Located on the youngest island in the Hawaiian chain, Hilo boasts a deep-water harbour protected by a man-made breakwater. Each spring, Hilo is the setting for the Merrie Monarch Festival, a prestigious and highly anticipated hula competition.

Ships undertaking Hawaii cruises dock in Hilo Bay on Banyon Drive just beyond the hotel district.

Sights to See

To welcome your arrival, there's often a traditional Hawaiian performance in front of the central Wal-Mart. There's plenty to see in and around Hilo town, including the impressive Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls, Rainbow Falls, and the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. As you leave Hilo Bay, your ship will most likely turn south for views of the Kilauea Volcano. Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983 and you may see spectacular lava flows from the boat. You can also hike to the volcano and take a helicopter ride over it.

What's for Lunch

For a treat after lunch, savour the locally-produced ice cream.

If you see only one thing...

Because of the volcanic activity on the Island, the coast boasts black sand, which is most notable at Punaluu Black Sand Beach near the town of Naalehu.

Local speak

We think you'll need the word, nani to describe the scenery from Hilo.


Hilo Hattie, a souvenir emporium, can be a convenient way to stock up on everything needed to appease jealous friends and relatives.