Pali Hale Activity Booking Guide / Recommended Vendors
Luaus on the Big Island are located on the west (Kona) side of the Island in the South Kohala district down to the Kona district. A Luau can be one of your most special and memorable experiences in Hawaii. But they are all expensive so we like to help you find the best experience. Some Luau’s on the Hawaiian Islands are quite kitschy and “high volume” and some are like a nice outdoor buffet and dinner show at a resort and others, but our favorite type of luau is more “cultural”, with excellent authentic Hawaiian food, particularly Kailua Pork, and located in more secluded/scenic settings on the beach or oceanfront and with sunset ocean views. Our two favorites in all the islands are the Old Lahaina Luau on the Island of Maui and the Mauna Kea Beach Resort Luau on our own Big Island. Both of these Luaus are more secluded/private than the others and the food is out of this world. Drinks at these Luaus are typically made weak but they are unlimited, and the shows are outstanding. There is no fire dancing at Old Lahaina, but is still among the most spectacular shows in all of Hawaii. On the big island, the Mauna Kea Beach Resort Luau stands out among the rest, it’s the oldest Luau on the Big Island, the food is great, views are great, and it is similar to Old Lahaina in being more “cultural” than the rest, and they have fire dancing in their show. Mauna Kea Beach Resort Luau is every Tuesday and Friday evening. It’s a good idea to make reservations prior to your trip as they do fill up. A back up to Mauna Kea on the Big Island would be the Island Breeze Luau at the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, in Kona. These two luaus are similar, but Mauna Kea is located in a prettier and quieter part of the west coast in South Kohala rather than in busy Kona. The other resort/hotel luau’s on the Big Island are nice and some are really fancy, but to me they feel like you’re just having a nice outdoor dinner in a hotel. We recommend to avoid the big commercial luaus on Oahu, like Germaines, they are disappointing.
Mauna Kea Beach Resort Luau
Luaus Tuesdays and Fridays
Island Breeze Luau at the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, in Kona
Luaus Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays (and Wednesdays during summer).
Snorkeling & Snorkeling Boat Trips
There are many great places on the Big Island to snorkel. You can walk-in to snorkel at many beach/tidepool locations. But boat tours offer some unique snorkeling experiences such as snorkeling with Manta Rays. Here are some of our recommended snorkeling areas on the Big Island
East (Hilo) Side of the Island
The best snorkeling spots on the East (Hilo) side of the island, and closest to Pali Hale, are found at the Hilo Beaches. Fish, coral, and Honu can all be seen. Richardson has a nice black sand beach water entrance, lifeguard, grassy areas, and plenty of shady areas. Due to live corals, please only use reef safe sunblock. If you’re not a strong swimmer we recommend using water noodles while snorkeling.
Richardson Beach Park https://www.lovebigisland.com/big-island-beaches/richardsons/
Carlsmith Beach Park https://www.lovebigisland.com/big-island-beaches/carlsmith-four-miles/
West (Kona) Side of the Island
Honaunau bay, Kealakekua Bay, Kahalu’u Beach Park, Magic Sands Beach,
Hulihee Palace & Kamakahonu Beach, Captain Cook, Hapuna Beach
Great guide to Snorkeling on the West Side: https://www.lovebigisland.com/kailua-kona/snorkeling/
Snorkeling Boat Trips
Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides
Our favorite is the night manta ray trip
Lava Surface Flow Tours and Lava Ocean Entry Boat Tours
NOTE: Due to the recent 2018 eruption, the 61g Lava flow has ceased flowing from the Pu’u’o’o vent and surface and ocean entry boat tours have ceased to operate for the time being. It is expected that surface and ocean tours will resume when lava returns to Pu’u’o’o.
There are many great farmers markets on the Big Island. Our two favorites are close to Pali Hale.
Maku’u Farmer’s Market
Maku’u market has become one of the biggest, more fun and festive Farmer’s Market on the Island. Arts, Crafts, Jewelry, Food, Music, from 200+ vendors. This is our favorite day-time Farmer’s market, and we rarely miss it.
15-2131 Keaau-Pahoa Hwy (Hwy 130)
Uncle Roberts Night Market “Weekly Festival”
Music, food, jewelry, and arts and crafts plus great live music and dancing. Uncle Roberts is cross between a block party and a weekly festival. Equal part locals and tourists, it’s a real old Hawaiian get together in Kalapana. The music from the Awa Band is excellent and will have you smiling all night. The food is great, the music is great, and the atmosphere is true “Aloha”. Good to plan your Wednesday around getting to Uncle Roberts and staying late. Park in the $3 parking lot at the end of the road rather than on the side of the road/hwy. 12-5038 Kapoho Beach Rd, Pāhoa, HI 96778
Wednesdays 5pm til late (9pm-11pm)
Hilo Farmer’s Market
Over 200 local farmers, artisans, crafters, and food vendors sell their produce, crafts, gift items and tropical flowers in a festive outdoor atmosphere that recalls back to the old “plantation” days of early Hilo. Located at the corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue in historic downtown Hilo, it’s open Saturdays and Wednesdays 6am till 4pm all year round.
Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, HI 96720
Saturdays 6am – 4pm Wednesdays 6am – 4pm
Other Farmers Markets
Bo and I are not a big zipliners but guests report good experiences at Skyline Eco Adventures and Umauma Adventures, both are a short drive north of Hilo and both have good safety records. Skyline Eco Adventures is near Akaka falls and looks to be the most “epic” of all the Island ziplines, they go over a 250ft waterfall (near Akaka Falls but thankfully not “the” Akaka Falls) and have very long and high runs, and Umauma goes over a series of shorter falls and has some additional activities and amenities. You can see video and photos of what you can see on each on their websites, and zipliners also post their GoPro videos from ziplining on youtube. Search for Skyline Eco Adventures Akaka Falls and Umauma Adventures on Youtube. If booking Skyline, be sure to book Skyline Eco Adventures – Akaka Falls, as they have zip lining on other islands as well. Book in advance for either as they do fill up.
Skyline Eco Adventures – Akaka Falls
7 Lines / 2.5hrs / Age 10+ / 80-260 lbs
Kids 17 & under zip for 50% off per one full price adult
808.518.2260 or 808-518-4189
281710 Honomu Rd, Honomu, HI 96728
9 Lines / Dual Lines / 1.5-3hrs / Age 4+ / 35-275 lbs
31-313 Old Mamalahoa Highway
Hakalau, Hawaii 96710
Waipio Valley Tours
Waipio Valley Shuttle
48-5416 Kukuihaele Rd, Honokaa, HI 96727
Waipio Valley Wagon Tours
45-3565 Mamane St, Honokaa, HI 96727
Hāwea Waipiʻo Valley Adventure
45-3390 Mamane Street Honokaa, HI 96727