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Kona vs Hilo

Utica,NY
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Kona vs Hilo

From what I've read, most people think its best to spend 4-5 days near Kona & 1-2 near Hilo. In getting a list together of what to see & do, it almost seems that you need more time on the Hilo side. What are the "must see" things on the Kona side? Thanks for any advice.

Bayonne, France
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1. Re: Kona vs Hilo

You will undoubtedly generate many, many posts by others on the things to see on the Kona side, and there is plenty. So a little background....

The Kona (West Hawaii) side is the focus of the visitor industry for several reasons:

1. Kona gets about 25 inches of rain each year, Hilo over 125.

2. Kona has numerous white sand beaches and picturesque bays, Hilo has a few black or mixed sand beaches and a shoreline often difficult to access.

3. Several billion dollars in resort and hotel investment has been made in Kona in the last two decades; Hilo hasn't seen a dime in a generation (in fact several hotels have closed).

4. Kona is vibrant and the fastest growing community in the state (OK, maybe tied with Ewa/Kapolei). Hilo, although currently enjoying something of a resurgence, is smaller and of less economic importance than it was 50 years ago.

But the best insight into the fully laid-back, slow-as-molasses Hilo scene was provided by a gaggle of local teenage girls sitting in a Kona restaurant.

When the waiter came by they asked for "Hilo 7-Up"....he dutifully brought out glasses of water.

Everyone in the joint had a great laugh.

Island of Hawaii...
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2. Re: Kona vs Hilo

Amber, isn't it funny that most people visit kona while there are many more things to see on the other side of the island? BTW, the fastest growing district is Puna in the whole State of Hawaii. It probably will slow down some since properties are not dirt cheap there anymore.

Bayonne, France
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3. Re: Kona vs Hilo

Actually TT, while it is a matter of perspective, I would have to disagree...

The percentage of population growth in the Puna District has been high over the last couple of decades due to the large supply of vacant (and some questionably serviced)lots, but the actual level of growth has not been the State's fastest. The resident population of Puna has grown from 11,751 persons in 1980 to about 38,000 today...a gain of some 26,000 people and compounded annual growth rate of 4.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the Ewa District (Oahu) has grown in population from 191,051 to over 300,000 during the same period, a gain of more than 108,000 persons but at growth rate of only 1.8 percent because of the higher starting point.

During the same period, the North Kona District has gone from 13,748 persons to about 40,000; gains similar to Puna in regards to numbers of new residents and growth rates.

If you include all of West Hawaii (North and South Kona and Kohala) versus East Hawaii (Hamakua, North & South Hilo and Puna), the actual and rate of population growth in West Hawaii far, far surpasses that of the East side of the island.

However, growth is not just increasing population, it also is a function of the development of other land uses. And, while Kona has absolutely boomed over the past decade in regards to retail, industrial, resort, public and supporting use-types; Puna has been basically limited to just residential development.

(Population figures are from the DBEDT and State Data Book)

Island of Hawaii...
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4. Re: Kona vs Hilo

Well, I guess we read different things. The WHT article cited the Census Bureau data indicating Puna as the fatest growing District and they indicated the population of 30,000 for Kona. (They both are in the Chambers' Book too.) Well, at least we agreed on the more things to see on the East side. :)

Palm Springs...
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5. Re: Kona vs Hilo

bottom line.....Hilo is old style hawaii where the native Hawaiians live.. because it is without development and the attendant growth and influxs of visitors and new residents. It is a very private and laid back place....hanging on to the Old Hawaii..

visitors in Hilo are more of intruders than guests as many consider this place the last bastion of homeland......

This is why not many resorts have been built and why it is so home-town.It is city for Hawaiians not visitors. Visitors are not un-welcome but also not pandered to. Come as a guest anand Humble and you will find this a interstiin

A lot of counter culture and natives settel here to embrace the special ambiance.

no it is not a resort but it has for some an alure of days gone by......it might for you..or not.

So......the ball is in your court.

Wailuku, Maui
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6. Re: Kona vs Hilo

Hilo by the bay......swoon......my island love :)

Can't beat the good ol hawaiian hometown. Place to just talk story.......come back to island roots.....

Just can't Hilo ....... hands down. well IMHO only :) of course LOL.

carmel
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7. Re: Kona vs Hilo

Aloha, I'm always so amused by HD's counter culture statements in regards to Hilo. Hilo is an area where Hawaiian people of many cultures live and I never found them to be any "stranger" than the big $$$ hanging at the resorts. At least they are genuine and real not big want-a be's.Plus Hilo is a city you can tour on your own... no bookings needed.

Wailuku, Maui
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8. Re: Kona vs Hilo

The world would definately be boring if everyone saw the same things ...... IMHO, Hilo goes back to the roots of my family. Maybe I'm partial because my family is from there, maybe it's because I love being able to go back and just "chill-out" from the big "city" life, the hustle and bustle of the daily regimen, and that it's stops me in my place, to see things through the eyes of our keiki. Everyone has a special place in their heart, maybe it's just because Hilo is mine.