Neighborhood Guide: Pāhoa

7-Eleven Neighborhood Guide


Jasmine Lombardi | Feb 13, 2017


Natural Beauty

Hawai‘i Island is known for having some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. One of the many special neighborhoods on the island is Pāhoa, the largest town in the district of Puna. Though Pāhoa is just a little larger than two square miles, this neighborhood holds a special place in the hearts of its residents.

Just about a 30-minute drive from Hilo International Airport, the old mill town of Pāhoa is set amongst fields of black lava, the fertile slopes of Kīlauea and just a few miles from the sea. As you would imagine, Pāhoa’s natural wonders are what attract locals and visitors alike. At Volcanoes National Park, there’s a plethora of places to explore, including hiking trails, steam vents and lava tubes. Locals especially enjoy the short hike around Kapoho Bay to the Champagne Pools, the mixed freshwater-and-saltwater pools that are heated by the volcano.

Fun for the Whole Family

Keiki and adults take advantage of Pāhoa’s Community Aquatic Center, the area’s large public swimming pool. Other nearby attractions that are fun for the whole family include the Pāhoa Village Museum, the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, and the Lava Tree State Monument. For ocean enthusiasts, Pāhoa’s nearby beaches are great places for fishing, diving, snorkeling, surfing, stand up paddle boarding and simply relaxing.

This neighborhood holds a special place in the hearts of its residents.

Small Town Appeal

There are several subdivisions in the areas surrounding Pāhoa, filled with a mix of people including families, young couples and retirees, from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Because many of these subdivisions are sort of off the beaten path, Pāhoa serves as the unofficial regional town center. However, Pāhoa has maintained its small town appeal, where residents walk down the street and call each other by name. On any given day, you’ll see tourists perusing shops and enjoying a meal, while the locals catch up with family or friends at a local eatery. There’s a vintage Hawaiʻi vibe in the high concentration of old buildings throughout Pāhoa, seen in its restaurants, boutiques and galleries.

Where the Lava Flows

Recently, Pāhoa has been making national headlines for its location to the Earth’s most active volcano, Kīlauea. Though its been continuously erupting since 1983 and the lava has forced—and continues to force—many of its residents out of the area, Pāhoa still draws people in with its innate charm. Despite the constant risk of living in Pāhoa, residents clearly believe the pros of this quaint community outweigh the cons. Whether you’re a resident, taking a day-trip or vacationing at a nearby bed and breakfast, experiencing Pāhoa’s magic is certainly recommended.