Mamalahoa Highway
Mamalahoa Highway
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This highway goes from Kailua-Kona to Hilo on Hawaii's "Big Island."
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles138 reviews
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59
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18
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SoCalOregonian
Murrieta, CA10,394 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022
We drove portions of this route northbound to Captain Cook on the west side and from Volcano to Waimea on the eastside, then down 190 to Saddle Road.
Along this road you will find amazing vistas from the ocean to lush farmlands. There are many roadside fruit stands and other local attractions. Passing through towns of Pahala, Captain Cook, Keaau, Waimea, Honokaa and many others.
But do not expect to get anywhere quickly especially in the morning heading into Hilo or in the afternoon heading out of Hilo. This areas traffic rivals the worst traffic in SoCal.
Portions of this road is designated as Hawai’i Scenic Byway “The Slopes of Mauna Loa” and passes through some interesting lava fields. It also provides access to Hawai’i Volcanos National Park
Written April 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ThruJimsEyes
Island of Hawaii, HI87 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2013
I love driving on Mamalahoa Highway any chance I get... during the day. This is the upper road from Kona to Waimea on the Island of Hawaii. The views are great. The temperature is about 15 degrees cooler than the low road, Queen Kaahumanu. It is also the Hawaii Belt Road which runs all the way around the island. The drive is approximately all day long. Plan on 8-12 hours depending on how many stops you choose to make. Even though Hawaii is only the 76th largest island on the planet it is more than twice the size of all the other Hawaiian islands put together. Do the drive. You will love it.
Written January 21, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

inger_ted
Richmond, Canada486 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Couples
The Hawaiʻi Belt Road is a modern name for the Māmalahoa Highway and consists of Hawaiʻi state Routes 11, 19, and 190 that encircle the Island of Hawaiʻi. The southern section, between Hilo and Kailua-Kona is numbered as Route 11. The section between Hilo and Waimea is Route 19. Between Waimea and Kailua-Kona, the road is split in two: the original "mauka" route (now Route 190) and a "makai" Route 19, completed in 1975, which serves as access to the Kona and Kohala Coast resorts. For the most part, if you are traveling around the island you'll use various sections of Mamalahoa Highway named by the current Hwy#. It is a bit confusing because the signage you see used old name & Hwy#.

Depending on where & what section you travel, the road width, condition and views vary. Overall, the roads are in excellent condition & well lit/marked (cat eyes) for night travelling. Most of the sections travel along the coast and have great sc enic viewpoints. Other sections which travel inland can be on the other hand, very mundane or mediocre. What differentiates the more interesting sections of the highway to others is the exotic vegetation, coastal views and travel through rural landscapes.
Written February 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Voyager78
Hawaii32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Family
Big Island of Hawaii is a place I call Heaven. One Highway that goes around this heavenly place is Mamalahoa Highway. The same road is also called Belt road, Ka'ahumanu highway near Kona town. Like One God with many names and forms, this One Highway has many names and its form changes (one lane or two lanes) in different areas. This highway will take you to a spewing volcanic Kilauea mountain on one side, ice capped fog embraced Mauna Kea mountain on the other side, inbetween many other climatic zones of tropic & subtropic, and sceneries of rainforest and black sand beaches. This highway goes around the whole island with smaller roads branching out here and there. Big Island is almost 4034 square miles - it is called Big for a reason -- if I remember right it is the largest island in the world floating furthest from any major land mass -- made up of fire and ice -- sitting in a hot spot in the Ring of Fire. Mamalahoa Highway goes around this lovely piece of floating real estate. When you visit Big Island give yourself extra couple of days to drive this Highway and treat yourself to all the heavenly offerings (Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, island chocolate and orchids).
Written January 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Travelling Piggy
London, UK6,256 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Couples
Being on this highway somehow makes you feel like you're in space! It's absolutely stunning and definitely nothing I've experienced in my life. It's tricky at night due to the lack of lighting. But during the day my face was glued to the windows in absolute awe.
Written December 31, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter G
Las Vegas, NV67 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Couples
This is the main road from Kona north to Waimea, Hawi, and Hilo. Once you get near Waimea the temp goes down. It is scenic as the lava coastline turns into the wet / green side of the island. Gas in Waimea is higher then Kona so watch your tank before heading off. Enjoy !
Written September 8, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mimie W
Spokane, WA1,162 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014
My husband and I rented a Red Mustang Convertible and circled the Big Island of Hawaii during our vacation in April 2014. Taking the state route 19 to our hotel, the Fairmont Orchid up in Mauna Lani is literally hot in temperature. Not much view here unless you like "clinkers". We are not as not as excited as some people are with lava rocks. It's too desolate for us. However, taking this same route all the way north and east towards Hilo was a beautiful drive. You just have to be careful of the wind gust that could blow hard as you reach the northernmost part of the Big Island.

State route 11 is the best part of this Highway. We took this road all the way from Kailua-Kona to Hilo and the best views and green vegetation are found on this side of the island. We also took highway 19 as an alternative and the nearest route to go back to the airport after we circled the whole island.

The roads are in excellent condition and very good for reaching my dream: driving a Red Mustang Convertible!!!
Written April 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Barbara B
Elgin, TX5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2013 • Couples
Arriving in Waimea from Kona, there is a hill that literally changes to brilliant green as you move from the dry to wet side of the Island. Once you pass through Waimea (which is actually chilly at night), you drive along the Hamakua coast with cattle in lush green pastures and tall Eucalyptus trees on both sides of the road. You can stop for a meal at Honokaa with endless views of the Ocean. After this, there are not a lot of places to eat or take a bathroom break on the way to Hilo. The views are the best on the island on this drive, which continues on through Laupahoehoe. There is a small park with waves crashing on the rocks. The memorial here honors the lives of the students and teachers who died in the tsunami of 1946. As you drive on in to Hilo, there are 3 or 4 gorges that are breathtaking--but only passengers can really absorb the view since the driver has to really watch the road here. As you arrive in Hilo, if it is late in the evening, the chirping of the coqui frogs pierces the air. Coconut Island and Hilo are just ahead.
Written July 9, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NTSU1975
Georgetown, TX985 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
This review covers the Mamalahoa Highway going North from Kona to Waimea on Highway 190 and from Waimea to Honoka'a on Highway 19. Leaving sea level in Kona you will quickly climb to 2000' elevation. The views looking down acroos the urban area and lush growth begin fading into the lava flows of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Along the way you will encounter goats and cattle giving a preview of the ranch lands ahead around Waimea. It has been stated that Waimea is the most unHawaiian town you will find in Hawaii. Depends on your perspective, but on our Saturday drive the pickups pulling horse and cattle trailers and the active rodea arena definitely reminded us of our home state, Texas. Leaving Waimea and heading east to Honoka'a the terrain will change, and you will soon be in what was the sugar cane plantation area. The end of this drive will put you on the east coast with fantastic views of the ocean and the Waipi'o valley. On this drive you will never be more than 20 miles from gas stations and other services.
Written October 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jgluv2travel
Regina, Canada3,068 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2018 • Family
This is the main highway that will get you around the entire island. The highway has scenic overlooks and connects with other roads which lead to beaches, the coast, historic sites. We travelled Mamalahoa Highway (also Hawaii Belt Road) to many destinations. It is a two lane road with speeds of 55 or less in populated areas and curvy terrain. There are not many opportunities to pass when traffic gets congested. We never drove it at night but I could see how that would be dangerous if you were not familiar with the route. One of our long excursions took us from Kona (#11) to the lava fields on the slopes of Mauna Loa, along the ocean by South Point, to Black Sands Beach, Hawaii Volcanoes NP, to Hilo. We drove on the Old Mamalahoa Highway north of Hilo (#19) a couple of times for scenic diversions, then continued along the Hamakua Coast to Waimea and back to Kona . The drive provided us with a perfect way to experience the scenic beauty and history of the island. Note: Take a drive on the Old Mamalahoa Highway east of Kona (#180) which passes coffee farms and historic communities.
Written April 17, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Mamalahoa Highway - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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