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Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Just outside the city of Hilo on the Big Island is the amazing Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. This is NOT a highly manicured English-style garden with perfect lawns and topiary plants. This garden consists of paths through natural settings showcasing diverse, unusual, and colorful island plants.

Tropical Botanical Garden

Many island plants are extremely colorful and unusual. There are a myriad of plants of all shapes and sizes including ferns, palms, heliconia, orchids, and MANY others. The sheer size of some of these plants is amazing. The warm, humid climate is the perfect environment for these plants.


The Orchid section contains approximately 100 different orchid varieties. Needless to say, this was one of my favorite sections. Orchids come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. It is amazing to see the beauty and diversity of the orchids. An avid photographer could easily spend hours in this section alone.

Onomea Falls

As you wander the paths of the garden you become lost in thought looking at some of wonders of nature. One of these paths stops at this small but beautiful waterfall. This is not a loud, raging waterfall but a small and quiet one. It seems perfect for this serene garden setting. This is a good spot to just stop and admire.

One word of warning. The warm, moist air is a perfect environment for bugs. Mosquitos abound. Be sure to wear insect repellent and have extra in reserve. I wore long pants and I recommend closing the ends of your pants to help stop bugs. Even though it was very warm I wore a light jacket as bug protection.

Getting There

The Tropical Botanical Garden is located 8.5 miles north of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. From Hwy 19 take the 4 Mile Scenic Drive to Onomea Bay. Park at the Visitor Center and cross the street to the gardens. The entrance fee is a bit steep but it is worth the price.

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