Coconut Island (Mokuola)
Coconut Island was once home to an ancient temple whose Hawaiian name, Mokuola, means “healing island.” The water around the island was thought to have healing properties. Today it is a popular place to swim, fish, spot sea turtles (honu), or bike or stroll around the island, and enjoy a lovely sunset. Many local events and gatherings are held in the grassy park on the center of the island.
Things to Know Before You Go
Coconut Island is ideal for beach lovers and families with children.
The water surrounding the island can be murky, and while it is a popular place to swim, it is not good for snorkeling.
There are showers, restrooms, changing rooms, and barbeques on-site.
If you want to jump off a tower into the water, check the tide table and arrive at high tide.
The island is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Coconut Island is located in the Big Island of Hawaii’s Hilo Bay, next to Lili‘uokalani Gardens and directly behind the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. There is a small parking lot at the end of Keli‘ipio Place, where you can access the footbridge; if the lot is full, you can park at the hotel and walk from there.
When to Go
Hilo has mild tropical weather year-round, with temperatures ranging from about 65°F (18°C) to 85°F (29°C). Arrive before sunset to see stunning colors over the water. The Big Island sees the most visitors in July, August, and December, so arrive outside of those months for a somewhat quieter experience.
In ancient times, Coconut Island was known for its healing powers—legend has it that if a person swam around one of the rocks at the eastern inlet of the island, they would be healed from illness. There is also a small rock pool on the island called Pua‘akaheka, which was also believed to have powerful healing properties.
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