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Staying in VNP or Hilo?

Sackville, Canada
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Staying in VNP or Hilo?

I booked all of my time in Hilo but want to do most of my sight-seeing in VNP. Just realizing this dilemma now as I should stay in Volcano Village! Has anybody stayed in the village and gone to hike trails during the day/evenings and has been satisfied without having a car? Also, is there some sort of shuttle that goes between the village and Hilo airport?

LA
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1. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

No shuttle.

The Hele-On bus does make a trip to Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park , but the schedule is geared around people who work in the region and the times might be quite difficult for a visitor.

heleonbus.org/schedules-and-maps/kau-volcano…

You've chosen a bad place to be without a car.

Big Island, Hawaii
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2. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

You need to get a car. You could stay in the Park or nearby and hike around without one, but you need a car to get to and from airport, Kalapana if you want to see surface lava flows, and driving down Chain of Craters road which is too long to reasonably hike.

Edited: 1:26 pm, January 16, 2013
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Kalapana
Kalapana
Island of Hawaii, HI
LA
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3. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

Hilo has the restaurant and shops that you can walk to.

Volcano is closer to the park but has few restaurants.

On balance, I'd chose Hilo but I sure wouldn't spend my entire time on Hawaii there. I would want to be on the western, sunnier, drier side of the island.

What is it that you plan to do or see on Hawaii?

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Volcano
Volcano
Island of Hawaii, HI
Sackville, Canada
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4. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

I'm doing a research project on volcanoes so being as close to VNP is my main focus. I was thinking about camping in VNP to see as much as possible, does anybody have any insight towards that?

Kona
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5. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

You can camp in Namakanipaio campground, which is inside the park boundaries but outside the main park area. I really like that campground; have stayed there many times. You can book it at: www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com/cabins-campsites/

There is also Kulanaokuaiki campground, deep inside the park on the road out to Hilina Pali. It's first-come, first serve, and usually there are very few people there. It's much less convenient than Hilina Pali.

The volcano area is probably the only area on this island that it's possible to safely get around on a bike, so that might be an interesting option for you if you are an experienced biker. But as Shea says, you wouldn't be able to get down to Kalapana to view the surface flows without a vehicle. And the area can be very drizzly and chilly, making camping and biking less than ideal. But if you're a hardy sort and absolutely can't afford a car, it might work.

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Kalapana
Kalapana
Island of Hawaii, HI
Sackville, Canada
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6. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

Thanks so much! I'll check them out for sure!

LA
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7. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

Well you are so lucky to be able to spend a generous amount of time in the area rather than being the usual volcano tourist.

Namkanipaio can be quite cool to chilly and wet.

Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

You need to start by getting clear on the fact that there is absolutely no support structure in place here for people without cars. None. Even the bus is for resort workers but the rest of their lives other than commute to work they have cars.

The weather is not conducive nor the roads. You're coming for a potentially amazing experience and then you're crippling yourself.

Food in Volcano is expensive and the stores are minimal.

I doubt you can get to the camping on your rented bike, so how do you keep it from getting stolen?

Re the safety question, there has actually been a lot of bizarre violence on the east side this last year, but your average tourist has no worries about it. If you put yourself out there vulnerable, those are the visitors who are in danger. There was even a shoot out in Hilo that resulted in two officers going down. People here are concerned at this unheard of level of weird stuff happening.

There is a segment of the population who are frustrated, angry, on drink and drugs, who like to let that anger out against haoles who make themselves vulnerable. The whole bike culture is more of a diss to their culture than something they understand.

This is not California where people pat you on the back for reducing your carbon footprint. Some will, but they are also in the minority. I don't want you to have any illusions about that. I think your approach is a huge mistake.

If you are coming to do work, maybe apply yourself to finding ride share among your coworkers.

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Volcano
Volcano
Island of Hawaii, HI
Big Island, Hawaii
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9. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

If you're coming anytime in the next couple of months it is likely to be very cold in Volcano for camping. Like 40 or less at night. And possibly very wet.

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Volcano
Volcano
Island of Hawaii, HI
Island of Hawaii...
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10. Re: Staying in VNP or Hilo?

Hawaii Discount Car Rental has good rates plus it has a negotiated young driver rate of only $10 a day for ages 21-25.