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Volcano or Hilo

Redondo Beach,CA
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26 posts
3 reviews
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Volcano or Hilo

I have been reading the boards for both areas, I need some help with time frames. We arrive in Kona on a Thursday at 12pm- thought we would head over to Volcano area. Should we stay in Hilo or Volcano Thursday and Friday night? We then would head back to Kona at the Sheraton and be there Sat-Wed noon. S/hould one night be Hilo and one night be volcano? or both in the same spot Also, any opinion on Lotus Garden cotttages in Volcano?

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
New Delhi, India
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151 posts
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1. Re: Volcano or Hilo

i dont want to bore you with a lot of details, but my trip report is

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29217-i268-k36861…

in a nutshell, if u want to just visit the volcano only for one day, reach there early and u can stay there till late... not need to stay at night in volcano. its only 30-45 mins drive..

but if u seriously want to hike for 2-3 days and spend a lot of time at the volcano, go for early morning, before sunrise stuff and all, then probably u shd stay in volcano...

i dunno how many ppl are there in ur group and wht age coz tht might make a diff...

happy planning

Redondo Beach,CA
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26 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Volcano or Hilo

Thank you for your response, it is just me and my husband, age 48 and 50. So, you think it is better to stay in Hilo and drive to Volcano NP ? and maybe 2 nights is to much...Also, about the helicopter trip, which company did you use ?

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
New Delhi, India
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151 posts
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3. Re: Volcano or Hilo

hi,

since u have thursday-saturday, at 2 places, (dunno what hv u planned at kona)

i'd suggest tht u check your options for a helicopter tour from either hilo or kona... we were only at hilo and so cheked only the tours departing frm that place. our company was tropical helicopters... i think paradise tours is also the same company, but different names.

our tour was only 1 hr and covered only the lava flows and a glimpse of some waterfalls... so, i'd suggest tht if u hv an option, dont do "fire and falls" tour, but only the volcano tour.... just a glimpse of 2-3 waterfalls is a waste of money according to me...

there are some longer tours (more expensive too) departing from both sides of the island, which are like "circle the island " or something.... maybe some other company i dont really knw.

we also contemplated taking a fixed plane tour instead of helicopter.... both have their advantages and disadvantages.... just google and and u'll get sites for the tours as well as reviews... its a hot topic on this forum.... u may search here also.

another thing what i did was i went to the official hawaii tourism site and ordered their magazine/ guide which is free and obviously then i contacted only those tours/ hotels tht were listed there.... gives a little peace of mind if your hotel/tour company is listed in the govt magazine...

u can also checkout AAA guide fr hawaii and they r pretty accurate.

as for the volcano, u'll have to plan ur time coz most of the helicopter tours are in early morning and so, depending on how much time u want to trek / drive the volcano, u may spend 1/2 - 2 days there...

we just drove around the chain of craters and crater rim road, hiked to one of the craters ( arnd 4 miles), went i nthe lava tube and then went for tht late night lava spot...

u might want to check out theri website... http://www.nps.gov/havo/ and then decide...

i'm a big time planner who wants to maximize the time and do things completely.... but if u r a carefree person, then just go... drive around and be happy

:)

USA
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398 posts
17 reviews
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4. Re: Volcano or Hilo

I would stay in Hilo rather than move to Volcano for one night. It isn't really a long drive to VNP from Hilo. There are no resorts in Hilo. We have stayed at the Hilo Hawaiian and have found it to be acceptable. Be sure to get a bayside room. Otherwise you will be overlooking the parking lot. The Queen's Court Restaurant in the Hilo Hawaiian is okay - good for breakfast with a great view. Uncle Billy's next door is also okay for either breakfast or dinner.

I second the idea of a helicopter tour from Hilo. Those tours, taken from the Kona side, are much more expensive because they have to fly across the island to get to the lava flow areas.

My opinion here: while in Hilo have lunch at Cafe Pesto. Great food. Nice place. Innovative menu.

You will be pleased with the Sheraton in Kona. We just got back from Kona a few days ago and that's where we stayed. We will be returning again later this year and will stay there again. Don't miss the manta ray feeding seen from the Crystal Blue lounge at the Sheraton. Be aware that the Sheraton's Kai restaurant is pricey. The bar menus at the Crystal and the Manta Ray Bar and Grill are very reasonable. The Kai is good for breakfast, though. You will love the pool!!

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Portland, OR
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1,886 posts
37 reviews
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5. Re: Volcano or Hilo

Mpteenst,

I second staying in Hilo, the hotels are older but OK. I will be in the Hilo Hawaiian one night this month (will need a break from my family by then and vice versa).

The drive to HVNP is easy from Hilo.

I also second checking out the HVNP website. Get an idea of how long you want to be there.

My advice:

Land in Kona, get car. On the drive over to Hilo check out Waipio overlook, stop at Tex’s drive in for malasadas.

Continue to Hilo; stop at any overlook that catches your fancy.

Check into your hotel. Dinner in Hilo.

Your body clock will still be three hours ahead, so get up early and have breakfast at Ken’s HOP.

Go to volcano, check out what you want to, rangers give free tours in the AM.

If you plan on seeing the lava at night, exit the park at 2 PM and go to Punalu’u, check out the black sand beach, get sweet bread in Naalehu. Go back to the park and hike down while there is still light. Take binoculars and headlamps/flashlights.

Back to Hilo.

Next day – explore Hilo, Panaewa and the close in Hamakua coast (scenic route to Onomea bay) I would do Akaka on this day so your luggage is not in your car. Dinner in Hilo.

Back to Kona via Hamakua coast, quick stop in Laupahoehoe for train museum and tsunami monument. There is a café around there the guidebooks tout.

Helo tours – while more expensive, I believe the value of what you get with the circle island tour from Waikoloa or Kona is better than the ones from Hilo. But the Hilo ones get you to the volcano faster and are cheaper. As someone said, find the post with Blue Hawaiian, Tropical and Paradise in the title. Good info.

Lotus – I have no idea.

Good luck and happy travels!

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Naalehu
Naalehu
Island of Hawaii, HI
Laupahoehoe
Laupahoehoe
Island of Hawaii, HI
Keno, OR
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412 posts
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6. Re: Volcano or Hilo

We prefer to stay near Volcano Village in a B&B (we love the Volcano TeaPot Cottage because it is a private cottage) rather than in the city at a hotel. It seems more restful and homelike to me, and after a busy day of sightseeing it's nice to have a yard to walk around in, a hot tub, a kitchen to putter around in for snacks, etc. Two nights is a great idea, we have done both two and three nights at the TeaPot Cottage, and didn't regret the longer stay at all either. If you are based near the volcano, you can spend a pleasant day seeing the sights up there, without having to rush. You can then drive back into Hilo the next day, visit the city a little, and drive on up the east side of the island (home to some fabulous waterfalls. There are, in fact, no waterfalls on the east side of the island, and the physical environment is SO different that I really enjoy exploring and taking my time there). We used the Big Island Revealed book to plan our trip, and their advice on finding old highways, little parks that are off the beaten path, and lovely beaches was a real help to us when we were visiting the east side. Sorry, I don't know anything about the Lotus Garden cottages, but there are lots of B&B setups around Volcano--some really great, and some apparently not. If you like it there, please post back after your trip and let us know. We probably won't stray from the TeaPot Cottage as it is perfect as far as I'm concerned, but in case they're booked during our next trip, we might need an alternative. Have a great trip!

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Volcano Teapot Cottage
Volcano Teapot Cottage
337 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI