Kapoho is a great base from which to explore the island. We’re not a resort area, so the activities are more self-directed than you’ll find on the West side of the island. Here’s a little bit about stuff to do in the area:
Kapoho has great swimming & snorkeling in Champagne Pond, a large geothermally heated lagoon where you can often swim with green sea turtles (go for a dip right after your morning coffee – early a.m. is the best time for maximum turtle action, what a way to start the day!), in Kapoho Bay, and in unique private brackish snorkeling ponds that many of the homes feature.
Kapoho Vacationland, a mile away, is home to the Wai Opae tidepools marine sanctuary, a unique labyrinth of volcanically created tidepools that is home to an amazing variety of marine life. This area boasts some of the best snorkeling on the island, indeed in all of Hawaii. Venture out towards the breakers and you’ll reach a vast forest of coral.
Travel another mile down red road past Vacationland and you’ll find Ahalanui Park, aka Millionaires Pond, another geothermally heated lagoon at the ocean’s edge that is almost Jacuzzi temperature. Isaac Hale Park at Pohoiki Bay is the local hot spot for surfing and boogie boarding, and is about 4 miles from Kapoho. Kehena black sand beach is about 9 miles from Kapoho.
Eclectic Pahoa Town is 9 miles from Kapoho, with yummy restaurants (we love Paolo’s for authentic Tuscan cuisine, Kaleo’s for pacific fusion, Nings for Thai, Mike’s for fantastic New York pizza), and fun shopping at stores like Puna Style and Jungle Love. Pahoa also has a 7-11 convenience store, several grocery stores, Longs Drugs, banks, gas, etc,
Historic Hilo is 30 miles from Pahoa, with museums, parks with amazing waterfalls (we love Akaka Falls, Rainbow Falls and the Boiling Pots), fine dining, a world-class planetarium (www.imiloahawaii.org), the country’s only natural rain forest zoo (www.hilozoo.com), and some of the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens (www.htbg.com).
No trip to the Big Island is complete without at least one visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (www.nps.gov/havo) a 45-minute drive from Kapoho.
The world’s most powerful terrestrial telescopes live on the Big Island atop Mauna Kea; see the stars like you’ve never seen them before at the Mauna Kea Visitors Center (www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis) – 1 ½ hours from Kapoho – where grad student volunteers take visitors on “Star Tours” of the heavens every night.
Several years ago the county of Hawaii built a lava viewing area in Kalapana, 20 minutes from Kapoho. The volcano is ever changing, and eruption status is updated daily here: http://volcano.wr.usgs.gov/kilaueastatus.php)
For a truly memorable experience, we recommend Lava Ocean boat tours. There’s no better way to view lava! Find them online at http://www.lavaocean.com/
Excellent local foods, crafts, music, etc can be enjoyed at Uncle Robert’s Market every Wednesday evening, located at the very end of Hwy 137 (Kapoho-Kalapana Road), and at the Maku’u Farmers’ Market Sundays from 8am – 3pm on HWY 130 just north of Pahoa town.