Honoka’a, Hawaii. On the lush green north bank jungles of the Island of Hawaii, carved in at 1,114 feet above sea level, sits this beautiful bustling plantation community. Honokaa has a growing population of 2,522. The climate in Honokaa is mild, the highest average temperatures are in August and they range from 65 degrees to 80 degrees. The coldest month is February with lows averaging 58 degrees and highs at around 75.
Honokaa’s previous economy used to be based solely in agriculture, specifically the sugar industry with the Hāmākua Sugar Company from 1873 all the way up to 1994. With the closing of the Hāmākua Sugar Company, the local economy has had to evolve into more tourism related fields. Presently, much of the district is still zoned for agriculture, Hāmākua has seen rising prospects in other crops including pineapple, coffee, papaya, macadamia nuts, and tea. Tourism, ranching and agriculture are not only the primary industries in Honokaa but all of the Hamakua District.
Honokaa hosts a Saturday farmers’ market, held on Māmane Street, and the Honoka’a Country Market and features Hawaii Big Island Beef, a locally raised and grass fed beef.
Ranching and rodeos in Hawaii has a long history. One of the traditions celebrated in Honokaa annually is the “Western Weekend” started in 2006, it includes children’s activities, Country Western Bands, a block party with Paniolo barbecue, a rodeo, and the ribald Saloon Girl Contest. Western Weekend had been sponsored in part by a grant from the County of Hawaii Department of Research & Development and Hawaii Tourism Authority. This year it will be held on May 21-29.
The proximity to Waipio Valley requires tourists to travel through this charming 20th century, historic, sugar plantation style town as it is the only paved road into Waipio Valley. As the gateway to the Hāmākua Coast, Honokaa provides the first unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean traveling down the slopes from Waimea. We recommend, when planning your trip to see the Waipio Valley, set some time aside to walk along the board walk and enjoy a meal from one of the many excellent restaurants. You will be enchanted with the shopping opportunities for local trinkets and fine art!
To recap, Honokaa’s historic downtown district brings you back to the 1900’s sugar town of old Hawaii! This town is a must see on your visit to the Big Island!
I hope you enjoyed our tour of Honokaa! I will continue to work my way all around the island. Next week Pa’auilo! To stay updated; like me on Facebook or subscribe to my posts or just check-in once in a while. This is going to be a great trip!