Top 5 Shave Ice Joints on the Big Island

You haven’t experienced Hawaii until you’ve experienced shave ice!

Here are our top 5 shave ice joints on the Big Island for your enjoyment:

  1. Kula Shave Ice

    57 Mamo St, Hilo, HI 96720
    10:00 am – 4:00 pm

    Kula Shave Ice sells not just organic homemade fresh fruit shaved ice, but also organic cold brew coffee, tea, açaí bowls, ice cream, and Waipio Valley Poi! When in Hilo on a hot day, be sure to check them out! There is something for everyone. Known to locals as the best shave ice in Hilo town.

  2. Original Big Island Shave Ice

    Monday & Tuesday – Church Road, Kamuela, Hawaii (11:30 am – 5:30 pm)
    Wednesday – King’s Shop Parking Lot, Waikoloa, Hawaii (Next to Roy’s Restaurant) (11:00 am – 5:00 pm)
    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday – Kai Store, Hilo, Hawaii (11:30 am – 5:30 pm)
    11:30 am – 5:30 pm

    Original Big Island Shave Ice Co. takes pride in serving fine and flavorful shave ice crafted with aloha. Their story dates back to 1957 when the owner’s mother, Lorraine (Berdon) Kaono, the original “ice master”, began serving shave ice in West Hawaii. Her passion and refined shave ice recipes were taught to Reggie (owner) at the age of 10 and became a family tradition. In 2014, along with his wife Kim, their children (and their families), they founded the Original Big Island Shave Ice Co, Inc. with their first shave ice truck. They still use his mother’s homemade natural syrup recipes (with an added touch of his own!) and also feature delicious, local-favorite toppings. From their traditional Rainbow blend to gourmet specialties like Trini-Chantilly, they have something for everyone!

  3. Scandinavian Shave Ice

    75-5699 Alii Dr, Kailua Kona, Hawaii, on the corner of Alii Dr. and Likana Lane.
    Free public parking on the mauka (mountain) side of the building.
    Open Monday – Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
    Sundays 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

    Scandinavian Shave Ice, referred to as “Scandi’s” by the locals, is a Kona landmark that has been located in the heart of Kailua Village since 1991 . They are only minutes away from Kailua Pier, historic Hulihe’e Palace and Mokuaikaua Church. Described as the best shave ice in Hawaii, they offer generous portions at reasonable prices. Often mistaken for “snow cones” or “slushies,” a true shave ice has the consistency of new-fallen snow, not the granular, crunchy ice customers are used to. With ice cream or frozen yogurt in the middle, the customer’s choice of three out of their 65 flavors and crowned with a snow cap of sweetened condensed milk or coconut cream, this is probably the most unique treat they have had.

  4. One Aloha Shave Ice

    75-5711 Kuakini Hwy Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
    11:00 am- 6:30 pm

    This company serves “soul refreshing flavors made with real fruit in small batches in house daily with aloha.” One Aloha Shave Ice Company first opened its doors on July 3rd, 2015, when they decided to make homemade shave ice syrups lightly sweetened with certified organic cane sugar and organic and local no spray fruits. They have fresh local flavors such as Lilikoi (Passion Fruit), Tahitian Lime, Guava, Mango, Lychee, local orange, local tangerine, and creamy coconut, as well as all the berries, and even fun flavors, all hand made with aloha! Shave Ice that’s actually good for you! No high fructose corn syrup, no artificial food color, no refined white sugar. “Come and taste the realness.” Voted Best of West Hawaii for 2016 and 2017!

  5. Anuenue Ice Cream & Shave Ice

    61-3665 Akoni Pule Hwy, Kawaihae Shopping Ctr, Kamuela, HI 96743
    11:00 am – 6:00 pm

    My personal favorite! When you’re up north, you gotta give this literal hole in the wall a chance! Simple, old school, and so refreshing. This place always hits the spot. Cash only – so plan ahead!

Moving Your Pets to Hawaii

Moving with your pets to Hawaii is easier then you think in 2019!

When I first moved to Hawaii from California, my pets were a big concern. I was worried about the flight, the entire process of having them direct released from the airport and, of course, having them adjust to Hawaii. I wanted to make sure I could take them home the same day. Back in those days, things were a little different and took longer as the only direct release location was in Honolulu. We had to fly from San Francisco to Honolulu, clear quarantine, and then get on a different plane to arrive in Kona. Needless to say, my two dogs were in heaven when we finally arrived home in Kailua Kona. Beach, sun, and freedom to roam around like never before, more parks and definitely a friendly approach to those of us with four-legged kids.

My dogs “Slinky” and “Rat” were released the same day from quarantine and they loved Hawaii! 🙂

Many people who have visited Hawaii and entertained the notion of perhaps one day living here have been hampered by the strict quarantine of dogs and cats meant originally to protect Hawaii from the introduction of rabies. The quarantine of these pets used to be several months in duration and, for many years, there was only one pet quarantine station and that was on Oahu. Now, there is a station on the Big Island as of August 2018 and the pet quarantine has been eased. See the link below to the state site for more info.

Due to the large volume of requests for Neighbor Island Inspection Permits, owners must ensure the following documentation is received by the Animal Quarantine Station 30 days or more ahead of the planned arrival:

  • Completed Dog & Cat Import Form (AQS-279).
  • Original rabies vaccine certificates for the 2 most recent vaccinations.
  • Payment of $165 in cashier’s check or money order made out to the Dept. of Agriculture (no personal checks).
  • Flight information (i.e. Airlines, flight number, date and time of arrival).
  • A letter from the owner requesting Direct Airport Release at either “Kona” or “Kahului” or “Lihue.”

Contact a listed veterinary hospital to see if they are able to perform the inspection at the desired airport:

These contractors will send a confirmation to the Animal Quarantine Station that they have agreed to perform the inspection and release procedure. Owners are responsible for the additional fees to the contractor for this service.

Animal quarantine officials will inspect the pet at the airport, check its chip to confirm its identity, and release the animal to its owner if everything is in order.

Please visit the following sites for more info:

State of Hawaii – Department of Agriculture rules and guidelines:

For a list of frequently asked questions:

Checklists for Requesting Direct Airport Release at Airports in Kona, Kahului, and Lihue:

For more information, call Laure McElwee, Broker at (808) 217-0429 or email me today at

Top 5 Things To Do on a Rainy Day on the Big Island!

This amazing island of ours is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. But sometimes.. it rains! Not to worry though, this island still has plenty to offer even on the rainiest of days!

  1. Museums

    You can go visit one of our island’s many diverse museums, cultural centers, or visitor centers! A few of our favorites are the Hulihe’e Palace and the H.N. Greenwell Store. Whichever you choose, you’ll be sure to come away with new and interesting information! Here’s a link to a more complete list of your museum options on the Big Island:

  2. Coffee

    Kona is known for its coffee and we have so many wonderful coffee shops to enjoy! Some have WiFi for a more modern feel, while others ditch the WiFi and encourage a friendly old school atmosphere like Tealicious (my personal favorite because it also has toys for kids to play with!) Check out Holuakoa Cafe for another one of our local favorites! Some places even offer tours that are quite cool and informative! Here’s some more info on coffee tours:

  3. Shopping

    Go shop! You know your friends and family back home are hoping you bring them back a little something from the islands! Rainy days are a great opportunity to get those souvenirs! You can make a souvenir out of just about anything. Below is a link to some of the best shopping on the island, but we’d be remiss if I didn’t mention ABC stores for affordable local trinkets like aloha state key chains and mugs! I also have to say that Costco sells those delicious local chocolates in bulk! I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t appreciate chocolate as a souvenir!

  4. Self Care

    Take a day for self care! It’s your vacation – your time to get away from every day life and enjoy some tranquility in tropical paradise. A rainy day is a great day to take yourself to the spa! Get a massage or a manicure! Take a yoga class or participate in some other type of healing modality. The island has lots to offer in this direction. Take time for yourself and you will for sure experience the healing energy of the island. Here is a great list of spas: and local yoga studios:

  5. Enjoy it!

    Brave the rain for a refreshing walk or drive! Rain doesn’t always have to dampen your whole day! In Hawaii, we’re known to have showers that come and go quickly. Often, the rain is light and tropical. Many times, local folks don’t even bother to take cover from the rain because they know it will be over so soon. But even when the rain does stick around for a while, it doesn’t always mean you can’t go out and adventure! Try embracing the tropical shower for a brisk walk with a buddy! Arm yourself with an umbrella or a plastic raincoat if it’s more than a light drizzle and go splash in the puddles like you did when you were a kid! That’s a sure fire way to spend a fun and invigorating rainy day in paradise!

New Listing: 89-786 Lani Kona Rd – $599,000

Welcome to South Kona! Come experience all that this one-of-a-kind home nested on an acre of land has to offer. From the moment you arrive and enter the house, experience the quality of the finished carpentry throughout.


Features include:

  • Solid Brazilian wood floors
  • Travertine floors in the kitchen
  • Marble in the bathrooms
  • High recessed ceilings with wood accent
  • Central vacuum system
  • Gourmet kitchen with solid granite counters, under mount sink, Thermador gas cook top, Bosch dishwasher, solid wood cabinetry with quiet-close hardware, and spacious pantry
  • Separate laundry room off the kitchen
  • Solid Mahogany interior doors
  • Wired with 12 gauge wiring, 200 amp service, plumbed and wired for solar hot water
  • Two 20,000 gallon water tanks
  • Master bath has double under mount sinks, Roy Lambert Cabinetry and marble shower enclosure
  • Downstairs room with concrete floor used for storage and workshop

View the listing for more pictures and information!

Please contact us today! or call (808) 936-8837 or or call (808) 217-0429 for more info.

Top 5 January Events on the Big Island of Hawaii

2019 is off to a great start! Here are our TOP FIVE UPCOMING EVENTS for the month of January!

January 20


This annual observance to honor the great civil rights leader will take place in Maka’eo Pavilion. There will be a complimentary luncheon from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm; the program will start at 1:15 pm. This event is free and open to the public. The celebration will consist of displays of art, songs, and music by our local schools and the community. For additional information contact Virginia Halliday at (808) 325-1112 or Mamie Bramlett at (808) 331-1448.

January 20


Free Hawaiian music and hula on the Palace’s South Lawn at 4 pm, presented by the Daughters of Hawaii. Bring your own beach mat or chair. Before and after the Palace performance, stroll thru historic Kailua Village (the Stroll starts at 1 pm & goes until 6 pm), enjoy over 100 vendor booths, plus ocean-side restaurants, local musicians & artists. For more info about the Palace event, email For more info about Kokua Kailua, email or visit

January 25


Photographer Harry Durgin and natural history interpreter “Ranger John” Stallman bring together Science and Art to highlight the wonder of the 2018 eruption in Puna and the continuing transformations as the area rebounds. Expect an unforgettable evening of beauty and awe. Time: 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Aloha Theatre, Kainaliu. Cost: $15. For more information, call (808) 965-3105 or visit

January 25 & 26


The 17th annual ‘Iolani Luahine Hula Festival will be held January 26 & 27, 2018 at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. The ‘Iolani Luahine Festival was established in 2003 with a vision to perpetuate the hula, and it also serves as a way to honor the memory of kumu hula ‘Iolani Luahine and her contributions to the preservation of hula and Hawaiian culture. This year the festival will again include hula presentations and a challenge to kumu hula with a prize for the one who best demonstrates the values of ‘Iolani Luahine: Education and Hawaiian culture. The festival will feature hula workshops and Ni’ihau shell jewelry workshops with Kumu Kele Kanahele featuring lei in the pikake style. Hula presentations will begin at 4 pm on Friday and feature makuahine, makuakane, and kupuna hula presentations. Saturday will begin at 1 pm and will feature the keiki, opio, wahine, and kane presentations. The hula presentations on both days are a free community event and everyone is invited to attend! Donations will be gratefully accepted to support the festival. A Friday evening Hawaiian music concert which helps support the festival will begin at 6:30 pm featuring Lehua Kawaikapuakalani Hewett & friends; tickets are $15 and will be available online and at the door. On Saturday, the festival will offer quality Hawaiian arts and crafts by local artisans beginning at 11:00 am. For tickets, workshop registration, or more information about the festival, please visit For more information, email

January 27


KPO welcomes the winners of its annual Madeline Schatz-Harris Youth Concerto Competition to the stage. “En Pointe Brilliance” showcases three of the State of Hawaii’s young, talented musicians as they perform alongside Hawaii Island’s premiere orchestra. The youth concerto competition concert is always a season highlight and not one to be missed. Time: 4-6:30 pm at Kahilu Theatre, Waimea. Cost: $15-50. For more information, call (808) 885-6868, email or visit

Top 5 Big Island Beaches

There are so many unique and wonderful beaches on this Big Beautiful Island! Here is a quick list of our TOP 5 FAVORITES with pictures included! What are your favorite Hawaiian beaches?


    This gorgeous beach is consistently rated on top 10 Islands’ beaches year after year. It boasts a 1/2 mile of soft white sand and brilliant water (with impressive surf in the winter.) The water at Hapuna Beach is so clear you can barely tell where the beach ends and the ocean begins. This award-winning shore is fun for families as it has plenty of room to roam, a lifeguard on duty year-round, and picnic tables shaded by trees that line the beach. Snorkeling, swimming, and body-boarding are common pastime here, when the currents aren’t too strong. Plenty of parking but not a lot of shade!


    Ho’okena Beach Park is the historical site for one of the last active Hawaiian canoe fishing villages in Hawai’i. Ho’okena has a rich cultural history and remnants of its old commercial steamship pier remain. There are canoes strewn across the beach owned by the fishermen who continue traditional Hawaiian fishing practices passed down from their ancestors. If you are lucky, you may see the fishermen launch their canoes or come back with a bounty full of fish.

    The beach is an exotic blend of a wide variety of coral and fine, gray sand. Depending on the time of year, the ocean is placid and the clear, blue waters reveal spectacular underwater landscapes and a colorful array of fish. When there is a south swell, watch the local boogie boarders masterfully ride the near shore break. The sunsets are amazing and the sunrise above the pali (cliffs) are breathtaking.

    Ho’okena Beach Park is an excellent place to camp under the stars, listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing on the beach, then waking up to a gentle sea breeze to a spectacular view found nowhere else.


    Green sand beach is one of the “once in a lifetime” places to visit on the Big Island. Green sand beach is officially known as “Papakōlea beach” and it is one of two green sand beaches in the United States.

    The beach itself is carved in a 49,000 years old cinder cone belonging to the Mauna Loa volcano that contains the green crystals (olivines) that give the beach its name. You can read more about this in the green sand trivia section further below. The main attraction of this beach is, of course, the crystal green sand. Note that the green crystals that give the beach its name are mixed with black (lava) and white (coral/shells) sand, and thus some patches of sand are more green than others. Take the time to pick up some sand to inspect it closely. It is positively breathtaking!


    Some of the finest protected snorkeling in all of Hawaii is located only a short dive south from Kona town. Two-Step Beach is located just north of Pu’u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park, also known as the City of Refuge, and a perfect spot to explore the crystal clear waters of Kona’s coast.

    With green sea turtles, colorful fish, live coral, and Hawaiian spinner dolphins, Two-Step beach is a Big Island snorkeling paradise. Although no swimming is allowed within the National Park, Two-Step Beach, which sits just outside the park, offers a convenient place to enter Honaunau bay.

    There are no snorkel rental places at the City of Refuge, so make sure to bring your own gear or stop by our shop for snorkel rentals before you take off.


    Makalawena might be the best beach on the Big Island that can’t be reached by road. There are several bays scooped out of the Kona Coast with gorgeous white sand and plentiful shade from palm trees. The hike out to Makalawena keeps the crowds away, especially on weekdays. It’s really tough to find a more perfect beach anywhere in the Hawaiian island chain. Swimming is usually pretty safe when waters are calm. The land behind Makalawena is private. The most northerly bay has a protected spot that’s very calm. ‘Ōpae’ula Pond is behind Makalawena and its twelve acres are a National Natural Landmark that protects nesting and breeding areas for some native Hawaiian birds. It’s surrounded by private property, so stay out. Take a look at our page for Kekaha Kai State Park if you’re looking for a longer hike or for other destinations in the area.

    Kekaha Kai State Park is a large and relatively undeveloped beach park north of Kailua-Kona. Formerly known as Kona Coast State Park, the name Kekaha Kai comes from the Hawaiian phrase ke kaha kai, meaning “the shore line.” This region has some of the best beaches on the island. Kekaha Kai State Park is open 8am – 7pm every day except Wednesdays.

General Excise Tax State of Hawaii

Good news: Hawaii doesn’t have a sales tax, but it does impose the general excise tax (GET) “at every level of transaction on goods and services… .”

The GET is 4% throughout most of Hawaii and 4.5% on Oahu, but the state allows a business to charge their customers a maximum of 4.712% to help recoup some of their total GET.

Our general excise tax will be going up in 2019.

Please see the below link for the State Website for more information about this.

The new General Excise Rate for the County of Hawaii is 4.25%. They have added on a surcharge of 0.25%.

The max pass-on rate for the County of Hawaii has increased from 4.1666% to 4.4386%.

The Transient Accommodation tax has not changed.

If you have any questions about buying or selling in Hawaii be sure to give us a call at First Island Realty: (808) 930-3610 or email

About Bill 108 – Hawaii County

In brief: About Bill 108 – Regulations on Short Term Vacation Rentals in Hawaii

This post is made in the hope to help you understand the current issue and pending regulation you need to be aware of if you plan on buying a home and using it as a vacation rental.

One of the main problems on our island and in many seaside communities across the United States is a lack of affordable housing. This is an issue impacting all the islands and in Kailua Kona, we estimate 20-25 renters applying for every one available rental which in turn pushes the housing cost up.

Our islands have traditionally been a second home market and many homes are turned into vacation rentals through various property management companies including third parties such VRBO and Airbnb. This is not a new phenomenon; however, it does remove the opportunity for people living locally to find a place to live.

Many residential neighborhoods have strict home owners associations in place to avoid short term rentals and in addition, for those who live in those subdivisions, the traffic brought by short term renters as well as the noise created by vacationers do disturb the peaceful life style many seek when living and retiring to Hawaii.

As a full service real estate company, First Island Realty understands our client’s desires to purchase a home now, rent it out, and retire into it later. Let us help you find a property which can truly be a vacation rental if that is what you seek!

Recently, Bill 108 has been introduced to regulate home sharing and vacation rentals in Hawaii County Council. Bill 108 will significantly change how home sharing works on Hawaii . Bill 108 has been in the works for over a year and this is Hawaii County Council’s first attempt to regulate the increasingly popular Airbnb, VRBO, and other short-term rentals. The county is the only one in the state not regulating such rentals.

This link will take you to the county site to view the latest draft of this bill:

First Island Realty will keep you apprised of the final outcome of this bill when it passes. Make sure you call us if you are looking to invest in a long term or vacation rental home in Hawaii and we will share all the update info available to us prior to making your purchase.

Laure McElwee, Broker/Owner
First island Realty

New Listing: 76-6298 Haku Pl – $696,000

This is an amazing opportunity to own a spacious residence with spectacular ocean views of the Kona coastline and Kailua Bay on a quiet cul de sac. The home is set on the original developer’s premier lot in Kilohana. A lovely courtyard welcomes you upon arrival and provides privacy, security, and a zen feeling.

The spacious main room features a vaulted open beam ceiling, travertine floors throughout with an open floor plan and lots of light. An enclosed lanai also provides additional living space. From every angle of this home, you can see the ocean. Then step out of the enclosed lanai onto another amazing open space to take in the view. Barbecue in the evenings or simply enjoy a glass of wine with friends while watching the sunset. The updated kitchen is fully appointed with a pass through window onto the lanai to allow for enjoyable entertainment.

The master bedroom features new floors to match the rest of the house, a walk-in closet, and opens onto the lanai with the same spectacular views of the ocean and a recently remodeled bathroom awaits you. Tucked outside the master bedroom on the south side find an inviting hot tub ready for your enjoyment. The home has 2 additional bedrooms as well as another fully equipped second bathroom. A separate laundry room on the opposite side of the kitchen with small home office provides additional space. A large 2 car garage is attached with additional parking in the driveway. Please note a new septic tank and new roof were installed in 2015.

The yard is easy-to-maintain and has a fully automated irrigation system. Coast down the hill to some amazing surf breaks and beaches. Kilohana is a highly-desired neighborhood about a 10-minute drive from shopping and downtown Kailua-Kona. Some furniture are negotiable outside of the sale.

Please contact us today! or call (808) 217-0429 for more info.

Alii Lani price reduction now $345,000

75-6081 Alii Drive, #AA201

Amazing upstairs unit with some ocean views at Alii Lani sold turnkey. From the moment you walk in, experience the free flowing open space, high ceilings and bright interior. The unit is decorated in a lovely Hawaiian style design with quality furniture and sold with everything one may need in down to the silverware.

The lovely lanai is inviting and provides an intimate setting for an evening cocktail; during Iron Man, you will have the best seat in the house to enjoy the race.

Alii Lani has two separate resort-style pool areas with spas, pavilions, and BBQ Facilities. Small pets allowed on the property. Alii Lani has the lowest 3-Bedroom maintenance fees in Kona. Ideally located close to restaurants, shopping, deli, beach, ocean activities & open-air markets. Kona Shuttle Bus runs in front of the complex on regular schedule along Alii Drive between Keauhou and Kona Town. Extremely EZ to See!

Please contact us today! or call (808) 217-0429 for more info.

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