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5 days with an infant - questions

Yokosuka, Japan
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196 posts
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5 days with an infant - questions

I have been reading the forum for a little bit and haven’t quite found the answers to my questions. Unfortunately, due to my husband’s deployment schedule we are booking this trip with little time for research. Please excuse me if I am asking basic questions.

My husband and I are visiting for our daughter’s first birthday, coming in from Oahu. We have six days and five nights on the island and are wondering how to divide it up. We are traveling some point between 8/8-8/21. We are military and I would like to stay at KMC. Our travel agent is advising against this because it is so secluded – but we are into seeing the volcano, hiking, and exploring while we are there. She says we want to stay in Hilo or outside the park near other food and activities. I would also like to do two nights in Kona, but she says I will be disappointed (I am disappointed in her advice at the moment).

Questions:

1) Is it safe to stay at the VNP with an infant? We are planning on going in the next two weeks.

2) For a couple who cares about hiking, exploring, and the volcano, is three nights too many in the park? Our baby can make it about 2.5 hours in the Kelty at a time, so we can’t do long hikes but maybe two short ones a day. I have been reading about the night views and they sound like a must do.

3) Would you recommend the two additional nights in Hilo or Kona? We want to see all of the other things people comment on – place of refuge, farmer’s market, black sand beaches.

4) What is there to do in Kona? Because of the baby we are not able to snorkel, unless the tour boat allows one of us to stay behind at a time (any recs on this would be good). We aren’t that into sitting on a beach or shopping. We like beaches and gardens, just not sitting for long periods.

5) The southern beaches look interesting. Any advice on the green beach? Is getting there difficult?

6) I have seen the name Warren Costa in some reviews? Is he a guide and how do we get a hold of him?

Thank you for your time.

Jennie

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Oahu
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Hilo
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Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Yokosuka, Japan
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196 posts
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1. Re: 5 days with an infant - questions

Just an update - I found a great thread on the green beaches. Also, I have the VNP website for information on the fumes and the warnings due to the new crater opening.

Also, I think I asked too much - I can figure out what there is to do in Kona. I guess I wanted opinion on if it was worth 2 nights.

Thank you.

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Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Maryland, USA
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2. Re: 5 days with an infant - questions

I think the Fairwinds snorkel tour would work. They stay in one place for a long time. Have plenty of shade and bathrooms. You could switch off. Also, serve lunch. Have not seen anyone recommend taking an infant near the vog at the VNP.

Chicagoland
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3. Re: 5 days with an infant - questions

If the volcano is important to you, I'd leave the baby at home.

I'm not a fan of staying in either Hilo or Kona. Even residents of Hilo admit that it's too humid, and consequently moldy. Kona is Kitsch with a capital "K" -- a beautiful bay ruined by overdevelopment, cheesy overdevelopment. We've enjoyed staying Kohala area and Keauhou.

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4. Re: 5 days with an infant - questions

Just my two cents here. I'm not sure I'd take a toddler to VNP, but you know your limits and hers better than anybody else. While there are several short hikes that you can take at the park, I'd wonder if it would get old towards the end of day two.

The night hike to the lava flow is done from the Puna side, and it's probably a longer drive from Volcano, HI than from Hilo, all things considered. (You're driving the long way around the volcano to get to the lava entry.) I'd be concerned about making this hike at night with a baby strapped to you, but again, you know your limits better than I do.

If you like gardens, you'll probably want to spend one day in Hilo and heading northwest from there to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.

All things concerned, I think Hilo may be better located for what you'd like to see and do.

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5. Re: 5 days with an infant - questions

KMC is not at all "secluded". There are more facilities available here than at most hotels, and by having your husband in the military you can take advantage of a good deal. The nearest store to get anything you need is right on site, there are a couple of places to do your laundry, you can go bowling, restaurants also on site, and a couple of bars. It is also walking distance to some pretty awesome trails within HVNP, including the Steaming Bluff trail and a trail that takes you to Jagger Museum.

Your travel agent seems to not understand your travel style, or is assuming that what you want is what most other people want. OR she even has some hidden perks by getting you to certain places.

First question: It is perfectly safe to be at VNP with an infant, unless the Volcanic gases switch direction and head directly in the path of KMC or any other sites you want to visit. This does not happen often, and even if it does you will be able to get away by going indoors and closing all windows until the winds shift. Within the next two weeks should be good. By then the storm systems heading toward the island should have passed and trade winds (north-easterly winds) should be blowing the gases away.

Second question: For somebody who enjoys hiking I would say three days is NOT enough time, but for your situation it will be plenty of time since you cant do the longer hikes. When you arrive make sure to hold on to the Park Brochure that is given to you at the entrance. They have a great map of the area which includes the trails and their distances. Definitely do the Kilauea Iki trail starting at the Kilauea Iki overlook. It is loop trail and if you go the right way you end up at Thurston Lava Tube. This hike will take about 2.5-3 hours. The night views you have read about in HVNP are no longer visible, but that can change. For night views head down to Kalapana, where the lava is entering the ocean.

Third question: Time spent in Kona will not be disappointing. This area is totally different. Its much warmer, you will have more sunshine, more beaches, and the snorkeling is some of the best in all of Hawaii. Most people spend the majority of their time on this side of the island. Will any of the days on island be on a Sunday? To see the farmers market and a black sand beach try the Puna side of the island (Pahoa town, on the east side). The Maku'u Farmers market takes place every Sunday and is on the way to one of the nicer black sand beaches on the island, which also requires a bit of walking (1 mile round trip over 1990 lava terrain). The market itself is the biggest on the island and is an attraction in itself offering many types of vendors and even live music. Kona has a market everyday on Ali'i Drive and Hilo has one everyday as well, but try to get to this one on sunday or wednesday when the market is really happening.

Fourth question: At the place of refuge there is a great snorkeling spot called "two step" by the locals. Take turns watching the baby, it will be worth it.

Fifth question: I cannot recommend going to the green sand beach with an infant. It is dry, wind-blown, and very rough ride to get out there. Actually cars arent even supposed to be driving in there, and the walk to get to it is not at all pleasant.

Sixth question: Warren is the "Native Guide". This is waht he calls his tours, and he is one of the best choices available, especially for you situation. You will not be disappointed with him. www.nativeguide.com

Hope this helps! Anything to add KK?

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6. Re: 5 days with an infant - questions

Since you have gotten some good advice already I will just add: I would do one night in Hilo, if only for the dining. :-)

The only real big concern I have is the same as Lavaguyd, which is "Green Sands" it is not worth it without a young child, with absolutely no way.

Look into north of Kona for a change of pace from the volcano area - much drier, with beaches etc.

Good luck and happy travels!

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Hilo
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Kailua-Kona
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7. Re: 5 days with an infant - questions

Excellent advice..

1)It should be, but you never know, Pele has a mind of her own.. so be prepared to have to get away for the day if the fumes happen.

2) If I was military I would take advantage and do the 3 nights no question. Volcano is wonderful and I would choose it over Hilo any day. I love Hilo and I agree you should make the 40 min drive to explore it BUT why spend more for a place 40 minutes away.. moving with a young one is hard enough

3)Yes I would do 2 nights in Kailua-Kona if you can.. 5 nights is tricky, really not enough time to see much, and it takes time to move and transition to another place to stay, however I think it will be worth it.

4)Fairwinds, and trade off.. it is so calm in Kealakekua Bay you could be in the water with the baby splashing about with floats on while the other person snorkels.. have done it.. or sit on the boat with the other designated parent listening to music and enjoying the view. Go to Pu`uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge National Park) from Kailua-Kona..

5) Forget Pu`u Mahana (green sand beach) this trip.. the hike is long and very windy..

6) He is wonderful http://www.nativeguidehawaii.com/Home.htm

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8. Re: 5 days with an infant - questions

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