Coffee fields in Kona, Hawaii (iStockphoto)

Tropical reef near Kona, Hawaii (iStockphoto)

Sea Turtle in Kona, Hawaii (iStockphoto)

Coastline at sunset, Kona, Hawaii (Kevin Forest/Photodisc)


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What to do in Kona

Kailua Kona, the westerly side of Hawaii’s Big Island, has been going by its shortened name, Kona, for decades. It isn’t much of a secret, much like everything else you’ll find here—expect stretched-out beaches, shady palms, and a ton of other flowered-shirt tourists just like you. Each year, thousands descend upon this coastal town to watch as athletes with the largest lung capacities in the world take on the grueling Ironman World Championship: biking, swimming, and running during a three-day event along these storied shores where King Kamehameha I once established the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaii. As the athletes binge on carbs pre-race, you can fuel up in a different way, with coffee originating from plantations spread along the shoreline. Due to its elevation, continuous cloud cover, and volcanic soil, this is the only place in the world you can get 100 percent pure Kona coffee.

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