Holualoa: Small Town Charm in the Heart of Coffee Country

By Karen Rose

holualoa, kona, big island, hawaii

Holualoa sunset. Photo: pointybongo.

Nestled among the cool slopes of Hualalai Volcano, just south of Kailua-Kona, is the quaint artist community of Holualoa. This charming village is as picturesque as a community can get, with a windy two-lane road lined with art galleries, coffee shops, and friendly villagers stopping to talk story and catch up on the latest news.

Rare Small-Town Charm

holualoa, kona, big island, hawaii

Holualoa Ukulele Gallery in the old Holualoa Post Office. Photo: mr_tentacle.


Although Holualoa Village is a trendy hub for artists in the Kona Districts, it’s maintained a small-town charm that’s rare to find in today’s contemporary, hustle and bustle world. Visitors can stroll through the shops to discover local art like handcrafted woodwork, paintings, sculptures and photography.

Holualoa Gallery

holualoa, kona, big island, hawaii

Plumerias in the uplands of Hulaloa in the district of Kona on Hawaii Island (Big Island). Photo: Chris Wilson.


Holualoa Gallery is one such destination. Owners Matt and Mary Lovein are about as friendly and down-home as one would expect in this lovely country town. They opened the gallery over 25 years ago and love to chat and visit with locals and visitors alike. Mary is known for her creative work that beautifully expresses the beauty she sees in life. Her husband Matt is famous for his signature piece called a “Wish Keeper” which came to him in a dream. If you stop by the gallery, Mary will be happy to share this inspirational story with you.

The Heart of Kona Coffee Country

holualoa, kona, big island, hawaii

View of a coffee farm overlooking the ocean, though you can barely see it because of the rain. Photo: Joey Rozier.


Coffee is also considered an art form in Holualoa. This little town in the heart of Kona coffee country runs on caffeine and is proud of their coffee culture heritage. The climate is perfect for growing the temperamental bean, and many coffee orchards in Holualoa offer public tours so visitors can learn about how coffee is grown, harvested and processed. After the tour, sip on some delicious Kona coffee and you’ll be hooked for life!

Annual Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll

holualoa, kona, big island, hawaii

Coffee and Art Stroll in Holualoa. Photo: Hawaii County.


If art and coffee are a few of your favorite things, you may want to schedule your visit to Holualoa in November for the annual Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll. Taste a variety of Kona Coffees while chatting with local artists and farmers. Holualoa also hosts a First Friday event every month with new art, music, and creative food vendors.

Slow Food at Holuakoa

holualoa, kona, big island, hawaii

Holuakoa Cafe in funky, small town Holualoa Village. Photo: vipnyc.


If you want to indulge in a gourmet meal, check out Holuakoa Gardens and Cafe. One of the best-kept secrets on the Big Island, this slow food establishment offers high quality cuisine in an ethereal setting of twinkle lights that feels like you’re dining as a character in a fairy tale.

Annual Holualoa Music and Light Festival

Last, but not least, is the annual Holualoa Music and Light Festival in December. Visitors and town folk gather for the lighting of the town Christmas tree, listen to live Christmas music and sample free treats from the charming galleries and shops. You’ll even get a surprise visit from Santa himself. It doesn’t get much better than that!

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