If you are on the Island of Hilo on your vacation and are looking for a chill place to
visit, look no further than Moku Ola, a small Island in Hilo, known mostly by the locals as Moku Ola, or Coconut Island by everyone else.
Moku Ola means the Island of Life in Hawaiian, some say because there was once a healing center there many years ago, others say it served as a place of refuge. But in modern times, Moku Ola is a refuge beach from the stress of ordinary life.
Where is Moku Ola?
Moku Ola is a small island, a hop skip and a jump from Hilo Pier, and Liliuokalani Gardens, located in Hilo Bay. There are a number of luxury hotels on Banyan Drive and from the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, there is a football-sized footbridge that connects the
main island to Moku Ola.
Why Is Moku Ola Popular?
The beaches are small, and the water too murky for snorkeling, but Moku Ola is unique
in that it has several acres of grass, tide pools, two beaches with actual sand instead of jagged sharp lava, and a pool that is said to heal the tired and stressed.
What to do in Moku Ola?
First, realize it’s only accessible by foot traffic, so at once you leave the noise and the bustle of the city behind.
Next, unlike many Hawaiian Beaches, it does have facilities such as restrooms, drinking water, and picnic tables. Having a picnic at Moku Ola is very popular with local families and you should consider likewise. Be sure to bring your own cooler, food and drinks though, because there are no island concessions.
The charm of Moku Ola is that there is no division or contention between the locals and the tourists like you find in some parts of Hawaii. There is more than enough space for the few people at a time who come visit, and everyone is there to simply chill.
The two, small beaches, though small, are sandy water spots that are very easy for children to navigate and enjoy because there are no waves, courtesy of the protection from the local pier.
For adults, and in particular teenagers, there is a small stone tower, which is the remnant of a an old footbridge that was destroyed years ago by a tidal wave.
Simply called the tower, you can jump off and do acrobatics into the ocean from two different levels, 10 feet, and 20 feet. And whether you are too young or too old to jump off yourself, it’s a joy and a pleasure to watch the “jumpers” do flips and more, before diving into the ocean.
Many visitors to Moku Ola spend a good half-hour or so just on the footbridge. From there you can often see sea turtles swimming below.
Moku Ola is also a photographer dream, with many unique Hawaiian plants to take selfies next to.
There are also small tidepools dotted around the Island, which are a joy and pleasure for young kids to explore.
Besides the Island, as the gardens of Liliuokalani are right across the way, most visitors with families visit both on the same day.
Parking at Moku Island
As the Island itself is only accessible by footbridge, you will park nearby, on Banyon
street. There is plenty a parking lot, with meters, as well as plenty of street parking. Just be sure to lock up your vehicle and hide any valuables in the trunk.
There are plenty of four-star hotels right on Banyon Street, and the city of Hilo has dozens of 3, 4 and 5-star hotels to choose from. The average price is around $150 per night for a 3-star stay, while many of the luxury hotels run around $250 a night. There are also many private condos to rent in the area.
How to Get to Moku Island?
Many people fly and stay into Hilo Airport, and once at their hotel, to get to Moku Island, take Rte 11 South (Kanoelehua) turns into Banyan Dr. Follow the road past the Naniloa, Uncle Billy’s, and Hilo Hawaiian hotels. Turn right after the Hilo Hawaiian hotel. Queen Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens will be on your left, and the Co a small parking lot will be on your right.