KONA FAQ`S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Kona is mainly serviced by two airports: Kona International Airport and Hilo International Airport.

If you have not booked a private transfer with us, there are several transportation options at Kona International including car rentals, shuttle, bus or taxi and limited options from Hilo International Airports with car rentals and taxis being the only form of transportation offered.

What types of transportation can I find at the airport?

Rental car companies are located at the Kona International Airport opposite the terminal, the check-in counters are located on site with continuous shuttle buses to take you to the car rental building. Board the shuttle from the center median which is located across the street from baggage claim area`s A and B.

Taxis are available outside baggage claim areas A and B on the curbside, several taxi companies area available, see a taxi dispatcher to request service. A taxi is an affordable and convenient way to get to your hotel from the airport with estimated prices from the airport to Kailua-Kona Town is around $25 one way.

SpeediShuttle is the shuttle service available from Kona Airport to most hotels, counters are located in the baggage claim area. For more information call toll-free 1-877-242-5777 or visit www.speedishuttle.com (Estimated prices to all locations from the airport cost around $10.11 and to Kona hotels around $14.00 per person, one way). Many hotels offer complimentary shuttle service from the airport to your hotel, check with your hotel in advance for shuttle service options.

There is a very limited bus service offered between the airport and Kailua-Kona town and Intra-Kona once a day Monday through Saturdays. The bus runs south from the airport to Kailua-Kona and leaves the airport at 3 pm the total journey through all stops is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Advanced planning is definitely needed if you plan to take the bus on these two days.

There are no shuttle services or public transportation options available from the Hilo Airport you must rent a car or hire a taxi to get to your hotel.

Rental cars are available at the airport; offices are located on the ground level across the street from the terminal.

17 taxi companies service Hilo International Airport, the taxi`s can be found outside of the baggage claim area where there is a designated taxi lane. Taxi dispatchers are available to provide information, rates run at approximately $3.00 plus $0.30 per 1/8th mile, plus $0.30 per minute for waiting and $1.00 per bag.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Taxis are more common at the airport; waving or hailing a taxi in Hawaii is frowned upon. If you need to order a taxi, the best thing to do is have your hotel call and order one for you. It is not best to rely on a cab for long distance travel as the rates on the island can run about $3 a mile so this can become expensive.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

The Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency provides public transportation around the Big Island provided by the Hele-On Bus, they offer a very limited service once a day. The bus stops around the island and offers services between Kona and Hilo Monday through Saturday with $2.00 fares per ride. All buses are wheelchair accessible, for more information on schedules and pricing visit www.helonbus.org/schedules-and-maps or call 808-961-8744.

There is a free shuttle through Hilo Hatties when cruise ships are in town that operates from the Kailua pier but no shuttle is offered if there is no ship in town.

The Keauhou Honu Express Shuttle runs along Ali`I Drive and the entire length of Kailua-Kona for $2.00 per person per ride. And you can find a free transfer from Keauhou Shopping center and Kona Commons Shopping Center when you spend $25 or more, this journey takes over 2 hours to complete its route.

Do I need to rent a car?

Renting a car on the Big Island is recommended due to the lack of public transportation and the vast distance between different towns and attractions. A car gives you the flexibility to travel to your desired destinations on your own time. If you have not booked your rental car through us, we highly recommended you book in advance, there are car rental companies available at the airports and at locations on the island but availability is limited.

Where can I park in Kona?

Parking in Kailua-Kona can be difficult with the lack of on-street parking and free parking can be found but is usually quite far from where you want to be. You can pay for parking at the King Kamehameha Beach hotel and there is some free parking available at the Triangle park, between Kuakini Highway and Ali`I Drive. Several parking lots located right off Ali`I Drive where you can pay to park. By the Farmer`s Market at Hale Halawai Park there is a large parking lot that is free and at the Coconut Grove shopping area and Honl`s Beach.

You can use https://www.parkme.com/kailua-kona-hi-parking to look for parking in specific areas and reserve spots online for a certain time.

Is Kona a walking city?

The area of Kona stretches approximately 60 miles from the Kona Airport to just beyond Kealakekua Bay on the west coast of the Big Island. The entire island is large and areas are spread out so you will need transportation to get to certain destinations on the island.

You can definitely walk around the towns, national parks and visit different attractions that are located close by. The Historic Kailua Village offers restaurants, shops and nightlife with historic places such as Hulihee Palace, Mokuaikaua Church and the Ahene Heiau which are all within walking distance.

Take a walk down Ali`I Drive which starts at Kamakahonu Beach and runs south along the Kona Coast to Kailua town, there is a wide sidewalk stretching along the oceanfront with plenty of restaurants and shops that line the street.

There is also a free Keauhou Honu Express shuttle that runs on Ali`I drive and a good way to get around Kailua-Kona.

Can I rent a bicycle on Kona?

The perimeter of Kona stretches for nearly 300 miles! It is a great place to explore on 2 wheels! The island offers a number of different rental options for bicycles and even motorcycles on the Big Island. You can bike up volcano`s, through the quaint towns and along the lush coastline.

What are the best beaches?

The Big Island offers many beautiful beaches, most of which are great locations for snorkeling in the clear blue waters ,these include Hilo`s leleiwi Beach, Richardson Beach Park, Hapuna Beach, Anaehoomalu Beach, Kahaluu Beach Park and Honaunau Bay. You can catch a glimpse of honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles), dolphins and colorful fish. Night swimming with the manta rays, is a popular activity to enjoy on the island.

What are some popular areas for shopping?

Shopping on the Big Island offers everything including malls, art galleries, craft shops, boutiques and much more, Kailua-Kona is said to be a shopper`s paradise, the area is a cruise port and offers many attractions for the visiting tourists. Ali`i Drive is where you will find shops selling everything that you are looking for including art, jewelry, and souvenirs. The Keauhou Shopping Center is located on Ali`i drive offering a variety of shopping options and entertainment including Hula dancing on Friday`s at 6 pm, and a Farmers Market on Saturday Mornings. Kona Commons features Target, Ross and more.

Where can I visit a coffee plantation?

Kona is well known for its 100% pure Kona coffee with the area`s high elevation and cloud coverage, and the rich volcanic soil make this island ideal for growing the unique coffee beans. Kona coffee is recognized as one of the top coffees in the world. There are hundreds of coffee farms found in Kona with many of them offering tours to the public where you can learn about the harvesting process, see how the beans are processed and visit the orchards. Kona Coffee Living History Farm, Greenwell Farms, Hilo Coffee Mill are farms that offer tours.

Where can I visit a local brewery?

Kona is known for its local brewing company, The Kona Brewing Company producing beers with names like Big Wave Golden Ale and Longboard Island Lager. Also The Big Islands Brewhaus in Waimea and The Mehana Brewing Company in Hilo.

What is the currency? Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency in Hawaii is the US dollar. US standards apply when tipping, restaurants 15 - 20%, bartenders $0.50 - $1 per drink, housekeeping $1 per bed, per night, luggage porters $1 per bag, room service 10 - 15% of the total bill, taxis 15% of the fare. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Hawaii by clicking Hawaii

What is the food like?

The Big Island offers visitors a unique food haven offering a wide variety of local cuisine with locally grown produce that you can`t find anywhere else in the State. The Hawaiian island is known for its coffee, chocolate, macadamia nuts and local beer. The rich volcanic soil offers the best growing grounds for coffee and cocoa beans along with macadamia nuts that are amongst some of the most healthy nuts in the world. Some local dishes to try would be Po`i which is a traditional Hawaiian pudding made from taro root. Poke which is raw fish marinated in soy sauce, onions and lemons. Spam Musubi a `sushi` hybrid made with SPAM, Hawaii is the biggest consumer of SPAM in the country. Lomi Lomi Salmon is a fresh salad made with salmon and tomatoes. Laulau is a fish and pork dish cooked underground in an imu oven. Loco Moco a local favorite made with hamburger meat, steamed rice, fried egg and brown gravy. Malassadas Portuguese fried balls of dough with powdered sugar on top. Donkey Balls are world famous chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Shaved ice one of Hawaii`s best cool treats.

What is a popular time to go?

The weather in Kona is beautiful with the average summer temperatures of 85 degrees and winter temperatures around 78 degrees with low`s in the mid 60`s, trade winds on the island keep things nice and comfortable all year round. The leeward (western) side of the island is warmer and dryer.

Whale watching season is from December to May with the peak during January and April.

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is held in November in the Historic Kailua Village.

The Ironman World Championships held in October start in Kailua-Kona.

International Billfish Tournament is held every year in August in Kona.

What is the nightlife like?

The Big Island is full of great things to do in the evening time, catch one of the spectacular sunsets, enjoy Hawaiian and Polynesian cuisine at one of the many restaurants, take a sunset cruise, live music at resorts, luau’s, hula shows, night snorkeling or scuba diving with the manta rays on the Kona Coast or stargazing on the highest sea mountain in the world, Maunakea.

Where can I go to a Luau?

Hawaii is famous for its Luau`s, here are a few places you can go to check out the Hawaiian tradition while on the Big Island. King Kamehameha`s Kona Beach Hotel has a luau buffet with local foods on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 5 pm. Royal Kona Resort luau set right by the ocean on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa luau are on Mondays at 5 pm. Waikoloa Beach Marriott`s luau is on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sunday nights.

I don’t speak Hawaiian will there be many people who speak English?

The official language in Maui is English and Hawaiian, the Hawaii pidgin language originates from Polynesian languages, part of the Austronesian language family which is widely dispersed throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Although Hawaiian is not commonly spoken it is good to know a few common phrases such as; Aloha - Hello and Goodbye, Mahalo - Thank you, Kokua - Help and Lua - Bathroom.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

You can find major hospitals located in Kealakekua, Waimea, Honokaa and Hilo with an Urgent care center in Keauhou Shopping Center. Kona Community Hospital (808) 322-9311 North Hawai'i Community Hospital (808) 885-4444