Hilo is situated in the District of South Hilo and is the county seat of Hawaii. It is located on two volcanoes, the active Mauna Loa and the dormant Mauna Kea. Inhabited since 1100 AD, it is one of the oldest districts in Hawaii. The most alluring thing about Hilo is its old vintage charm. Even though the city has modernized to some extent, it still feels like a chapter from the glorious past. Life is serene and calm at Hilo and this is the experienced tourist’s treasure. Your cruise ship will take you to explore the beauty of the quaint old town.
What to do in Hilo
So what are the shore excursions you can take when in Hilo? You can enjoy the gorgeous works of nature as well as some amazing man made recreational spots.
Here are some to help you enjoy the area to the fullest:
Volcano National Park
Have you ever seen a volcano up close? If not, then Hilo is the best place for such an experience. Volcano National Park presents two of the most active volcanoes on earth, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Many guided tours are arranged daily and you can check out how one works with your own eyes. It is a thrilling sight that you will never forget.
Mokupapapa Discovery Center
If you are into natural beauty and environment related displays, then The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mokupapapa Discovery Center is just the place to see. It allows you to check out the dazzling Hawaiian Islands. The place also features a unique Hawaiian fish that is placed in a 2500-gallon aquarium. Another interesting display is a mock deep-sea research submersible that forces you into thinking about the hazards of throwing plastic in the ocean.
If you are among those who are bewitched by the delicacy of flowers and exotic plants, then be sure to visit the Tropical Botanical Garden on Onomea Bay. The breathtaking beauty of the place will send you into raptures of delight. It will be a 90-minute walk of pure heaven. You will be able to trek across tropical rainforests, languid streams, gushing waterfalls and 2500 species of tropical plants.
If you are a history buff then Lyman Museum is a great place to get educated about the social and natural history of Hawaii. The museum is affiliated with Smithsonian Institute. The museum is located inside a Georgian-style building, which is one of the oldest wooden structures in town and is registered in the National Register of Historic Places.
You can also check out the Pacific Tsunami Museum, which features a ‘wave machine’. This machine allows you to feel what the energy of moving water is. This museum is also known for surviving both the tsunamis of 1946 and 1960. Most of the volunteers working there are tsunami survivors.
Shop and Dine
There are many shops and restaurants that you can go to in Hilo. Two of the most favorite local diners are the Luong’s Chinese Restaurant and Cafe 100. You can get anything from local special cuisines to hamburgers and exotic Chinese dishes. You can also indulge in cuisines from Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines
As for shopping, the place is full to bursting with an assortment of shops. If your cruise ship makes a stopover on a Wednesday or Saturday, definitely try seeing the Farmer’s market. The hustle and bustle of the place as well as fresh fruits and veggies will be a colorful sight. You can taste samples and get a chance to interact with the locals.