Kohala Vacation

South Kohala  &  North Kohala

The Big Island is …BIG!  With its 4,038 square miles, and about the size of the USA’s great State of Connecticut, the Big Island is actually still growing thanks to Kileaua volcano’s continuous lava flow on the south end. Hawaii’s Big Island is not only the largest of all the Hawaiian Islands, but due to its five mountains (volcanoes) it also  has the most varied weather from tropical to desert terrain and just about everything in between…11 climate zones in altitudes ranging from sea level to 13,796 feet.  Looking at the below map of Hawaii’s Big Island, you will notice that the island is divided into districts: Hamakua District,  Hilo District, Puna District, Kau District, Kona District, and Kohala District.  The Kohala District is further divided into South Kohala and North Kohala. Each district and area within have distinct characteristics.  Aloha Vacation Cottages is located in South Kohala, on the northwest side of the Big Island.

The island’s geography dictates varying climate zones  due to the five mountains (volcanoes). Differences are in temperatures,  rainfall and overall living conditions. Some areas are rustic off the electric grid and with rain water collected in catchment tanks as the only source for washing. Our area, in South Kohala, however, has county-provided water which is processed and treated supplying all residences, resorts and businesses in this developed area.

South Kohala

It’s where you’ll find us!

Aloha Vacation Cottages is located in between 3 villages: Kawaihae, Waimea and Waikoloa in South Kohala. This is the “dry zone” and we are fortunate to have the best of Hawaii living in sunny, warm and arid climate of South Kohala where temperatures are comfortable year round…warm by day and with cool, quiet nights for sound sleeping. Our location is about 4 miles away from the village of Waimea “down the hill” in the direction of the Kohala Coast beaches. We are outside the Waimea town limits but share the Kamuela area code as do the resorts of the Kohala Coast. This is comfortably close to both the three villages and the resorts yet outside the commercial fray. We are nestled in the foothills between the Kohala Volcano and the Mauna Kea Volcano right in the lap of rolling, wide-open South Kohala landscape only minutes from the renowned white-sand coastline where you’ll languish in the warm waters of the best nearby Hawaii Island beaches (beach list below). The Mauna Loa Volcano and Hualalai Volcano are visible in the distance which account for four of the Big Island’s volcanoes. The erupting one, Kilauea volcano is on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa and is furthest from us and not in view from our property. It’s a very beautiful, scenic drive from our place to Volcanoes National Park where you’ll experience Kilauea. For shopping and local culture, we have the choice of three villages with just a 10 minute drive to the shopping and local culture of Waimea, or 10 minutes to Kawaihae or 25 – 30 minutes to Waikoloa. Our guests love the nearby farmers’ markets (three in Waimea Village alone), where they pick up local fruits and vegetables, farm cheeses, honey, vanilla products, even local beers – many items and flavors are unique to this tropical climate. They love the choice of local grocery stores and supermarkets, especially our fish monger nearby where they pick up local, daily fresh-caught fish (off the fishing charters). The fish monger is on the way “home” from the beaches. Stop in for local “catch” to cook outdoors on your BBQ. Local grass-fed beef, veal and lamb is also popular bought directly from the ranch in Kohala. Our vegetarian and vegan guests are not left out…there’s a well stocked local health food store, nearby.

This area on the northwest side of the Big Island has three established villages. They are Waikoloa (both the resort area and the upcountry village of Waikoloa), Kawaihae (that’s the harbor, commercial and residential Kawaihae), and Waimea village …which is the cultural and visual pearl of the northwest side of the island…known for it’s history of the Hawaiian Paniolo, expansive Parker Ranch, theatre, private schools, rodeos, and good restaurants. The name “Kamuela” is a US Postal reference name to distinguish Waimea village from other islands in the State of Hawaii that also have areas named Waimea.   The best beaches of the Big Island are found in South Kohala.

South Kohala has the ideal climate because it is in the dry zone (under 10 inches rainfall a year = desert) where it is always warm and sunny. That is precisely why the resorts are here.  South Kohala is known for its world-class beaches that are easy to access. South Kohala also has a number of off road secluded bays.  If you’re coming for sun and beach activities, a South Kohala base does not disappoint. But, this area is not just a pretty beach! Both South Kohala and North Kohala are rich in history and culture with sacred places, petroglyphs, restored Hawaiian villages, ancient fish ponds, farmer’s markets, valleys, gardens, villages, lookout points, quaint churches, rolling hills, open meadows and country roads which wind up to the volcanoes of Mauna Kea Summit, Mauna Loa and the now extinct Kohala volcano. Nature in variation, this is the island of sea, fire and ice —winter brings snow to the tops of Mauna Kea Summit.

Our location is convenient to many other points of interest and destinations in addition to the best beaches and resorts. One road to the villages of Kailua-KonaHawiKapa’au, Honoka’a,  Polulu Lookout, Mauna Kea Summit,  Waipio ValleyAkaka FallsTropical Botanic Gardens and beyond all the way to Hilo, rainforests, and the Volcanoes National Park (only 1.5 to 2 hrs away). From our place, Kawaihae is where you pick up fresh caught fish daily from the boats. North Kohala is where you get Big Island’s famous grass-fed beef.

Minutes Away From Aloha Vacation Cottages Are The
 Best Beaches & Secluded South Kohala Bays

Kaunaoa – Mauna Kea beach  /  Hapuna Beach State Park  /  Spencers /  Waialea Bay – Beach 69  / Anaeho’omalu A-Bay  /  Kiholo Bay/  Kua Bay  /  Makalawena Beach  /  Kekaha Kai State Park  /  Kukio Beach / Kahuwai Bay / Kikaua Point Beach.  Beach picnic spots as well along Kohala Coast.

ANAEHO`OMALU © Victoria McCormick

The pristine white-sand beaches, palm trees and
crimson sunsets one dreams of about Hawaii.

Hale Kea Cottage, Big Island

When you stay with us, at Aloha Vacation Cottages, after a day of Big Island  adventure you’ll return to your cosy cottage. Our area is peaceful and affords lovely morning walks to start the day and evening walks at sunset. The only cars that enter are of those who live here. Your comfortable, adjustable beds and clean, vog free (and coqui free!) environment, will lull you into a restful night’s sleep.

The Nearby Villages Of South Kohala & North Kohala

Waimea Village Is An “Up-Country” Paradise…
No Longer Just An Average Cow Town!

Cosy Waimea village is away from us further up the hill at a higher elevation and experiences very different climatic conditions from what we experience in our location. The local lingo for Waimea’s location is more “upcountry” and known as the “wet side”…or a kinder description being the “green side” of the island because of all the rainfall it gets.  Only a few miles away, our own location’s  arid, sunny and much warmer climatic characteristics differ greatly from that of Waimea Village where it is cooler and wetter – hense it’s “green side” reference. The village itself is a charm of a community and we are very pleased to have it as our nearest “neighbor” for shopping and local culture. Waimea has grown and developed from an up-country cow town to a comfortable, modern, and cosy community of professionals, farmers and ranching families who peacefully live in this lovely landscape.  In the year 2000, Waimea was chosen by the Rob Report, which describes itself as a magazine for luxury lifestyle, as one of the ten most desirable places to live in the United States.

An eclectic mix of artists and crafts people add a rich and stimulating culture to the backdrop of historic Waimea, the home of the western Paniola cowboys. The surrounding hills and open range and meadows are dotted with grazing cattle, horses, sheep, wild goats and donkeys.

“No, we are not an affluent community,” answers Waimea real estate broker Dodie MacArthur. But the Robb Report interviewed MacArthur before making its decision, and she agrees with it. “We are a community that’s attractive to people who can afford to live anywhere,” she said. Dan Phillips, president of Massachusetts-based Luxury Media Corp., which publishes Robb Report, said Waimea is rich in tradition and history. [extract from the Rob Report, March 2000]

Waimea is the home of Parker Ranch, the historic 175,000 acre cattle ranch which is the largest cattle ranch under single ownership in the United States.  Waimea’s ranchers, local farmers and other professionals share a picturesque, green, hilly landscape together with educators in seven schools, professionals from seven world-class hotels, staff from nine golf courses, astronomers and technicians from two major international observatories, health professionals from the North Hawaii Community Hospital, and an abundance of holistic health practitioners.

For the flavor of Waimea’s Paniola (Hawaiian cowboy) and Parker Ranch history.

Thanks to the now deceased Richard Smart, the former owner of Parker Ranch, Waimea is host town to the Kahilu Theater which is a cultural center on the Big Island for entertainment from around the world. Yet, the town itself retains a small town look and feel with a relaxed pace.

North Kohala

North Kohala has a couple of small, cosy picturesque villages where local artisans, agriculturists, restaurants, galleries and shops serve the community and tourists alike.

Hawi Village

A scenic drive on South Kohala’s  Hwy 250 brings you to the north end of the island, the District of North Kohala. The historic and artist village of  Hawi is a 30-minute scenic drive through beautiful North Kohala mountain range or via the scenic coastal road Hwy 270 along the Pacific Ocean coast.  Hawi was once a bustling sugar plantation town and contributed to the sugar production in Hawaii.  It ceased sugar production in the 1970s.

Kapa’au Village

Located just a few minutes from Hawi is Kapa’au is another quaint, historic North Kohala village. There, on the main road just across from the public library is the statue of King Kamehameha which had been lost at sea before it was erected at this spot.
It’s worth a stop in Kapa’au to experience local arts and crafts.


Where North Kohala’s Hwy 270 comes to an end, Pololu Valley begins. This is a lovely scenic overlook into the last connecting valley that is almost as deep and verdant as Waipio Valley. From the Pololu Valley Lookout, you can look out onto the Pacific Ocean and down into the valley to see a beautiful black-sand beach. A hiking trial requiring only moderate hiking takes you down to the Pololu beach which is a perfect spot for a day of relaxation with a picnic basket and a good book…just another one of  thousands of such perfect spots on the Big Island.