Know Before You Go, Shaka Guide's Kohala Coast Backcountry Tour
- You’re about to go on an awesome adventure along both beautiful coastline views and rolling green hills, but there are a few things you should know about the tour before you get started.
- This tour starts and ends in Waikoloa and travels counterclockwise only.
- The best food stops are in Hawi or Waimea Town.
- There are no entrance fees to any of the parks on this tour, but you might want to bring some cash for snacks and gifts — there are shops that are cash only.
- Bring hiking shoes and water.
- There’s only one hike on this tour: the Pololu Valley Hike. This is a 0.9-mile roundtrip hike that’s considered moderate due to its steep elevation.
- Kohala Welcome Center is the only public restroom in Hawi Town. It’s open Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
What to Expect!
To Spend 3-5 Hours Exploring
This bite-size tour takes about a half day to complete, depending on how much time you spend at each spot.The tour is concentrated on the Kohala Coast, so the drive time is minimal, you’ll spend most of the time exploring the fun stops we’ve picked out for you. If you start early enough you’ll have plenty of time to hit the beach after or you could try our Kona Big Kahuna Loop tour. We don’t recommend combining this tour with the North Island Jungle Adventure Loop.
To Be Active
Although this tour has only one major hike -- the Pololu Valley Hike -- there are two major historic sites with walking trails that you’ll want to explore. These are Lapakahi State Park and Pu’ukohola Heiau. You can also walk around Hawi and Waimea Towns to get a feel for the quaint communities that make up the Big Island. Make sure to bring enough water!
If you plan on visiting Pololu Valley, please be respectful. If you get to the parking lot and there's no space, turn back around and try again another day or wait for a spot to open - don't park on the side of the road. Also, be sure to take out what you bring in and leave the trail better than you found it.
To Learn Hawaiian History
This may be our shortest driving tour in terms of length, but it packs in LOADS of history. Visit an ancient Hawaiian fishing village, learn about the paniolos that brought cattle ranching to Hawaii and discover the prophecy that led King Kamehameha to unite the Hawaiian Islands.
To Try Local Food
There are two stops on this tour for food or snacks: Hawi town and Waimea Town. If you’re stopping in Hawi, we recommend grabbing ice cream at Tropical Dreams. But if you’re looking for some grub along the route we suggest waiting until the end of the tour when you reach Waimea Town. There you can visit one of the many restaurants that source their food locally (i.e grass-fed burgers!).
How much you spend truly depends on what you do along the tour route, but here’s a breakdown of some costs:
- $15.00 per person: Lunch
- $5.00 per person: Local snack or cup of coffee
Here’s our packing list for this tour. It may seem a little long, but remember, what you bring depends on the activities you choose to do for the day.
- Hiking Clothes
- Jacket or Layers, temperatures vary drastically across the island
- Water Bottle
- Bug Spray
- Bathing Suit
- Sun Glasses and/or Hat
- Car Charger *Very Important*
- Phone Mount
In Hawaiian the word malama means “to take care” and the word aina means “land.” When you’re in Hawaii, we ask that you practice this and pick up your trash; respect the marine life, plants, and animals; and avoid spots that are unsafe. Hawaii’s natural resources are precious, it’s up to all of us to help preserve these resources for generations by respecting the aina when you visit.
We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more help planning your day check out our Kohala Coast Backcountry Tour suggested itinerary.