Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary
Discover a unique tropical ecosystem, home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, from ancient and endangered native plants to rare birds, at the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary. Located at an altitude of 3,000 feet (914 meters) on the slopes of Mt. Hualalai, the 70-acre (28-hectare) sanctuary is the most accessible cloud forest on the Big Island.
The Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary can only be experienced on a guided tour, which must be booked in advance. Visitors are led on a botanical tour to see and learn about towering ohia trees, koa trees, giant ferns, over 100 varieties of bamboo, and a carefully managed collection of non-native plants. Native birds, such as honeycreepers, akepa, and Hawaiian hawks, also call the sanctuary home.
Guided tours of the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary can be combined with a tour of other Kona highlights, such as a coffee plantation, a brewery, and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary is a must-see for nature lovers.
Wear comfortable walking shoes.
Bring layers and consider a raincoat or an umbrella, as the weather here is cooler and wetter than in Kona.
How to Get There
Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary is located about 15 minutes from Kona International Airport, near Mountain Thunder Coffee Farm. From the junction of Highway 180 and Highway 190, continue north on Highway 190 for 1 mile (1.6 kilometers), then turn right on Kaloko Drive and continue to Hao Street.
When to Get There
Guided tours of the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary are available by appointment and are generally available several times a day year-round. It’s best to go in the mornings, as it tends to rain more in the afternoons.
Tropical Rain Forests vs. Tropical Cloud Forests
Tropical cloud forests are different from tropical rain forests, which can also be found in Hawaii. While tropical rain forests receive most of their precipitation from rain, tropical cloud forests receive nearly half their moisture from mist and clouds, which leaves condensation on leaves and trees.
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