Since I only had a weekend to spend on the Big Island, my time was extremely limited. But even in that short period of time, these are some of the things I got a chance to check out:
Hilo’s Farmers Market – open everyday from 6 or 7 am until 4 pm, you’ll find plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, juices, and local goodies.
Punalu’u Beach – also known as Black Sand Beach, this beach has…you guessed it, black sand! The black sand is formed by lava flowing into the ocean and exploding as it cools down. It’s very rocky so it’s not too great for swimming, but it’s still an interesting sight to see.
Ka Lae (South Point) – is the southernmost point of the United States. Although there are signs saying cliff-diving is prohibited, there are permanently installed dive platforms there. Dive at your own risk. I wasn’t brave enough to do so but cliff-diving is still on my bucket list…once I learn how to swim.
Akaka Falls – 442 feet tall, a short hike will bring you here ($5 or free for Kama’aina (locals).
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens – is a 40-acre valley with 2,000 different species of plants. Back in the 70s, a couple traveled the world and brought back all different types of exotic plants ($15 entrance fee per person).
Rainbow Falls – is an 80-foot waterfall who got its name due to the fact that on sunny mornings at around 10 am, you’ll be able to see a rainbow through its mist. Unluckily for us, it was pretty much raining for our entire weekend on the Big Island.
Boiling Pots – this is exactly what it seems. On days when the river has been engorged with rainwater, it looks like a boiling pot.
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Farm – this was actually pretty disappointing. Their assembly line was not operating that day so instead, there was a video of the process. Other than that, it’s pretty much just a huge mac nut store. If you have time, stop by. If not, skip it.