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Questions

Is the Aloha Guest House Eco-Friendly?

Yes, we are very eco-friendly.  The Aloha Guest House has just been awarded gold status in Tripadvisor’s Green Leader program.  We try to be as sustainable as possible by utilizing 100% rain water catchment for our entire household and gardening needs; by augmenting our hot water supply using solar panels; by recycling and reusing; and by doing on-site composting which supplies soil for all of our planting needs including our own organic greenhouse. Food used for our breakfasts is either grown organically on our property or purchased at local farmer’s markets and natural food stores.  We also raise free-range pasture-fed chickens for a daily supply of farm fresh organic eggs.

Activities

Ocean:
In view from the guesthouse and just minutes away, you can experience the best snorkeling in all of Hawaii at Honaunau Bay (Two-Step) or Kealakekua Bay (Captain Cook Monument).  Use our provided snorkel gear and see colorful fish and coral, green sea turtles, or on occasion, actually swim with wild dolphins!  For a more leisurely experience, and just a few miles away, Ho’okena Beach is a great place to swim and relax.

Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park:
Also just minutes from our guesthouse you can explore a true Big Island treasure by visiting Pu`uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge) to learn interesting and historic information about life in old Hawaii.

Volcanoes:
For a better view of Mauna Loa and the Kilauea Crater, most of our guests visit Volcanoes National Park as a day trip and occasionally luck out with a spectacular volcanic event during their stay.

Cultural Happenings and Events:
Alternative Hawaii – a great source for local gallery openings, farm festivals, dance, concerts and other eco-cultural happenings.

The Hawaii Visitors Bureau – a friendly searchable calendar to plan your vacation.

KonaWeb – Great site listing eclectic events like food festivals, theatre performances, slack key concerts and the local rodeos.

Experience coffee from many of Kona’s best farms.

For our guests interested in botany, we highly recommend visiting the Amy Greenwell Ethno-botanical Garden right here in Captain Cook. This garden offers the opportunity to examine many rare native plants as well as many of those introduced by the Polynesians when they settled Hawaii.

Directions

Prior to your arrival on Hawaii and in South Kona ( preferably several days prior ) please call or Email us with your estimated time of arrival at the Aloha Guest House Bed and Breakfast ,given an approximate one hour drive from the airport.We will endeavor to be at home when you arrive. Our regular check-in is between 3pm and 7pm so we may not be expecting you until then. You can find a PDF version of these instructions by clicking HERE. We're not hard to find but you will be in unfamiliar territory and it gets dark out here if that's when you're arriving. Please have these directions handy when you arrive here on the island. The "Old Tobacco Road" is a local one lane farm road and, like some of our neighbors, a little rough in places.

We highly recommend renting a four wheel drive vehicle if you are in doubt about the road conditions and/or your driving abilities concerning rough and occasionally paved surfaces. Although many of our guests use regular 2WD vehicles when staying with us, a 4WD vehicle will also allow you to explore many of the beautiful and somewhat secluded parts of Hawaii – the Big Island in comfort and safety.

Directions from Kona International Airport to Old Tobacco Road:
TURN RIGHT (south) onto Hwy 19 following the signs to Kailua-Kona and Volcano. In Kailua, Hwy 19 becomes Hwy 11. Continue on Hwy 11. Notice that the mile marker numbers on the left side of the road are descending. As you approach the 104 mile marker, you pass a "Reduce Speed 35 MPH" sign. The road curves to the left and you will see an "Elevation 1000ft/305m" sign to your right. SLOW DOWN! You may notice the "Aloha Guest House" sign to your right hanging from a tree, but it is a little hard to see. TURN LEFT just a few meters before the 104 mile marker (located on the left side of the highway) on "OLD TOBACCO ROAD". If you have passed the 104 mile marker you have gone too far! Presently, the Tobacco Road sign is missing, so you will be turning left on an unmarked road that is just before a white house with a small stone wall facing the highway.

Directions from Volcano/Hilo to Old Tobacco Road:
Follow Hwy 11 towards Kailua-Kona. We are about 2 hrs. from Hilo and 1 ½ hrs. from Volcanoes National Park. Look for mile markers on the right side of the highway. Our road is located at the 104 mile marker. After passing the 103 mile marker pay attention to your odometer. Just prior to our turn is a “Y” intersection where highway 160 goes to the left and highway 11 continues forward; stay on 11! You will then immediately encounter a large “S” curve in the highway which turns to the left and then to the right. In the middle of the “S” curve you should be going only about 15 mph. with your right turn indicator flashing as the turn to our road comes upon you very quickly. Look for the 104 mile marker on your right just as you start going straight. You will be turning right approximately 20 meters past the 104 mile marker. Presently, Old Tobacco Road has no street sign. Our road looks more like a driveway than a city street, but rest assured if you have followed these instructions you are in the right place Follow the directions below to the "Aloha Guest House Bed and Breakfast" in South Kona Hawaii.

Once you're on Old Tobacco Road:
The Aloha Guest House Bed and Breakfast is EXACTLY .96 MILE up from the highway. Once on Old Tobacco Road you will see that it is only one lane, so if you encounter someone driving from the opposite direction, the rule is whoever has the easier way to pull to the side lets the other car go through. Generally, the car traveling downhill has the right of way. Old Tobacco Road is sometimes paved, sometimes bumpy, and sometimes steep. It is not dangerous in any way so please don’t be concerned, just drive slowly and everything will be fine. If you are arriving during the day you get a chance to see turkeys, pheasants, chickens, and also coffee, avocado, guava, and macadamia nut trees. You may even get lucky and see a wild pig.

The general rule as you make the drive to the Aloha Guest House is to turn or veer RIGHT whenever you see an obvious option (turning/veering right to go into someone's driveway, or going off Tobacco Road
following car tracks in the grass are not obvious options!). If you drive slowly and are not in hurry, Old Tobacco Road is easily navigable, so don't be intimidated.

From the road entrance ignore the sign limiting access to authorized persons. After a couple of minutes driving you will see on your left a double concrete track going up the hill with a "Private Road 4X4 Only" sign. Do NOT turn left into this private road; just continue driving on Tobacco Road. As you continue you should see an abandoned motorcycle on the hill to your left. (It's been there for years as art work).

About 1/3 of the way, you will come to an old coffee mill with a "Danger, No Trespassing sign". (The sign refers to the coffee mill and not continuing up the road). The road takes a sharp left here (hairpin turn) and you will encounter the first of two dips in the road. Just drive slowly and everything will be okay. Keep going...
After you pass the two-story brown house on your left, the road goes to the right (keep following the paved portion of the road) and here you will go through the second dip in the road. In just a few seconds you will encounter the only true fork or "Y" in the road (if you are arriving at night you might notice three red reflectors attached to an electric/telephone pole in front of you). You should go to the right and continue following the road. If you go to the left by mistake it will take you to the KCOF radio station which does not usually offer accommodations :).

You now will be travelling on a relatively flat section of the road lined with several shallow potholes. There will be a gated entrance on your left for Jack's Way, and then a mailbox for Steve's Keokea Farm. Just keep going. About 35 meters past Steve's mailbox the road will turn left and start to climb uphill. Don't get worried you are almost to the Guest House. It looks a little scary here, but it really isn't. Just keep going.

After approximately 400 meters of driving through our neighbor's coffee farm (yes, those are Kona coffee trees on your left) you will reach a rock wall fence in front of a house (this house presently has a Sotheby’s for sale sign next to the wall). In front and just to your left is a stone arch, and to your right is our nicely paved and smooth driveway. Go right here and in a few seconds you will pass the Rowe Coffee Farm sign on your left. Continue to go straight and at this time you should be able to see our "Aloha Guest House" sign directly in front of you. Just before you reach our sign, the driveway turns left and goes sharply uphill.
Looking uphill, you should see the guesthouse. Drive up the hill and keep going straight until you reach our parking lot which will be on your left at the end of our driveway.

Do NOT turn right on the driveway that goes in front of our house. Our cat, Kai, will probably come over to say welcome and be petted. If you see our little miniature dachshund, Gina, be careful as she is small and has just recently lost her hearing and doesn't know how to get out of the way of cars. If you informed us of your approximate arrival time, we should be home and I will be out in a moment. If for some reason we aren't home, please look for a note on our downstairs door giving you instructions. If necessary, we can be reached by calling 808-328-8955. Your room will be ready and your name on the door so please come inside and get comfortable.

 

Click here for our full page map.

Transportation

One question we are frequently asked is "What kind of car should we get?”; here is our advice:

If you are fun loving, adventurous and interested in activities like exploring secluded beaches, visiting the observatories on Mauna Kea or trekking the back country near Volcano, you really should consider renting a 4 -wheel drive vehicle during your stay. By doing so, you can save a lot of hiking and get to explore some really amazing places that are away from the beaten path. If your plans are to visit remote state beach parks or ranches with unpaved driveways, we recommend a SUV or other high clearance vehicle. Doing so will get you to most places and allow you to deal with speed bumps and semi-paved areas in comfort. Jeeps and SUVs are also a great choice to navigate up Old Tobacco Road to our guest house.

As for staying with us, we are located at the end of a one-mile, one lane, semi-paved farm road. Old Tobacco Road winds up from the highway and is bumpy in several spots. Our road is not dangerous to drive; it just requires a little patience as the typical speed is approximately 8-10 MPH. This kind of road is not unusual for rural South Kona and we even get UPS and FEDEX deliveries to our front door. Over the years we have seen a mix of guest vehicles ranging from large SUV's to convertible sports cars, and all have successfully traveled up and down our road. We do, however, suggest that our guests rent a higher clearance vehicle; 4-wheel drive is not necessary to navigate Old Tobacco Road. Choosing the right car ultimately depends on the personality of each individual driver; some guests think our road is fun and adventurous, some think it is a non-issue, while others are a little wide-eyed when they first arrive, but quickly become accustomed to the drive.

FAQs

What is the weather like on the Big Island?

That usually depends where you happen to be at any given time. The island of Hawaii has 11 of the 13 climatic zones in the world. Almost any weather is possible; you can be in brilliant sunshine, pouring rain, snow, or desert-dry all in the same day! During the winter it is possible to experience a 60F degree temperature change when driving from the summit of Mauna Kea to Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona.

Where can we see dolphins or sea turtles?

Not always predictable, but you have a really good chance of seeing them while you are diving, snorkeling, kayaking or swimming here on the Kona Coast. Turtles can usually be found grazing around the rocks of many beaches, while dolphins are regular visitors to Kealakekua Bay, Honaunau Bay, or Ho’okena Beach Park. Many of our guests have had up-close wild dolphin encounters while snorkeling in Honaunau Bay (Two-Step), which is just 15 minutes away from the Aloha Guest House!

How far is the volcano from the Guest House?

The Volcanoes National Park Headquarters is a 1 and 1/2 hour drive going south on Highway 11. There are many scenic areas between South Kona and Volcano to enjoy as well. One of the big attractions is the Green Sand Beach at South Point.

What is it like driving up Old Tobacco Road to the Guest House?

Coming up Old Tobacco Road, you will pass ancient stone walls from the days when the Hawaiians grew taro. You will also pass coffee farms and macadamia nut orchards. If you are lucky, you might see wild turkeys, pigs, chickens, or pheasants. If you relax and take in the scenery as you drive, you will enjoy the sense of living in Old Hawaii.

Old Tobacco Road is a one-mile, one lane, semi-paved farm road. It winds up from the highway and is bumpy in several spots. Our road is not dangerous to drive; it just requires a little patience as the typical speed is approximately 8-10 MPH. This type of road is not unusual for rural South Kona and we even get UPS and FED-EX deliveries to our front door. Over the years we have seen a mix of guest vehicles ranging from large SUV's to convertible sports cars, and all have successfully traveled up and down our road. Last month we even had guests arrive in a Chevrolet Spark! Some guests think our road is fun and adventurous, some think it is a non-issue, while others are a little wide-eyed when they first arrive, but quickly become accustomed to the drive. There has only been a small minority who has had problems driving up Old Tobacco Road, and this usually happened due to a combination of a late night arrival and being exhausted after a full day of travel. It is a good idea to have our very accurate printed directions available as you drive up Tobacco Road. What I like to remind everyone after their first drive up to our guesthouse is that we are at the end of the road……literally. What that means is we have spectacular views, no highway noise, security (no one comes up here but us), perfect year-round temperatures, and we enjoy all the glory that Hawaiian nature has to offer.

One last thing about driving up Old Tobacco Road, my wife makes the trip up and down almost daily without any problems, and she says if she can do it, so can you! Smile

» Driving Tobacco Road – YouTube video