Along the scenic Hamakua Coast between Hilo and Laupahoehoe on the Big Island is the small town of Pepeekeo. Situated at 487 feet above sea level on the northeastern shore, Pepeekeo is home to about 2,000 people.
In the late 1800s and into the 1900s, Pepeeko was a booming sugar town. It was also home to the island’s largest sugar producer, the Pepeekeo Sugar Company, which built hospitals, parks, theaters and even a lighthouse.
Today the former sugarcane lands are used to grow agricultural products such as bananas, tropical fruits and macadamia nuts. More than half of the island’s bananas are grown in this area.
Attractions in the Pepeekeo area include the Pepeekeo Sugar Mill as well as the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden on Onomea Bay. The botanical garden features more than 2,500 exotic plant species from around the world in a lush 40-acre valley.
The Pepeekeo Point Lighthouse was originally established in the 1880s to warn passing ships to stay clear of the rocky coastline. During much of the 1900s the area around the lighthouse used as a sports and recreation area by residents of the town, which at that time was known as Pepeekeo Mill Camp.
Pepeekeo is one of the many charming, small towns along the scenic Hamakua Heritage Corridor Drive from Hilo to Waipio Valley.