The Big Island of Hawaii is a tale of two cities. On the arid west coast, the popular region of Kona draws nearly 1.3 million visitors each year; meanwhile, Hilo, a “second city” to most tourists, sits on the lush and rainy east coast of the island and sees about half a million visitors each year. Between the two, I much prefer Hilo.
Why does Hilo make a better destination in my heart? For one thing, compared to Kona’s nearly two and a half times as many tourists, Hilo feels much more off the beaten path. Second, you’ll save time and money by choosing Hilo, and its proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and gorgeous waterfalls provides a rich and authentic Hawaiian experience.
Here are nine reasons why you should visit Hilo on your trip to Hawaii: