Hawaiʻi Tropical Botanical Garden – Papaikou, Hawaii - Atlas Obscura

Hawaiʻi Tropical Botanical Garden

Papaikou, Hawaii

More than 2,000 species of tropical plants call this nature preserve and sanctuary home.  

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Tucked away in the Onomea Valley, the Big Island’s damp eastern coast near Hilo, is a magical botanical garden also known as the “Garden in a Valley on the Ocean.” Most of the plants are native to the island, however, many hail from various tropical locations from across the Pacific.

A winding two-lane road takes visitors through the entrance, parking lot, and visitors center. There are several manicured trails located throughout the garden that take hikers down into the valley. Across the trails are a wide variety of plants, including ferns that tower over visitors.

The garden is also home to a stream and several small waterfalls that eventually lead down into the ocean.  It’s a great location to take in some breathtaking scenery. 

Know Before You Go

Admission for a day is $25 for adults, children ages 6 - 16 are $12. Children under 6 enter for free. Yearly memberships are also available.


When making your way to the gardens, you may think you are lost on a narrow, winding two-lane road. But, fear not. Once you see your first sign, you will eventually get there. Though you may be fortunate to visit on a sunny day, this is a wet region so be sure to bring rain gear just in case.

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