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“Don't miss this!”

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Papaikou
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Reviewed March 27, 2011

On our drive around the Big Island, leaving Hilo behind and heading northwest through Hamakua, we just about bypassed this spot. That would have been a major mistake! Our guidebook told of a 4-mile scenic route on a section of old Mamalahoa Highway, leading to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. So we turned around, and spent a good 2 hours or more exploring this gorgeous retreat. Beautifully maintained gardens, and some lovely ocean views too. This was a highlight of our Big Island trip! Well worth the $15 admission fee to see this slice of paradise.

1  Thank SodakFlack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,353 - 1,357 of 1,439 reviews

Reviewed February 28, 2011

We thought that once upon a time this was a lovely garden, but it needs to be tended to. I realize it is wild vegetaton but it still needs to have some attention otherwise it begins to look unattractive and messy. Thought the cost was a bit high for what was there.

4  Thank Sharon T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2011

As a landscape architect I was excited to visit this garden having heard how beautiful it was from other travelers, but in hindsight, I would only recommend this place to garden club ladies of a certain vintage who love to look. If you go, make sure you understand and agree to their rules on where to go because it is not at all evident or signed.

On the pro side, I did appreciate the restrooms at the bottom of the garden since it is a long climb back to gift shop, which was was well stocked with unusual items, including a small museum room with some fascinating finds and old photos of the previous habitation on the property. I didn't care to see the Asian artifacts purloined by the original owners thrown in with the native and historic displays.

Once in the garden, seeing live parrots stuffed in a cage was sad and didn't add any value to the attraction. I am also not sure having so many exotic plants imported into this environment is horticulturally prudent, as so many problems on the islands have come about because of the introduction of non-native animal and plant species.

Lastly, as my companions and I made our way down to the bottom of the gorge we crossed the public access path that bisects the garden property and spoke with the guard stationed at the trail. When we returned we went through a different gate and the view down the beach path beckoned to us. Knowing this was a public pathway we followed it down and explored the cove and adjacent rocky beach area. Nowhere were there signs saying we couldn't or shouldn't do this.

Just as we were turning to go back up the path from the beach, the guard yelled at us accusing us of not staying in the garden and not reading the signs. First, a public path is a public path and we didn't put our signature to anything saying that we would only stay within the garden. Our foray down the access path was on a whim and not pre-planned. Second, there are no signs anywhere describing this "restriction." We tried to be polite, but really it was insulting I am convinced the tone comes from management and not the guy whose job is to sit there all day. I'm also convinced that they monitor this area even though it is a public beach access, as the guard could not have known we were down there.

5  Thank mylist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2011

Our innkeeper recommended this as the best of the several gardens near Hilo. It was outstanding: a true "world class" botanical garden: Beautiful rain forest setting, interesting trees & plants, gorgeous flowers, including many orchids, waterfalls, outstanding ocean overlooks. Remarkable that this was basically the creation of one man. Even the entrance & gift shop prices were very reasonable Of all the sightseeing we enjoyed in our 10 days on the Big Island, our enjoyment of this garden ranks second only to the experience of observing a live lava flow!

Thank ajoyce7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2010

HTBG was well worth the drive and on a scenic route in Hawaii. Stop off on the way at the Punaluu Black Sand Beach.

Lots of anthuriums, tropical flowers, it was very pretty and well worth the admission fees. The waterfall is so pretty. Lots to look at and very romantic. Great for newlyweds!

1  Thank luvscats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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