Relying on whom you ask, Hawaii’s Huge Island has 4 out of the 5 main local weather zones on the planet. Or all 5 main local weather zones. Or eight of thirteen subzones. However in case you don’t really feel the necessity to quaff some Kona espresso on the dry aspect, or to heat your toes close to the lava spewing from Kilauea, you’ll discover that Hilo is a singular zone all its personal.
As a result of Hilo is on the island’s moist aspect, your flip-flops may get squishy at times, however I’ve made a number of journeys to Hilo, and by no means discovered the rain to be an actual situation. Water does set Hilo’s stage, although, from its place on putting Hilo Bay to the number of churning rivers and waterfalls on the periphery of city.
We’ll get to a few of these falls, however first let’s speak city. As a settlement, Hilo has been round in a single type or one other because the early nineteenth century, and you will get a way of its seasoning simply by strolling round city and seeing a number of the previous buildings and houses. Actually, strolling in Hilo is sport all its personal. Whether or not you’re close to the waterfront, with its boutiques, craft outlets and eating places, or a stride extra inland, Hilo has a cool, pleasant, laid-again really feel that matches.
In case you are “downtown” and also you wish to stroll, there are a great many sights (many free!) value strolling to. Mo’oheau Park — simply off the store-laden, waterfront Kamehameha Drive — has an enormous bandstand the place orchestras and different bands typically play at no cost. The park is gorgeous, with big banyans all through. But when thoughts-boggling banyans are your fancy, head for close by Banyan Drive, the place examples of the spindly-rooted giants planted way back — by such luminaries as Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart and Richard Nixon — throw shade on the tropical air.
Don’t miss strolling in lovely Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, donated by Hawaii’s final queen to the individuals of Hilo. Shimmering Hilo Bay is the backdrop to expansive and delightful Japanese gardens that fragrance the park, replete with ponds, statuary and an arching bridge. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic.
The park is a good tastier spot for a picnic in case you dawdle within the Hilo farmers market first. Situated simply off bustling (for Hilo) Kamehameha Avenue, the market is giant (200+ distributors) and vigorous, and teeming with the bounty of fruit and veggies that thrive within the islands. Afterward, if you wish to scare your self out of your luncheon torpor, take a look at the shut-at-hand Pacific Tsunami Museum, the place reveals and survivor tales doc the devastation of the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis, in addition to different tsunami occasions.
When night rolls round, liven issues up with native tunes. My girlfriend, Alice, and I spent a fantastic night on the Hilo City Tavern, listening as native musicians made the ukuleles wail with comfortable and unhappy Hawaiian songs. The joint makes nice fries, too.
And when it’s time to seize some Hawaiian zzz’s, contemplate the Dolphin Bay Lodge. We spent a number of nights there on our most up-to-date Hilo jaunt. There are fancier locations on Banyan Drive, however the Dolphin is snug, fairly priced and set in a tropical extravaganza. There are such a lot of sprouting, mushrooming and blooming timber, crops, orchids, shrubs and fruit timber (plus a dashing creek) that you simply’ll really feel like a gentleman (or gentlewoman) farmer, island fashion.
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Oh, I suppose you’ll still want to eat in the midst of all this excitement. There are lots of good restaurants in Hilo, but I was dazzled by the superb Tom Kha soup and tangy papaya salad at Tina’s Gourmet Garden Cafe, loved the pita sandwich at casual Puka Puka Kitchen, and happily indulged in the savory Thai curries at the New Chiang Mai Thai Cuisine restaurant.
If you want to expand Hilo’s water world, take a short drive to nearby Rainbow Falls, where a photogenic, noisy waterfall will fill your digital devices with splashy images. Head upstream a jog more to Boiling Pots and you’ll see why Rainbow Falls thrashes so much — the Wailuku River hurdles down through a series of rock “pots.” And if the 80-foot Rainbow doesn’t fall far enough for you, head for Akaka Falls, a bit farther from town, which drops a dizzying 440 feet.
The Big Island may offer plenty of other spectacular attractions, too, but there are few things more delightful — and relaxing — than hanging in Hilo.
If You Go
Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots: Wailuku River State Park is home to two of Hilo’s most spectacular attractions. The park entrance is at 2-198 Rainbow Drive, Hilo; hawaiistateparks.org/parks/hawaii/.
Hilo Farmers Market: Open daily, but the big farmers market, with 300+ vendors, is on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo; hilofarmersmarket.com.
Pacific Tsunami Museum: Open Tuesday-Saturday at 130 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo; tsunami.org
Eat & Drink
Hilo Town Tavern: Open daily until 2 a.m. at 168 Keawe St., Hilo; www.hilotowntavern.com.
Tina’s Garden Gourmet Cafe: Open daily for lunch, dinner on Fridays and Saturdays at 168 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo; www.tinasgardengourmetcafe.com
Puka Puka Kitchen: Open for lunch Monday-Saturday, dinner Tuesday-Saturday at 270 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo. Find details on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
New Chiang Mai Thai Cuisine: Open for lunch Monday-Saturday, daily for dinner at 110 Kalakaua St., Hilo; www.ncmhilo.com.
Dolphin Bay Hotel: Rooms at this laid-back, low key hotel are $109 and up. 333 Iliahi St., Hilo; dolphinbayhotel.com.