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what should we do on the first night?

omaha NE
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51 posts
32 reviews
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what should we do on the first night?

After picking up our rental car, I'm wondering what we should do, what is the best way to start our vacation in paradise?

omaha NE
Level Contributor
51 posts
32 reviews
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21. Re: what should we do on the first night?

Wow, the forums can get interesting! I appreciate everyone's insight, this will be our first trip to Hawaii. I have been reading Trip Advisor as well as the Big Island Guidebook, (Wizard publications) to get ideas. We narrowed it down to one island (and chose BI due to the diversity). That is why I have been leaning towards staying in different regions, to see and experience a variety of people, scenery and adventure. We have taken a few cruises and enjoyed the food and entertainment; the primary goal on those trips was to relax and sleep in and not have a schedule. (That is where my comment about the Caribbean came from) . Some people don't like to do much on their vacation, (which is fine, everyone has their own opinion) but if we were doing a "relaxing, no-doing-much vacation" --we'd go on a cruise or Caribbean, to save money and just enjoy a pretty beach and umbrella drink!

But,...I want to see the beautiful island of Hawaii. The "local culture" was loosely meant as people living there, (like many of you, I'm guessing) who love the island and want to share in our excitement of exploring and seeing so many wonderful things. We enjoy and desire to meet ALL TYPES of people, other travelers, "transplants to the island" as well as native people from Hawaii. Perhaps this is a misconception, but I felt we'd have more opportunity to meet others around the breakfast table and visit about their days, ect. According to many of the bed and breakfast reviews, the people who stayed at B and B, commented again and again, how much they enjoyed the hosts and their hospitality and sharing of knowledge, (like many of you are doing). That sounded appealing to us. We have stayed at other B and B in the states, as well as places like Embassy Suites, so I do understand the difference.

The original thought was to stay at 3 different B and B and then 2 nights at the Kilauea Military Camp at VNP. (hey, we can stay for $79 and get to meet other nice vacationing families!) I guess I am re-thinking about staying at 3 different ones, maybe just one or two now, (plus KMC) We do have a limited budget and I'd rather put my money into some well run tours, (such as Volcano Discovery and the horse back riding in Waipio valley, the Manta Ray diving, and getting a motorcycle rental. I realize some people would have no interest in these activities, but for us, I believe it will make a once in a lifetime vacation. We just don't care about fancy restaurants and some of the ammenities that resorts offer. We'll be happy with a cheap deli sandwich and a cookie, watching the sunset from a beach. Can we perhaps explore some of the resorts without staying there? We aren't trying to be cheapskates, I'd be more than happy to pay for a day pass if they offer such a thing.

My original question was really just wondering if we'd be too tired to go out and do something after flying from Omaha, like I think someone said, "unpack and find a beach to stick our toes in." Thank you are for the informative, throught-provoking information. :) p.s. And, I'm still hoping someone will reply who has rented a motorcycle on the island. My husband is very safety conscious and we well understand that there is an element of danger associated with riding a motorcyle. He rides to work everyday and thinks the Hawaiian landscape might be a nice change from the dried out cornfields of Nebraska!

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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22. Re: what should we do on the first night?

"such as Volcano Discovery and the horse back riding in Waipio valley, the Manta Ray diving, and getting a motorcycle rental"

Volcano Discovery, a Waipio horseback ride, and the manta ray night dive are three of the best things to do on the island, you've chosen well.

Arg, ditch the Revealed book please, most residents hate it for its cavalier attitude toward trespassing and other law violations, inaccurate and dangerous legal and safety advice, and it contains other misleading and unfortunate info. The blue books are known locally as the Reviled series, lol. VNP has banned it from sale in the Park and it's not, as the authors would have you believe, because they have secret, special info. If you like "interesting" topics on TA, read some of the Revealed series topics. :-)

I understand your perspective, no one was suggesting you must have a lazy beach vacation. (I actually think there's much more to do in the Kohala districts than in South Kona, but that's largely because of my interest in heiaus, hiking, ocean swimming, shoreline trails, snorkeling, kayaking, etc., and everyone's interests are different). Just that the resorts here aren't necessarily what you may think they are, nor are b&bs, so choose carefully. Also there are non hotel and non resort experiences to be had on the Kohala Coast; the town of Puako, quiet and inexpensive condos in the resort areas as opposed to the hotels, with no parking charges or other fees, etc., as well as in Kailua Kona, which doesn't have the resort "vibe", but is much more convenient IMO than Captain Cook.

It really isn't a budget issue, i suspect whatever you're paying for a b&b, there are many non b&b options in that same price range, and vice versa. And you may decide Captain Cook and a b&b is the way to go and love it. It's just good to have all the info and all the perspectives so you make the choice that's right for you. However, I personally wouldn't stay in more than two locations, one west and one in Volcano, two locations on the west side max.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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23. Re: what should we do on the first night?

Hi Savannah,

Actually the activities you mention are very popular with visitors here. :)

I understand what you are going for. No one is thinking you are a cheapskate either.

You can absolutely explore the resorts hotels and grounds, walk, eat, drink, check out entertainment. The beaches are public, but you must use public access if you want to get to a beach fronted by a hotel. You can't cut through the hotel property with all your stuff, as that is for guests only. All the hotels have public access to the beaches, parking, even showers and restrooms for the public use.

There are no day passes other than the Hilton (not worth it). You can visit and do everything but use the pools and the loungers.

The hotels are resorts, but outside of the hotels there are larger areas that are a particular resort area with condos and homes and shopping. Two of these larger resort envelopes are mostly open to the public and not gated. The Mauna Lani has gated parking for resort guests only, and one gated complex with a security guard giving out passes, but other than that it is public.

The Mauna Kea resort is different, as is the Hualalai Resort, in that there are gate guards, but there is still public access. You just need to say why you are there and ask for a beach pass if you are there for that.

Re the word "local" -- as Shea said, it has a very specific meaning in Hawai'i that is different from what it means in other places, and it is just a good thing to learn IMHO. No one expects you to have known any different. Local means you were born here, period, and you are at least partially descended from either Native Hawaiian or other non-Caucasian ethnic groups who settled here during the early post-contact.

It is a term of pride, of roots, of belonging, and I would be disapproved of if I claimed to be local. And while we're at it, residents of Hawai'i don't refer to themselves as Hawaiians the way people do in other states. Only Native Hawaiians (including partial) have the right to that designation.

The word "native" by itself is in my opinion a term to be entirely avoided here. Because the Hawaiian culture was dismissed at the beginning as savage and uncivilized, the whole "natives" term is loaded with baggage as it is in many places in the world that went through colonization by dominant groups.

Just avoid it. I have never heard anyone here talk about the natives.

In fact, it's probably better to avoid all such terms while you are on the island, as I cannot think of any good that could come of it and the possibility of a misunderstanding is quite real. Better to listen to how each person describes himself or herself and never offer a term that is not presented to you.

Talk to the people you meet who are outgoing, and take a cue from people who are reticent and taciturn and don't try to engage them, and you'll do fine. Some people want to meet visitors and others are burned out on tourism, so just pay attention to the response you get.

Enjoy! It is a beautiful island and a wonderful culture. There are just a few pitfalls for first timers who are super eager to engage people.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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24. Re: what should we do on the first night?

So after all my B&B talk, I remembered that there is a private organization called the Hawaii Island B&B association, which inspects its member B&B's, and only agrees to accept ones that are up to its standards.

This is the home page:

http://stayhawaii.com/index.html

If you stick with this organization you shouldn't have any horror stories like I had.

While I think that the shared breakfast with travelers can be nice, It's not always, and sometimes when you get involved with talking, it's hard to go do what you want and the morning is gone. It's happened to me here, being polite. Nice if there is a long stay.

Since then, I have decided less talk and more doing. And some of them it really does feel like you've invaded someone's house. Especially when you learn this is their dream home that they bought, only they had to move into the garage apartment and rent out their own master suite in order to make ends meet. And very strict rules you cannot use the house kitchen.

I'd rather have a condo or a cottage for a base than a B&B, with my own kitchen, as it saves money. Honestly i never eat a big breakfast in the tropics. Coffee and something light, then go out and explore, hike, swim, catch up with lunch, then chill out in hot afternoon, get going again in the late afternoon, sunset and dinner, relax ... has always worked for me.

But a lot of people seem to like to come and eat a lot of pancakes and big breakfasts ... YMMV.

Edited: 3:30 am, September 12, 2012
Big Island, Hawaii
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25. Re: what should we do on the first night?

Probably one of the main reasons I don't like B&Bs, aside from the often awkward chats, is, well, I don't like breakfast. I want hot tea and an orange, and then get on the trail or in the ocean. (Or if in Paris, tea and a pain au chocolate :-)

I'm not really up for conversation with anything two legged prior to noon. :-)

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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26. Re: what should we do on the first night?

Lol, me too. People in my life know that. I want my coffee in peace. After coffee I will be outgoing.

I have read a lot of reviews that are ecstatic about breakfast, if that is a big deal for you and you like talking to strangers as soon as you get up, then B&B may be your best option.

Which ones are you considering?

PS I find the idea of meeting people through lodgings a lot

more appealing in a foreign culture or when traveling alone. It is pretty easy to talk to people here on the island.

Edited: 6:45 pm, September 12, 2012
27. Re: what should we do on the first night?

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