●Ka’awa Loa Plantation Guest House & Retreat – 82-5990 Napoopoo Road; 808-323-2686; kaawaloaplantation.com; stylish B&B with jaw-dropping views of isalnd’s southern coastline.
●Bong Brothers Coffee – 84-5227 Mamalahoa Highway; 808-328-9289; bongbrothers.com.
●L&L Hawaiian Barbecue – 81-6224 Mamalahoa Highway; 808-323-9888; hawaiianbarbecue.com; try Chicken Katsu Loco Moco (deep-fried, gravy-drenched cutlet served with egg and rice).
●Manago Hotel – 82-6151 Mamalahoa Highway; 808-323-2642; managohotel.com; “real Hawaii”; seating at 7:30 p.m. (plantation hours); remarkable pork chops, seaweed (ogo – when in season), fish.
●Shipman House Bed & Breakfast Inn – 131 Kaiulani Street; 808-934-8002 or 800-627-8447; hilo-hawaii.com/; impressive breakfast; weekly hula lessons.
●Hilo Bay Cafe – 315 Makaala Street; 808-935-4939; hilobaycafe.com; organic food.
●L&L Hawaiian Barbecue – 348 Kinoole Street (at Mamo Street); 808-934-0888; hawaiianbarbecue.com; try Chicken Katsu Loco Moco (deep-fried, gravy-drenched cutlet served with egg and rice).
●Sombat’s – 88 Kanoelehua Avenue; 808-969-9336; sombats.com; Thai food.
●Sushi Bar Hime – 14 Furneaux Lane; 808-961-6356; local tuna sashimi and Japanese octopus.
●Antiques & Coins – 191 Kilauea Avenue; 808-969-1881; both art and objects.
●Dragon Mama – 288 Kamehameha Avenue; 808-934-9081; designer repurposed remnants of kimono fabrics.
●Still Life Books – 130 Kilauea Avenue; 808-756-2919; early editions of Pablo Neruda’s Memoirs and Bruce Chatwin’s Winding Paths.
●Hawaiian Vanilla Company – 43-2007 Paauilo Mauka Road; 808-776-1771; late-afternoon tea; family-owned farm and mill in rain forest.
Bars & Nightclubs
●Manta Ray Bar & Grill – 78-128 Ehukai Street (at Sheraton Keauhou Resort); 808-930-4900; sheratonkeauhou.com; can see manta rays under water’s surface, even at night.
●Manta Night Dive.
●Four Seasons Resort at Historic Hualalai – 72-100 Ka’upulehu Drive; 808-325-8000 or 800-819-5053; impeccable resort; excellent snorkeling; Balinese-style villas; 6 swimming pools; spa.
●Buzz’s Original Steakhouse – 413 Kawailoa Road; 808-261-4661; buzzssteakhouse.com; great for dinner or lunch.
●Kona Blue Sky Coffee Co. – 76-973 Hualalai Road; 808-322-1700; konablueskycoffee.com.
●L&L Hawaiian Barbecue – 75-5595 Palani Road (Lanihau Shopping Center); 808-331-8886; hawaiianbarbecue.com; try Chicken Katsu Loco Moco (deep-fried, gravy-drenched cutlet served with egg and rice).
●Mountain Thunder Kona Coffee Plantation – 73-1944 Hao Street; 808-325-2136; mountainthunder.com.
●Kona Aggressor II – 209 Hudson Trace (Augusta, Georgia); 706-993-2531 or 800-348-2628; aggressor.com/kona.php; live-aboard dive accommodations that are luxurious and perfect for dive vacations.
Sights & Sites
●Kona Coast – mantatrust.org; among best diving sites in world to see mantas.
●Hawaii Island Retreat at Ahu Pohaku Hoomaluhia – 250 Maluhia Road; 808-889-6336; hawaiiislandretreat.com; luxury, eco-friendly resort.
●Teshima’s Restaurant – 79-7251 Mamalahoa Highway; 808-322-9140; local and Japanese food.
●Au Au Crater – dramatic, v-shaped bowl that exposes ancient landslide; whales, humpback & pilot.
●Pawai Bay – butterflyfish schools.
●“Pelagic Magic” – on 50’ tether in 4K’ water at night as tiny, bizarre organisms waft by.
●Pentagon – lava tubes; 1 of top 10 dive sites on island.
●Pyramid Pinnacles – at spectacular drop-off edge; eels and invertebrates.
●Suck ‘Em Up – 40’ lova tube next to open-ceiling cave that hosts huge fish schools and whitetip reef shark.
●Mauna Kea Beach Hotel – 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive); 808-882-7222 or 800-882-6060; princeresortshawaii.com; luxury resort on 1 of island’s prettiest beaches.
●Mauna Lani Resort – 68-1310 Mauna Lani Drive; 808-885-6622 or 800-628-7815; maunalani.com; make sure, even if not staying here, to take time to wander Kalahuipua’a – ancient “fish ponds” on property.
Sights & Sites
●Kalahuipua’a – 68-1310 Mauna Lani Drive; 808-885-6622 (at Mauna Lani Resort); maunalani.com; make sure, even if not staying here, to take time to wander Kalahuipua’a – ancient “fish ponds” on property.
●Hilo Coffee Mill – 17-0995 Volcano Road; 808-968-1333; hilocoffeemill.com.
●Island Naturals Pahoa – 15-1403 Nanawale Homesteads; 808-965-8322; drinks, juices, and smoothies.
●L&L Hawaiian Barbecue – 427 Pahoa Road; 808-965-9533; hawaiianbarbecue.com; try Chicken Katsu Loco Moco (deep-fried, gravy-drenched cutlet served with egg and rice).
●Volcano House – 1 Crater Rim Drive (Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park); 808-441-7750 or 866-940-2782; hawaiivolcanohouse.com; dating back to 1846, Hawaii’s oldest hotel; restored; 33 guest rooms, dining room, snack bar, lounge & gift shop; also, camper cabins & campsites (Namakanipaio Campground); overlooks Halema‘uma‘u Crater at Kilauea summit; hike to Napau Trail to view Pu‘u O’o along East Rift zone & witness spectacular eruptions.
●Peter Merriman’s – Opelo Plaza, Highway 19; 808-885-6822; merrimanshawaii.com; regional food by James Beard award-winning chef.
Sights & Sites
●Hapuna Beach – wide sand strip ideal for sunbathing.
●Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park – Highway 11 (30 miles from Hilo); 808-985-6000; nps.gov/havo/index.htm; home to 2 of world’s most active, accessible & studied volcanoes.
●Kalapana Black Sand Beach – southern island tip.
●Kaunaoa Beach – Mauna Kea Resort’s beach known for tranquil water and powdery sand; open to public.
●Kealakekua Bay – calm water and diverse fish array.
●Papakolea Beach – off southern tip but worth trip for green sand.