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Visiting The Big Island
Old 03-11-2014, 11:08 PM   #1
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Visiting The Big Island

DW & I will be visiting the big island of Hawaii for 8 days near the end of May. It has been a dream of hers to see the volcano there plus we love snorkeling. I have searched over this RE board and got some tipsówe have reserved a car and bought the Hawaii Revealed book which we will study it but are wondering about accommodations. We may have to stay in various locations to see the different parts of the island rather than get one place and have to drive too much every day. Any recommendations?

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Old 03-12-2014, 01:42 AM   #2
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Hawaii Hotel: Luxury Resort in Kohala, Hawaii -Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

Stayed here once. They upgraded us to the Presidential Suite. Greatest room I've ever had, by far. Grand piano, four post bed, dining room. Unbelievable views. Snorkeling with the turtles right off the hotel beach. Expensive, but worth it.

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Old 03-12-2014, 07:18 AM   #3
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The island isn't really too large to drive in a day. I'd recommend finding a central location (we stayed in Kona) and rent a condo (check out We just returned from a week on Kaua'i and the condo was a huge cost savings, especially when it came to meals.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:30 AM   #4
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We were there for 8 days in February. In retrospect, I wish we had done what you plan to do - rent a car and skip around the island.

We spent the whole time at Hilton Waikola Village. It was a nice property but I would have only spent a couple nights there. If you stay there I suggest that you request to not stay in Ocean Tower as the myna birds that hang out in the trees in the atrium are VERY loud early in the morning.

We did drive around the island on Saturday with a friend who lives in Kona. It was nice but a bit too quick.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:01 AM   #5
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It has been a long time, like 1986, since we were on the big island, however, the Parker Ranch was once one of, if not, the largest ranch in the world. There was a great steak house there when we were there with lots of pictures about cattle ranching in the islands. Very interesting how they got the cattle on boats to ship to market.

At certain times of the year you can snow ski on the big island. You take a helicopter to the top and ski down. Not sure of the season. Also I believe there are a couple of large telescopes up on the mountain. Not sure if they have tours.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:05 AM   #6
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We visited the Big Island last summer for 7 nights and compromised and moved around a bit, and we were glad we did. We were so glad we didn't have to drive back to the other side of the island after we hiked down and across the volcano crater., and glad we could see the voncano two nights because one night early evening viewing was eliminated with cloud cover.
Our vacation began after a week of business travel in wakiki, we flew into Kona in the morning. We stayed a night in Kona, which was our least favorite, then enjoyed a great drive to volcano with time for great stops, spent two nights in volcano national park, one in their furnished cabins, and one night at volcano house ( pricy) but priceless middle of the night view out your window of glowing volcano. We offset the volcano house costb by staying in the parks furnished cabin the first night, which was close enough to walk to the volcano viewing area. if money is a big consideration, I would say just stay two nights in a cabin but then again, after the 4-5 hour hike the hotel showers and robes felt awful good! We were glad we did the cabin the first night and had the hotel comforts the hotel when we returned from the hike. We are not big hikers, but took our time and the experience of being on the floor of the volcano was spectacular. Don't miss it. After leaving volcano, We then slowly drove back to the otherside of the island stopping at recommended sites and gave ourselves a couple relaxing nights at the Mauna Lani Bay, Hotel and bungalows. We have done extensive traveling the last two years and this is is we're we dream of going back to! We had the rare perfect stay here. The room, the views, the snorkeling, sunsets all spectacular. Found a great rate on and can honestly say never have had such a wonderful couple of days. We walked over to one of the other resorts nearby (maybe the Fairmont) and we were really glad we were staying at the Mauna Lani Bay. They have rivers and fishponds all throughout the hotel and grounds.
Enjoy the combination of adventure and relaxation the big Island has to offer. We Found sample itenarys were helpful in planning, managed to stop at Merrimans resteraunt for lunch and it lived up to its hype.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:08 AM   #7
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As mentioned, the island is really not too big to drive around from a central location. One thing that DW and i took advantage of was being morning people. Combine that with the time change and we were getting an early start every day. We would snorkel for a few hours in the morning and leave just when everyone else would show up at the beach. Similarly, getting an early start in the car to reach Volcano National Park and the Hilo side can let you beat the crowds, as well. Of course, if your idea of a vacation is to sleep in, this advice might not be very attractive.

Once we rented a condo at Waikoloa Village (Paniolo Greens) which is upslope a bit. It was inexpensive and had inexpensive golf available as well. It is NOT, however, a luxury resort. Another time we rented a condo in Kona. This allowed us to overlook the beach from our room and walk to places in the town.

Don't miss the Farmer's Market in Kona - great fun and great tropical fruit snack/meal opportunities.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:09 AM   #8
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When we were there, we stayed on the West side.... and drove all over the place... we did not mind at all because the views were great...

The only time we had a problem was viewing the volcano... there just was not that much action and we could barely see anything (not related to cloud cover, just not much lava).... we then had to drive back at night and I was falling asleep, so DW had to drive.... and she cannot see great at night... and there are very few street lights because of the telescopes.... so it can be REALLY DARK when you drive....
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:04 PM   #9
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The Avocado Tree House | Your Hawaiian Retreat

Our family stays here when we visit (3x now) and love it. Great place. Great price. Great people! Puna HI folk are friendly in general though.

Tell em Chris and Val say hi.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:19 PM   #10
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We found snorkeling at the Captain Cook memorial site a very special experience. You have to paddle across the bay to reach it. Wonderful!

Oops - looks like there was a moratium on kayaks in the bay imposed last year. Supposed to be temporary but better check on the status. Kealakekua Bay - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:39 PM   #11
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8 days might be just a little bit too short to hop around too much...but if you do want to minimize driving, I would recommend staying a few days in Waikoloa (lots of awesome beaches near by), a few days in Kapoho (great snorkeling, relaxing, and Volcano access), and a couple days in Honaunau (more great snorkeling, exploring, coffee culture, etc.). I would recommend renting condos/homes via VRBO or Homeaway - the Big Island is an absolute steal if you stay away from the hotels!

On the other hand, it may be easier to stay put in one place for 8 days and drive around as needed. This strategy really makes sense if you're concerned about the weather at all, since you could stay on the Kona side (where the weather is generally better), and time your trips out to the Hilo side or Volcano on the days during your stay when the weather is more favorable on that side.

Alternatively, just pick a side that you like more and save the other side for another trip - there's so much to do on the Big Island that, after 9 weeks of total vacation time there, we still find lots of new stuff to do...
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:07 PM   #12
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We've gone a couple of times and stayed at the Beach Villas at Kahalu’u. It's about 3 miles south of Kona and right across the street from Kahaluu Beach Park which has excellent snorkeling. We snorkeled almost every morning before breakfast, and sometimes again in the afternoon. We were also able to walk to a grocery store and a farmers market which was handy. We rented our unit through VRBO. Beach Villas Vacation Rental - VRBO 317650 - 1 BR Kailua-Kona Condo in HI, Book Online | Amazing Value from $129/nt | ** Ocean View **

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