world's best athletes swim 3.8 km, cycle 180 km and 42 km still complete a marathon. And all this in the heat of the Hawaiian sun. On the other hand, through Kona coffee, which is known for its distinctive flavours. In addition, Kona is home to the Kona Brewery, which offers a variety of beers. Kona is a small town of 12,000 people on the west coast of the Big Island. Hulihee Palace, built in 1838, once served as a vacation home for the royal family. The 19th-century Mokuaikaua Church is the oldest Christian church in Hawaii. At Kailua Bay, the Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark with reconstructed houses recalls the residence of King Kamehameha I. Colorful coral reefs lie off Kamakahonu Beach. There are moorings for boats at Kailua Pier. Since there is also a Kailua on Oahu, we usually only speak of Kona here.
The coast off Kona is protected from the wind by the Maunaloa volcano and, with its calm, clear waters, is the ideal place for water sports such as diving, snorkelling and sailing. A boat trip to the manta rays promises experiences of a special kind: Get up close and personal with these gentle, peaceful sea creatures on a dive or snorkel. At night, many manta rays go in search of nutrient-rich microplankton off the coast of Keauhou. On a night snorkelling or diving trip, you can swim with the manta rays and marvel at the gentle giants up close. Tours are offered from various locations in Kona.
The sunny Kona District occupies nearly two-thirds of the west side of Big Island and stretches south from Anaehoomalu Bay to Manuka Park. The extensive area offers all kinds of sights and attractions - from coffee plantations to historic Hawaiian sites. King Kamehameha also spent his last years in Kailua-Kona.
Here, numerous stores, restaurants and nightlife are guaranteed not to let boredom arise. History buffs can follow the footsteps of Kona's history with an easy hike to places like Hulihee Palace, Mokuaikaua Church and Ahuena Heiau.
Nearby are Kealakekua Bay, Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, and a lot of coffee plantations and other attractions. So it is well worth spending 2-3 nights on the west coast.