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Big Island of Hawaii - Volcano & South Point Areas

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June is from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, but is currently residing in New York. She loves to cook naturally with plants from her garden.


Visit the Big Island of Hawaii - Volcano & South Point Areas - Part 4

Aloha! E komo mai!

Hele mai! Hele mai!

Welcome back!

Mahalo for continuing on our tour of the Big Island of Hawaii! If you missed any of the last 3 buses (pages) of our tour you can hop on by clicking the link below of the tour you missed or the tour you are interest in joining. I do recommend visiting the areas of the Big Island in the order lsted:

The Big Island of Hawaii, also named Hawaii, is the most diverse of all the Hawaiian Islands. You can travel around the Big Island of Hawaii in one day and go from white sand beaches to snow capped volcanoes; from cacti on cattle ranches to tropical rain forest; from black beaches to green sand beaches; and then on to live erupting volcanoes. All in one day!

But wait! You don't want to do it all in one day!

Relax, take your time, enjoy! There is so much to see and do on a Big Island of Hawaii Circle Island Tour!

If you have the time to stay and visit for a while, it is well worth it to plan on staying for at least a week. Then you can take your time to see the many things this island has to offer.

There are so many unique and interesting places to visit and enjoy on the Big Island that a week is barely enough time to take it all in. Driving around the island without stopping to see anything the island has to offer would be a huge mistake!

Slow down, absorb the beauty. Slow down and experience the diverse cultures and lifestyles, Slow down and savor the exotic tastes and aromas of Hawaii's Big Island.

This is a Hawaiian Hale (House) - Tradition Requires that You remove Your Shoes Before You Go Inside Someones Home in Hawaii. Some of the Temples in Hawaii Also

This is a Hawaiian Hale Please Remove Your Shoes

This is a Hawaiian Hale Please Remove Your Shoes

Eh! No Forget!

You Gotta Remove Your Shoes Before You Go Inside

Keali'i Reichel

Keali'i Reichel

Kauanoeanuhea - Keali'i Reichel

Press the play button and listen to the beautiful and heart-felt music from my home in Hawaii, while you continue on the Big Island of Hawaii Circle Island Tour - Part 4.

This is one of my favorite Hawaiian songs sung and played by Keali'i Reichel.

Who am I kidding? They are all my favorites! His music is so beautiful and makes me so long to me home in Hawaii!

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Pahoa - Kalapana - Volcano Area - South Point - Naalehu

The Big Island is an extraordinarily diverse island.

It is so very different from the other Hawaiian Islands most tourist choose to visit with their prearranged tour packages. Every part of the island that we visit has something different to experience.

The original site grew so large that I was forced to break the tour into 6 segments to make it easier to view.

Be sure to catch each bus (page) to see a different part of the Big Island of Hawaii on each one. Below you will find the links to the next 2 parts of the tour and at the end of each page I have put a link to the next bus (page) in line to board.

On this segment of the tour, we will be covering Pahoa - Kalapana - Volcano Area - South Point - Naalehu, and points in between, along the Southern part of the island.

These are the last 3 buses (pages) of the tour to catch.

Big Island of Hawaii - Part 5 - South Kona Coast

Big Island of Hawaii - Part 6 - Kailua-Kona

Big Island of Hawaii - Part 7 - North Kona Coast - Coming Soon

The Puna Coastline to Pahoa - Puna District

The Puna Coastline to Pahoa

The Puna Coastline to Pahoa

The Puna district overflows with the beautiful natural wonders of places like the Lava Tree State Park, the Volcano National Park, natural warm spring pools, and both black and green sand beaches.

Jungle-like rain forest can be seen along the rugged Puna coast on the drive to Pahoa. Much of the area has yet to add electricity and city water.

When traveling the coastal road on Route 137 you will pass seaside tidepools and quiet fishing spots.

You will hear the winds whistling through untouched pine forests growing along the ocean road; drive through open pastures and enter dense tropical rainforest thick with the scent of flowers and foliage.

Many of the local Circle Island Tour Guides on the Big Island call Puna, "the most scenic and rural area of the Big Island". Once you are mesmerized by the magic of this special place called Puna, it is very difficult to tear yourself away to leave.

Pahoa Aa Lava Cliffs at Sunrise

Kapoho Red Road Pavement

Kapoho Red Road Pavement

The Road to Puna

The road to Puna, Kapoho-Kalapana Road 137, is one of the most lush breathtaking drives of all the roads on the Big Island. The drive under a canopy of tropical is beautifully serene.

If you stop along the side of the road and there are no other passing cars, all you will hear are only the sounds of the life within the rainforest.

The road is nicknamed The Red Road. The Red Road got its name from the unique red cinder originally used to pave the road. The only part of the road left which is still red cinder is the Kapoho end of the road.

The rest of the road was resurfaced with black asphalt in 2000 when the road was rebuilt from the damage of the 1986 volcanic eruption.

The drive on this road is slow because of the many curves and blind hills, but it gives you the chance to really take in the beauty of the scenic drive. Remember to stop at the Scenic Points to take photos of all the fabulous views you will see on this road.

A Very Slow Drive Into Pahoa Town

I like this video because it gives you a glimpse off what the drive is like once you reach Puna and drive through Pahoa.


Pahoa Village

In the Puna District

Pahoa is a little town close to the Volcano National Park that is lost in the '60's which to me is a very cool thing in that it has changed very little over the last 50 or 60 years. This quaint sleepy village has kept it's diverse culture, with everyone living together harmoniously.

Pahoa is off the beaten path and is a bit of a detour from the now main road to the Volcano area. It is a place that not a lot of tourist get to see, but is well worth visiting.

Pahoa was at first a rugged sawmill town, then a sugar town and also a crossroad on the old sugar railroad. The Puna Sugar Company closed down it's plantation in 1984.

It is still a very laid back community. There are areas that were devastated and covered over by the lava flow of 1960, but are now covered with lush tropical foliage as nature has once again worked to reclaim the area.

Pahoa ~ Lost in the '60's

Pahoa Yoga Center

Pahoa Yoga Center

The Computer Hospital -  Pahoa, Hawaii

The Computer Hospital - Pahoa, Hawaii

Main Street in Pahoa is very charming and has maintained its western style storefronts with its wood boardwalks for years.

It has kept its charming and colorful 1960s psychedelic style of artistic murals, with its turn of the century Western - Victorian architecture.

The psychedelic wall paintings get replaced periodically as the old ones fade away from the weather but, for the most part, remains the same as it always has been since as far back as I can remember.

When you go to Pahoa, you get the feel that the village is "lost in the 60's". The village is an artist community with a mixture of artist, old hippies, colorful characters, and every ethnicity under the sun living together harmoniously.

Most of the old buildings are a showcase of the local artist talent and eclectic design.

The photo on the right is the storefront of the local computer shop, The Computer Hospital, which use to double as a bed and breakfast. Below, on the first floor is the Lehua Art Gallery.

And what village would be a village without a tattoo parlor? Check it out below.

Pahoa Tattoo Parlor

Paolo’s Bistro

Paolo’s Bistro

Pahoa Village Cafe

Pahoa Village Cafe

Main Street Business and Restaurants

There is a very laid back and organic feel to Pahoa.

There are more people still living off the land here than you will find in the "city" of Hilo or the resort area of Kailua-Kona and most make a conscious effort to not leave any carbon footprints.

An amazing thing about Pahoa is the number of restaurants this tiny town has with amazingly fantastic food.

A few of the restaurants you may want to try are Luquin's Mexican Restaurant, Paolo’s Bistro, Pele's Kitchen, Pahoa Village Cafe and Kaleo’s. Kaleo's is probably as upscale as it gets in Pahoa.

There are a couple of Thai restaurants that opened within the last 5 years that weren't there the last time I was home; Sukothai and Ning's Thai Cuisine.

And last but not least there are several little sandwich shops, a cookie shop, a cyber bakery, a Subway and a bar.

Kaleo's Restaurant and Bar



Walking Through Pahoa

Have You Ever Dreamed of Living in a Castle? - Just Imagine Having Your Honeymoon in a Castle in Hawaii!

Castle in Hawaii

Castle in Hawaii

You can live your dream for a few days, a few weeks or a few months. The Castle in Hawaii is owned by a couple that just so happens to be friends of mine.

Sheri and John have turned this castle home into an eclectic B&B of sorts; they have several different packages to choose from. They are experts at taking care of your every need and have been getting rave reviews on their excellent service combined with the "aloha spirit" of Hawaii.

Sheri & John enjoy sharing their home on the Big Island of Hawaii by making your dream vacation come true.

Have you been dreaming of a Hawaiian wedding and honeymoon?

Perhaps you have always wanted to be that princess in the castle who is waiting for her knight in shining armor to come and rescue her.

Believe it or not, you can now have both dreams fulfilled. You can be the master & mistress of the castle in one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world.

Imagine the magic of having your wedding on a gorgeous Hawaiian beach and then retiring to your fantasy castle for your honeymoon. It would be the most memorable time of your lives.

Allow Sheri to arrange your Hawaiian wedding and fantasy castle honeymoon or let her help you plan your next Hawaiian vacation by staying at the castle as a vacation rental for a few days, a week or longer. The Castle in Hawaii is located outside of Pahoa village.

For More information Contact:

Sheri Smith

Unique Oceanfront Vacation Rental

12-7030 Kalihikai St., Pahoa, HI 96778

Call Her: 1-808-965-1844

Join Her on Twitter: @CastleInHawaii

Visit Sheri on Facebook:

Rent a Castle in Hawaii

Lava Tree State Park

The Lava Tree State Monument is Worth Seeing Just a Little Down the Road from Pahoa Town

The Lava Tree Monument State Park is actually located in the Nanawale Forest Reserve outside of the town of Pahoa. The park is an amazing exhibit of the effects lava can have in nature.

Hundreds of years ago, a fast moving flow of hot lava covered this area of wet 'O'hia and Monkeypod trees. The 'O'hia trees are an endemic species in the Hawai'ian Islands.

The lava covered all the trees in its path as it made its way to the ocean; encasing each one forever.

The encased tree structures left behind by the lava flow are now and forever vertical, hollow, lava tubes where each tree once stood.

They resemble hollow tubes of petrified wood and lava. Some are full of moss, fungi and lichens; typical of how the rain-forest naturally takes back the barren area with new growth.

Some of the lava covered trees look like people and it can be kind of eerie if you happen to go there at dusk. There is one which everyone I have taken there agrees, looks like Oscar the Grouch from "Sesame Street".

There are many trees within the park that get the biggest reactions from people. Some folks laugh out loud, some giggle and point, and some turn bright red. No matter who sees them, they all see the same thing.

Have a look at the photo of just one of the trees below and what does it look like to you? If you get embarrassed or offended easily.....COVER YOUR EYES AND MOVE ON TO THE POLL!)

Giant Lava Tree Phallic Symbol


Just Curious as to How Many of Us Have Our Minds in the Gutter

Pohoiki Road Called Mango Road Because of All the Old Mango Groves

Ahalanui Park Hot Springs

Ahalanui Hot Springs - Pu'ala'a County Park

Ahalanui Hot Springs in Puna

Ahalanui Hot Springs in Puna

The "hot pond" (as we locals call it) at Ahalanui Park, about a 5-minute drive from outside of Pahoa.

Ahalanui Park Hot Springs is an amazing natural hot tub. It is a manmade pond with cement walls, but the pond is fed by a natural geothermal spring at one end.

It was a well-kept secret for many years. Few tourist ever knew of it while visiting Hawaii unless they had rented a car. It is off the beaten path where the tour buses did not venture in the past.

Now the secret is out, but it is still a wonderful place to go. Soak in the "natural hot tub", have a picnic in the park and relax on the lawn with a fabulous view of the ocean.

The water is heated by the volcanic action located far below the pond's floor but is kept clean by the ebb and flow of the cool ocean tide that feeds into it keeping the water temperature warm, not hot.

The pond is huge and was seldom crowded, in the past. When I was younger, we were often the only ones there, but as the population of the Big Island has grown and more people have moved into the Puna district, you will usually find others soaking or swimming when you arrive. On weekends, it can get crowded.

Avoid the weekends as it is usually very crowded. The pond is about the size of 2 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

When I was a child there wasn't a parking lot or any ladders, but they have since been added, along with restrooms, showers, picnic tables, barbeque grills and lifeguards are now on duty.

We use to camp there for free, but when the State of Hawaii turned it into a state park they began charging a fee of $5 a month, then it went to $5 a week and now it is $5 a day per adults 18 years and over, $2 per day for juniors 13-17 and $1 per day for children 12 and under. Greedy, no?

Ahalanui Hot Springs - Puna, Hawaii


Kalapana Black Sand Beach - This Was Then

Kalapana Black Sand Beach - This Was Then

Kalapana Black Sand Beach - This Was Then

Kalapana Star of the Sea Painted Church

In 1990, the famous Kalapana Black Sand Beach and Kalapana town were completely covered by lava.

The church was not harmed, but a decision was made to move it to higher ground before anything did happen. This is the church as it stands today. It has been nicely repainted and will be safe for a while until "Auntie Pele" reminds us once more that her religion is the only one and cleans house again.

The church is an important artifact in Hawaii as like the Painted Church in Kealakekua, Kona, the inside of the church is completely handpainted with religious murals.

The upper part of the church, including the ceiling, was originally painted by Father Evarist Matthias Gielen, a Belgian Catholic priest. The bottom wall panels were painted years later by various commissioned artists.

In 1997, the Wahaula Heiau, a 700-year-old sacrificial temple was wiped out.

Lava Flow Covering Kalapana Village - 1990

Lava Flow Covering Kalapana Village 1990

Lava Flow Covering Kalapana Village 1990

Kalapana Devastated by the Lava Flow

Hawaii Kalapana devastated by volcano

Hawaii Kalapana devastated by volcano

Kalapana is Trying to Come Back

Coconut Tree Growing Out of Rock at Kalapana

Coconut Tree Growing Out of Rock at Kalapana

Beach at Kaimu Bay Looking Toward Kalapana

Kaimu Beach has since formed in Kalpana's place, and locals have been planting new coconut trees.

This is how the coconut grove at Kalapana Beach looks now. Quite different from what it use to look like and almost as if it is struggling to come back. You can see the uplift of the rift zone that acts as a shield and separates the volcano area from the rest of the Big Island.

Everything on this side of that rift is separating from the rest of the island and sinking slowly into the ocean. Scientists are predicting that this huge land mass might one day slide back into the ocean causing gigantic tidal waves and natural destruction throughout the Pacific like man has never witnessed.

Kaimu Beach

Hawaii Volcano National Park


Kilauea Visitor Center - Entrance to the Park

Hawaii Volcano National Park

In the distant past, there wasn't any charge to drive through the Volcano area, but since it became a National Park you now have to pay $10 a car, for a 7-day pass, to get into the park. If you're hoofing it, backpacking or riding a bike then it is $5.

The National Park Service has designated the following fee free days for 2015:

January 19, 2015: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 14-16, 2015: Presidents Day Weekend
April 18-19, 2015: National Park Week Opens
August 25, 2015: Founders Day
September 26, 2015: National Public Lands Day
November 11, 2015: Veterans Day

Park entrance fees will be waived on these days.

Weather at the volcano area is unpredictable so be prepared before going as it can get chilly, but most of the time shorts are fine. Wear layers and bring a pair of long pants to change into just in case the weather does dampen off. The summit is about 4000 feet in elevation and can be cold and rainy and the trails at sea level are hot and arid

Wear sturdy shoes, or hiking boots if you plan on hiking around the park to visit the steam vents and petroglyphs as the terrain is very rugged, the a'a lava rocks are very sharp and can cut, and some areas are extremely hot!

Visit The Official Hawaii Volcano National Park website for more information on the park itself.