Papaikou, Big Island

Discover Papaikou, a charming Big Island town near Hilo. Delight in Onomea Bay’s dramatic cliffs, explore the lush Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, and embrace authentic Hawaiian culture.

Papaikou is a Town located in the city of Papaikou on Big Island, Hawaii
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Getting to Papaikou


Things to Know About Papaikou


  • Overview: Papaikou, a small and charming town located on the Big Island of Hawaii, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Just a short drive from Hilo, it’s a must-see destination for those seeking an authentic Hawaiian experience.
  • Highlights: The main highlight of Papaikou is its proximity to the breathtaking Onomea Bay, featuring lush botanical gardens and dramatic coastal cliffs. This picturesque setting is truly a hidden gem on the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast.
  • Activities: Visitors to Papaikou can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, which showcases a vast collection of exotic plants and flowers. For those seeking adventure, the nearby Scenic Route 19 offers a thrilling drive along the coastline with panoramic ocean views.
  • Information: The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with the last entry at 4:00 PM. Admission fees are $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. The best time to visit Papaikou is during the dry season, from April to October, when the weather is ideal for outdoor activities.
  • History & Significance: Established in the late 1800s, Papaikou was once a thriving sugar plantation community. Today, it stands as a testament to Hawaii’s rich agricultural history and serves as a gateway to the enchanting Onomea Bay and surrounding natural wonders.
  • Tips & Insights: To make the most of your visit to Papaikou, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes for exploring the botanical garden and pack a light jacket, as the weather can be unpredictable. Additionally, consider stopping by the nearby town of Hilo for a taste of local cuisine and a glimpse into the island’s vibrant culture.

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