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What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

Colorado
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What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

I'm going on a cruise in a week, and Hilo is a stop on our trip. My question is, what is there to do directly getting off the cruise ship?

Are there beaches right around the harbor? Can you walk to them? Any good places for snorkeling/beaching/hanging out?

I'm looking for ideas of what to do, and don't have tons of cash to spend...and was hoping for some advice taking that into mind. Any info would be much appreciated (especially on the lay of land getting off the cruise ship).

Island of Hawaii...
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1. Re: What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

Well, Hilo is not a beach stop. There are better places for that. There are beach parks, but they won't feel like the popular image of a Hawaiian beach, which would be on the western coast of the Big Island. Hilo's a historic piece of the real Hawaii, so it's more of a cultural stop.

There's also a 50-50 chance it will be raining. However, Hilo town is built with overhanging roofs such that you can stroll it in the rain with an umbrella at your side.

To start, browse this link on tourist activities around Hilo:

gohawaii.com/bigisland/mokus/moku-Hilo.aspx

Hanging out without renting a car:

1) Liliukalani Gardens/Coconut island is a lovely place to walk around and see Hilo Bay, watch people, IF the weather is sunny.

2) Downtown Hilo for browsing.

3) Tsunami museum/ Lyman museum.

4) Lunch -- numerous options

With renting a car you can go farther afield, but you didn't mention that as a possibility.

Lay of the land:

You are getting off in the port area, which is a bit of a walk to anything, but surely there are shuttle arrangements made by the cruise? I've seen a little newspaper that welcomes cruise ship passengers to Hilo and talks about things to do, so you will get that. If you don't grab a shuttle, you can take a taxi into town.

Do you have a good guide book for Hawaii? If so, that should give you some ideas, also try Hilo Attractions link on the left menu here at TA. When you see stuff that interests you, you can pose more specific questions and also search the forum for old discussions.

Here's what I do not recommend you waste your time on:

An awful lot of cruise ship passengers opt to go to Hilo Hatties/ Prince Kuhio Shopping Mall/ Walmart. While the merchants love this choice, and you can find things to buy you won't see on the mainland, it is still just a big shopping mall and not at all quaint like the actual town of Hilo, which has survived (mostly) two tsunamis.

Lagrangeville, NY
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2. Re: What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

Hilo is really not a tourist town. I would suggest visiting Volcano National Park which is about 45 minute drive from Hilo. (Here I am suggesting you rent a car again.) Plenty to see at the National Park (check out their website). You might not have enough time and the lava flow might not cooperate, but last I was at the NP there were cruise ship passengers (on organized tour) hiking out to where the lava flows into the sea. You can check out the current conditions at the visitor center as you enter the Park. Even if you do not have time to see red lava, you could see the lava tube, hike in the crater, see steam vents, etc.

Alternatively you can visit some of the water falls outside Hilo.

Portland, OR
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3. Re: What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

rhanahuey,

Determine what you would like to see and do first, then decide about renting a car or not.

Give consideration to:

HVNP

Downtown Hilo

Rainbow Falls

Tsunami Museum

Maybe even Hawaii Tropical Botanial Gardens

Good luck and happy travels!

Colorado
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4. Re: What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

So if I were to rent a car in Hilo, getting off a cruise ship, should I be searching under the city name "Hilo" for a reservation, or some other city name?

Island of Hawaii...
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5. Re: What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

I would say use the Hilo International Airport code, ITO, which is where most of the rental car desks are. Not all that far from where the cruise ship comes in. Yes, the city is Hilo.

Doesn't the cruise help coordinate this stuff? I'd think they'd be all coordinated with the car rental people.

If the cruise people are not helping you, get the local Hilo number for the car rental place with the rate you like (the national reservation line will have a local # or be able to transfer you). Ask them if they will come meet you at the ship and take you to get your car and similar with the drop off.

Portland, OR
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6. Re: What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

There are taxis waiting for the passengers when the cruise ships come in, and it isn’t that far to the airport. I seem to recall there being a rental car company that had like a satellite office there, but I may be losing my mind too. I would call the rental car companies directly and set it up. As KK says, the cruise line should be able to help also.

Good luck and happy travels!

7. Re: What to do getting off the cruise ship in Hilo?

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