Nestled along the pristine Kohala Coast on the Island of Hawaii, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel is a wonderful choice for those looking to mix the luxury that Kona is known for with Hawaiian history, adventure, and delicious delights. Of course, you could always do what we did for part of the trip, and just lounge at the pool and relax at the Mauna Lani Spa.
For Hawaiians in old Hawaii, Pu’uhonua O Honaunau was considered to be a place of refuge. It was where you went, or attempted to go to, if you committed an act that went against the kapu system (the ancient Hawaiian code of conduct). In modern Hawaii, residents often complain about the $250 fine when caught using mobile devices in their vehicles. In old Hawaii, however, entering an area reserved for chiefs, or eating forbidden foods, would cost you your life. The stakes were much higher back then. But, there was a way out. If you could somehow Jason Bourne your way into a puuhonua, or place of refuge, your life would be spared.
If you could visit just one of Chef Peter Merriman’s restaurants, it should be his flagship Waimea location. Merriman’s Waimea has been praised by Honolulu Magazine as the “Best Big Island Restaurant” for 15 consecutive years. 15 years. Insane. And yes, the food is indeed delicious. Chef Merriman defined what became known as Hawaii Regional Cuisine, along with other notable chefs, including Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, and George Mavrothalassitis.
When in Kona, you drink coffee. You drink a lot of coffee. That’s what you do. Below you’ll find five coffee shop stops that we made during a recent trip to Kona. Do note that the locations chosen below were selected based on location and convenience. This is by no means a Top 5 list of any kind.