On Hawaii's Big Island, you won't find a 'hotter' hangout than Pahoa and Lava Tree State Monument.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and, as recently as 2014-2015, lava flows threatened to destroy part of the town of Pahoa and surrounding communities. Fortunately, the lava stopped just in the nick of time, but local residents were right to be wary. This region bears the scars - and the beauty - of centuries of volcanic power. From delicate wildflowers to the toughest "trees" you've ever seen, nearby Lava Tree State Monument is a captivating tribute to the prowess of mother nature.
Our picks for where to eat and drink in Pahoa.
If you're used to road tripping through mainland North America and stocking up on cheap caffeine at truck stops, you might have a little sticker shock here. But the prices are fair - you're in a remote area and this is an independent small business serving only locally grown and roasted coffee and offering up free Wi-Fi. Well worth the visit and investment.
I lucked out with my choice, a lunch special of chicken skewers with spicy peanut sauce. You know how much I love peanut sauce! Ryan reports that his basic burger plate was decent fare and, at $10 it was reasonably priced, but he was far more enamored with the previous day's "gravy burger" at the Black Rock Cafe, on the other side of town. (Never got a picture - sorry!) Black Rock has a much more diner-ish, greasy spoon vibe, the prices are cheap ($6.50 for the gravy burger), and it's a great spot for the basics like bacon and eggs or sandwich platters.
Pahoa might look like it's off the beaten path, but it's only about two hours from Kona and about 30 minutes from Hilo - perfect for anyone visiting Hawaii's Big Island. You can even do it in a day trip, but I'd recommend taking a few days to enjoy the region. It has geography, plant life, and history unlike any other place in the world!
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