Often known as the Hamakua Coast, the Hamakua region stretches from the rocky windswept cliffs of the Big Island’s northeast coast to the icy summit of Mauna Kea. Rugged and rainy, the Hamakua region was mostly isolated until the promise of big profits from the Hamakua sugar cane industry pushed the most expensive railway ever built across the spectacular landscape.
The Hawaii Belt Road uses much of the old railway infrastructure as it makes its way through the old plantation towns of Hamakua. Although not much more than a small town, Honokaa serves as the economic and cultural center of the region.
While the town of Honokaa receives a modest (for Hamakua) 80-120 inches of rain per year, other parts of the region can see more than 200 inches. The temperature along the coast normally ranges from highs of 80F to lows of 70F. Rainfall is an almost daily occurrence, often with sun in the morning followed by clouds and rain in the late afternoon and evening.
The Hamakua region is served by the Honokaa Elementary, Intermediate and High School. Residents also attend the Waimea private schools.
Restaurants & Shopping
Looking like a movie set from a story set in a 1940s plantation town, Honokaa has changed very little in the past 50 years. Businesses have come and gone but the ramshackle storefronts of the main street remain mostly the same. Dry goods and feed stores are now mostly gone, replaced by fudge shops and antique stores, but the look is still the same. Here you’ll find barbershops on the main street along with the fire station, the bakery and the Honokaa Filipino Store that sits right across from the People’s Theater.