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“Gorgeous collection of tropical plants” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
27-717 Old Mamalahoa Highway, Papaikou, Island of Hawaii, HI 96781
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Ranked #1 of 4 attractions in Papaikou
Type: Gardens
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Attraction Details
Owner description: The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) Scientific and Educational non-profit, whose mission is to serve as a nature preserve and sanctuary, a living seed bank, and a study center for trees and plants of the tropical world. The Garden is dedicated to the collection and display of the world's tropical plants,and to the education of both children and adults about the plight of the world's rainforests. At a time when rainforest plants are disappearing at an alarming rate, the Garden is working to preserve as many species as possible for the benefit of future generations.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
54 attraction reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“Gorgeous collection of tropical plants”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

You don't really have to be a "plant person" to really enjoy the lushness of this little tropical garden paradise. Located off the main highway near the 7 mile marker, this garden is located on a 4 mile stretch of the scenic route that was once the old highway. The entire scenic route is worth the diversion off the main highway, but the tropical garden is the gem in the crown.

Once you pay the relatively steeply priced entry fee of $15, you go across the road to enter the garden. A not terribly friendly senior volunteer was there to take our tickets, but not so much into conversation...that's ok, I didn't pay to be friends with staff and volunteer. You head off to the right, go down a fairly steep path down into the garden. Along the way there are plenty of plants and flowers to observe. Did I mention STEEP? Seriously, we saw many very senior visitors there which left us wondering if they would be able to make it back up. (You do see golf carts occasionally going up and down the steep path, sometimes carrying guests, so I have to imagine if you get down and can't get up, that they will assist you back to the street level). Anyway, the flowers and trees along the various paths are all well kept, named and pruned. The scent of guavas was pretty pervasive, which is pleasant to me but not so much my husband. So..trekker beware!

There is a beautiful cascading waterfall, a collecting pool, orchid garden, wide variety of anthuriums, small lily lake, heliconia (which I had named "zipper plants"...that's what the flowers reminded me of...) and a calathea garden. I'm a super flower-loving photographer, so this was right up my alley. I often saw my husband far up the trail...not nearly as interested in the place as I was. Still, he was willing.

Do be sure to walk all the way down to the ocean vistas, it is well worth your time!! Then, you can begin the daunting task of walking back up that incredibly steep path back to street level.

Tips...either come with your own layer of sun screen AND insect repellant, or be prepared to pay extra for bug spray at the gift shop. Also, bring water, it was hot and super tropical humid throughout the garden, so be prepared. Expensive, yes, but worth it to me. Be prepared to spend 1-2 hours here.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“A Highlight of Our Trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Simply stunning! Easy to walk along well-maintained walkways to see an abundance of tropical flowers and plants in a natural uncrowded environment. We were lucky to have a sunny day, and the light and colors were gorgeous. An abundance of beautiful and unusual plants as well as a charming orchid garden, a lovely three tiered waterfall, and a quiet spot with ocean views. We spent an entire morning meandering around and could have spent even more time. I can honestly say I have never been to a more beautiful garden -- and I've been to a lot in various countries as I love gardens.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, VA
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Absolutely THE Best!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

We visited a number of Botanical Gardens during our tour of 4 of the Hawaiian islands. This one, just a short drive North of Hilo, was absolutely the standout - - for scenic beauty, variety and placement of specimens, size and setting, and helpful guide and labeling. It's an absolutely gorgeous spot that slopes down from the road to the ocean. We spent hours there and took tons of beautiful photos. If you like nature, exotic flowers and trees, beautiful views, and peaceful strolling, you'll love it. Definitely worth the price!! Bring mosquito repellant, however!

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Beautiful and Buy the Mosquito Protection”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

Four of us (adults) visited the gardens last week (Aug '13). They were very well organized and cared for (manicured?) with beautiful waterfalls, ponds, and ocean views. Unlike the Akaka falls, which are also beautiful, these plants are identified with well placed signs. The local purists seem to look down on this garden because so many of the plants are not native to Hawai'i, but they are gorgeous nonetheless. If you go, be sure to bring mosquito repellent or purchase the moist towelette ($1.50) at the entrance. This was one of the best add-on purchases we made. Also, try to allow 2 hours for this unless you are just checking a box and want to rush through.

Visited August 2013
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Brisbane, Australia
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Absolutely Beautiful !!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

Walked through this amazing place for at least 2 hours and was blown away by the waterfalls, plants and flowers, not to mention the seaside views at the bottom of the hill. As we visited after a very dry summer (Rainbow Falls was not even flowing) it was great to see the vivid colours of the varied tropical plants and stunning scenary where the gardens meet the sea. Pathways were easy to use, and facilities clean. Would recommend this to anyone visiting the Hilo area.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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