Volcano Village

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Volcano Village

What: Artist community hidden in a rainforest
Where: Puna District (45 minutes from Hilo and 2 1/2 hours from Kailua-Kona on Hwy 11)

Volcano Village is home to independent spirits: farmers, creative minds, inquisitive scientists and those who seek inspiration in the peace of the rainforest and the power of nature's might on the island of Hawaii.

Located a mere five minutes from the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Highway 11, Volcano Village is more than just a stop along the way. Notable glass blowers, painters and ceramic artists have made their home among the towering pine trees and endemic ohia lehua. Take time to browse the galleries, or stretch your legs as you enjoy a delicious meal.

On Sunday mornings, follow the locals to the farmers' market at Cooper's Center on Wright Road for fresh cut flowers, locally grown vegetables and an irresistible variety of baked goods. Advice from those in the know: Come early.

One of the most commonly asked questions in Volcano Village is, "What's that purple flower?" We're sorry to say it's an invasive species commonly known as the "Glory Bush," a self-generating weed that's smothering the native fauna and disrupting the island's delicate ecosystem.

If you're planning to spend the day exploring the volcano, Volcano Village is a good place to grab snacks, water, sunscreen, flashlights and of course, gas for the drive back to your hotel. There are plenty of reasons to extend your stay in this part of the island. You might consider staying for the monthly After Dark in the Park event. You'll also find some charming bed and breakfasts nearby.