Wellness in hawaii isn’t a ‘scene’ — it just is. There’s a contagious chillness that simply comes from being there. Maybe it has something to do with the gorgeous beaches, or lush jungles, or fresh tropical fruit and poke bowls. It’s no wonder jeweler, Meagan Henry, quit NYC for island life instead. One look at her photos and we’re tempted to do the same.
Enjoy Meagan’s crunchy guide to the Big Island – and pack your bags before you read, because you’ll want to hop on a plane asap…
This island is a vortex of expansion! Opening its visitors up to their truest essence, and aiding in the extermination of energy unneeded. Simply put, this island has a serious way of waking people up — it is a potent place for tapping into your highest awareness, and getting back in alignment with your individual path. A true “wellness” hub, if you ask me.
Honestly, any and everywhere on the Big Island is super rad, and no matter where you end up, it will be beyond your wildest dreams. Depending on the medicine that you need, travel in just under two hours (from coast to coast) to get your fix. I’ve laid out a dozen of the most delicious spots below:
What To Eat
Conscious Culture Cafe + Booch Bar: This cute cafe is home to Big Island Kombucha, Hawaii’s premiere booch & jün brand, and honestly the best I’ve had, ever. This stuff blows GT’s out of the water, with medicinal blends made with all local and seasonal ingredients. Just one glass gets my creativity buzzing and blood nourished. Also, everything on their food menu is mouth watering, soul warming. Definitely try the tempeh bowl with extra Big Island avo.
Sweet Cane Cafe: a funky family-run cafe, with two locations in Hilo. These lovely humans happen to be my direct neighbors, and I can honestly say that they are the kindest, most tapped-in humans around. The vast majority of Sweet Cane offerings come from their land — the best of which are sugarcane, ulu (breadfruit), taro, tropical bananas and peppers. Most definitely get their Pitaya bowl!
Where To Go
Green Sand Beach. If the worlds of Mad Max and Avatar had a baby, it would be Green Sands Beach. Just the road to get to Green Sands is gnarly enough — you’ll have to pay a local a few bucks to get you down there, and I do not suggest driving alone, though you can hike. And once there, you’ll see that the olivine crystals mixed with sand really do make the beach bright green. It’s good to have respect and humility for this special place, and not take any of the sand home with you. It’s pono to leave it be.
Kehena Black Sand Beach: After Sunday morning e-dance at Kalani, head just down the road to Kehena beach to bask in the sun, and (up to you) join a drum circle by the cliff. Forewarning: Kehena is a nude beach. It is so very freeing to sit and swim within Mother Nature garment-free. Swim out just far enough, listen just closely enough, and you may be surrounded by dozens of dolphins. Kehena is a magic experience, to say the least, that never fails to leave me feeling re-charged and re-connected to all that is.
Waipi’o Valley: This place is truly the most mana (life-force)-rich crevice on the Big Island. Deep within this sacred, ancestral valley pours Hi’ilawe waterfall (taller than the Empire State Building), a powerful black sand beach, and locals who very rarely leave. Make the (super) steep hike in and out of the valley, or simply take it all in from the lookout, helicopter or boat. On a clear day, Maui will emerge on the horizon.
Kua Bay: The perfect all-day chill spot Kona-side. It’s a true gamble with how high the swell will be, but either way, the bay makes for incredible swim medicine and solar-charging. Unlike all the black sand on Hilo-side, Kona beaches (like Kua Bay) have your typical white sand, turquoise clear water. Definitely bring goggles and a snack. It’s always hard for me to leave.
Mauna Kea Summit + Visitor’s Center: Mauna Kea is, actually, the biggest mountain on Earth (from deep ocean to sky). And this is forever my favorite place on the island! The energy here is so dynamic, I’m brought to tears just traveling up to summit, which feels like driving on the moon — the air gets thinner, and the stars get brighter and more plentiful. It’s no wonder the visitor’s center does star gazing every single night. I love to pack a picnic and summit for sunset — but definitely bring blankets! Even in summer, it’s average 30° Farenheit up there.
Makalawena: It takes a half-hour hike to get to, but the journey is so worthy of where you end up. Traversing lava fields and coconut groves leads you to a remote, expansive stretch of white sand and turquoise water. Do some research on foraging in Hawaii, and you’ll notice the beach lined with wild spinach, guava, and tropical almond trees.
South Point: It’s the most southern point in the United States, where you can (very bravely) jump 40 feet into the clearest, most mermaid-worthy pool of vitamin-sea. Jump with goggles because the snorkeling here is the best in the world! I can’t dive so deep, but my boyfriend does, and he’s brought me back the most sublime, mathematically cosmic shells. The spectrum of blue here is psychedelic — unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Promise.
What To Do
Ecstatic Dance At Kalani: For those who have yet to experience an authentic e-dance, you’ll want to go here, as this is where it all began! E-dance is a morning dance party (completely drug and alcohol free), and can only best be described as dancing from your soul. It’s a sole journey, with soul-expanding tunes. It’s Sunday morning church, for sure.
Watch Kalapana Lava Flow. This is the definition of power. Over the past year or so, the flow has only become stronger, and currently, it’s dumping a couple tons of lava into the ocean every second, spewing 60 feet high. It can be an emotional trip to witness — it’s a gorgeous, glowing manifestation of Mother Earth’s ability to destroy, recycle, and create anew. There’s a few mile hike to and back from the flow, but it’s a peaceful stretch to bask in the influence of Pele on this island.
Shop At Maku’u Farmers Market: This is my favorite market on the island, every Sunday morning — the variety of foods, plants, crafts and crystals is gorgeous. My partner and I have bought the majority of our herbs and fruit trees from an organic grower that posts up here. They always have live music, Big Island booch on tap and plant-based Mana Bowls for the soul.
Browse The Locavore Store: Locavore Store is Hilo’s all-local, all-organic grocer. They are always stocked with tropical fruits and heirloom veggies, as well as small-business snacks, crafts, juices and kraut. Aside from all the fresh food, take home some of their aloha offerings (black lava salt, macadamia nut butter) for lovers back home. I try to stop in here nearly every afternoon to see what’s new!