In general use, “Kona” is often used incorrectly to refer to the Big Island’s largest town on the west side, Kailua; commonly known as Kailua-Kona to differentiate it from the larger Kailua town located on windward side of O’ahu.
Kona is the name of a moku or district on the Big Island of Hawai’i. The moku of Kona is divided into two; North Kona District (Kona ‘Akau) and South Kona District (Kona Hema). Kailua, or Kailua-Kona is located in the North Kona District.
Kailua-Kona is shoreline town on the west side of Hawaii Island; The Big Island. Nestled between Kailua Bay and the southern slope of Hualalai volcano Kailua town (as well as most of West Hawaii) is served by the Kona International Airport, located just to the north of town adjacent to the mauka community of Kalaoa.
Kailua-Kona has a tropical, semi-arid climate averaging 18 inches of rain a year. The dry climate is perfect for enjoying the many white and golden tan sandy beaches in the area.
Kailua-Kona is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry for West Hawaii. It is home to points of interest such as Hulihee Palace, former vacation home of Hawaiian royalty, Mokuaikaua Church, the oldest Christian church in the Hawaii, and the Kamakahonu royal residence and Ahu’ena Heiau, a restored Hawaiian temple dedicated to Lono, Hawaiian God of peace, agriculture and prosperity.
Kailua-Kona plays host to three national events. It is the start and finish of the annual Ironman World Championship triathlon, the annual Kona Coffee Festival, and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.
Other attractions include Ali’i Drive (popular with tourist), where many historical sites, resort hotels, souvenir shops, markets and churches are located. And, the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area (popular with Locals), featuring beach parks, event and sport facilities.
The community of Kailua was established by King Kamehameha I to be his seat of government when he was chief of Kona before he consolidated rule of the island chain. Kailua later served as the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawai’i.