Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Keauhou harbor on the Big Island

Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

It really is paradise on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii.  Along the coastline in Keauhou, the sun is always dazzling under clear blue skies, adding just the right amount of heat and tropical vibes to this quiet community in West Hawaii. The small harbor and neighborhood around Keauhou is very laid back and quiet compared to the busy tourist hub in Kailua Kona. Now the area it is a magnet for recreation and water sport outfitters providing a range of kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, fishing and water related activities around the bay.

Let’s take a tour around Keauhou and the surrounding neighborhood.  I promise there will be a few places to take a nice dip in the ocean, including the cool swimming pools at the Sheraton Kona afterwards.


Morning scene at Keauhou - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Morning scene at Keauhou, Big Island

Ancient fishing village of Keauhou

Just a short walk from the harbor are the remains of the old and ancient fishing village called Kaukulaelae, located on the grounds of the Sheraton Kona resort. The main archeological site dating back to the 1700s includes the main archaeological site – a fishing heiau, which was used primarily to offer tributes and pray for bountiful fishing in the area. Many of the foundations are still visible with diagrams showing the type of architecture and use for the structures during its time. This included hales (buildings) used for storing canoes, cattle pens, homes, fish pond and significant rocks that were used as tokens or tools, including the rock below. This large rock was used for collecting salt through the small pukas (holes) on the rocks which evaporated the salt water turning into salt for the Hawaiians to use.


Symbolic stone rock along the ancient fishing village at Keauhou

Symbolic stone rock along the ancient fishing village at Keauhou


A lava path with fallen plumeria


Plumerias and lava rocks - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Plumerias and lava rock path at the Sheraton Kona on the Big Island

Bell stone and heiau at Kaukulaelae

Heiau and artifacts at Keauhou - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Heiau and artifacts at Keauhou, Big Island


The ancient site is cared for by maintenance staff of the Sheraton Kona hotel where the site is located at. An open expanse of grassy areas, tropical plants and an elegant white church are open for visitors to explore the historic sites and scenic views of Keauhou bay. The grassy lawn areas are often used for wedding functions, luaus or special events that are held through the Sheraton’s business or client services.  There are many beautiful gardens and small trails to explore along the cultural site and further down into the harbor area.


Simple white chapel at Sheraton Kona - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Simple white chapel at Sheraton Kona grounds



An ancient rock wall cattle pen below

An ancient stone cattle pen on the grounds of the Sheraton Kona

An ancient stone cattle pen on the grounds of the Sheraton Kona

 Walk around the grounds of the Sheraton Kona

The ancient grounds of the hotel are a wealth of cultural treasures which are open to the public to visit and there are also free complimentary tours of the village and heiau. It’s also fun walking around the hotel to check out the organic and modern architecture,  outdoor rooms and water features that show the best of Hawaiian style comfort and indoor/outdoor lifestyle. There are relaxing lounges and bars set up for you to enjoy the stunning coastline and harbor views around Keauhou bay.  At night the famous manta rays feast nearby on the plankton and from the viewing platform, you can sometimes see their gorgeous water ballet while snorkelers wait in suspended disbelief.

Like the ancient people that used their resources wisely, I learned that the Sheraton Kona practices sustainable and eco principles by sourcing local ingredients or locally made products including sourcing coffees directly from their Kupuna (elders). Along with purchasing mostly local products, the hotel graciously helps the community by supporting local events, fundraising and other cultural events geared towards the community.


Ukele class at the Sheraton Kona - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Ukele class at the Sheraton Kona, Big Island

Cultural activities

As a guest of the hotel, you can also take part in a variety of fun programs offered by the hotel from ukulele classes, hula or even lei making. There is also a regular tour of the cultural landmarks around the hotel with a local Kupuna (elder/guide) who shares all the wonderful history and stories of the area and the people who inhabited this small fishing village. On certain days of the week, the Sheraton offers guided tours with a Kupuna (elder) knowledgeable about the area and cultural landmarks around the property. You can find out about the complimentary tours on the Sheraton website here.


Teaching basic Ukele at Sheraton Kona

Teaching basic Ukele at Sheraton Kona



 Exploring the harbor area at Keauhou


Keauhou harbor - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Keauhou harbor in West Hawaii, the Big Island


Just a short walk from the Sheraton resort grounds is the harbor area of Keauhou.  It is a popular spot to do any of the water sports offered by recreation outfitters for kayaking, manta ray diving, sailing, fishing and other adventure water sports.  I ended up just walking around and taking some nice views and photos around the harbor and had a nice meal at the Akule Supply Co. fronting the harbor. The café is casual dining at its best with a friendly staff serving fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients from the island. I choose a very filling seafood combination plate (below) which was really Ono (or tasty in Hawaiian).




Keauhou bay - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Keauhou bay on the Big Island

Seafood feast at Akule Supply with a water view


Akule Supply café - Keauhou bay on the Big Island

Akule Supply café on- Keauhou harbor


Keauhou neighborhood and coastline

It’s fun to walk around the quiet streets of Keauhou, just to get a glimpse of how people live in this community. It’s variety of older cute bungalow styled homes mixed in with more contemporary styled subdivisions. I took a picture of this bungalow below which I can easily picture myself – enjoying a casual and relaxed lifestyle and walking to my mermaid mailbox to pick up the daily mail.



Walking the streets around Keauhou - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Walking the neighborhood streets around Keauhou, West Hawaii


Further down the subdivision is an ocean access path that leads to a smaller hidden beach, the locals call He’eia, a small cove that only a few people frequent in the area. There’s a nice small beach and easy entry into the ocean that is a great spot to relax and enjoy the water.  I was not prepared with a bathing suit so I hightailed it back to the Sheraton resort so I can cool off in the huge pools and water areas around the property.


The small cove at He'eia, Keauhou

The small cove at He’eia, Keauhou


It’s pool time at the Sheraton Kona

Well my timing was perfect after a long hike around the coastline and neighborhoods in Keauhou, I was ready for a dip in the two outdoor pools of the resort.  Both pools are fun to explore with the interior pool which is cooler in temperature and you can swim right up to a large waterfall.  There’s also the huge family pool set with a kiddie beach and a large water slide feature which is fun for both children and adults. It’s actually fun to try out both pools since they are close by to each other.


Sheraton's interior pool with waterfall feature

Sheraton’s interior pool with waterfall feature



I think it’s time for a refreshing drink and I spotted someone with a cool Mai Tai drink by this colorful graffiti wall. After she offered me a little sip, knew I also had to try the Sheraton’s version of the Mai Tai, it’s classic but with some cool layered effects and a cool tiki glass to boot.


Sheraton's signature Mai Tai drinks by the pool

Sheraton’s signature Mai Tai drinks by the pool



The outdoor pool with a delicious Midori tropical drink to soak in those pool views



Pool time and tropical drinks at the Sheraton Kona, Big Island

Pool time and tropical drinks at the Sheraton Kona, Big Island





Keauhou sunset - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Keauhou sunset on the Big Island


Sunset at Keauhou

The end of day at Keauhou is worth waiting for the unbelievable sunsets. They are varied with each day. When I visited these cloudy skies created dramatic skies and changing light reflections, making you want to linger every second while the sun drops into the horizon.  Of course having a nice glass of wine or tropical drink while toasting the end of day is always a fun way to celebrate an evening in Keauhou.


Toasting a Keauhou sunset - Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Toasting a Keauhou sunset on the Big Island


 Dinner and drinks anyone?

A perfect way to cap off the evening would be at the Sheraton’s signature restaurant called Rays on the Bay. Set right on the point of Keauhou bay with indoor/outdoor seating, the casual and fine dining restaurant is the perfect combination of Hawaiian lifestyle mixed in with Hawaiian contemporary cuisine. The views along the coastline are truly magnificent especially with a few drinks served around sunset while a local band plays some inviting tunes. If you hang out long enough,  someone occasionally shows up to do an impromptu hula dance for the crowd.


Check out some of the delicious pupu/appetizers at Rays on the Bay


A pupu snack - Sheraton's Rays on the Bay

A pupu snack – Sheraton’s Rays on the Bay




 How about a roll it yourself sushi platter?


Roll it yourself sushi platter at Sheraton's Rays on the Bay

Roll it yourself sushi platter at Sheraton’s Rays on the Bay


Or how about a refreshing flatbread with local goat cheese and greens?

Pupu flatbread with local ingredients at Sheraton's Rays on the Bay

Pupu flatbread with local ingredients at Sheraton’s Rays on the Bay






The Smoldering Guava at Rays on the Bay, Sheraton Kona

The Smoldering Guava at Rays on the Bay, Sheraton Kona


Rays on the Bay signature drink

I tried a special concoction on the tropical drink menu called the Smoldering Guava, and what a surprise. Made with Grand Leyenda organic reposado tequila, Sombra Mezcal, chili peppers and island guava, it was so delicious and layered with spicy flavors and a bit of heat with the chili on the end. There’s a lot of really cool specialty drinks to sample, but be careful, those delicious drinks are also quite potent.

 A medley of local fish and seafood for my entrée

There’s plenty of choices on the menu at Rays on the Bay for someone who enjoys local seafood, specialty meats or even vegetarian options. I find out that the hotel sources over 80 percent of all their raw ingredients for all their food venues, which is really an amazing effort considering that all the islands actually import over 80 percent of raw goods outside of Hawaii. I chose a seafood medley with shrimp, clams and a local mahimahi fish in tomato puree with fresh herbs – it was full of flavor and texture, perfectly matched to the rich tomato base.


Seafood medley at Rays on the Bay, Sheraton Kona

Seafood medley at Rays on the Bay, Sheraton Kona



Time for the perfect sleep


Plush accommodations at the Sheraton Kona, Big Island

Plush accommodations at the Sheraton Kona, Big Island


After a full day discovering all the cool and historic areas around Keauhou and the Sheraton grounds, I was so ready for a nice comfortable sleep. My bed was so huge and plush, it was easy to fall asleep quickly with the ocean waves soothing in the background. Really this was one of my most satisfying nights rest with a huge and sumptuous bed that is so hard to get out of in the morning. Of course the bathroom facility is also elegant with ample amenities for toiletries.



Deluxe bathroom suite at the Sheraton Kona, Big Island

Deluxe bathroom suite at the Sheraton Kona, Big Island


What a perfect rest and I’m ready to do it all over again and maybe try out some of those water recreation tours on the bay this morning. It really was a wonderful visit to Keauhou and exploring the coastal areas, harbor and historic sites around the Sheraton Kona’s grounds.



If you enjoyed this post, please check out these other Big Island stories

East Hawaii attractions and places to visit

Big Island key attractions on the West side

Things to do on the Big Island with kids

Akaka Falls on the Big Island

Big Island locally grown foods

Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

Body Glove snorkel cruise

Punalu’u black sand beach

Road trip to the Hamakua district

Hapuna Beach in Kohala



Thanks for Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island today. If you enjoyed the post, please share it with any of the social media buttons listed around the post, thank you. Also, please check out my highlight tour of things to do in West Hawaii, Big Island.  Thank you also to the Sheraton Kona for their hospitality and hosting me on this visit, all thoughts and opinions were my own.

If you like what you see, come and check out my other social media channels for more updates, including Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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19 Responses to Visiting Keauhou on the Big Island

  1. Karina Noriega November 1, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    Brilliant shots! And I finally learned the name of one of my favorite flowers: Plumerias 😀

  2. Jenny @ Till the Money Runs Out September 27, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    Love that mermaid mailbox! We have been visiting the big island every year or two for the last few years and will definitely have to check out Rays on the Bay next time – looks delish!

  3. Mia September 20, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    I absolutely love Kona! From the black sand beaches to the Kalula pork! Great recap of your time spent on the island and thanks for pointing out the great food and drinks. It’s hard to find a bad place to eat in Hawaii but there are some places that stand above the rest.

  4. Nancie September 20, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    What a gorgeous area. I wouldn’t mind sampling the views, the food, and that gorgeous Sheraton hotel swimming pool.

  5. RaW | Ramble and Wander September 20, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    I love the fact that this Sheraton maintains the beautiful ancient grounds of the hotel and open it to the public as well, not just to hotel guests. I think the extent a 5* hotel like this goes to work together with the local community, and be part of them, is really commendable.

  6. Himanshu September 20, 2015 at 3:26 am #

    Wow… everything abt this post was super cool. Great shots…specially chapel and sunset.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Elena September 20, 2015 at 1:49 am #

    You have convinced me that I need to spend an extended period of time in the islands to explore the many sites and views! And those sunsets? Heavenly.

  8. jen September 19, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

    What a lovely place! The water views are wonderful and the food looks fantastic. I would love to spend a few days there!

  9. Kimberly Erin @ September 19, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    The hotel looks beautiful. ahaha sometimes I wish I went the route of Luxury blogging! I would love to head out to Hawaii. Beautiful photos

  10. Fiona @ London-Unattached September 19, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Great photos Noel, I wouldn’t expect anything less, but you really can tell a story with your camera

  11. chrysoula September 19, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    The hotel and its grounds looks amazing. I love the lava path. I can see there is a great variety of food and activities offered and the rooms and swimming pool look very inviting, Thanks for sharing I would love to visit someday!

  12. Andrea Leblang September 19, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    I’ll be visiting the Big Island late next year! So glad I found your review and can’t wait to see this place firsthand. I’ll be dreaming about a magical walk down that lava path until then 🙂 Thanks for capturing the beauty with such incredible photos!

  13. Laura September 19, 2015 at 8:10 am #

    Wow. I had no idea that archaeological site was there. It’s cool to see the remains of what was once an active area. The resort looks really nice. The food – that fish place! Yum.

  14. Muza-chan September 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Beautiful place…

  15. budget jan September 17, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    Love the fallen Plumeria (we call them frangipani), I like that the past their prime flowers form a vital part of the photo. Maybe because of my age lol. The white chapel, the seafood feast and sailing off into the sunset. This post has everything!

  16. Ruth - Tanama Tales September 17, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    The places you have capture in here are very beautiful. They look so tropical and full of life. I can’t wait to visit the Big Island. I have only been to Oahu.

  17. Stefan September 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    It’s great when hotels work with the local community and employ locals. What’s the beach/sea like- a surfer’s paradise or calm with healthy coral for enthusiastic snorkellers and divers?

    That Mai Tai looks really inviting 🙂

    • Noel September 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      Yes, it’s a combination of snorkeling/bays and smaller beaches that are fun to explore in the area. And that Mai Tai was delicious by the pool.

  18. Rhonda Albom September 17, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    What a beautiful resort, and how cool that it has those ancient grounds. We honeymooned on the Big Island quite a long time ago.

I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion with any comment you would like to add

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