Stretching from Hilo Bay to Waipiʻo Valley along the northeast side of Hawaiʻi Island, the Hāmākua Coast is one of the greenest, lushest places you could ever hope to see. It’s 40 miles of amazing ocean views, roadside waterfalls, and steep seaside cliffs. If your vision of Hawaiʻi includes lots of natural greenery, rainbows, and refreshing breezes, then you’ll enjoy your stay at one of our great rentals along the Hāmākua Coast.
This side of the island has no resorts, and for 40 miles, no sizeable towns. What you’ll find instead are small plantation villages, looking much as they did 50 years ago. It’s a laid-back pace of life here, and many of the inhabitants work in farming or ranching. Hāmākua is a great spot for farm tours, waterfall visits, and sheer awe at the beauty of the landscape.
Embark on a Road Trip Down the Big Island’s Remote East Coast
If you plan to visit the Big Island’s popular North Shore attraction of Waipi’o Valley as well as pay a visit to the east coast town of Hilo, there’s a good chance you may find yourself making the 40-mile trek between the two sites. While simply blazing your way down this stretch of the Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy 19) is possible, consider the option of taking your time to do this slice of paradise its own justice. Waterfalls, charming plantation towns, and raw nature dominate this section of the island, providing miles of terrain that will make you feel like you’ve traveled back miles in time.
While back in Hawaii’s plantation era this region used to be covered with sugar cane, today visitors will find small family farms, tiny towns, and verdant green valleys. Numerous waterfalls are also found along this route, many of which are easily accessible.
The most prominent waterfall that’s easily accessible is ʻAkaka Falls in Honomū. It’s a state park with a small fee for parking; access to the falls overlook is via a short paved trail. On the way to Akaka Falls you will pass the 100-foot Kahuna Falls, which provides a preview of the beauty that is to come. The 442-foot Akaka Falls is one of the most impressive on the island. If you look carefully while heading up the coast, though, you’ll see numerous other waterfalls along the highway.
The Beauty of Unauma Falls
The striking three-tiered Unauma Falls tumbles down three sets of lava rocks, pausing each time in a pool at the base before its next dramatic cascade. These falls are open to the public each day from 8am to 5pm and offer a visitor center for more information. If a waterfall experience with a bit of an adrenaline rush sounds appealing, plan a stop at Unauma Experience, an outfitter that offers waterfall repelling, ziplining, and ATV tours. The repelling experience allows you to repel down two waterfalls, including a free repel for 20 feet as you descend past the gaping mouth of a cave right into the Umauma River. If you’re a true waterfall lover and adventure seeker, their ziplining tour takes adventurers past an astounding 14 waterfalls. Covering two miles and accelerating at up to 65 miles per hour, this is a fast-paced tour through the lush surrounding beauty. Welcoming patrons ages four and up, this can be a fun experience for the whole family!
Another impressive spot, and virtually the only coastal access along this 40-mile stretch of steep ocean cliffs, is Laupāhoehoe Point. This park is a flat piece of land that juts out into the ocean just north of Laupāhoehoe Town, and it was the former site of the town itself until the devastating tsunami of 1946. This park has a boat ramp, a tidepool area, and is popular with locals for fishing and camping. There is no beach.
At the north end of Hāmākua lies Honokaʻa, a town that’s a bit like going back in time. Old-Western style false-front buildings line a Main Street that has all the essentials for residents of the surrounding rural areas, as well as a few souvenir shops for the tourists who come to see the majesty of nearby Waipiʻo Valley.
Set the agenda aside for the day and enjoy a leisurely trek down the Hamakua Coast, with the sole objective of soaking in the natural peace and beauty. Breathe the freshest air in the world, here on the cliffs of Hāmākua! Embrace the pace of island life, where meeting friendly people and experiencing the beauty of raw nature are at the forefront. It’s all here, right on the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast
Breathe the freshest air in the world, here on the cliffs of Hāmākua!