Nearly twice as big as all the other Hawaiian Islands combined, the Big Island is the largest island in Hawaii. It is also the youngest of the Hawaiian islands. Its diverse terrain features molten lava, snowcapped mountains, tropical rainforests and black, green or white sand beaches. Five volcanoes make up the Big Island: Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Kohala, and Kilauea. Kilauea remains active today providing visitors with spectacular views of molten lava in its caldera and rift zones.
WEATHER: With all but four of the world’s different climate zones represented on the Big Island, you can travel from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra in a day. This is a result of the shielding effect and elevations of the massive volcanoes Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. On the coastal areas, the weather is perfect with over three-hundred sunny days a year and a consistent temperature in the 80’s.
CULTURE: Hawaii was first settled by Polynesians sometime between 300-600AD. These early settlers bought with them a variety of non-endemic animals and plants, including: taro, sweet potato, coconut, banana and sugarcane. After British explorer Captain James Cook visited the islands in 1778, many other Europeans and Americans came to visit the islands. As a result, Hawaii is home to many different ethnic groups with each group adding elements of its own culture. Contemporary Hawaiian culture is a mix of all these cultures and ethnic groups and living in Hawaii allows you to experience these various cultures and their cuisine. Residents enjoy Korean, Hawaiian, Japanese, Thai, American, Filipino, and Italian cuisine.
EXPERIENCES: The Big Island offers so much to do: swimming, surfing, snorkeling, sightseeing, biking, hiking, fishing and shopping. Once in a lifetime experiences are plentiful and range from stargazing on Mauna Kea to whale watching on the Kohala Coast and swimming with manta rays. Residents can spend the day viewing the lava activity at Halemaumau Crater and then take a dip in the hot ponds in Kalapana that are warmed by the volcanic activity. For the more adventurous, take a helicopter ride over an active volcano, zipline over a waterfall or go “flumin’ da ditch” in Kohala (ride a kayak through miles of irrigation ditches built to water the sugar cane fields).
LIFESTYLE: A secret to enjoying life in Hawaii is understanding that a happy life is connected to a sense of Aloha: a sense of love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy. The “laid-back” lifestyle that so many associate with Hawaii is evident in the friendly and welcoming attitude of its people. Whether working or playing, Hawaii residents understand that the Big Island is really a small community and strive to treat all those they meet as friends and neighbors.