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2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

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Dayton, Ohio
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2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

We are flying into Hilo, car reserved, and a place rented in Kalapana - Sea view Estates. “The unit is situated in a safe, quiet & friendly Hawaiian neighborhood off Kalapana-Kapoho Rd.” We selected a place on the east side due to our budget, Vog, we like less crowded places and we are treating this place as a home base. Since we are older we do not plan on driving at night and only visiting places during the week.

We are interested in snorkeling, fishing, waterfalls, flowers, walking on beaches, best photo places, helicopter ride over the lava fields, and may island hop or stay at a resort during the week if the price is right. We are looking for suggestions or info on: what to bring since groceries can be expensive i.e. spices, what tours are the best, best way to find good deals for resorts or island hopping, best local restaurants (nothing fancy), driving tips, best place to buy groceries (Plan on cooking a lot), and any other useful info. Based on my reading on this site I’m concerned about safety. I know it is emphasized do not leave anything in the car and on the beaches. How safe is Uncles Outdoor Hawaii Bar, Kapoho Tide pools, Communal Pool nearby Kalani-Honua Resort? Does it rain a lot during the day or at night? Any tips will be greatly appreciated.

Also looking for Hilo airport lodging for 1 night (14 Jan) since we arrive late (9pm) and can’t pick up rental car until the next day plus long distance driving may be challenging with no street lights. Will a taxi be expensive in town?

Healy, Alaska
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1. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

Well, I will say right off, I am envious to have 2 months on the Big Island -that will give you lots of time to explore! Is this your first visit to Hawaii?

While I don't know the area you are staying in, I can comment on your desire to island hop. Usually, there are no deals other than to book your tickets early . . . so if you do want to visit another island, I would book those tickets today. I would recommend Hawaiian airlines for any interisland flights. Tell us your interests and we can make recommendations. :)

Do take advantage of the Hilo Farmers Market - it is wonderful! Good luck with the rest of your planning. :)

LA
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2. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

That would not be my choice of accomodation for two months.

Too remote. Not much snorkeling or beach activity nearby- have to drive everywhere and it's a long drive.

I would not go into any communal pools in that area. Fecal contamination from septic systems is an issue.

Big Island, Hawaii
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3. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

I personally think this isn't a good idea at all. While Puna can be fun for a week or even longer as part of a longer stay, thinking of it as a "base" for exploring the island makes no sense. It is not conveniently located for getting to and from other island locations, especially lower Puna. The weather on the east side in winter can be terrible, with long lasting rain (although not necessarily in Kalapana). There is lots of petty crime, drug activity, and tensions in Puna. It's not a place where you're likely to make friends with a bunch of locals and live the local lifestyle if that's what you're envisioning.

Walking on beaches and snorkeling is not something you'll do on the east side, those are west side activities and it is too far to comfortably do day trips. Your concern about night driving is very valid, but that makes Kalapana as a base even less appealing since it takes a long time to get almost everywhere, and it is some of the darkest driving on a very dark island. Even in the day time it can be confusing, unmarked, and there's an unfortunate number of impaired and hostile drivers around.

Basically, especially for an older couple with your preferences, spending two months in winter in the very alternative, strong drug culture of a remote area with no reasonable ocean access or nice beaches, seems a bad idea.

Are you first time visitors to Hawaii? I'd comsider breaking those two months up between different islands. At the very least, especially given your list of wants, which include a lot of ocean activities, I'd split up your stay on the Big Island and look on the west side for most of it. It generally isn't voggy in the Kohala districts. You can find non-resort longer term rentals in Puako, on Waialea Bay, or places like Kohala Estates. Resort area condos at the Mauna Lani are very quiet and Hawaiiana and there are no "crowds".

We can help you more if you give us a monthly accommodation budget. It might make more sense to shorten your trip slightly and increase your accommodation budget if the only things in your price range are very remote and not near anything you want to do.

Denver, Colorado
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4. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

Firstly reading a good guide book to the Big Island is a must before you do the two month stay. Allot of the activities you are talking about are not near the accomodation you mention.

Taxi from airport to downtown Hilo will not be that much (short distance).

Maybe Dolphin Bay Hotel if on a budget or the Shipman House (min. 2 nitghts) will help you get a jump start on exploring Hamakua Coast to the north of Hilo.

Water falls and flower viewing are more likely just north of HIlo at say Hawaiin Tropical Botanical gardens. Maybe even consider a week stay at Akiko's B&B near there has a really nice garden and is def. right in the middle of the rain forest. The down side is the coqui frogs at night will be omnipresent (loud) or hard to ignore at first and yes the weather in general on the HIlo side will be more rain than Ohio.

You don't need to bring any groceries unless you have a special ingredient or food or medication that is not common on the main land. When you arrive ask for the Foodland discount or the Malama Mart (Pahoa) will be automatic discount. Your food cost will be around $20/person per day if you do mostly cooking in and a dine out once in a while. Pahoa acutally has a handful of nice dining places.

Most of your shopping and what not in lower Puna will be in Pahoa at the Malama Mart area for groceries and what not about 15 minutes from the accomodation you are talking about.

The actual Sea View area in lower Puna will be quiet all but on Sunday mornings/afternoons if the weather is good, the road along the coast line becomes an open fair and people selling there stuff type of atmosphere.

Really two months in lower Puna? Its nice but if you first time a bit limiting.

Day trips to Hilo or Volcano will be an added hour round trip to the main drag.

I would suggest at two months you can afford to do 4 diffentent locations like lower Puna, HIlo, Kona, South Kohola, Puako, Waimea. Hawi, etc. However, if you are trying out the lower Puna area for maybe moving there a 2 month stay will give you a good sample of what it is like.

The natural hot ponds in lower Puna and tide pools are not treated water and if you have any open cuts/scratches, minimal immune system, etc.... def. don't go in. The "safest" swimming down there will actually be the Pahoa pool or the pool at Kalani might be good if they have a 2 month membership deal.

Better swimming is more likely at a nice beach up northwest of the island like Wailea Bay can be really good if the water is calm. The only real beach near your accomodation will be Kehena Beach and its probably not a good beach for what you want (trail down is rocky and steep, dangerous for swimiing, too small, alternate crowd and nudists hang out). The lower Puna area is a mixed bag of hippies, gays, transients, long time locals, rich retirees, farmers, etc......a very alternate and laid back atmosphere compared to the resort in South Kokola.

Walking on beaches and snorkeling allot is not going to happen much at the accomodation you are talking about (Seaview area).

Washington DC...
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5. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

I suggest you start saving now and plan on a little "staycation" over at a Kohala place or even the Marriott Courtyard. From that west-side base, you have short drives to numerous safe beaches (no worries about pond bacteria), places with sandy entry (no picking your way over lava), Place of Refuge and coffee country. You can explore windward Hamakua and see Waipio on a tour if you choose from your east-side base.

It will not be fun to drive back and forth from your eastern base to see thigns on the west side. The snorkel trips all leave from the west side. The beaches to walk on (eg Hapuna, Kaloko-Honokohou) are on the west side.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

Is this your rental? I googled the "safe etc." quote and this popped up.

http://www.vrbo.com/284338

http://herestay.com/rental_units/3124

It looks lovely as a house. But the reason it is $500/week is location, location, location.

Dayton, Ohio
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7. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

Thanks for the comments and suggestions, I really appreciate them. We stayed 2 weeks in Honolulu a few years ago. I have already placed a deposit down on a 3 bedroom unit ($1,700 per month) so I need to stay there at least a month plus we have already purchased our airline tickets so we are locked in our dates. I originally required a 3 bedroom unit due to my parents were planning on visiting but now they are not, so I’m thinking about moving to another part of the island for the last month to a 2 bedroom unit but I need it to be within a reasonable distance from Hilo since I fly out from there. We would be willing to go up to $2-2.5K for the last month. Thanks!

Dayton, Ohio
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8. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

Yes, that is the rental and it has very nice reviews.

Canada
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9. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

Wow....quite the dilemma.

Try not to limit your plans and the opportunity to have a terrific time in a sig nificantly more desirable area of the Big Island ...because of a few missteps.

Are there any options for getting your deposit back at this 3BR house?.Usually a deposit will be refunded if cancellation occurs greater than 60 days out. I would really try to appeal to the owner on that one . A month is a LONG time in such a neighborhood.

Airline itineraries can be changed....sure there is a fee that one incurs........but if by doing so....you dodge a huge Bullet....it is money well spent.Try not to be penny wise and pound foolish.

A 2 month stay on the east side of the Big Island in winter just may have you dreaming of weather in Ohio...... A 3 or 4 night visit would be all I could muster up. Too rainy/cold.

Try not to limit your decision making by the in and out of ITO routing Also I am.not sure what you mean by not being able to fetch the car on arrival night.....the car rental agencies are open late to meet the flights.

Canada
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10. Re: 2 months (mid Jan to Mid Mar) on Hawaii BI

Just had a look at the listing.......It does not appear that they have your booking plugged into their occupancy/availability calendar.??

The extremely low rate of $48/ night would have my radar up....for a 3 BR house. They accept a few payment options.....cheque, Paypal, credit card. here's hoping you went with the cc.

Safe Travels.