Geckos and Gecko Art at Horizon Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Horizon Guest House Gecko Gold Dust Captain Cook Hawaii
Gold Dust Gecko in the garden at Horizon Guest House

Even though it was introduced from further afield, the gecko is now emblematic of Hawaii, and you can’t go far on the Big Island without finding them in the natural landscape, printed on t-shirts, made into stickers, or – as you’ll see in this post – as works of art on the walls of the Horizon B&B.

There are eight species of gecko in Hawaii:

  1. Mourning gecko
  2. Stump-toed gecko
  3. Fox gecko
  4. Common house gecko
  5. Tokay gecko
  6. Orange-spotted day gecko
  7. Giant day gecko
  8. Gold dust day gecko

Only the last three – orange-spotted, giant and gold dust geckos are active in the daytime. The gold dust gecko is one of the prettiest and so-named for the coloriation of its body. Their bodies are usually green, or a yellowy green, with yellow speckles.

Gold dust geckos can grow up to 9 inches long. They eat plants, insects and sometimes even other geckos! (And they love a sugar snack too). This species of gecko is the one you will most likely see during your stay at Horizon Guest House on the Kona Coast. Don’t worry, they are completely harmless!

Gold Dust Gecko having a snack at The Coffee Shack on the Kona Coast


Did you know? Geckos don’t have eyelids. Their eyes have a transparent membrane and they clean it with their tongue! Geckos are also able to vocalize, unlike other lizards, making a kind of chirping, clicking sound. The noises geckos make might be to scare off other geckos who have invaded their territory, as a means to avoid fighting, or to attract another gecko in order to mate. They can also jump a fair distance too when chasing their insect prey.

Contrary to popular opinion geckos don’t have tiny toe pads with suction cups. In fact, their toes are covered in hundreds of tiny microscopic hairs called setae. Each of these setae have hundreds of smaller bristles called spatulae. These tiny hairs get close enough to the contours of walls, ceilings and other surfaces that it causes what’s known as the van der Waals force to occur.

Fun fact! The van der Waals force is a physical bond that occurs when electrons from the gecko hair molecules and electrons from the surface of the wall, or ceiling, interact with each other creating an electromagnetic attraction. This allows the gecko to navigate smooth surfaces like glass, as well as walls and ceilings, with ease.

Sometimes you might see a gecko without a tail – as you can imagine this isn’t so good for the gecko. To regrow the tail involves a process that is taxing on the lizard, sapping them of energy. To make matters worse the tail itself is actually a place where essential nutrients and fat are stored for periods when food is difficult to find. If you see a gecko with a thick tail it’s a good indication of the geckos health, hence a thin tail could indicate poor health, or a lack of access to nutrient-rich food.

How did they get to Hawaii? We know the gecko was introduced and can probably assume that they made it across the vast distances in the Pacific by stowing away aboard Polynesian canoes.

Gold Dust Gecko with Clem at Kona Coffee and Tea in Kailua-Kona


Geckos have a varied life span depending on the species but the average expected life span is approximately five years. If you manage to keep one as a pet they can live longer – they have been known to live for almost 20 years in captivity. We don’t keep them as pets here at Horizon Guest House, but you’ll be sure to see them in the garden or out on the lanai, and the occasional one that makes its way indoors. Don’t worry, all rooms have insect screens and doors to keep them, and other insects, out.

Hawaiian mythology

The mo’o are mentioned in Hawaiian mythology as a kind of dragon – their bodies forming a part of the landscape. Seen as the guardians of water, and also the family, they serve to warn or protect a person from an approaching danger. Over time the geckos have become a kind of manifestation of the mythological mo’o. Making the gecko a small but well-respected creature in Hawaiian culture.

Gecko Art at Horizon

Over the years we’ve collected a lot of gecko-related art. These are currently displayed out on the main lanai of the house. Check out the photos below.

Horizon Guest House Captain Cook Hawaii Gecko

Gecko Horizon B&B Kona Coast Hawaii

Horizon Guest House B&B Captain Cook Hawaii

Horizon Guest House Captain Cook Hawaii B&B

Horizon Guest House B&B Honaunau Captain Cook Hawaii


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Top 5 must-see sights on the Big Island Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Two Steps Captain Cook Horizon BnB Big Island
Two Steps

1. Snorkel at Kealakekua Bay & Two Steps

Snorkel both or just one – both are fantastic. Kealakekua Bay is one of the best places to snorkel in Hawaii. An easy drive from Horizon Guest House to either hike down to the Captain Cook monument and snorkel, or make a day of it on a commercial boat such as the Fair Wind snorkel cruise.

Just arrived and want to get in the water straight away? Two Steps is only minutes from Horizon Guest House. We have snorkels and masks on hand for you to use and you’ll be swimming with yellow tangs in no time.

Easy for beginners Two Steps is so-named because of the natural rock steps used to access the water.

Place of Refuge Big Island Horizon Guest House B&B Hawaii
Place of Refuge

Tip: Don’t forget to visit Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park (translated as Place of Refuge) on the left side of the bay.

2. Volcanoes National Park

Less than 1.5 hours away Hawaii Volcanoes National Park contains some of the most unique geological, biological, and cultural landscapes in the world, including the summits of two of the world’s most active volcanoes – Kilauea and Mauna Loa.

Volcano Big Island Hawaii Horizon Guest House Captain Cook

We recommend you make the visitor center your first stop on arrival to find out how active the volcanoes are and for the latest tips on the best vantage point. Whether it’s a crater rim drive and a stop at the Jagger Museum, or a serious hike on the newly re-opened (July 2019) trail in the Napau Crater area, there’s a lot to see and plenty happening at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Tip: Get there early and do the summit tour before 10am or after 3pm to avoid the crowds.

3. Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea Big Island Hawaii Horizon B&B

Go any time of day but to really experience the wonder of Mauna Kea it’s best to time your visit at dusk to enjoy the amazing sunset and then, on a clear night, the starry night sky! You’ll need to stop at the Visitor Information Station at 9,200 ft. to not only check the status of the summit but most importantly to adjust to the change in altitude – that’s right, being able to drive from sea level to the summit at 14,000 ft. in 2 hours means it’s important to acclimatize.

Make sure you allow enough time to get there – check with Clem on the timing and how to work it in to your day out – the summit opens half an hour before sunrise and closes half an hour after sunset. A stop to stargaze at the Visitor Information Station is a must – local volunteer astronomers set up telescopes outside of the station. Everyone gets the chance to use them for free.

Tip: Don’t forget your jacket! It gets cold up there, so warm clothes are a must – we have jackets on hand if you need one.

4. Waipi’o Valley

They filmed the end of the movie Waterworld here and when you visit it’ll feel like stepping into another world. Meaning curved water in Hawaiian, Waipi’o Valley is a magical place which can be enjoyed from the jaw-dropping scenic lookout or you can explore the valley on foot, or with a guided tour.

Waipi'o Valley Big Island Horizon Guest House Hawaii

Hike into the valley and down to the black sand beach and back in less than seven miles. For the more adventurous try the Muliwai Trail on the other side of the valley – you’ll need to camp out for this one.

Whether it’s the wild horses, pristine waterfalls, or the wild black sand beach, it’s worth making Waipi’o Valley a stop on your Big Island itinerary.

Tip: Parking is fairly limited, so either come early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowd.

5. Hāpuna Beach

Hapuna Beach Big Island Hawaii Horizon B&B

White sand beach, turquoise water – it’s the quintessential Hawaiian beach and it’s here on the Big Island. An easy drive from Horizon Guest House Hāpuna beach is half a mile long, often sun-drenched, and is shaded with trees and a picnic pavilion.

Tip: Arrive early to find a good park and a shaded spot on the beach.

5 ½. Circle the Big Island

So we cheated – just a tiny bit. It’s hard to squeeze the best into a top 5 and your trip to the Big Island wouldn’t be complete without a road trip around the island. Check with Clem on his itinerary recommendations and how to make it work best with your stay.


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

Summer fruit on the Big Island: from the garden to the breakfast table! Horizon Guest House - Captain Cook - Big Island - Hawaii

Mango trees Captain Cook Big Island Bnb Hawaii

We’re well into summer here on the Big Island of Hawaii and with it comes an abundance of summer fruit grown right here on the property. Providing in-season fruit direct to the breakfast table for guests every day is our pleasure.

Organically grown in the gardens surrounding Horizon Guest House we currently have a bounty of mangoes, white pineapples, dragon fruit, lychees, and papaya.

Mangoes

Mangoes in Hawaii, is there anything better? We have a number of established trees on the property and this is a staple of our breakfast when in season.

Mango tree Horizon Guest House Captain Cook Hawaii

Big Island residents love their mangoes, whether they’re lucky enough to have their own backyard tree or purchased direct from the local Farmer’s Market – the closest one to us is on Sundays in South Kona – be sure to make the most of the mango season from May to October, and come to love them as much as we do.

Mangoes Captain Cook Big Island Hawaii BnB

Did you know? Mangoes aren’t in fact native to the Hawaiian Islands, rather it’s widely thought they arrived here in the early 19th century from Manila.

Mangoes also make a great ingredient in a number of Hawaiian recipes – sauces, salsa, cheesecake, ice cream and even pickles.

White Pineapple

What’s better than a pineapple? White pineapple. The sweet white flesh of the fruit itself is deliciously creamy, and is also low-acid. Even the core is edible! And it isn’t woody and stringy like other varieties.

White pineapples Horizon BnB Kona Hawaii

Grown mostly by local farmers on the Big Island and available at the local markets, white pineapple also goes by the name of Kona Sugarloaf, Big Island White or White.

Did you know? It’s a myth that pulling a leaf easily from the crown of the pineapple indicates  ripeness.

White pineapple pieces Horizon bed and breakfast HawaiiAmong other health benefits pineapple is a great source of potassium, vitamin C, and also fiber.

 

 

Dragon fruit

Believed by many to be a super fruit, dragon fruit is high in vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium. Red-skinned with red-flesh, orange-skinned with white flesh, and also red skinned with white flesh, it’s a sweet, juicy delight – tasting like a cross between a pear and a melon.

Dragon fruit South Kona Horizon Bed and Breakfast Hawaii

Similar to a kiwifruit because of its small, black, crunchy seeds, dragon fruit can also be added to deserts, smoothies, sorbets and salads.

Did you know? Its name comes from its appearance – like a fireball with its bright pink coloring and green leaves shaped like flames.

Lychee

We’re lucky enough to have a number of lychee trees at Horizon Guest House. When ripe lychees turn a bright red. The red rind conceals within a juicy, white, translucent and gelatinous flesh.

Lychee tree Captain Cook Hawaii Horizon Bed and Breakfast

Lychees are a delicious treat – and taste even better chilled. A staple of backyard gardens all over the Big Island they are also naturally high in vitamin C and potassium.

 

Lychees Big Island Kona Coast Hawaii Horizon BnB

 

Did you know? The first lychee plant was brought to Hawaii in the 1870s from China.

 

 

Papaya

Available year round in Hawaii, papaya flourish especially well from spring through to September. Enjoyed as part of the breakfast fruit platter they also make a great snack on their own. Simply scoop out the seeds and replace with a spoonful of yoghurt!

Papaya tree Big Island Hawaii Horizon Guest HousePapaya can not only be added to salads and stews but the black seeds found inside the papaya are edible. The seeds have a sharp, spicy flavor and can be ground and used instead of black pepper.

Did you know? Papaya are originally from southern Mexico but now grow in most tropical countries – of course we believe the best is right here at the bed and breakfast.


Book now and enjoy your breakfast at Horizon Guest House with fresh fruit from the garden direct to our breakfast fruit platter – available daily.

• Check out more details on our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

 

Top of The World

One of the most interesting things about the Big Island is the diversity of geology. Drove up to the top of Mauna Kea [13,800′] the other day to enjoy a sunset and then spend some time at the visitor’s center and their wonderful presentation of the night sky. Numerous telescope are set up and a University of Hawaii student presents that night’s events.
The photo is looking west towards the Keck and Subaru telescopes with the Gemini, silver domed telescope to the right. The tip of Maui is just barely visible in the distance.
Clem

img_4019