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This makes Kona a good and central home base to explore the west coast of the island. Relax and look at the waves crashing over the black lava rocks while sipping from a cup of the world-famous Kona coffee, or have some freshly caught ahi tuna while recovering from your busy day.

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There are many ways to get wet and active in Kailua Kona. Kona lies on the leeward side of the Big Island, which means that weather here is in general excellent: sunny and dry. You can find pleasant temperatures year round, with sunny mornings, overcast afternoons and an occasional afternoon shower. If you want to know more about the weather in Kona have a look at our monthly average weather guide for Kona from which we have taken the illustration below.

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At that page you can find in-depth information about the average temperature, the number of hours of sunshine, the amount of cloudy days, and the amount of rain in Kona and the surroundings. The weather in Kona is in general warm and dry with sunny mornings and afternoon clouds.

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Read more about the yearly weather in Kona. Kona is the hot spot for sunny outdoor adventures here on the Big Island. There are bucket-list activities all over the Kona coast see e. Any of the restaurants or cafes with a view of the horizon are a great place to watch the sun set below the ocean.

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Outside the Kona city limits you can find many beautiful beaches, interesting historical sites, and countless places to go play outside. Have you already heard about the Manta Ray night dive? About the local seahorse farm , or about the lush coffee country coffee tours! One of the great things about Kona is the proximity of many world-class beaches. The Big Island is not the best place in the state to go on a shopping spree. There are many shops selling everything from cheap souvenirs and t-shirts to expensive jewelry, locally made art, and anything in between.

Most shops are located on the 1-mile stretch going south from the pier in Kailua bay to the Royal Kona Resort. Further inland you can find some smaller shopping centers and there is a Costco close to the Kona airport. Leonard's Bakery, just outside Waikiki, is the place for malasadas —Portuguese doughnuts stuffed with cream pineapple, coconut or dusted with sugar Kapahulu Ave.

Grab a few to go make sure they're hot and drive over to the Honolulu Academy of Arts by 10 a. Beretania; ; honoluluacademy. You could easily spend half a day touring this museum's wide-ranging collection, but today you'll have just an hour before setting out for Shangri La, the private estate of Doris Duke, now a museum administered by the Honolulu Academy. So use your time wisely: Skip the Islamic room you'll be getting an eyeful soon enough , but try not to miss the gilded Buddhas in the Bhutan exhibit up until May 23 or the vibranatly colored paintings and artifacts in the Hawaiian Arts section.

At 11 a. Notoriously private, Duke built her oceanfront sanctuary, hidden from view behind a lava rock wall, in , covering every square inch with pieces from her vast Islamic and South Asian art collection. The architecture, gardens, and furnishings all adhere to the motif, from the inner courtyard paneled with Turkish tiles to the master bedroom's white marble walls inlaid with semi-precious stones.

Snap photos on the lanai overlooking Duke's favorite surf break, and consider the youthful passion that led to all this painstaking beauty—Duke was just 25 when she began building her Shangri La Papu Circle; ; shangrilahawaii.

Back at the Honolulu Academy by 2 p. You'll be having a big dinner, so try to make do with dumplings, a citrusy pecan salad, and slices of spicy black pepper beef Smith St. After lunch, stroll the galleries of Chinatown; pick up a walking map at Mark's Garage, an alternative art space at Nu'uanu Avenue. Before you leave, check out the lei shops on Maunakea Street and the throng of pan-Asian food stalls at Maunakea Marketplace Maunakea St.

Work off lunch at the hotel pool or the beach. Tonight is your last night on Oahu, so plan to live it up—starting with dinner at 8 p.

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A champion of Hawaiian ingredients, Wong started a movement that's now spreading to the rest of the islands. Feeling gluttonous? Order one of the five- or seven-course menus. Since it's your last morning on the surfing mecca of Oahu, it's high time you take a lesson.


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Your instructor, Clyde Aikau, will meet you at a. Aikau, a big-wave champion and the brother of the late surfing legend Eddie Aikau, employs a fleet of instructors, but Judi has arranged for the big kahuna himself to teach you. After a minute lesson on land, 90 minutes of paddling, wobbling, standing, and stumbling, then—finally!

Drop off the car and board the p. Hawaiian Airlines flight at Honolulu International Airport.

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You'll be battered and hungry, but by , you should already have plucked your bags off the airport carousel and picked up the rental car, and be on your way to Kihei, the bustling beach town just before the swanky resort area of Wailea. In Kihei, do as the other surfers do and drop in to Da Kitchen for a combo plate lunch—teriyaki chicken and beef, sweet and smoky kalua pork, heaps of rice and potato-macaroni salad S.

Kihei Rd. It isn't cheap, but even the smallest rooms are big enough to house a couple of those humpback whales that winter off the hotel beach. The new art collection alone is worth the visit ; fourseasons. For the remainder of the afternoon, either sit by the pool and order a foot massage or climb back in the car and go another 15 minutes south to Makena Beach a. Big Beach , the rock star of Maui's golden strands—as great-looking as it is shamelessly cool.

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On Sundays, the clothing-optional side of Makena erupts into a party, complete with drum circle and fire dancers. Back at the hotel, catch the sunset while strolling along the seaside footpath connecting the Four Seasons to its luxe neighbor, the Fairmont Kea Lani. You'll be spending today on Haleakala volcano, the sprawling 10,foot mountain that forms all of east Maui. The highest elevations are within the national park, your first stop of the day. Just below, the rolling pastureland of Upcountry Maui, where you'll be horseback riding in the afternoon, is divvied up among flower farms, cattle ranches, and the estates of multimillionaires.

Many Hawaii-philes insist the best time to visit Haleakala's summit is at sunrise—when a starry sky slowly fills with color and the crater floor glows a deep red—and granted, it's a damn fine show. But in order to be at the rim by sunup, you'll have to leave the hotel around 3 a. Sure, it'll be daylight on the way back down, but you'll likely be too sleepy to fully appreciate the spectacle.

Instead, plan to start the two-hour drive at the more civilized hour of 7 a. Bring a jacket the summit will be 40 to 50 degrees , and grab a coffee and some fruit in the lobby. The first 40 minutes is a breeze—mostly on a no-nonsense highway slicing through sugarcane and pineapple fields—and before you know it you'll have climbed 3, feet. Seven miles past Kahului you'll begin a series of switchbacks 32 in all for some 22 miles , but the road is relatively wide and you'll have missed all the sunrise traffic.

This is where the fun begins: wide meadows and amethyst-blooming jacarandas soon give way to pine forests and then to scrubland. The summit landscape is the strangest yet—a cinder rock wilderness surrounding a massive ashen crater. The only visible signs of life appear in the Seussian form of the silversword, one of the 57 plant species found nowhere else on the planet but Haleakala. Perched on the rim, the visitors center terrace is a prime photo-taking spot.

A steep hill leads to a glassed-enclosed lookout, where exhibits provide pieces of cocktail party trivia e.

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If you had more time, you might consider hiking the Sliding Sands Trail, which begins near the visitors center and winds down to the crater floor. But you're on a schedule, so back to the car. By a. At a quarter to one, make your way toward the town of Makawao, and just beyond to Piiholo Ranch, where you're due to register at 1 p. A acre working cattle ranch, Piiholo belongs to Peter Baldwin, the great-grandson of sugar baron Henry Baldwin, who bought the property in as part of a parcel that extended all the way to Haleakala crater.

You won't find out much about the family's juicy history on your two-hour horseback ride, but you will learn about the long tradition of Hawaiian cowboys, called paniolos after the islands' first wranglers, most of whom were from Mexico and Spain. If you're lucky, you'll see a few present-day paniolos in action during a cattle drive, but if not, don't despair: The setting alone is thrill enough. You'll be riding through eucalyptus groves and a guava patch where you and your horse can stop to snack to the ranch's highest point, for a knockout view out to sea.

Once you dismount and freshen up, drive back to Makawao, the small urban center of the island's cowboy country. You'll have until to browse the shops, where you can just as easily buy a saddle as a James Perse dress. Dinner is at 6 p. It's a minute drive back to your hotel, where the hot tub awaits Hali'imaile Rd. You have a tough choice to make today—land or sea? Pick land and you'll spend most of the day hiking through a secluded rain forest with a top-notch guide.

Choose sea and you'll learn about celestial navigation while canoeing in Ma'alaea Bay, and then hang out beachside for the rest of the day. Better still, extend your stay on Maui by a day and do both. Option A: Wear your bathing suit and sneakers and meet your Maui Eco-Adventures hiking guide at a.