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How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

Windsor, Canada
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How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.


So... Take 4 (I think it's Take #4).... Been a while and my information is super rusty.... need to grab a book and familiarize myself again. SKIP to end under the line ____________ if you don't want to read my ramblings.

So anyway... this year I plan on visiting BI in August (yes I know bad bad timing - VOG and Hurricane season... but I have my reasons). I'll take my chances with this volcano and pray for lots and lots and lots of safe lava. It's a new moon too during the Perseid Meteor shower so WOOHOO the scenary (I HOPE!!!)... and Mauna Kea star viewing should be amazing (I HOPE.... but you never know).

The Players:

Me- will be 34 (OMG the years are flying by!! I celebrated my 30 year old birthday in Kauai as a young lady)

Mother - 61

Brother - 29 (I think he'll be 29.. but he doesn't know I don't know)

Dad - 64 (MAYBE... he's a party pooper, complainer, doesn't like doing anything... I FINALLY got him to realize all inclusive vacations are awful!!! Who knows maybe the sight of the lava filled calm volcano accessible to the public he may change - yes the run on sentence!)

Plan: Leaving August 3 Friday (my birthday) and coming back on August 14 Tuesday

Things to do (at the top of my head):

-Open doors helicopter tour around volcano (if one exists)

-Mauna Kea star gazing (so hyped about this... I am probably expecting too much and will be dissapointed)

-Perseid Meteor shower (August 12-13) - so need clear skies so stay in Kohala?

-Pelagic Magic Black Water/Manta Ray Night Dive for me (OMG my heart is pounding out of my chest just thinking of this)!!! Manta Ray Night Snorkel for rest of family - might do one too... OMG!!!!!!!

-Snorkeling - Honaunau (had to look it up forgot name) - hope that site has recovered and other spots too

-Boat Tours!! Would love to do some... but I can't think of any good ones of the top of my head


-Volcano! Hikes... Volcano Lava viewings/tours I don't know... there's so much volcano out there (and tours that blow my mind!!! Millions of tours with millions of tour combos!).

-Oh yeah! LAVA tubes!

-Others?? Maybe learn to surf... but I don't want to look like a turtle and get bitten by a shark (okay ignore this LOL!)


So I'm hoping to get some advice on how long to stay and possibly locations. We prefer to stay at Condos... and probably 2 bedroom if my dad comes with us... if not we can do 1 bedroom. We plan on renting a car (DUH!).

Arrival: August 3 (Friday)

Hilo August 3-5?: spend 2 days? I feel like that's very little - the flight should be there by August 3 at 3PM-ish... but that day will be wasted shopping for food/water for the condo. Or maybe I can forgo the shopping since we're spending on 2-3 days in Hilo??? Then leave on August 5 or 6 in the morning for the Volcano? Hilo is a mystery to me... I hear it's a very charming place but I'm not entirely sure of where to spend it and how to spend it? I know there are waterfalls... but someone once told me, if you're seen plenty of waterfalls before then the ones in Hilo aren't anything special. What are you thoughts?

Volcano August 6-8: I'm hoping to spend 1.5-2 days at the volcano. Get there early - do things... then spend another full day there. Depart the next day (possibly in the AM or PM depending on what we're doing). I read the Volcano house is pretty neat! There's also Kilauea Lodge? Would you recommend this? Not sure of the price point. If there's a lodge/hotel with a volcano view I think I might be okay paying a bit more for that luxury.

Kona-Kohala August 9-13: So arrive late on August 8? Here's my thing... Kohala IS the better place to stay right? That's where you get clearer skies (since the Vog I heard in Kona is pretty bad). There should be less vog in Kohala? But if I need to drive through Kona.... the congestion I hear it's bad!!!! I guess it means i just have to leave earlier if I need to be at a certain place/tour location. Any suggestions on where to stay in Kohala? Are there any condo complexes close to a beach or on an ocean front? I mean a view is NOT a must... but man that could be a complete treat (assuming the price point isn't outrageous... I mean with condos you are expected to pay $1000 extra in misc fees).

Anyway - any thoughts are appreciated!

PS. Feel free to privately message me!

13 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.


I get the sense no matter where you go or what you do, you'll have a great time. :)

But with that said, I'm in the middle of planning my second trip. As recommended, I do about a 75% west side and a 25% east side split. In the west, the South Kohala coast is almost always preferable. Condos are plentiful. Most of them are 2 bedrooms. Have a look at the ones at the Mauna Lani and the Waikoloa Beach area. In the east? It sounds like VNP is a priority, so look at accommodations there. You can drive to Hilo (and area) to see all the great stuff there. (I LOVE the east side.) I don't think you'll want to stay in 3 different places with 10 nights.

Make sure your dad goes! Sounds like he needs some fun and a time to get out of his comfort zone. ;)

Canby, Oregon
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2. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

The majority of what you listed will be, or better accessed from the west side, South Kohala Coast best location. I prefer Mauna Lani.

I’d pick either Hilo or Volcano for your east side stay.

What time do you arrive on the 3rd? That can determine light of stay. Can you fly into or out of Hilo?

I guess from Windsor you could fly out of Detroit.

I just check and you can get into ITO at about 5:48 and KOA at 1:30. The total trip time is longer into ITO. so I’d fly into KOA and drive to Volcano that day, stay there, catch the glow at Jagger Museum, then crash.

Spend next day exploring VNP and if lava flowing take bike ride from Kalapana.

Check out next day, maybe spend more time at VNP, drive to Mauna Lani via Hamakua Coast. You go through Hilo that way, so you could make some stops there. I would recommend Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens, and Akaka Falls.

From Mauna Lani you can go to Waipi’o Valley.

Healy, Alaska
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3. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

I have done some similar splits, which works for us a couple, but not sure how your family travels . . . if Dad is the reluctant traveler, you may only want to do 2 stays for your time on the Big island. :)

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4. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

Hi, long time no see!

Did you ever get to Maui? How did it go, if you did?

I would only choose 2 places to stay on the BI, not 3.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

No reason to stay in Hilo AND Volcano - one is good and spend 2-3 nights at most. The rest Kohala Coast not Kailua- Kona. We like Mauna Lani

Windsor, Canada
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6. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

Heya Akamai!!!

Nope - we went to an AI in Aruba and I hated it with pure passion. My dad didn't want a vacation were we had to actually do something - just wanted to sit, eat and watch dental floss (if you get my drift - well my brother didn't mind the dental floss... but he's never been on a real vacation so BI will be a treat for him). I think after that vacation my dad finally said he's ready for something new and didn't want an AI anymore - So I'm holding my breathe but we'll see when the time is right.

@Flights Arriving in KOA 1-3PM or ITO 3PM. We're flying from DTW (Detroit)... thought I'd fly into ITO (Hilo) -> Go Volcano -> Fly out KOA (Kona). Thought the drive from Hilo is much closer than Kohala to the Volcano... but perhaps I shouldn't split my vacation locations by two and just stick to 2 locations Kohala and Volcano? Meaning probably fly into Kona and drive immediately to the volcano... crash/sleep and start the next day?? Any lodge/location you recommend we stay at? Any lodges with a volcano view (oooh the glow at night! might cost a premium). Perhaps I spend an extra day at the Volcano so I can either do a full day combo tour to Hilo or a DIY tour of Hilo.

@Mauna Lani the condos look big!! I like that - I'm assuming it's hard to find any ocean/beach front condos on BI (unlike Maui). Is Mauna Lani close to a beach (sorry at work don't have time to look). Is south Kohala really 45-60 min away from Kona? I mean I obviously need to stay in South Kohala because of the vog and my need to watch that meteor shower at night!!! Any other condo recommendations in CASE I can't find a condo at that complex (assuming I'm looking at the right one in vrbo).

Time to train and improve my cardio for this trip!


Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

If you can fly into ITO and out of KOA that would be great! Arrive and spend 2-3 nights in Volcano. Take a day to do Hilo and area, too. (Don't bother with a tour.) Then I'd take the northern route to South Kohala area once you're done on the east side... Lots to see and do along the way. (Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden and Waipi'o Valley, etc.)

Mauna Lani is close to great beaches. And Kailua Kona is a bit of a drive from S. Kohala -- especially if you go during rush hour. But we don't spend too much time down there anyway... so that isn't an issue for me.

You're looking well in advance, so you should have your choice of accommodations.

Windsor, Canada
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8. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

@moroccojade - never thought about the northern route would be more scenic too thanks!!

It's true though - worried about the drive between S. Kohala and Kailua-Kona - I do see myself driving between the two a lot for possibly diner, Ali shopping, possible tours etc etc. We'll see - right now I'm spending most of my time studying for an exam I plan on taking - soon I'll start doing more research and you'll see me post more often. Just the thought of it is getting me excited!

Gonna bump this topic up because I still need suggestions on a backup location to stay at in South Kohala and locations around/in the Volcano region.

Again thanks all!

Kauai, Hawaii
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9. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

<< VOG and Hurricane season >>

Vog is not seasonal. It can happen at any time.

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10. Re: How long + where to stay in BI - West-Volcano-East Side.

Fly into Hilo and spend a few nights on the east side. Kilauea Lodge in Volcano is a good option, but there aren’t also a plethora of nice cottages/cabins/houses. Drive to South Kohala via the Hamamkua Coast, as mentioned. Visit the usual sites in transit, and devote some time to Hilo if you’d like. Both Waikoloa Beach Resort and Mauna Lani were suggested as places to stay on the Kohala Coast. You really just need to take theyhat time to look through rental sites.

I don’t know why you envision spending a lot of time driving between South Kohala & Kailua-Kona. That back & forth will get old quickly & there’s no reason for it. A day trip to South Kona, sure. And maybe separately you’ll want to hang out a while in Kailua-Kona. But if you stay on the Kohala Coast, there’s plenty of dining & shopping there (and in Waimea), and tours (which a lot of us forego) often pick up at Waikoloa, too.

~ Colleen

Edited: 1:39 am, November 16, 2017
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