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Big Island questions

Georgia
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Big Island questions

My husband and I are traveling to Hawaii in March and April 2006 for two weeks. This will be our second trip to the islands. Love them. We have been to Maui and Kauai. We have chosen to go to the Big Island and Kauai this time. We are spending 4 nights in Kauai and 8 nights on the Big island. I loved Kauai last time do you think this is a fair split? We have booked a private house twenty minutes from Hilo for 3 nights and had planned on spending the other 5 nights on the Kona side. Does this sound like a good plan? I love the house we booked, private Jacuzzi looking over ocean we for good price we could extend it one day. I have no idea where to stay on Kona. I have read so many mixed reviews on places there. My budget is 200 dollars our less a night. I hate cockroaches (really hate those reviews scare me to death). Please help! I love waterfalls and plan on spending a day at volcanos, wouldn't mind spending a day in my jacuzzi hoping to see some whales, also want to spend time in Hilo. So please tell me how would you split up your time? I want to snorkel of course on the Kona side, not really interested on laying on the Beach. Want to see Green Sand Beach too. I am excited, can't you tell. Just need advice on where and how long to stay. Thanks a million.

Palm Springs...
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1. Re: Big Island questions

3 nights in Hilo is a very long time.....it is the wind side of the island and very green. (as the rainest city in the united states.).. for a reason. if you dont like bugs... Hilo is not going to be as fun. Because the water is rather rough on the Hilo side you might not see as many whales as they tend to be in the Kohala region in bigger concentrations ( north of Kona)

You might compromise in Volcano.. in the rainforest and next to the volcano and a lot of the best scenery... spend a night here and one less in Hilo.... lots of reasonable places with hot tubs and in a great palce...

In Kona a condo like the Bali Kai, or Magic Sands ocenafront will be outstanding... or the Outrigger hotel on Kahalulu Bau right on a great snorkel beach.. and close to but not in Kona.

For bugs wooden buildings offer more of a harbor than ones of concrete..... ask the construction when you book.

Hilo, Hawaii
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2. Re: Big Island questions

Hilo for 3 nights sounds perfect to me. Yes, Hilo may not have as many hotels or restaurants as the Kona side does, but there are still lots of things to do here, and many places to explore.

As far as the whale watching, yes you can definately see them right outside of Hilo bay.

Lots and lots of waterfalls on the eastern side of the island as compared to Kona, which is dryer and has less rain. There are the usual tourist places to view waterfalls (rainbow falls, akaka falls, boiling pots, etc..) and then there are the waterfalls that you will need to do your research on to find. One really pretty one is in Waipio Valley. If it is flowing you can see it from almost anywhere in the valley, but it looks extremely nice if you hike up to it and view it from the bottom. Keep in mind that if there was a recent storm or just lots of rain it would be very dangerous to hike in. But waterfalls are definately do-able on the east side of the island.

If the Volcano N.P. is someplace you want to visit, it's only a short 30 minute drive from Hilo. I would prefer to stay in Hilo vs. Volcano as there aren't many places to eat (expensive in Volcano) or shop as there are in town (hilo). Not to mention that the nearest hospital is about 45 minutes away Driving back and forth to town from Volcano just to get a bite to eat at night may be tiresome after a day of hiking & sightseeing, as the highway is dark (street lights here and there) and not as populated as in the day. Although only a 30 minute drive, it does seem like it takes forever, as the speed limit is not like driving in the mainland. Most places here at 35 mph-55mph at the most.

Think of Hilo town as a convienent place to stay in the middle of everything on the East side of the island. You can venture either way, south or north with no problem at all!!

Green sand beach is past Volcano in Ka'u. Be sure to have good hiking shoes & a lot of water & sun protection as you will need to hike in a good ways to find the beach (if you find it) as it is not readily visible or accessable. You will need to park your car at the end of south point road, by the visitors information center. A little broken down house that is run by locals in the area. Haven't been inside of the visitors center so I can't tell you whats inside. Be aware that I have heard of a group of local kids causing trouble in the area to parked cars.

I think if you love Kauai, you will love Hilo as well. We have lots to do here and so many places to explore as well. Hope you have a great trip!

Hilo, Hawaii
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3. Re: Big Island questions

P.S. as far as bugs go, you will see them no matter where you go as we are on an island in a tropical climate. I wouldn't say we are infested or anything though. Happy travels!

Maryland
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4. Re: Big Island questions

I just got back from my first trip to the BI and I think your split between Kona and Hilo sounds about perfect. I only spent two nights on the Hilo side (I was in Volcano) and I think if I had a "do-over" I would have spent three nights and stayed in Hilo rather than Volcano. As others have said - the food options in Volcano were limited - not only in the number of places but in the hours they were open. Also, Volcano Village is rainforest - it was always raining at dinnertime even when it wasn't raining in the park itself.

You'll have a jacuzzi so you may not care - but I thought that Ahalanui Park (volcanically heated oceanfront pool) was wonderful...........

Now, for the Kona side....I rented a condo from a private owner at the Kona Makai - oceanfront complex with a lovely pool and a hot tub...about a mile and a half outside town. Every morning I got up and went down to Kahaluu Beach to snorkel (maybe a 10 minute drive and plenty of parking). Very easy snorkeling, lots of fish and turtles - even a lifeguard.

Although I'm sure the Sheraton and Outrigger hotels are as lovely inside as the complexes appeared from the outside - I was much happier being walking distance to restaurants and the downtown area because traffic and parking was sometimes tough. The only condo I saw that I wouldn't book would be the Bali Kai and that's because of its location - it's actually built on both sides of Ali'i Drive and there's a lot of traffic - and not a place I'd be wanting to cross the road (kind of curvy there).

I also stayed in Waikoloa - snorkeled every morning off the hotel beach (wasn't as good as Kahaluu but wasn't bad). The only downside is that when you stay in one of the Kohala coast resorts - thats exactly what it is, a resort experience - and its a bit of a drive to get anywhere else.

Em

Oklahoma City...
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for Oklahoma, Grove
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5. Re: Big Island questions

I agree with HD. Where are you flying into? If Kona, you should stay your 5 nights there first so you don't have to immediately get off your airplane and drive several hours to get over to Hilo to start your vacation. Are you planning to stay in a hotel or condo? If you want to cut your accommodations budget in half, check out Magic Sands at www.magicsands.com. All rooms are oceanfront, in fact you are only about 50 feet from the water. They have a nice little pool and BBQ area. Check out the reviews others have had on this property because the units are individually owned and some are better than others. Then drive over to the Volcano area and spend the night. The next afternoon, drive to Hilo and spend your final two days. Hopefully you have a late flight so on your final day you can take your time driving back to Kona, stopping along the way to explore the Green Sand Beach (great place for a picnic), shopping, etc. and still have plenty of time to return your rental car and get to the airport in time for your agricultural inspection and check in. Get Big Island Revealed or another travel book to help choose the best hikes in Volcano, beaches, and other places to explore.

Georgia
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6. Re: Big Island questions

Thanks for all the advice. I think I am adicted to ready these forums. I really enjoy some of your replies Hawaaiidan. I am still unsure of where to stay on Kona side. I am sure it will all come together. Thanks Alot.

San Francisco, CA
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7. Re: Big Island questions

I just stayed at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resport and Spa this past August and LOVED it! We paid $179 a night for 2 dbls. I think this is your best choice if you want to be close to town, otherwise I would recommend the Marriott about 10 mins. North of the airport.

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: Big Island questions

We split our vacation on the Big Island exactly as you are: 5 nights Kona, 3 nights Hilo. I thought it was great. We actually could have used more time in both places. There's so much to do and see on this island.

In Kona, we stayed at a neat place called the Silver Oaks Ranch (check out the reviews on this site; they're great). It's a few miles inland and upland from Kona with awesome views of the coastline. The owners, the Deckers, rent out a couple of private cottages on their large property, completely equipped with a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, and large bathroom. Each cottage also has a deck with a view of the coast, and the unit we stayed in (the ranch house cottage) had its own hot tub on the deck. Not to mention a resident black kitty, Gigi, who kept us company during our whole stay. The owners raise dwarf goats; they're interesting to watch. They also have a horse and chickens and other assorted wildlife and vegetation to view as you wander around the property. I believe they now have a 5-night minimum stay, and the price is $165 per night + tax. It was a great home base for exploring the Kona side. I highly recommend it. In addition to reviews on this site, you can go to the Silver Oaks Web site for info: silveroaksranch.com.

Have a great time! We were there this past April. Can't believe how long ago it seems already!

Ontario
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9. Re: Big Island questions

Aloha! We have been to the BI 3 times - it is our favourite. Our next trip is next April. We have stayed at a cottage on the oceanfront on Alii Drive that would fit into your price range. It is gorgeous, and we are returning there again for our next trip. Do a search for Knutson and Associates, and check out "The Cottage".

Kent, WA
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10. Re: Big Island questions

Melelina, that looks like a great cottage. I've been looking at this place...

http://www.mykona.com/index.html

sounds like right next door. Did the crowds at the beach and park disturb you at all? How about noise from Alii Drive?

We would be going in April. TIA for any info, Harry

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