- Air-conditioned and licensed round-trip transportation from your Kona cruise tender pier area!
- English-speaking, local, and trained Kona shore excursion guides!
- Visit the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park!
- Photo stop at Kealakekua Bay!
- Visit the Painted Church in Kealakekua!
- Tasting of Kona Coffee!
- Escape the cruise ship shore excursion crowds and enjoy the unique sights of Hilo and the surrounding area!
See the best of Kona Island on this half-day program - historical highlights from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries on Hawaii's big island.
You will meet your guide and motorcoach right at the Kona tender pier terminal and start by heading south along the coast to bring you to your first stop, the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park located approximately 50 minutes south of Kona. Along the way, enjoy the stunning views and local info from your guide.
Pu'uhonua (refuge in Hawaiian) was the largest and most prominent refuge in the Hawaiian Islands. Criminals defeated warriors, and those who were innocent victims of war could live protected here free of harm. The chief had the power to erase the guilt from those who received refuge in Puuhonua O Honaunau so those who left were "forgiven" when they walked out the gates. You will see the 1,000-foot (304 meters) long Great Wall surrounding the refuge built by hand in the 1500s. It stands 10 feet (3.04 meters) tall and 17 feet (5.15 meters) wide and is constructed of lava rock.
Inside the sanctuary, you will see the reconstructed temple (or heiau), Hale O Keawe. This was the original building built around A.D. 1700 and served as a royal mausoleum of the high chiefs of the refuge. The powerful mana (divine power) in their remains served as protection over the village. The building survived through hurricanes, attacks, and even the end of the kapu system, when most of the heiau throughout the islands were destroyed, until 1825, when it was stripped of carvings and artifacts by Admiral George Byron, to take home as souvenirs.
Driving 20 minutes north brings you to beautiful Kealakekua Bay. A photo stop is made from the overlook that provides spectacular views over the bay. Your guide will point out a white marker on the shore. This marks the spot where Captain James Cook, on his second visit to the Hawaiian Islands in 1779, made a fatal error while trying to kidnap a local chief, and was slain. His body was returned to his crew and later buried at sea.
Nearby is the Painted Church, overlooking Kealakekua Bay. The present building was blessed in 1902, having been built with recycled parts of the original church, which dated back to around 1842 and was located closer to the coast. The resident priest, Father John, who was from Belgium, was also a self-taught artist. He immediately set to painting the walls with the biblical scenes he thought depicted the most important religious truths. It is clear the Gothic Cathedrals of his homeland influenced him.
To top off your Kona Historical Sightseeing, you will enjoy a cup of rich Kona Coffee during your final stop at the Kona Coffee Factory before returning to your nearby Kona Hawaii cruise tender pier.