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Big Island, Hilo, Hawaii report
Old 12-17-2008, 03:01 PM   #1
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Big Island, Hilo, Hawaii report

Stayed at a hostel, Arnott's Lodge, in a private room with a private bath, with a shared kitchen. $60 a night and that included the 11% taxes. The room had no TV, and was very clean but you handle your own linens. Unlimited fresh linens are stored near the kitchen. The bath had a large, tile shower, no tub. The hostel location is in the edge of a residential neighborhood with a small, almost private beach, half a block away. A few houses away from the hostel, there is a rooster who can't tell time. We were far enough away, but the dorm dwellers were not.

A mile or two away, at Carl Smith Beach, the lava has formed a lagoon that attracts the same big sea turtle specie seen at Punalu'u black sand beach that is 40 miles away. Go see the distant beach once, then check daily on the neighborhood turtles.

We took a tour to the lava entering the ocean site. We then returned on our own at night for several more visits. After the water occasionally splattered some glowing lava back onto the shore at night, I darted in to pickup the nearest, smallest, still glowing fragment. Wearing leather gloves, I've held a small rock that was so fresh, it was still glowing faint orange in the middle.

North of Hilo, where a road ends at the Waipio Valley Lookout, you will recognize the splendid standard view from all of the photos taken from the same spot. For hikers, intend to spend half a day or more on the huge black sand beach there. Next visit, I'm headed for the trail that goes up and down for eight miles over to the next trailhead at the end of the other road. The valleys are so large and steep that the highway bypasses them.

Tucked away in the northeast corner of the Wednesday and Saturday Hilo Farmers' Market is Ratana's Green Papaya Salad stand. The $5 quart container of Pumpkin curry with a quart of either the cucumber salad or the green papaya salad (each $5) is a healthy, delicious $10 meal for both of us. That makes up for the Loco Moco bowls that we usually ate for breakfast. LM is a big scoop of rice topped with a well cooked burger patty wearing a fried egg, then covered with brown gravy. That is Big Island fast food.

The pineapple curry on dark brown rice at the Naung Mai Thai Kitchen is the best dish I've eaten--sweet, flavorful, and hot. Perfect with Thai iced tea. A bouquet of six big different colored anthuriums that lasted for a week was only $5 at the Farmer's Market. Across from the restaurant is Garden Exchange where they sell a plant named Bat Flower. The blossom looks like a black lily.

To answer Laurence's question below, we always walk to the end of a garden path so yes we went out on Coconut Island and climbed the same stone diving tower where he hung out as a student.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:00 PM   #2
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Did you see Coconut Island while in Hilo? Many a weekend night involved jumping off the small tower into the waters below with my (slightly drunk) friends. Ah, college.

Hilo wasn't the greatest place for beach activities, but I will never forget how absolutely green everything was. We used to mountain bike through the rain forests around there. One time a girlfriend and I biked from Hilo to Volcano National Park (we spent the night rather than try to make the round trip).
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:00 PM   #3
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Cheap gas and a visitor recession will create a lot of 2009 travel bargains around here...
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:33 PM   #4
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I had a great vacation on the Big Island a few years ago. One fun thing I did was rent a truck and drive to the top of Mauna Kea. There aren't many places in the world where you can drive from sea level to 13,000+ feet in a few hours. If you can get up there when the weather conditions are right, there can be some magnificent views. If you decide to do this, dress warmly - it can be chilly up there!!
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:55 AM   #5
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Mmmmm, Loco Moco.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:15 AM   #6
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Cheap gas and a visitor recession will create a lot of 2009 travel bargains around here...
Yep. It's a great time to have a very secure income stream. The rest of us can only watch the bargains go by, wishing we had the security to go for it.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:19 AM   #7
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Mmmmm, Loco Moco.
This is especially comfort food for cardiologists, who are assured of a steady stream of new customers if this becomes popular.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:31 AM   #8
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Lived in Hawaii for three years. Spent sometime on the Big Island. Never heard of a Loco Moco. Too bad, I would have tried one.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:36 AM   #9
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This is especially comfort food for cardiologists, who are assured of a steady stream of new customers if this becomes popular.
Just *looking* at that thing is giving me chest pains...
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:43 AM   #10
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This is especially comfort food for cardiologists, who are assured of a steady stream of new customers if this becomes popular.
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Just *looking* at that thing is giving me chest pains...
Oh No! Loco Moco is just plain good for what ails you. You must be thinking of this. (Click on any of the thumbnails on the left.)
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:58 PM   #11
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Oh No! Loco Moco is just plain good for what ails you. You must be thinking of this. (Click on any of the thumbnails on the left.)
Oh my word. That looks like a triple-bypass Ho Ho...
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:35 PM   #12
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Yep. It's a great time to have a very secure income stream. The rest of us can only watch the bargains go by, wishing we had the security to go for it.
If that was aimed at me, then take yourself shopping for a COLA'd annuity and a dividend-paying ETF. (The really good ones don't require you to expose yourself to gunfire or six-month deployments.) Spend your first check on a plane ticket. Or PM me if you're looking for a 3-5 year job as a project manager at a Maui wind farm. Target is also hiring 1200 people in preparation for opening three stores here in 2009.

I don't eat a loco moco for breakfast every day... but I could. And somehow having that choice makes all the difference.
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:24 PM   #13
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As tightwads, we eat local food when travelling. In ten days there, I only gained a couple of pounds, then lost that in the first three days of dieting at home. We also ate a lot of the truly delicious, local pineapples and bananas. We tried all of the fruit species at the market. Rambutans are tasty but aren't filling, just a fruit snack.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:58 AM   #14
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Cheap gas and a visitor recession will create a lot of 2009 travel bargains around here...
I'm sitting in Iowa wishing I could go to Hawaii this winter. (Family illness is keeping us close to home.) But I still had to click on this link:

Quote:
Occupancy and room rates for the major Hawaiian islands were as follows:
Oahu occupancy increased 4.1 percentage points to 65.7 percent, while room rates dropped 17.5 percent to $161;
Maui occupancy plunged 21.2 percentage points to 43 percent, while room rates decreased 15.6 percent to $246;
Kauai occupancy fell 15.8 percentage points to 41 percent, while room rates plummeted 27.5 percent to $172; and
Big island occupancy was down 15.4 percentage points to 35 percent, while room rates were down 18.4 percent to $151
Hawaii hotel occupancy, rates fall - Dayton Business Journal:

A shortage of visitors also means less traffic at beaches, retaurants, rental car counters, etc.

I've only been to Hawaii once. Is Maui really that much more expensive than the other islands?
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:15 PM   #15
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Great report! Any pictures? Yes, I'm doing my yearly vicarious vacation. Where is Lazy?
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:39 PM   #16
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I've only been to Hawaii once. Is Maui really that much more expensive than the other islands?
You can find bargains on all of the islands, but Maui is generally the biggest crowds chasing the smallest number of available rooms. The Big Island is probably the best place to find cheap accomodations, but there are going to be plenty of cheap last-minute places this spring/summer.

This Kailua rental had visitors for a couple weeks. The guy grew up here but he moved his family off the island when he took his new Mainland job, so it's back on the vacation-rental market:
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The home is one story, built by famed Kailua builder Harold K.L. Castle in 1934, renovated in 2005, and sold in January 2008 for $9,000,000. This is the property at the end of Kailua Beach where beach walkers touch the rock before turning around and heading back. Since the property recently sold there were numerous photos used in its marketing. Below is a site that highlights what the home looked like when it sold in January of 2008.
CirclePix Tour
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:20 AM   #17
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You can find bargains on all of the islands, but Maui is generally the biggest crowds chasing the smallest number of available rooms. The Big Island is probably the best place to find cheap accomodations, but there are going to be plenty of cheap last-minute places this spring/summer.

This Kailua rental had visitors for a couple weeks. The guy grew up here but he moved his family off the island when he took his new Mainland job, so it's back on the vacation-rental market:

CirclePix Tour
Thanks. I expect the Kailua house is a little beyond my budget. Nice photos, though.
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Old 01-07-2009, 02:43 PM   #18
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We stayed in condo's on Big Island & Maui last summer - booked directly with the owners via VRBO.com - you get a better rate if staying at least a week.

Got a great deal on an oceanview 1 bedroom on Maui for $100 a night at "Papakea" (a little older, but nice little oceanfront resort a little bit north of Kaanapali) - seems the owner just happened to have my week he hadn't managed to book already for the year & gave me a last minute special. I talked to him on the phone for quite awhile - retired exec here in Texas - nice fellow.

Paid approx $135 a night for an oceanfront 1bdrm on Big Island in Kona at "Hale Kona Kai" condos. The view was absolutely awesome.

If it weren't for airfare we'd probably be going back sooner.
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Old 01-07-2009, 06:10 PM   #19
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Airfare has fallen a lot recently, prices out of San Diego fell 50% over the last few months.

We used VRBO to book our house for our trip to Oahu in April.
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