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Hilo Hawaii Cruise Port Guide

Rainbow Falls near Hilo, Hawaii. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Rainbow Falls near Hilo, Hawaii. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

The Hilo cruise port on the island of Hawaii is home to a variety of interesting attractions, including an active volcano.

Cruise visitors will hope it doesn’t erupt much while they are there.

Anyone who is new to facts about Hawaii should know it is both a state and an island. The state of Hawaii has eight major islands. The island of Hawaii is the largest of the eight.

Hawaii cruises that begin in the state usually embark from Honolulu on the island of Oahu. They begin there because Honolulu is the largest city on the eight islands and has the largest international airport. Hilo, which is about 200 miles from Honolulu, is much smaller with a population of a little more than 40,000 people. It is one of the most common cruise ports on Hawaii cruises.

Hilo is near two major volcanoes at Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Mauna Loa is an active volcano that occasionally threatens the city with lava flows. Mauna Kea has major astronomical observatories at its top.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Hilo Hawaii Cruise Port Map

Cruise ships dock at Port of Hilo east of downtown by Kuhio Street. There isn’t much to see by the docks, so visitors will need a taxi or shuttle bus to reach downtown for shopping and nearby attractions.

Nearby attractions clustered together in the city include Naniloa Golf Club, the Tsunami Clock of Doom, Liliuokalani Park and Gardens and Reed’s Bay Beach Park. The Clock of Doom is a memorial to a devastating tsunami that hit Hilo in 1960.

Anyone who can afford $300 to $500 per person can take a helicopter ride to the top of Mauna Loa to watch lava flows. Less expensive options include traveling by shuttle bus to nearby viewing locations of the volcano as well as waterfalls elsewhere on the island.

Cruise Weather

Hilo Hawaii monthly temperatures
© 2021 Scott S. Bateman

Hilo is only 200 miles from Honolulu, but they have quite different weather.

The average daytime temperature in Hilo ranges from the high 70s Fahrenheit in the winter to the low 80s in the summer, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. It’s about five degrees cooler on average than Honolulu.

But the biggest difference is the possibility of rain. Hilo consistently averages about 10 to 15 inches of rain each month throughout the year. A rainy month for Honolulu is about three inches or less.

So Hawaii cruise passengers who expect to visit Hilo should plan on bringing rain gear.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
October 22, 2021

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