At an elevation of 3,000 feet above the Kona coast, the 70-acre Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary is covered with an assortment of native Hawaiian plants. Along with ancient flowering trees called Koa, there are more than 100 types of bamboo and massive tree ferns. The sanctuary is also home to a number of endemic birds.
Though both offer lush environments, a cloud forest is different than a rain forest. Tropical rain forests receive a significant amount of rainfall, and although cloud forests have rainy conditions too, as much as 40 percent of their precipitation comes from low-level clouds and mist that leave large amounts of water on the foliage. If you’re looking for a break from the heat and sun, a visit to the Kona Cloud Sanctuary fits the bill.
Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary is a wet place, so if you’re planning a visit, don’t expect to stay dry. Dress in layers and maybe even bring a raincoat or umbrella. Big Island visitors can tour the sanctuary, but these must be booked by appointment. The site is located just 15 minutes from the Kona International Airport at Keahole on Hao Street near the Mountain Thunder Coffee Farm.