Honokaa is a community village situated on the northeast coast of Hawai’i Island, which is also known as Big Island. The friendly village faces the Pacific Ocean and is a gateway to the island’s Hamakua Coast, a region famous for its breathtaking scenery, postcard-perfect waterfalls and green valleys.
A good place to start your visit is in Honokaa’s historic downtown. Stroll along Mamane Street, where annual horse races were once held. Today the street has cafés and restaurants in addition to a handful of interesting antique stores and galleries. Visit the Big Island Glass Gallery to watch glass-blowing demonstrations and see local art exhibitions. On a Saturday morning, browse the farmers market for fresh, local produce.
Watch a movie, attend a concert or take part in dance and theater workshops at the Honokaa People’s Theater. It’s the biggest theater on the island and dates back to 1930. Play golf at the Hamakua Country Club, a short walk from Honokaa’s town center.
A highlight of visiting Honokaa is seeing the Waipio Valley. Rent a car and drive to the Waipio Valley Lookout, which presents uninterrupted views of the valley, cliffs and coastline. Hike, ride on horseback or join a four-wheel drive tour to beaches and waterfalls, including 1,450-feet (442-meter) tall Hiilawe Falls. Tours run from Honokaa and knowledgeable guides will share the stories and legends of the valley. On your way to the valley, stop by Neptune’s Garden Gallery and Waipio Valley Artworks to see displays of local arts and crafts.
Honokaa is about a 1-hour drive north from Hilo, the largest village on Hawai’i Island. Hilo has an international airport. You can catch a bus from Hilo to Honokaa, but most people rent a car because of the freedom it gives to explore the island at your own pace. Don’t miss the Hamakua Heritage Corridor, a coastal route between Hilo and Waipo Valley that includes waterfalls, rainforests, botanical gardens, beaches and picnic areas.