Brazen Hazen

Activities and Places

The island of Hawaii (commonly known as the Big Island) has so much more to offer than just beaches. The islands have unique natural wonders, a rich cultural history, and a diverse community working together to keep ancient traditions alive. Below is a list of ways to explore the history and beauty of the Big Island while supporting local cultures and businesses.

Authentic Activities

Eka Canoe Adventures specializes in Kona's famous manta ray snorkel experience- a must do while on the Big Island. With no barbs, stingers or teeth, these gentle giants glide effortlessly through the water to feed on plankton while snorkelers float comfortably on the surface. Eka Canoe Adventures keeps their group sizes small, so guests get an intimate interaction with an animal long revered by the Hawaiian people. Their boat is one of only a few accurately recreated, traditional Hawaiian double-hull canoes and is the world's only
commercially licensed Hawaiian canoe.

Not only do they offer unique encounters, Eka Canoe Adventures also supports the non-profit which uses Hawaiian canoes as a vehicle for youth to create a sense of place and develop intellectual skills and cultural values. The foundation promotes social tolerance and environmental responsibility through the perpetuation of cultural traditions and practices of Native Hawaiians.

Aloha Adventure Farms is only a few minutes' drive away from our Big Island Bed & Breakfast and offers tours that combine history, culture, and adventure. Their Polynesian
ATV Adventure tour
takes guests through a Hawaiian rainforest to explore cultural heritages of Polynesian peoples from Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. Guests can
participate in traditional hands-on activities and games with Polynesian guides. Join their Wood Carving and spend some time with a Polynesian 4th generation Master Carver to create your very own authentic wood carving. Made from top quality wood grown locally on the Big Island, the finished carvings make perfect authentic souvenirs.

Hawaii Forest and Trail offers a variety of tours to explore the many natural wonders of the Big Island, but their Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Give Back Experience is something special. It combines their popular Maunakea Summit & Stars tour with a volunteer opportunity to support the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative. This community-supported non-profit aims to protect and restore critically endangered native Hawaiian dry forest habitat.

Interpretive guides lead you on a light hike through an endangered Hawaiian dry forest, teaching about native species including their cultural and ecological importance. Participants then take part in real conservation work such as seed collection. After a visit to the dry forest, the tour culminates in a visit to the summit of Maunakea, a site considered sacred to many Hawaiian people. Watch the sunset, enjoy a picnic dinner, and marvel in the world-class clarity of the Hawaiian night sky with a private star show using a high-powered telescope.

Historic Places

These sites take visitors back to the days of ancient Hawaii – fishponds and fishing grounds, petroglyphs, heiau (temples) and a place of refuge for law breakers and defeated warriors.

Kaloko National Historical Park, located just north of Kona-town protects the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement. The Native Hawaiians who once lived in this settlement possessed in-depth knowledge of their natural environment and how to adapt the land to their needs. The people used ingenious fishing and agricultural practices and built large ponds to raise fish. The park includes loko i‘a (two fishponds and a fish trap that were used for food production), kahua (house site platforms), ki‘i pōhaku (petroglyphs), heiau (temples),
graves, and a network of historic trails to explore.

Hundreds of years old yet beautifully restored, Puʻuhonua National Historical Park remains one of Hawaii’s most sacred historic places. Also known as the "place of refuge," the site served as safeguard from physical
harm to any who took shelter in its walls. This could include defeated warriors, civilians during times of war or breakers of kapu (ancient Hawaii code of conduct).

Take a self-guided walking tour and explore the grounds including the Great Wall, standing 12-feet high and 18-feet thick. Fierce kiʻi, or wooden images of gods, guard the Hale o Keawe Heiau, a sacred temple that once housed the bones of 23 aliʻi (chiefs).

Beyond the puʻuhonua, explore the nearby Royal Grounds, which were the home of aliʻi (God-like royalty). The grounds also host Keoneʻele Cove, the royal canoe landing; the Keōua Stone, the favorite resting place of the high chief of Kona, Keōua; as well as hālau
(thatched workhouse), fishponds and a heiau (temple).

Lapakahi State Historical Park is a partially restored fishing settlement that dates back more than 600 years. This rugged coastal park gives you a glimpse into what it was like to live like the Native Hawaiians.

Take the mile-long self-guided tour of this 262-acre park and see restored hale (houses),
burial sites, shrines, and lava stone walls. Play traditional Hawaiian games and learn more about life in early Hawaii. The park’s rocky shoreline also faces the Lapakahi Marine Life Conservation District. If you visit between December and April, be sure to watch the coastline for the spouts and splashes of wintering Humpback whales.

The term 'talk story' is pidgin (slang) for talking with old friends, passing time by chit-chatting, or rekindling old times.

Cultural Demonstrations and Performances

Sponsored by the Kona Historical Society, the Kona Coffee Living History Farm tells the rich story of Kona’s coffee pioneers during the early 20th-century history, “brought to life” by costumed interpreters who demonstrate traditional crafts, agricultural activities, and the everyday tasks of people from the past. A self-guided experience, you’re free to walk among the coffee trees, watch how farmers milled and dried their world-famous coffee and visit the original 1920’s farmhouse.

Today, Kona Coffee is still picked by hand and milled by farmers whose families have been doing it for generations. The flavor is delicate, yet bold and is distinguishable from machine-harvested coffee. Elevate your experience with a cozy stay at the Holualoa Inn, a bed and
breakfast nestled right in the historic coffee belt among fields of coffee orchards. Every breakfast is accompanied by delicious estate-grown coffee, the same estate we use to cultivate our elite Brazen Hazen beans. Taste the handpicked, small-batch roasted difference or subscribe to our Fresh Brew Club so you never run out of world's best coffee. 

In Hawaii, the term 'talk story' is pidgin (slang) for talking with old friends, passing time by chit-chatting, or rekindling old times. On the last Tuesday of each month, the community gathers at the Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa for Under the New Moon Talk Story. This
free event takes place from 5 to 6:30 pm and includes storytelling, Hawaiian music and hula performances that celebrate Hawaii's rich past.

The Volcano Art Center sponsors a variety of award-winning activities, workshops and performances that provide participants to opportunity to explore the richness of Hawaiian culture. Activities can include storytelling as well as hands-on crafts. Participants make lei, gourd instruments, hula implements, as well as lauhala weaving, kapa beating, hula, oli (chant) and ʻukulele playing.

Planning a visit to one of National Parks during your visit? Be sure to check out the events calendar at Puʻuhonua Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see what culture and craft demonstrations or performances may be happening during your trip.

On your next trip to the Big Island, leave the plastic leis and kitschy luaus behind and experience the real Hawaii.