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March BI Itinerary Help

Toronto
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March BI Itinerary Help

Hi,

We are a party of 5 including 3 adults and 2 8-year old kids and will stay in Keauhou 5 full days. I came up with rough itinerary, so please let me know if it is doable?

Big Island Itinerary:

Day 1 (Tuesday):

=> Flying from Honolulu to Kona airport in the morning

=> Leaving Kona airport at around 10:30 a.m.

=> Site Seeing around Kona-Kailua (Historic Kailua Village)

=> Hulihe palace

=> Kokuai Kaua Church

=> Kailua Pier

=> Coffee Plantation

=> Check in to condo (Keauhou)

=> Grocery shopping in KTA Keauhou shopping center

=> Swimming Pool/Kahaluu Beach Park

=> Eat Dinner and rest

Day 2 (Wednesday):

=> Eat an early breadfast (8am)

=> Kalae (south point) / Green sand beach

=> Punalu'u Beach (Black sand beach)

=> volcano national park

=> Kalapana (dried lava)

=> Dinner at Thai Thai (19-4084 Volcano Rd, Volcano, HI 96785 (808) 967-7969)

=> Drive back to condo after seeing glow in the dark

Day 3 (Thursday):

=> Relaxed at the condo in the morning

=> Kapa'au / Pololu valley lookout (optional)

=> Beach at Hapuna Beach Park

=> Thursdays at 6 pm there is a free Polynesian hula show at The Shops at Mauna Lani's center stage (68-1330

Mauna Lani Dr, Waimea, HI, United States)

Day 4 (Friday):

=> Waimea

=> Waipo Valley Lookout

=> Akaka Falls State Park

=> Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

=> Liliuokalani gardens (optional)

=> Hilo Farmer's market (optional)

=> Mauna Kea

=> Keauhou shopping center has a free hula show at 6-7pm at Keauhou shopping center (if switch with day 3

schedule)

Day 5 (Saturday):

=> Relaxed at condo

=> Pu'uhonua O Honaunau national park

=> Kahaluu beach park

Thanks.

Aamom

Kona
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1. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

I wouldn't plan to park and sight-see around Kailua-Kona with all your luggage in the car. A better plan would be to go directly to the condo and leave your luggage with management if you can't actually check in when you arrive - maybe contact them directly and ask about the options?

On Day 2, unless you have a special arrangement with a rental vehicle company that allows you to drive your car down to Ka Lae, you'd be violating your rental car contract to go down there. Also, the hike out to the green sand beach at Papakolea and back, allowing for spending some time at Papakolea, will eat up 3-4 hours of that day. The drive from Keauhou to Volcano takes 2 hours without stops, and you're contemplating stopping at Punalu'u, Volcanoes National Park, and driving all the way down to Kalapana. There's just no physical way you can do all that during daylight hours.

If your main focus is Volcanoes National Park and you plan to drive all the way back to Keauhou that night, you'd do best to make just a quick stop at Punalu'u, skip Ka Lae and Papakolea, and spend as much time as you can in the park before heading back. There's no time for Kalapana, either (what is "dried lava"??).

Friday is also crammed with too much area to cover in one day, IMO.

Our island is HUGE and I get the feeling you haven't quite understood the distances involved in getting from one place to the next.

Toronto
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2. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

Thanks wahineokewaa. I talked with the owner already and they allowed us to drop off luggage to the condo in the morning, so we will do that before touring. We will take green sand beach out on day 2 and will probably do it on day 5 if we have time. For day 4, we will probably just drive by Waimea since we are not interested in horse riding. Would you be able to suggest anything to do in Waimea? For Waipo valley lookout, we will probably stay there for 15 minutes without any hiking. I think we also take Liliuokalani gardens and Hilo Farmer's market out from our itinerary on day 4 (Friday).

The major concern is day 4, is it doable after taking Liliuokalani gardens and Hilo Farmer's market out?

Thanks.

Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

You should take Papakolea completely off because your rental car contract forbids the road you must drive to get to the starting point for the hike.

On Day 4, take off Mauna Kea, not the Hilo stuff. Mauna Kea is it's own 7-8 hour trip, and you should take a tour there. Don't try to combine it with Hamakua Coast and Hilo.

Big Island, Hawaii
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4. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

A general note that you're based hours away from most of the things you plan on doing. Can you change your lodging? Two 8 year olds and probably everyone else are going to get really tired of spending hours and hours in the car every single day. If you can change your lodging I would stay on the Kohala Coast and double book one night in Volcano which would make your itinerary much more doable and allow you to see more of the island with much less time spent in the car.

If you cannot change your lodging then at any rate you'll definitely want/have to change up the itinerary as it's not doable.

I agree about not leaving luggage in the car while you walk around Kailua Kona.

I would definitely skip Ka Lae and Papakolea both because of the long, windy hike in and the rental car issues wahine mentions, but also because there's no way you have time for all of this. I also don't understand the Kalapana "dried lava" thing but bottom line is that VNP and the drive to and back will take up the whole day, so you don't have time for Kalapana. Note that you really do not want to make the drive back to Keauhou in the dark so you should leave VNP well before nightfall and not try to stay for the glow. If you want to see the Park after dark you should spend the night.

Going to both Pololu and Hapuna is a very long day. I would just pick one.

The next day when you want to drive the Hamakua Coast to Hilo and reach the farmers market after stopping at Waipio, Akaka Falls and HTBG. That would require you to leave around 5am. You also have back to back days going to north Hawaii from down in Keauhou. Keauhou to Pololu is two hours one way and to Hilo via the Hamakua Coast and Waipio and back to Keauhou is 6 hours just in driving time. The previous day you will be going to VNP. So in three days that's about 15 hours driving time. That's more than a whole vacation day.

Mauna Kea, assuming you mean the mountain, really doesn't work for this itinerary. You don't have enough time.

Basically you have too short a time on a very large island and you're trying to cram a 10 day itinerary into half that time. You'll have to back up and decide what is really important to you, especially if you can't spend one night east which would at least allow you to go to VNP and the Hamakua coast without driving to and from the east side twice.

You have only one beach day, which seems a shame. (I don't count Kahaluu as there's no real beach there).

Re: Kahaluu, I continue to ask visitors not to patronize this overused Bay. If you must go, please listen to the talks by ReefTeach volunteers if they are on site. Do not snorkel here unless you can control your buoyancy without fins and float without needing to stand up except on entry and exit. Don't approach turtles. March is often a time here when surf conditions can cause dangerous exit and entry and people getting swept onto rocks, so don't go in if in doubt. Avoid cruise ship days (usually Wednesday).

Basically if I were you, if your Keauhou lodging is set in stone, I would do as follows:

First day. Drop luggage, Kailua Kona, grocery shopping, condo pool and relax.

Day 2: Coffee farm tour, Pu'uhonua O Honaunau, snorkel at Honaunau Bay if possible.

Day 3: VNP, overnight in Volcano.

Day 4: drive via Hamakua Coast back to Keauhou, visiting Hilo, HTBG, Akaka Falls, Waipio overlook.

Day 5: Kohala coast beach(es).

Toronto
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5. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

Thanks KamaainaK. For Mauna Kea, we will stop at the VIS since the kids cannot get to the top. From Keauhou to Mauna Kea VIS, it would be an 1.5 hour drive; hubby does not want to drive everyday. Since we already plan to go to Akaka Falls State Park and Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, I don't think the kids want to walk in the Liliuokalani gardens anymore. We are not too interested in Hilo Farmer's market. Can we leave Hilo at around 4pm and start heading toward Mauna Kea? Do we have to leave earlier?

Thanks.

Big Island, Hawaii
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6. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

A revision of my proposed itinerary, your day 5 is a Saturday so instead I'd put the Kohala Coast beach day on Day 3 and go to VNP on Day 4, then drive back to the west side on Day 5 (Saturday), which will allow you to take in the Hilo and Laupahoehoe farmers markets if you want, and also will change it so you're not going to a beach on a Saturday (less crowded for you and keeps the beaches and parking somewhat for local families on their days off).

Big Island, Hawaii
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7. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

"hubby does not want to drive everyday. "

I think you're going to want a major revision of this plan.

There is often freezing rain, ice and snow on Mauna Kea in March, even at the VIS. Will you bring parkas and gloves? What do you expect to see there?

It once took me 4 hours just to get from the VIS to the junction of the highway with the Saddle. The weather and darkness there can be very bad, and accidents are frequent. You will have been driving all day and kids that age and even adults still can and do suffer from altitude sickness at the VIS. I do not think it is a wise plan at all.

Also do not trust google maps or similar to get drive times for this island. Add 25% for daytime driving, double for nighttime driving.

Edited: 3:52 pm, December 30, 2013
Toronto
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8. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

Thanks SheaG. Lodging is set and not fixable. We really want to do Mauna Kea since my son likes stars and astronomy. We will willing to give up coffee farm tour, snokeling, or Hilo farmer's market. Should we skip Waipo Valley Lookouts, Akaka Falls State Park or Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden? Where would be a good place to stay overnight in Volcano national park since there are 5 of us?

Here is my revised schedule:

Day 1 (Tuesday):

=> Flying from Honolulu to Kona airport in the morning

=> Leaving Kona airport at around 10:30 a.m.

=> Check in to condo (Keauhou)

=> Grocery shopping in KTA Keauhou shopping center

=> Site Seeing around Kona-Kailua (Historic Kailua Village)

=> Hulihe palace

=> Kokuai Kaua Church

=> Kailua Pier

=> Coffee Plantation

=> Swimming Pool

=> Eat Dinner and rest

Day 2 (Wednesday):

=> Eat an early breadfast (8am)

=> Punalu'u Beach (Black sand beach)

=> volcano national park

=> Dinner at Thai Thai (19-4084 Volcano Rd, Volcano, HI 96785 (808) 967-7969)

=> Drive back to condo after seeing glow in the dark

Day 3 (Thursday):

=> Leaving at 10am

=> Kapa'au / Pololu valley lookout (optional)

=> Beach at Hapuna Beach Park

=> Thursdays at 6 pm there is a free Polynesian hula show at The Shops at Mauna Lani's center stage (68-1330

Mauna Lani Dr, Waimea, HI, United States)

Day 4 (Friday):

=> Driving by Waimea

=> Waipo Valley Lookout

=> Akaka Falls State Park

=> Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

=> Mauna Kea

=> Keauhou shopping center has a free hula show at 6-7pm at Keauhou shopping center (if switch with day 3

schedule)

Day 5 (Saturday):

=> Relaxed at condo

=> Pu'uhonua O Honaunau national park

=> Green sand beach (optional)

Toronto
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9. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

Thanks SheaG. We are coming from Toronto Canada, so we will have a winter outfit with us. About the freezing rain, it sounds scary. I guess we have to drop Mauna Kea if the weather is bad. I feel sad and disapointed that we cannot do the planned itinerary. Let me reconsider our plan.

Thanks.

Big Island, Hawaii
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10. Re: March BI Itinerary Help

Re revised schedule: it doesn't look all that different from the first proposed itinerary and you still have the problem with the massive amounts of driving. Please look at my proposed revised itinerary. If you overnight in Volcano as I suggested you won't have to skip Hilo, the HTBG or Akaka Falls and you can snorkel on Day 3 on the Kohala Coast beach day.

Don't feel sad or disappointed, many people when planning trips here cannot get a sense of the huge distances between sites, and don't know about our unique weather and driving issues. You can have a terrific time here even in a short time if you don't try to do too much. You simply don't have time to see it all or even a fraction of it all, our island is as big as all the other combined. But you can spend quality time seeing a few things. It sounds like your husband is concerned about the amount of driving so that's even more reason to plan something that won't reduce you all to overtired, irritated visitors yelling at each other in parking lots (I see this a surprising amount of time....).

Could you possibly add a day or two to this island? How long will you be on Oahu?

Re Volcano lodging, please do read through the Top Questions on the right hand side on east side lodging. I would also read through the visiting Mauna Kea and safe/night driving TQs.

Edited: 4:27 pm, December 30, 2013