Accommodation Hilo

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Hilo Travel Course

Exploring Hilo

With dramatic, lava-spewing volcanoes, dense jungle, and rainbow-tinged waterfalls, this western region of Hawaii is a richly fertile, elemental place. Hilo is Hawaii Island’s main town, and it’s overloaded with natural bounty. You only need to stand at the harbor, breathing in the oxygen-rich, salty air watching rain clouds roll in, to feel the extraordinary power and life of the place. Human culture also has much to offer here, with traditional crafts, hula exhibitions, and museums displaying the island’s history.

Things to see

Become acquainted with Hilo by taking a walk through the historic city center. The old, wooden buildings with their restrained art-deco style create the feeling of having stepped back in time. Be sure to visit the Farmers’ Market to be tempted by an exotic array of local produce, including strawberry papayas. You’ll also find a wide selection of local handicrafts. Once you’ve had your retail fix, head to the excellent Pacific Tsunami Museum, which has interactive exhibits and displays about the tsunamis which affect Hawaii. Then make the short journey to the nearby Rainbow Falls, an 80-meter waterfall, where rainbows can often be spotted dancing in the mist. Close by are a series of pools fed by volcanic lava which bubble theatrically. For an even more show-stopping sight, head out to the Volcanoes National Park to see Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, lit up with molten lava.

Hotels in Hilo

From glamorous luxury hotels to budget accommodation, Hilo offers plenty of choice. Upscale options include Castle Hilo, which is a tourist attraction in itself, thanks to the banyan tree avenue, with each tree planted by a different celebrity. At this end of the scale, there are resort-style hotels, with balconies to take in the tropical views. Spas, outdoor pools, and Egyptian cotton sheets will also woo you. If you’re looking for a budget Hilo hotel, there are charming guesthouses which offer a homely feel and complimentary breakfasts. Whichever hotel you choose, you’ll find cheerful, floral furnishings, reflecting the verdant landscape outside.

Where to stay

To experience Hilo’s friendly, small-town atmosphere and to be close to the main attractions, the best option is to stay in the city center. The downtown area has numerous restaurants and bars to enjoy in the evening, while watching the sun set over the harbor. There are a range of hotels to choose from; something to suit every budget. If you’d rather stay in a more remote retreat, there are numerous guesthouses and self-catering lodges available to the south of Hilo, particularly at the edge of the Volcanoes National Park. Accommodation is mostly in charming wooden cottages within the forest.

How to get to Hilo

Hilo has its own airport, which receives flights from Honolulu, making it a convenient option on a multi-stop visit to the Hawaiian Islands. From Hilo International Airport (ITO), it is just a short 3 mile journey to the city center. There are also direct flights to Kona Airport, on the other side of Hawaii Island, from the USA, Canada, and Japan, a more convenient option for some international visitors. From Kona, it’s a journey of about 90 minutes. Shuttle buses, coaches and private taxis all cover the route, but if you plan to explore the island, a hire car is your best option.

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