The Big Island of Hawaii, the Orchid Isle
Photo by Olga Subach
The Big Island, situated in the Pacific Ocean, is a volcanic isle and stands as one of the seven main islands that make up the US State of Hawaii. It is the largest island in the United States and is affectionately nicknamed “The Orchid Isle”. Additionally, Hilo serves as the county seat for Hawaii county.
Two active volcanoes in Hawaii, Mauna Loa and Kilauea, make The Orchid Isle an astronomer’s paradise, thanks to the excellent clarity of the atmosphere on the summit of Mt. Mauna Kea. Remarkably, these volcanoes continue to expand the Big Island’s landmass, drawing millions of visitors annually to experience the majestic and humbling forces of nature. Kilauea has been erupting for almost 20 years, burying many homes in its path and creating black sand beaches. Learn more about the awe-inspiring volcanoes of the Big Island. Saddle Road connects the Hilo side and Kona side and takes you to the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Center.
Predominantly, tourism is the main industry on the Big Island, with Hilo and Kailua-Kona serving as the main towns. Kona is an area on the west coast of the island. The Hilo International Airport’s code is ITO, while the Kailua-Kona International Airport at Keahole’s code is KOA.
The Big Island offers numerous scenic spots for adventure seekers, including whale-watching cruises, snorkeling, deep-sea diving, and air tours. For those seeking a more mellow vacation, there are nature tours, museums, art galleries, and ethnic festivals.
There are two main airports on the Big Island:
- Kona Airport (KOA) – On the west side. 7 miles north of Kailua, 25 miles south of Waikoloa
- Hilo Airport (ITO) – On the east side in Hilo Town