Hilo is a port town and the largest settlement on Hawaii island (aka Big Island), with population around 45,000. The town overlooks Hilo Bay, located upon two shield volcanoes: Mauna Kea (dormant) and Mauna Loa (active). The majority of town's infrastructure stretches from Hilo Bay to Waiakea-Uka.
The city is served by Hilo International Airport. Regularly scheduled flights are operated by both Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines.
Near Hilo (at Keaau) is the seed processing plant of the US corporation "Mauna Loa" - the world's leading producer of macadamia nuts. The company is owned by Hawaiian Host Inc. The first macadamia plantation on the island was planted in 1946, and its first crop was harvested in 1956. The plant's visitors center is one of the island's main tourist attractions. The processing plant tour is self-guided. The equipment is viewed from a walkway on the 2nd floor. There is a gift shop, also selling fresh-made macadamia ice cream.
Hilo is Hawaii's oldest city and has a well developed tourism industry. Among the city's best known tourist attractions are tsunami museum (featuring banyan trees planted by famous celebrities), Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, large shopping centers, numerous restaurants and cafes, movie theaters, hotels, picturesque downtown (with the Farmers Market).
Hilo cruise terminal
Cruise ships in Hilo Hawaii dock at a terminal facility located approx 3 km (2 ml) from the town's center. The route between the cruise ship terminal and downtow is walkable, but part of it is through the town's industrial zone. Passengers are usually greeted by locals performing live traditional music and dancing.
Ouside the cruise port's main entrance, there is a bus stop serving the island's Hele On Bus (marked as "Keaukaha"). This bus line goes to Mooheau Bus Station (downtown's last stop). Hele On Bus don't run on Sundays.
At the cruise terminal there are also taxis (to downtown Hilo) and free (sponsored by Walmart) shuttle bus service between the terminal and the Walmart store.
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