Take a Break in Honoka‘a
Situated on bluffs high above the ocean on the island’s east coast, Honoka‘a was once the hub of the Hamakua Coast sugar industry. Today, it is a little gem better known as the gateway to Waipi‘o Valley, a popular visitor destination less than 15 minutes away.
The shops and eateries along Honoka‘a’s main drag are a compatible blend of old and new. There’s an 80-year-old hardware store, a theater that has been showing films since 1939, a 100-year-old Hongwanji Mission Temple and the homey Hotel Honoka‘a Club.
Honoka‘a is considered the gateway to the northern end of the Heritage Highway (Highway 19), which stretches south to Hilo along the Hamakua Coast. This spectacular coastal drive is a scenic treat that moves through old sugar-plantation hamlets like Kalopa, Pa‘auilo, Laupahoehoe and Papa‘aloa. Although sugar has all but disappeared from the landscape, there is still evidence of old camps, railroad beds, bathhouses and general stores of Hawai‘i’s plantation days.
Get a hint of the local culture—and awesome malasadas—at Tex Drive In. Go hiking in Kalopa State Park. Or take a stroll to the Katsu Goto memorial, which marks the approximate spot where Goto was hanged after fighting for the rights of plantation workers. • Laupahoehoe Train Museum (808) 962-6300 • Waipi‘o Valley Shuttle (808) 775-7121