On Thursday evening there will be a private dinner for conference attendees and guests. The dinner will include light musical entertainment and will be outdoors at the King Kamehameha Hotel. The price per person is $50.




In old Hawaii a luau meant a lavish food extravaganza to fete royalty, foreign dignitaries, powerful chieftains, or hundreds of guests at important weddings, christenings or birthdays. Luaus often lasted for days and required an incredible amount of preparation. Guests sat on mats on the ground, with food piled high in calabash bowls in front of them. They ate a bit, danced a bit, drank a little and sang a lot. A rollicking shared experience... a feast of aloha.

Today the luau is a major visitor attraction and dozens are held daily throughout the islands. Needless to say, some preparations have been streamlined, although the traditional roast pig and other authentic delectables are still served.

Luau includes dinner and entertainment. To learn more about the luau that is held at that conference hotel, click here:




Things to do…. There is hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, surfing, helicopter tours, parasailing, paragliding, hanging out at a beach, whale watching, golfing, etc. You could ride a submarine, visit the world's largest collection of major telescopes, check out active volcanoes (when the flow is right you can walk to within feet of real flowing lava), walk through a rain forest, walk through lava tubes, visit Hawaiian ruins, swim with dolphins or mantas, visit a coffee or macadamia nut farm, check out waterfalls and gardens...

For a very informative list of options in and near the hotel, please click this link (865 KB; PDF file).

Check with the Activities Desk at the hotel for further information.

For more information on whale watching or snorkeling tours, you can check-out the tour operator's web site:




If you haven't been in the water with a mask on your face while in Kona, then you haven't seen all of Kona. Even for the non-divers, this is a must do!

For beginners, I have to recommend Kahalu'u beach park on Ali'i Drive in Kailua. This beach has lots of fish in waters 3-5 feet deep. It also has plenty of turtles (do not touch- they're protected) who will ignore you while you watch them eat.

For those who are comfortable in water over their heads I'd recommend highly "two steps" by the boat ramp at Pu'u Honua o' Honaunau (Place of Refuge) about 30-45 minutes south of Kailua. It's a protected bay with great corals, fish, turtles and the occasional dolphin pod. There is a nice national park right next door if you want to take a break from the water.

Arguably the best snorkeling in all of Hawaii can be found in front of the Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay. It's only drawback is access. There are no auto roads to the monument. It can be reached by a trail (the trailhead is about 150-200 yards down Napo'opo'o road across from 3 large palm trees) which is about 3 miles down to the monument and seemingly much longer (and more difficult) on the way back up. It also can be reached by snorkel charter boats from town, a very long swim from Napo'opo'o beach or by kayak. I'd highly recommend the kayak route, over swimming or hiking it, (there are a couple of rental places on the way from Kailua) as the easiest and most fun.




This will kill a day! From Kailua drive south and watch the terrain change. If you head out early, take the time to check out South Point (the southern-most point in the US) and the large windmill farm you'll find down there. One quick must see on the way to the volcano is Punalu'u beach just off the highway a couple of minutes. Punalu'u is a black sand beach where the rare Hawksbill turtle's nest- there may be turtles sunning themselves when you visit, keep a bit of distance between you and them and enjoy.

Once at the volcano stop by the visitor center and check it out. Definitely hit the lava tube and drive the rim road. There are numerous other stopping points on the drive around the rim which are interesting. The Chain of Craters road is quite interesting and goes down to sea level. At the end is an information booth where they'll tell you how far it is to the flow (if it's flowing at the time) and if they've closed off access to it due to high danger conditions. The glowing lava can be an impressive sight in the dark, but it's a long way back in the dark. I must warn you, if they tell you to stay off the trail to the flow - by all means do so. There were a couple of fatalities in the fall of 2000, and there is always the risk of danger on this walk due to gasses, heat and such.

One note on this trip. Kona is warm and sees very little rain, on the other side this may not be the case on any given day (there's plenty of rain forest at the volcano) and you may wish to take along a pair of long pants and a light jacket (the volcano entrance is at 4500', so it's cooler).