Imagine a place with perfect sunny weather, picturesque blue water, and hundreds of organic coffee farms just waiting to be explored. That dreamy heaven is called Kailua-Kona!
A charming Hawaiian paradise, Kailua-Kona is located on the west coast of the island of Hawaii, or “The Big Island”. In and around the town, there are all sorts of once-in-a-lifetime activities to enjoy, while also learning all about Hawaiian culture and history.
Learning to surf, swimming with manta rays, and tasting some of the most delicious coffee on the planet, are all bucket list items that can be crossed off here!
It is a teeny-tiny town, but there are countless options of where to stay in and around Kailua-Kona. That’s why we’re here with this ultimate Kailua-Kona area guide.
Get ready for some insane Hawaiian holiday wanderlust!
- Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona – Our Top Picks
- Kailua-Kona Area Guide
- The 4 Best Areas to Stay Near Kailua-Kona
- 1. Kailua-Kona – Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona for your First Visit
- 2. Holualoa – Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona for Coffee Lovers
- 3. Kahaluu-Keauhou – Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona for Families
- 4. Captain Cook – Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona on a Budget
- What To Pack For Near Kailua-Kona
- Final Thoughts on Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona
Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona – Our Top Picks
Looking for a place to stay in Kailua-Kona but don’t have much time? Here are our top overall recommendations of the coolest places!
Best Condo near Kailua-Kona: Downtown Kona Top Floor Condo
This condo is our favorite recommendation for where to stay near Kailua-Kona. The design of the home is magnificent, the downtown location is unbeatable, and the price is great value! Staying in this home will make you feel more like a native islander than a tourist. If you are traveling alone or as a couple book this one-bedroom condo!
Best Hotel near Kailua-Kona: Royal Kona Resort
The Royal Kona Resort is a great option as it offers things that no other hotel can. It has its very own private lagoon with remarkable turquoise water, an on-site spa and wellness center with masseuses, and has a renowned in-house restaurant that uses locally sourced food. From the private beach you can occasionally see migrating humpback whales. And all of that is on top of their exceptional rooms!
Best Hostel near Kailua-Kona: My Hawaii Hostel
My Hawaii Hostel is far and away the best hostel near Kailua-Kona. It is located directly on the coast in Holualoa, and within walking distance of some of the most popular beaches on the island. You can choose between co-ed dorms, female-only dorms, and private rooms, depending who you are and what your budget is. The large outdoor patio is set up with tables and umbrellas, and is a lovely place to meet other travelers.
My Hawaii Hostel is one of our favourites near Kailua-Kona but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Kailua-Kona Area Guide
Kailua-Kona has grown over the years from what was once a sleepy fishing village, to what is now a fun and vibrant town full of character. It is the second largest city on the island, after Hilo, and without a doubt a must-visit on any trip to Hawaii.
Holualoa is directly south of Kailua-Kona, and most people don’t even know where one stops and the other starts since they merge right into each other. It is a small, artsy town that is somewhat off the traditional tourist path, but if you are a coffee lover, it’s a paradise.
Captain James Cook was the first westerner known to have set foot on the Hawaiian Islands, and he did so right here. Shortly after arriving, he was killed in a battle with local Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay, where a memorial now stands in his name.
Kailua-Kona is not only the largest community in the area, but the heart and soul. In the morning, you can walk around the historic neighborhood to see monuments and landmarks and learn some local history. Cool down by jumping into Kailua Bay, and going for a swim where the World Ironman Championships are held every year.
Holualoa sits beside Kailua-Kona, and makes for a great base to explore the island. It is heaven for coffee lovers! Not only are there wonderful cafe’s all around where you can enjoy a delicious cup of joe, but this is where the coffee is grown! There are more farms than you can count, and all of them offer unique tours and tastings that are absolute must do experiences.
If your mind is set on staying in a luxury condo or hotel, the resort area of Kahaluu-Keauhou is for you, and just a 20 minute drive from Kailua-Kona. The resorts are so nice, you may never want to leave! It is also home to some of the best snorkeling and diving on the island, and where many of the manta ray trips depart from.
20 minutes south of Kailua-Kona lies the small town of Captain Cook. It is fantastic for those looking to stay somewhere with a little more peace and quiet. To top it all off, some of the best nature on the west coast is found right here.
The 4 Best Areas to Stay Near Kailua-Kona
If you’re looking for a cabin, condo, hotel, or hostel in Kailua-Kona, these are the best ones!
1. Kailua-Kona – Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona for your First Visit
Kailua-Kona has grown over the years from what was once a sleepy fishing village, to what is now a fun and vibrant must-see area full of character. It is the second largest city on the island, after Hilo, and without a doubt a must-visit on any trip to Hawaii. With the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport only 15 minutes away, it is very accessible, and a splendid place to start or finish any backpacking adventure.
If it is your first trip to this part of Hawaii, Kailua-Kona is one of the coolest places to stay. Located smack in the middle of all the top attractions, it is a superb basecamp for exploring all that the west coast of Hawaii has to offer. And let’s not forget, there are hundreds of delicious restaurants where you can enjoy local food, and just as many bars and clubs for those who crave a buzzing nightlife!
Best Condo in Kailua-Kona: Downtown Kona Top Floor Condo
This charming one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo is centrally located in the heart of the town. Kailua Bay is right across the street, all the major tourist attractions are within walking distance. There are endless food and drink options all around. Inside the apartment, you will love the traditional Hawaiian style that is meant to mimic the Hawaii of the past. The giant bamboo bed is the center-piece of the home, and all the other rattan and bamboo furniture complements the look perfectly. Additionally, there is a small private “lanai” with sea views, and a swimming pool and spa on the premises.
Best Hostel in Kailua-Kona: Kona Beach Hostel
The Kona Beach Hostel is an excellent place to stay for those who are searching for the ultimate balance of affordable prices and a tremendous location. They offer both co-ed and female only dorm rooms of different sizes, as well as multiple private rooms. The large outdoor gazebo is a terrific place for hanging out and meeting fellow travelers from all over the world. Lastly, it is great for those who love nightlife as there are countless bars and restaurants close by.
Best Hotel in Kailua-Kona: Royal Kona Resort
This incredible resort is a one-stop shop that truly has it all! The large and peaceful rooms can sleep up to four people, and have elegant designs. Each and every room boasts a large balcony with breathtaking ocean or mountain views. The exterior of this hotel is undoubtedly what makes it stand above the rest though. A private beach, swimming pool, and its very own private saltwater lagoon are just a few of the amenities that only the Royal Kona Resort can offer!
Things to See and Do in Kailua-Kona:
- Pretend you are an Ironman triathlete and swim in Kailua Bay.
- Kayak or SUP at Kamakahonu Beach.
- Grab a pint or two at the Kona Brewing Company. If you really love beer, sign up for a one-hour brewery tour/tasting where you can learn about the company’s history and sample a whole bunch of their tasty beers.
- Explore Kekaha Kai State Park and relax at Mahai’ula beach.
- Hike through lava fields to Makalawena Beach.
- Visit the National Historical Sites. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, and Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark are the most famous ones in the area.
- Dive into the tasty Hawaiian cuisine by eating at one of the many popular restaurants in town.
2. Holualoa – Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona for Coffee Lovers
Holualoa is directly south of Kailua-Kona. Most people don’t even know where one stops and the other starts, they merge right into each other. It is a small, artsy town that is somewhat off the traditional tourist path, but if you are a coffee lover, it’s a paradise.
It’s located smack in the middle of the Kona Coffee Belt, and is home to some of the best coffee in the world. Taking a trip to Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, or one of the other coffee farms in the area, is an absolute must-do whether you drink 10 cups a coffee a day, or none.
Best Cottage in Holualoa: KJ’s Creative Cottage, Jungle & Mountain Vibes
KJ’s Creative Cottage is a quiet and relaxing space in the middle of the jungle. The comfy queen sized bed, and the solitude of nature, make this an outstanding option for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Feeling hungry? Take a walk around the gorgeous garden and see if you can find any fruit or nuts growing on the trees. Pineapples, avocados, papayas, and macadamias can all be found on the property, and are yours to harvest and enjoy if the season is right!
Best Hostel in Holualoa: My Hawaii Hostel
This beachside hostel is our favorite budget recommendation near Kailua-Kona! They have a wide variety of private and dorm room options for budgets of all shapes and sizes, and cooking your own food in their large public kitchen is a great way to save some additional money!
My Hawaii Hostel is a top choice for solo travelers. They have two large common areas fantastic for socializing, one indoors and one outdoors. Want to go snorkeling or biking with your new friends? You can rent gear directly through the hostel at unbeatable rates! It’s a budget travelers best friend.
My Hawaii Hostel is one of our favourites near Kailua-Kona but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Best Hotel in Holualoa: Aston Kona By The Sea
Ashton Kona By The Sea is a beautiful hotel right on the Pacific Ocean. You can choose from a standard hotel room, or larger suites that come with a fully-equipped kitchen. All the rooms has private ocean facing terraces. Also, it has its own private beach only available to guests! It is a flawless place, ideal for sun bathing or taking in the sunset at the end of the day. There are multiple swimming pools and hot tubs to soak in around the property.
Aston Kona By The Sea is one of our favourites near Kailua-Kona but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Holualoa:
- Visit a coffee farm and take a tour to try some delicious island grown coffee, and learn how it’s grown.
- Grab your binoculars and cameras and go on a whale watching tour.
- Take a scenic drive through the Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor.
- Stroll through the Sadie Seymour Botanical Gardens.
- Relax and catch some sun at White Sand Beach.
- Walk around the town and check out the many small local art galleries.
- Carve your own tiki with a master local craftsman.
3. Kahaluu-Keauhou – Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona for Families
Kahaluu-Keauhou is a coastal town just below Holualoa. It is an incredibly popular area for tourists, which has made a name for itself throughout the years for two main reasons.
The first, is all of the giant resorts and vacation home complexes. It is often referred to simply as the “resort area” of Kona. If you are traveling with kids, or as a family, this is without a doubt where to stay near Kailua-Kona.
Secondly, the area has crystal clear waters full of microscopic plankton which attracts large communities of manta rays. The manta rays normally feed at night, and there are many snorkeling and diving tours that will take you out after dark in hope of spotting some of these magnificent creatures.
Best Condo in Kahaluu-Keauhou: Impeccable Oceanfront Condo
This giant condo is a marvelous home base for any stay in Kahaluu-Keauhou. With enough beds to sleep six, you can easily fit the whole family into this spacious home. Out the back, there is a private patio and garden space with stunning views of the ocean. Inside the complex, you will find a swimming pool and three tennis courts. Schedule a lesson with the local tennis pro if you want to improve your game.
Impeccable Oceanfront Condo is one of our favourites near Kailua-Kona but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Best Luxury Townhouse in Kahaluu-Keauhou: Turtle House
If you are on the hunt for a luxury beachfront home, Turtle House is the spot for you! Located only steps from the water, this is an unrivaled place to relax and live on island time. The large covered patio is a prime spot to watch the sunset, before crawling into bed and letting the sound of the crashing waves lull you to sleep. There are even ancient ruins on the property grounds. Without a doubt, this is one of the coolest places to stay near Kailua-Kona!
Turtle House is one of our favourites near Kailua-Kona but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Best Hotel in Kahaluu-Keauhou: Beach Villas at Kahalu’u
Situated adjacent to the best swimming and snorkeling beach in Kahaluu-Keauhou, this is an unbeatable option for families! In less than a minute, you can be swimming with sea turtles and searching for Nemo in the crystal clear waters. There is a large swimming pool for the kids to play when you don’t feel like going to the beach. The rooms themselves are all large apartment style suites.Each one come with two bedrooms, private ensuite kitchenettes, and can sleep up to six people.
Beach Villas at Kahalu’u is one of our favourites near Kailua-Kona but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Kahaluu-Keauhou:
- Snorkel or dive with manta rays on a night-time snorkeling tour.
- Go out scuba diving for a day with a local dive shop.
- Spend a day with the kids at the Kahalu’u Beach Park.
- Rent a surfboard and hang-ten on some of those famous Hawaiian waves. If you have never surfed before, there are many surf schools that offer lessons. FBI Surf School and Kona Surf Company are two of the most popular.
- Sample locally grown fruit and yummy baked goods at the Keauhou Farmer’s Market.
- Charter a boat and spend the day on the open water catching some fish.
- Play a round of golf at the Kona Country Club.
4. Captain Cook – Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona on a Budget
Captain James Cook was the first-known westerner to have set foot on the Hawaiian Islands, and he did so right here. Shortly after arriving, he was killed in a battle with local Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay, where a memorial now stands in his name.
Captain Cook, is a small and laid back island town, much quieter then Kailua-Kona. The village is ideal for those who like nature, and Kealakekua Bay is the crowned jewel of the area. The bay waters are calm and clear, and outstanding for all types of water activities. Swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and sailing are all brilliant ways to pass the days!
As a small community, there are far fewer accommodation options available in general, but most of the ones you will find are very budget friendly! Captain Cook is home to the cheapest hostel beds on this side of the island, as well as many other reasonably priced Airbnb’s and hotels. For that, it is our ultimate recommendation for where to stay near Kailua-Kona if you are on a budget.
Best Loft in Captain Cook: Kealakekua Bay • Our Home By The Ocean
This cute and cozy studio is both charming and romantic. The use of wood gives it the feel of a mountain cabin although you are only minutes from the beach! You are sure to love the large windows that overlook the pretty garden. The hosts have snorkel gear, boogie boards, and beach chairs you can use free of charge, too. This is a remarkable basecamp for exploring everything in and around Captain Cook!
Best Hostel in Captain Cook: Pineapple Park Kona
Pineapple Park Kona is the the ultimate budget option near Kailua-Kona! Without a doubt, you will find the cheapest prices on the entire west coast at this hostel. You will have the best of both worlds, as you are next door not only to the bay, but to some of the best coffee farms on the island as well. Interested in renting a kayak, going diving, or signing up for a tour? Talk with the hostel staff to get the lowest rates available. Both dorms and private rooms are available.
Best Hotel in Captain Cook: Ka’awa Loa Plantation
This bed and breakfast style hotel is locally run and full of joy. As you may have guessed, its name comes from the fact that it is located on a fully operational plantation. They grow a wide selection of fruit and coffee on the farm, which they then serve as part of their delicious breakfast every morning. The standard rooms are spacious with a classic design, or you can choose to stay in your very own private cottage. The massive 1,500 square-foot lanai is an extraordinary place to relax and unwind in the early morning or late afternoon.
Ka’awa Loa Plantation is one of our favourites near Kailua-Kona but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Captain Cook:
- Explore Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park and learn about Hawaiian culture.
- Swim or kayak in the crystal waters of Kealakekua Bay.
- Check out the Painted Church and view its unique and colorful hand-painted interior.
- Hike on the Ka’Awaloa Trail and enjoy panoramic views of the sea.
- Visit the Captain Cook Monument and learn about the namesake of the village.
- Tour a small coffee farm and learn about how exactly the coffee goes from the tree to your cup back home.
- Hire a sailboat, if the conditions are right, and enjoy a slow day on the water.
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What To Pack For Near Kailua-Kona
Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.
Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.
Hanging Laundry Bag
Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.
Sea To Summit Micro Towel
Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.
Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.
Grayl Geopress Water Bottle
Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!
Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Near Kailua-Kona
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay Near Kailua-Kona
The Kailua-Kona area is one of our favorite places in all of Hawaii! Many people skip Kailua-Kona and the Big Island in favor of Oahu or Maui, but don’t be one of them! We guarantee you will not regret your visit, and that you will be bragging about your time here for years to come! As you have seen, Kailua-Kona and the surrounding area has accommodation options for everyone, no matter what you are interested in or what your budget may be.
We hope that this guide has helped you decide where to stay on your next trip to Kailua-Kona. Did you find what you were looking for? Let us know in the comments!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!