Who thinks of cowboys when going to Hawaii? Beautiful weather, countless beaches, and great food come to mind first when people envision a North Pacific Island Paradise vacation.
But Big Island has just that, the paniolo and one of the biggest cattle ranches in the whole United States of America. And this elevated inland community has plenty of other attractions.
Waimea is in the northern part of the island of Hawaii near the base of Mauna Kea, the highest volcano on all of the Hawaiian Islands. It is on the foot of Kohala, which is the oldest volcano in this American state.
If you want to visit Hawaii from Europe, you will need to go through the ESTA application US procedure.
Travellers from Visa Waiver Program countries can apply for travel authorization via the online process. Applicants must answer a series of questions and pay a small fee.
The US administration usually takes around three days to process the application. Once you get the ESTA approval, you have a two-year window to travel to the US.
The island’s cattle history dates back to the late 18th century, and Mexican influence and know-how created a unique Hawaiian cowboys paniolos. You can learn about their account at the Parker Ranch, once the largest one in the US. Besides enjoying the exceptional views, you can take part in rodeo, horse racing, and hunting. The ranch has many historic houses with original artifacts from its long history.
Tropical fruits and vegetables have incredible taste, and you can get the best of local products at Waimea Homestead Farmers’ Market every Saturday.
Isaacs Art Center Museum and Gallery have a large exhibition of paintings, woodwork, and statues. You can explore artwork from the Pacific islands and their cultural heritage. The museum is near Waimea Park.
Waimea Nature Park is a broad public dog-friendly area. It is called Ulu Laau, which means garden of trees, of which many were replanted in the last 20 years. There are picnic tables, fountains, and a lot of well-maintained space for family fun.
Waimea hosts excellent Fourth of July rodeo event and Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival. The area has two great astronomical observatories. Both W.M. Keck and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope is on Manua Kea because of the excellent conditions, clear skies, and no light pollution.
There are dozens of beaches near Waimea, and the closest ones are at north Kona and Kohala coastline, less than half an hour drive.
The most famous beach is probably Hapuna Beach, a half-mile-long stretch of white sand with great swimming and snorkelling places around the rocky edges. The park has restrooms, showers, food places, and BBQ and picnic spots.
Another top-rated beach is Kauna’oa beach, also known as Mauna Kea. With 500 meters of white sand, it is one of the most beautiful spots on the Big Island, and it is suitable for snorkelling, surfing, and swimming.
Wailea Beach, also called Beach 69, attracts big crowds because of the shade. It is an excellent spot for snorkelling, and it is relatively close to Hapuna Beach.
Other notable beaches are Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park near Pu’ukohala Heiau National Historical Park, Anaeho’omalu beach, Kapa’a beach park, and Pololu Valley Black Sand Beach.
Hotels Waimea Big Island
Most hotels are located on the Kona coast within a short driving distance west of Waimea. The Waimea itself is not a tourist hotspot, and most accommodation consists of Bed and Breakfast, Airbnb, but there are two excellent hotels.
Kamuela Inn Hotel is a boutique hotel located in Waimea’s heart with great views on Mauna Kea. The hotel has some 30 rooms. Waimea Country Lodge is situated in the centre of a small town at Big Island upcountry at very affordable rates. It has usual amenities like free parking, Wi-Fi, and plenty of nearby activities to do due to its location on the Big Island.
Waimea offers plenty of rentals, and you can find houses, apartments, and real estates with pools, views, and various other amenities for your vacation away from others.
Make sure you are filling out an ESTA form on time. It is advised to get the travel authorization before making reservations. Once your ESTA application is approved, you can explore America for up to 90 days. A Big Island Hawaii is an excellent starting point with all the attractions and natural beauty.
Waimea is a different place to spend a Hawaiian vacation. Beautiful inland high country close to the highest peak Mauna Kea, but also not far from great beaches on Kona and Kohala coastline.
Waimea has a developed cowboy culture and big ranches, numerous museums with local Pacific artwork, stunning natural beauty, and affordable hotel rates.