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Kona Airport Mini Guide
What is Kona all About?
You may have heard of Kona coffee, one of the world’s premier coffees, grown on the slopes of Mount Hualailai where the volcanic soil gives an added strength and richness to the taste. Many of the coffee plantations do guided tours in the hope of selling some of their product to the visitors. Kona is also famous for its water sports with unusual activities such as sea rafting, surfing and a sea adventure where you’ll be taken out to the best spots for diving, free diving and snorkelling. On land, cycling and caving are popular activities with the caves formed in the lava attracting thrill seekers.
How can I get to Kona?
Kona has its own airport, Kona International, otherwise known as Keahole Airport. It’s only minutes from the centre of Kona and is serves flights from the western seaboard as well as Vancouver in Canada. Travellers from Europe will need to fly into Los Angeles
, Seattle or San Francisco
before connecting to Kona. Transport into Kona’s centre can be by bus, taxi or hire car and is quick and cheap.
What is the Airport Like?
The airport is typically Hawaiian with tiled buildings, open to the elements, where you check in, buy souvenirs and wait for boarding. No air bridges are found at Kona, instead the island’s authorities want to you to experience the true beauty of Hawaii even as you walk from the plane to the ‘terminal’. Security is also interesting, being outdoors as well, as you are funnelled down towards the security gates from airside.
What can I Expect When I Arrive?
All airports in Hawaii go for the friendly welcoming approach that is the tradition of the islands. You’ll receive the traditional ‘lei’ before heading off to the security gates. Once that is dealt with and your bags have been retrieved from the outdoors reclaim area, you can meander around the external arrival area before exiting into the car parking area. Car hire companies have their desks in a hut in the arrivals area whilst information on public transport including taxis and bus schedules can be obtained from the number of airport information desks dotted around the arrivals hall area. There is an ATM but no bank or currency exchange facility so any more complicated banking transactions or exchange will have to wait.
What is the Airport Like for Departing Passengers?
Facilities are fairly basic with a handful of shops in each terminal, mostly selling artificial leis for holidaymakers to take home. Apart from that, there’s a gift shop in the North and South terminals and a restaurant in each, serving traditional Hawaiian cuisine together with some mainland USA offerings plus teas, coffee and alcoholic beverages. There are no internet services at the airport so you’ll have to just sit back and enjoy your last little bit of Hawaiian scenery whilst waiting for your flight to be called.