Big Island Blog: News & Updates

Follow our Big Island Blog to stay current on the best places to explore and things to do on Hawaii's Big Island. A great way to plan your next Hawaii vacation! Our blog includes...

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  • Best Hawaii tours
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Dec 10, 2022

Mauna Loa 12/10/22 Eruption Update

December 10 Mauna Loa Volcano eruption updateAs of Saturday morning, December 10, 2022, lava output from the Mauna Loa eruption continues to slow. Despite spectacular fountains of lava spewing at the main fissure, the flow has stalled more than 1.5 miles south of the Saddle Road. It is common for eruptions to ebb and flow and to sometimes pause altogether. With ongoing tremors beneath the active fissure, it is likely the eruptive activity will continue. No eruptions are expected outside the Northeast Rift Zone.

Nov 28, 2022

Mauna Loa Volcano First Eruption Since 1984

Mauna Loa Volcano erupting - first time in 40 years!For the first time in forty years, on November 27, 2022 at approximately 11:30pm HST Sunday night, the largest volcano on earth began erupting, inside the Moku'āweoweo Caldera at the Mauna Loa summit. While the eruption remains mostly contained within the summit caldera, there is currently lava flowing down the east rift zone. No downhill communities are threatened at this point. An ashfall advisory has been issued for the Big Island.

The top image was taken just before midnight on November 27. The lower image shows the east rift zone shortly after sunrise on November 28. For more go to

Aug 18, 2022

Thurston Lava Tube Reopens

UPDATE: Thurston (Nāhuku) lava tube reopened August 18, 2022 after the Park Service deemed it safe for visitors. It had been closed for 18 days for structural monitoring and safety.

Continue reading "Thurston Lava Tube Reopens"

Jul 19, 2022

Pōhue Bay Added to HVNP

Pōhue Bay added to HVNPLocated along a remote southern coastline in Kaʻū, south of Ocean View, Pōhue Bay is now part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, preserving 16,451 acres of the "area's unique natural and cultural resources from development." A scenic oasis among a rugged landscape, access to Pōhue Bay is long, hot and barren. The area is home to well-preserved Hawaiian cultural sites, lava tubes, mountain to ocean trails, remains of coastal villages and petroglyphs. It is also a critical habitat for endangered green sea turtles, Hawaiian hawksbill turtles and Hawaiian monk seals. Endemic red shrimp live in anchialine ponds in the area. The addition brings the total size of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to 554 square miles.

Apr 07, 2022

New Species Discovered Inside Lava Tubes

New species discovered inside Hawai'i lava tubesHundreds of thousands of years of nearly continuous volcanic activity created long subterranean tunnels, or lava tubes, primarily on the southeast side of the Big Island. Inside many lava tubes, roots dangle from the ceiling, slipping through the lava in search of water. And now, living inside these subterranean habitats, never before seen creatures are being discovered.

Continue reading "New Species Discovered Inside Lava Tubes"

Feb 27, 2022

No Public Access to Waipi'o Valley

No public access to Waipi'o ValleyBased on recommendations from a geotechnical assessment, as of February 25, 2022 Waipi‘o Valley Road is closed to all visitors due to increased risk of slope and roadway failure. It is no longer possible for visitors to access Waipi‘o Valley beyond the overlook whether on foot, horseback, personal vehicle, atv, or on a commercial tour. The closure includes a camping ban. We remain hopeful the road will re-open in the future to allow visitors to enjoy this magical and historic place.

Jan 31, 2022

Hawaii Island Volcanoes and the Hawaiian Eruption

Hawaiian eruption ocean entry

Hawaii Island volcanoes are shield volcanoes. Known as a Hawaiian eruption, magma from the Hawaii hotspot penetrates the Pacific Plate.

Continue reading "Hawaii Island Volcanoes and the Hawaiian Eruption"

Nov 19, 2021

Top Things To Do In Kona - Must See Attractions

Hulihe'e Palace in Kona

Fun things to do in Kona include exploring Kona history, great Kona beaches, submarine tour, colorful farmers market & excellent Kona restaurants.

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Oct 12, 2021

Kilauea Lava Lake Rising

Kilaua lava lake depth increasesThe depth of the lava lake inside the Halema'uma'u crater at the summit of Kilauea has increased dramatically. Try to imagine lava deep enough to nearly bury the Empire State Building!

Click on the image for a larger view.

Oct 05, 2021

New Federal Rule Protects Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin

New federal rule protects spinner dolphins from increased human interactionsFollowing years of discussion around how to protect Hawaiian spinner dolphins from increased human activity and associated interactions, a new federal rule takes effect on October 28, 2021 that prohibits approaching, swimming with or staying within fifty yards of a Hawaiian spinner dolphin. The new rule has been established in order to protect spinner dolphins that use areas close to shore to rest, socialize, nurture their young, and shelter from predators.

Continue reading "New Federal Rule Protects Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin"

Oct 01, 2021

Kilauea Springs to Life With New Eruption

New eruption in Kilauea calderaA sudden increase in earthquake activity at the Kilauea summit last week has led to a new eruption, and lava is once again filling the Halema'uma'u summit crater. Because any new phase of an eruption is "dynamic and uncertain", the USGS Volcanic Alert Level has been raised to WARNING.

Aug 28, 2021

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa

Sheraton Kona cliff

Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay is the only resort hotel south of the Kohala Coast. Come experience the rich history of Keauhou Bay.

Continue reading "Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa"

Aug 20, 2021

2021 Ironman World Championship Postponed

2021 Ironman PostponedAs Covid-19 cases continue to surge in Hawai'i, officials announced Thursday that the 2021 Kona Ironman World Championship Triathlon, originally scheduled for October 9, has been postponed until February 5, 2022. With ongoing Covid-19 related impacts to the Big Island, combined with border closures and travel restrictions for athletes, The IRONMAN Group determined the best course of action would be to delay the event until 2022. Stay tuned!

Continue reading "2021 Ironman World Championship Postponed"

Jun 25, 2020

14-day Quarantine to be Lifted August 1

Quarantine to be lifted August 1 for travelers with negative test for COVID-19The 14-day quarantine will be lifted August 1 for out-of-state travelers who can show proof of a negative test for COVID-19. The quarantine will remain in place for those who have not been tested prior to travel. No testing will be provided upon arrival, though Hawai'i Governor David Ige did indicate that temperature checks and screening would continue for all inbound passengers. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green added, "Asking passengers to get a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel is one more tool in our layered screening process that will help keep Hawai'i safe. We have more than five weeks before August 1 to finalize details."

May 01, 2020

Hawai'i Beach Parks Remain Closed; Other Restrictions

As of May 1, 2020, Beach Parks in Hawaii remain closed; other restrictions due to Covid-19Aloha and happy May! These are challenging times. Much as we know how agonizing it can be to miss or postpone your dream trip to Hawai’i, visitors/travelers are still being encouraged to stay away if you don’t live here. Most beach parks remain closed due to concerns about being able to monitor numbers of people. The Governor’s Emergency Proclamation still requires a 14-day mandatory quarantine for all new arrivals to Hawai’i, meaning that you will be unable to leave your hotel for any reason for 2 weeks after arrival. No more than 2 people are allowed to congregate unless members of the same family. There is hope that restrictions will be loosened in the near future since research indicates Covid-19 viral particles may dry up quickly in the hot Hawai’i air. Hawai’i isn’t going anywhere; plan your dream trip for a future date when it’s safer to travel. Mahalo!

Jul 02, 2019

“HAWAII - Aloha” Video

Hi there! My name Ian Ty Combs, and I have lived in Kona for two years now. I am just now moving away from the island, but I made a video about my time

Continue reading "“HAWAII - Aloha” Video"

Aug 19, 2018

A Changing Landscape

The 2018 eruption of Kilauea Volcano has dramatically altered the landscape on the east side of the Big Island. On June 2, lava evaporated 300 year-old Green Lake. Kapoho Village was largely destroyed and is now uninhabited. Kapoho Tide Pools and Ahalanui Beach Park were buried as lava continued to flow toward the ocean, eventually extending the coastline. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed since May, 2018 due to heavy earthquake activity and the uncertainty of further seismic activity.

Despite these dramatic changes, the vast majority of Hawai'i Island remains unaffected. There are countless treasures to be enjoyed on this island paradise.

Jan 15, 2018

The Original King Kamehameha Statue

Original statue of King Kamehameha on display in Kapa'auKing Kamehameha I, or Kamehameha the Great, unified all the islands into the Kingdom of Hawaii. This is the original statue honoring his legacy. Forged in Italy in 1880, it was originally commissioned for display in Honolulu. When the ship carrying the statue sank near Cape Horn, the statue was thought lost forever. A replacement was made and erected in Honolulu. Somehow the original statue was recovered by some Falkland Islanders. The restored original is on display here in Kapa'au, fittingly near Kamehameha's birthplace in north Kohala.

Jan 12, 2018

Kilauea Iki (Little Kilauea)

Kilauea Iki, Hawaii Volcanoes National ParkKilauea Iki is one of the best hikes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The scene is so utterly still and peaceful, it belies the ferocity of what was happening here less than 60 years ago, an immense lava lake with violent waves of molten lava crashing on the shoreline. Mauna Loa Volcano and smoke from Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater are visible in the background.

Continue reading "Kilauea Iki (Little Kilauea)"

Jan 10, 2018

Kiholo Bay Honu

Green Sea Turtle at Kiholo BayKiholo Bay is one of the most beautiful spots in all Hawaii. The water color really pops against the dark black lava shoreline, particularly when the sky is clear. A large population of Honu (green sea turtles) reside in the shallow waters of Kiholo Bay. If you haven't been here yet, try make a point of it during your next visit to the island!

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Jan 08, 2018

Fresh Tracks on Mahai'ula Beach

Fresh tracks on Mahai'ula Beach, Big Island HawaiiIf you get an early start and head to Kekahakai State Park as soon as the gate opens at 9am, the reward can be a scene like this one, having Mahai'ula Beach all to yourself. There's lots of shade in the morning, and the water is typically calm before the winds pick up later in the day.

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Jan 06, 2018

Winter Scene on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa

Snow on Mauna Kea VolcanoStorms in early December brought heavy snow to the upper reaches of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, creating a beautiful winter wonderland scene. This image was taken just after sunrise below the summit of Mauna Kea, looking south toward snow-covered Mauna Loa.

Dec 20, 2017

Peaceful Aiopi'o Beach Honu

Honu (green sea turtle) at Aiopi'o BeachHonu (green sea turtles) are frequent visitors to Aiopi'o Beach in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. This is one of our favorite spots on the Big Island to enjoy these peaceful creatures. They like to feed on the abundant algae in the fishpond before climbing ashore to rest.

Continue reading "Peaceful Aiopi'o Beach Honu"

Dec 09, 2017

Lake Waiau on Mauna Kea Volcano

Lake Waiau

Lake Waiau is one of the highest lakes in the US, near the top of the world’s tallest volcano. Its origins high on Mauna Kea Volcano are a mystery.

Continue reading "Lake Waiau on Mauna Kea Volcano"

Dec 07, 2017

Needle Ice on Mauna Kea

Needle ice on Mauna KeaNeedle ice is formed when the soil temperature is above freezing and the surface air temperature is below freezing. Sub-surface water rises above the soil and needle-like columns of ice push through the soil. If you are hiking in sub-freezing temperatures high on Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa, you may hear the familiar crunch of "needle ice" breaking underfoot.

Dec 05, 2017

Hualalai Volcano

Looking south from Kohala toward Hualalai VolcanoThis image of Hualalai Volcano was taken from high on the slopes of Kohala. Looking south one can see the outskirts of the town of Waimea in the foreground. The bustling town of Kailua-Kona is built on top of old lava flows around the west slope and base of Hualalai. It's been more than 200 years since Hualalai last erupted.

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Dec 03, 2017

Honoka'a People's Theatre

Historic Honoka'a People's TheatreGateway to the Hamakua Coast, the sleepy town of Honoka'a was once a thriving sugar plantation community. Built in 1930, the historic 525-seat Honoka'a People's Theatre still brings major headliners. In January, 2018 Judy Collins will perform, and in February Dave Mason comes to town.

Dec 01, 2017

Hi'ilawe Falls in Waipi'o Valley

Hi'ilawe Falls in Waipi'o ValleyHeavy rain brought flooding to many areas along the north and east coast of the Big Island during the past couple of days. In Waipi'o Valley, Hi'ilawe Falls thunders into the valley from the upper slopes of Kohala. The swollen Waipi'o River left much of the beach inaccessible.

Oct 25, 2017

Honoka'ope Bay and 49 Black Sand Beach

49 Black Sand Beach

49 Black Sand Beach at Honoka'ope Bay is quiet and scenic, one of the only black sand beaches on the Big Island's Kona coast.

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Oct 06, 2017

Making Salt in Ancient Hawaii

Solar evaporation to make sea salt in ancient HawaiiIn ancient Hawaii, solar evaporation was a convenient method of procuring sea salt from ocean waves that washed up on the shore, settling in lava rock salt-pans. As you walk along the coast of the Big Island, keep an eye out for recesses in the rocks that might have made good natural salt pans.

Continue reading "Making Salt in Ancient Hawaii"

Sep 17, 2017

Red Masked Parakeet

Red Masked ParakeetThe Red-masked Parakeet has an emerald-green body, red mask and long tail feathers. Native to coastal areas of Ecuador and Peru, this parrot is often seen flying through the trees near Kailua-Kona. It isn't exactly clear how they came to reside on the Big Island. This particular one was squawking in the kiawe tree outside our home in Kailua.

Jul 21, 2017

Nene, Hawaii State Bird and World's Rarest Goose

Nene, the Hawaii State BirdCommonly confused with the Canada Goose, Nene is the official Hawaii State Bird. Because they do not migrate, Nene is found nowhere else on earth (endemic to Hawaii), making it the world's rarest goose. Approximately 500 Nene live on the Big Island, so consider yourself fortunate if you happen to spot one of these shy birds!

Continue reading "Nene, Hawaii State Bird and World's Rarest Goose"

Jun 08, 2017

Hawaii Student Travel and Teen Adventure Tours

Student travel jumping

Hawaii student travel, teen adventure tours and Big Island summer camp. Fun and educational Big Island adventures for middle and high school students.

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Apr 17, 2017

Mauna Ulu - Hiking the Big Island

Mauna Ulu looking east

Hike to Mauna Ulu in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for an up close look at the aftermath of one of Kilauea Volcano’s longest rift zone eruptions.

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Apr 13, 2017

At Home in Waipi'o Valley

Homes in Waipi'o ValleyA handful of small taro farms and various livestock help sustain the few locals still residing in Waipi'o Valley. Once the home of Hawaiian royalty, the area flourished with thousands of residents prior to the 1946 tsunami that devastated the area.

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Mar 29, 2017

The Multi-Colored Rainbow Eucalyptus

Rainbow EucalyptusThe multi-hued bark of the Rainbow Eucalyptus (eucalyptus deglupta) is brilliant! As the bark peels, the rich green inner bark is revealed, which eventually darkens with shades of blue, purple, grey, orange and streaks of red.

Also known as Mindanao gum tree or rainbow gum, the Rainbow Eucalyptus can reach heights of up to 250 feet in its native habitat. It thrives in tropical climates, though smaller versions are found in southern parts of Florida, California and Texas.

Mar 09, 2017

Amazing Activity at Kilauea Volcano

Kilauea Ocean EntryThere has been dramatic activity at the Kilauea Volcano of late, including increased flow along the slopes from the Pu'u 'O'o vent, active ocean entry at Kamokuna, and a geyser of lava spouting in the Halema'uma'u Crater. Visit this page for new images and video!

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Feb 22, 2017

Hawaiian Garden Spider

Hawaiian Garden SpiderArgiope Appensa, known in Hawaii as the Hawaiian Garden Spider, is easily identified by its black/yellow stripes and pentagon-shaped body. This non-poisonous arachnid spins an ornate web, then sits head down in the center waiting for prey to become tangled in the fine silk. Females can reach a body length up to 7cm. and are much more colorful than their drab male counterparts. Click on the image for a larger view.

Jan 11, 2017

Kona Manta Ray Night Snorkel & Dive

Manta Ray above the reef

The manta ray night snorkel is one of the top attractions on the Big Island. Swim with one of the ocean's largest and most graceful fish.

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Jan 05, 2017

The Green Sands of Papakolea

Olivine crystals make green sandYes, the sand really is GREEN! If you walk the 2.5 miles to Papakolea Green Sand Beach, stay close to the shoreline. Pockets of shimmering green olivine crystals are often hidden among the rocks near the tide line. Olivine is a green mineral that is deposited during certain volcanic eruptions.

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Dec 27, 2016

Big Island Hawaii Helicopter Tour

Sunset helicopter tour

A Hawaii helicopter tour is a thrilling way to see the best sights on the Big Island, with many spectacular vistas only visible from the air.

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Dec 19, 2016

One of our Favorite Scenic Drives

Hamakua Heritage CorridorEnjoy a beautiful drive along the Hamakua coast! The Hamakua Heritage Corridor is a 50 mile (80km) scenic drive beginning in Hilo, ending at the Waipi'o Valley overlook. Enjoy this memorable tour along sea cliffs with rainforest waterfalls and colorful byways. Of course, all roads on the Big Island lead to new adventures. We'll help you find what you're looking for.

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Dec 06, 2016

Skiing & snowboarding on Mauna Kea

Snowboarding on Mauna Kea Volcano!Whether it's white snow or white sand you prefer, you can take advantage of both on the Big Island, on the same day! And while I'm not going to vouch for the quality of the snow for skiing or boarding, I can promise you'll love the soft white sand at the beach. If you do decide to carry your boards up on Mauna Kea, use extreme caution. With the sharp a'a lava beneath the snow, one fall can ruin your day. Whatever form of recreation you choose, have fun out there!

May 15, 2016

Snow At The Beach!

Snow at Magic Sands BeachIt seems there's always something fun going on at Magic Sands Beach. You never know when someone might show up with a truckload of snow from the top of Mauna Kea to delight the keiki!

We enjoy hanging out at Magic Sands Beach (or Disappearing Sands if you prefer) pretty much any time of year, with or without snow! This is my favorite beach close to downtown Kailua-Kona, a good place to swim or just relax in the sand.

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May 10, 2016

Mauna Loa Volcano - Largest Volcano in the World

Mauna Loa from Summit Road

Mauna Loa Volcano on Hawaii Island is the most massive mountain on earth. Erupting on average every 5-6 years, it is also the largest active volcano.

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May 04, 2016

Big Island Chocolate Festival

Big Island Chocolate FestivalJoin the delicious fun at the 2016 Big Island Chocolate Festival! This year's theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park”. Headquartered at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, the festival runs from Friday, May 13 through Saturday, May 14 and includes a tour the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, cacao farm workshops, chocolate culinary demonstrations, live entertainment and more. It's sure to be a fun, tasty and entertaining weekend! Follow the link below for tickets and information.

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May 04, 2016

Best Hilo Beach Parks & Tidepools

Reeds Bay Beach Park

The best Hilo beach parks run south along Kalanianaole Street in Hilo. These oceanfront parks are great for swimming, tidepooling, and picnics.

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May 03, 2016

Mauna Kea Observatory atop Mauna Kea Volcano

Mauna Kea Observatory

Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii’s Big Island is ideally situated for the study of deep space, atop Mauna Kea Volcano and miles from artificial light.

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Apr 23, 2016

Finding A Private Beach

Makalawena BeachI love mornings, when everything is fresh and crisp and bright. And I love private beaches. Hard to find anymore! One sure way to virtually guarantee a private beach experience is to head out to one of my favorite secluded spots, Makalawena Beach, in the early morning. I mean early morning, when the day is just beginning. Not only is it cooler crossing the barren landscape of a'a lava, but if you start early enough, you may just enjoy the peace and quiet of one of the Big Island's top beaches all to yourself! Soft white sand, brilliant blue ocean, stunning views, warm sun, a cool breeze...perfect!

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