Hilo is a charming town located on the eastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the largest settlement on the island and is known for its lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and rich cultural heritage. Hilo is a popular destination for travelers seeking a more authentic and laid-back Hawaiian experience, away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas on the island. The town is surrounded by natural beauty, with the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes towering in the distance, and the Wailuku River flowing through the heart of the town. Hilo is also home to a vibrant arts and cultural scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and festivals celebrating the island’s unique heritage. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or a foodie, Hilo has something to offer for everyone.

Key Takeaways

  • Hilo is a charming town on the Big Island of Hawaii, known for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
  • Hilo has a significant historical importance as the site of the first European settlement in Hawaii and the center of the sugar industry in the 19th century.
  • Visitors to Hilo can explore stunning natural attractions such as Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls, and the lush gardens of Liliuokalani Park and Gardens.
  • Immerse yourself in the local culture with traditional hula performances, visits to historic sites like the Lyman House Museum, and the annual Merrie Monarch Festival.
  • Indulge in the diverse local cuisine of Hilo, from fresh seafood and tropical fruits to unique dishes like loco moco and poi, and don’t miss the famous Hilo Farmers Market for fresh produce and artisanal goods.

Historical significance of Hilo

Hilo has a rich and diverse history that dates back to ancient times. The town was originally settled by Polynesian voyagers who arrived in the area around 1100 AD. They were drawn to the fertile land and abundant natural resources, which allowed them to thrive and establish a thriving community. In the 19th century, Hilo became a major center for the sugar industry, attracting immigrants from China, Japan, Portugal, and the Philippines to work on the plantations. This diverse influx of cultures has left a lasting impact on the town, shaping its unique blend of traditions and customs. In 1946, Hilo was devastated by a massive tsunami that destroyed much of the town, but it was quickly rebuilt and has since become a symbol of resilience and strength. Today, visitors can explore Hilo’s rich history through its historic buildings, museums, and cultural sites, such as the Lyman House Memorial Museum and the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

Hilo is also known for its annual Merrie Monarch Festival, which celebrates the art of hula and showcases traditional Hawaiian dance and music. The festival attracts performers and spectators from all over the world and is a testament to the enduring legacy of Hawaiian culture in Hilo. The town’s historic downtown area is also worth exploring, with its charming storefronts, colorful murals, and historic buildings that offer a glimpse into Hilo’s past. From its ancient Polynesian roots to its more recent history as a hub for the sugar industry, Hilo’s rich heritage is an integral part of what makes it such a special place to visit.

Natural attractions in Hilo

Hilo is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking natural attractions in Hawaii. One of the most iconic sights in Hilo is Rainbow Falls, a stunning 80-foot waterfall that cascades into a natural pool below. The falls are named for the rainbows that often appear in the mist, creating a magical and ethereal atmosphere. Another must-see natural wonder is Akaka Falls State Park, home to two magnificent waterfalls – Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls. The park features lush tropical vegetation, scenic hiking trails, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. For those interested in exploring Hilo’s volcanic origins, a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must. The park is home to two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, as well as otherworldly landscapes of lava fields, steam vents, and craters.

In addition to its waterfalls and volcanoes, Hilo is also known for its beautiful botanical gardens. The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a paradise for nature lovers, with over 2,000 species of tropical plants set amidst a lush rainforest backdrop. The garden features winding pathways that lead to scenic viewpoints, secluded beaches, and picturesque water features. Another must-visit garden is Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, which is the largest ornamental Japanese garden outside of Japan. The park features traditional Japanese landscaping, koi ponds, pagodas, and bridges, creating a serene and tranquil oasis in the heart of Hilo. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature photographer, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the natural world, Hilo’s abundance of natural attractions is sure to leave you awe-inspired.

Cultural experiences in Hilo

Experience Location Cost
Hula Show Various venues in Hilo Free or ticketed
Hawaiian Music Concert Local theaters and cultural centers Varies
Hawaiian Cultural Workshop Hilo Heritage Museum Fee for participation
Traditional Luau Hotels and resorts in Hilo Price per person

Hilo is a melting pot of cultures, with a rich tapestry of traditions and customs that have been passed down through generations. One of the best ways to experience Hilo’s diverse cultural heritage is through its vibrant arts scene. The town is home to numerous galleries and art studios showcasing the work of local artists, as well as traditional crafts such as quilting, weaving, and carving. Visitors can also immerse themselves in Hilo’s cultural heritage by attending one of the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year. From hula performances to traditional music concerts to craft fairs, there are countless opportunities to learn about and celebrate the island’s unique cultural identity.

For those interested in delving deeper into Hilo’s history and traditions, there are several museums and cultural sites worth exploring. The Lyman House Memorial Museum offers a fascinating look at Hilo’s past through its collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits on natural history and anthropology. The museum is housed in a historic missionary home dating back to 1838, adding an extra layer of historical significance to the experience. Another must-visit cultural site is the Imiloa Astronomy Center, which explores the connections between Hawaiian culture and astronomy through interactive exhibits and planetarium shows. The center offers a unique perspective on how ancient Hawaiians navigated the stars and celestial bodies, as well as how modern astronomy continues to shape our understanding of the universe.

Local cuisine in Hilo

Hilo’s culinary scene is a reflection of its diverse cultural heritage, with a wide range of dining options that showcase the flavors and ingredients of Hawaii. One of the most iconic dishes in Hilo is poi, a traditional Hawaiian staple made from taro root that has been pounded into a smooth paste. Poi has been a dietary staple in Hawaii for centuries and is often served alongside other local dishes such as kalua pig or lomi lomi salmon. Another must-try dish in Hilo is laulau, which consists of pork or fish wrapped in taro leaves and steamed until tender. The result is a flavorful and aromatic dish that highlights the natural bounty of the island.

For those craving something sweet, Hilo is famous for its shave ice – a refreshing treat made from finely shaved ice topped with flavored syrups. Local favorites include tropical fruit flavors such as guava, passion fruit, and lychee, as well as classic options like cherry and blue raspberry. In addition to traditional Hawaiian fare, Hilo also offers a diverse array of international cuisines influenced by the town’s multicultural population. From Japanese sushi to Portuguese malasadas to Filipino adobo, there’s no shortage of delicious options to satisfy every palate.

Shopping and entertainment in Hilo

Hilo offers plenty of opportunities for shopping and entertainment, with an eclectic mix of boutiques, galleries, and markets that cater to both locals and visitors alike. One of the best places to shop for unique souvenirs and gifts is the Hilo Farmers Market, which takes place every Wednesday and Saturday in downtown Hilo. The market features an array of local produce, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, and artisanal food products. Visitors can browse through stalls filled with colorful leis, tropical fruits, macadamia nuts, and other locally made goods while enjoying live music and entertainment.

For those interested in exploring Hilo’s arts scene, there are several galleries and studios that showcase the work of local artists and artisans. Visitors can find everything from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and pottery, all inspired by the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Hawaii. In addition to shopping and art galleries, Hilo also offers plenty of entertainment options for visitors looking to experience the town’s nightlife. From live music performances at local bars to traditional hula shows at cultural centers, there are countless ways to immerse yourself in Hilo’s vibrant arts and entertainment scene.

Tips for visiting Hilo

When visiting Hilo, it’s important to be mindful of the town’s unique climate and geography. Hilo is known for its frequent rainfall due to its location on the windward side of the island, so it’s always a good idea to pack an umbrella or rain jacket just in case. The town’s lush rainforests and botanical gardens thrive on this rainfall, creating some of the most beautiful landscapes on the island.

Another tip for visiting Hilo is to take advantage of its proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park is just a short drive from Hilo and offers an incredible opportunity to witness the power of nature up close. Visitors can explore lava tubes, hike through volcanic craters, and even witness active lava flows depending on current conditions.

Lastly, it’s important to respect Hilo’s cultural heritage and natural environment while visiting. This includes being mindful of sacred sites such as heiau (ancient Hawaiian temples) and practicing responsible tourism by leaving no trace when exploring outdoor areas. By being respectful and considerate visitors, we can help preserve Hilo’s unique charm for future generations to enjoy.

In conclusion, Hilo offers a wealth of natural beauty, cultural experiences, delicious cuisine, and entertainment options that make it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an authentic Hawaiian experience. Whether you’re exploring waterfalls and botanical gardens or immersing yourself in hula performances and local cuisine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this charming town on the Big Island of Hawaii.


What is the article “hello hilo” about?

The article “hello hilo” is about the town of Hilo, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. It provides information about the town’s history, culture, attractions, and things to do.

Where is Hilo located?

Hilo is located on the eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii.

What are some popular attractions in Hilo?

Popular attractions in Hilo include the Wailuku River State Park, Rainbow Falls, Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, and the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

What is the climate like in Hilo?

Hilo has a tropical rainforest climate, with abundant rainfall and warm temperatures throughout the year.

What activities can visitors do in Hilo?

Visitors to Hilo can enjoy activities such as exploring waterfalls, hiking in the rainforest, visiting botanical gardens, and experiencing the local culture and cuisine.

Is Hilo a popular tourist destination?

Yes, Hilo is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, rich history, and unique cultural experiences.

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