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car rental or not

Vancouver, Canada
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76 posts
4 reviews
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car rental or not

From reading a lot of the posts here regarding car rental on the BI most say you definitely need a car.

But what if you're taking a lot of the tours available and spending the rest of the time at your hotel. We're staying at the mauna Lani hotel and plan to book excursions close by or thru the hotel.

If we book outside of the hotel area don't the tour companies offer pick up service at the hotel or will most of them expect you to get there on your own?

As far as the area around the hotel I know there's a shuttle running quite frequently to take you around the immediate area where there is many shops and restaurants.

Paradise, California
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1,331 posts
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1. Re: car rental or not

Cab fare to and from the airport will be almost as much as the cost of a car. I say get a car.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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39,836 posts
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2. Re: car rental or not

I truly can't imagine staying on the Big Island without a car . . .

Burr Ridge, Illinois
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3,900 posts
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3. Re: car rental or not

While I wouldn't want to visit the BI without a car, it sounds like you are aware of the situation and still tend toward 'no car'.

What may be right for me or someone else may not be right for you.

I will be surprised, however, if anyone on TA suggests going without a car. We will see.

Vancouver, Canada
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76 posts
4 reviews
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4. Re: car rental or not

Can anyone answer my question about whether the tours pick up from the mauna lani hotel? Also do they charge for parking?

Thanks

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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5. Re: car rental or not

The Mauna Lani does charge for parking. I don't know what tours you're talking about but for the most part tours don't offer hotel pickup, you'll have to check with the ones you've booked to see for sure.

I would definitely get a car. There are many beaches, heiaus, and historical parks within fifteen to thirty minutes of the Mauna Lani. They don't require a tour or guide but do require a car. What about driving the Hamakua Coast? The farmers markets in Waimea? Pololu Valley? Waialea Beach? The amazing human sacrifice heiau at Mookini and the birthplace of King Kamehameha? The Puukohola heiau? Puuhonua O Honaunau and snorkeling at Honaunau Bay? The beautiful beach of Kauna'oa?

There are very few tours I think are even worth the expense on the BI, the exceptions being maybe a Waipio Valley horseback ride (you'll need a car to get there), and a Mauna Kea summit tour. Most of the best parts of the BI are best explored on your own and at your own pace, with a rental car.

Canada
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9,175 posts
40 reviews
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6. Re: car rental or not

I would not dream of being on the Big island without a rental vehicle.

The Mauna Lani Shopping center to which the shuttle stops has a few restaurants, and grocery.....the actual "shopping" is dismal IMO. Most of the tenants have left. It's sad actually.For all the talk how walkable Mauna Lani Resort is.......it still is very spread out...with plenty of hot lava fields surrounding the property. A car serves as a cool most convenient option.

While a Mauna Kea summit guided tour would be one to recommend....

Most folks self tour VNP.....get themselves to the Manta Ray night show..as well as any South Kona snorkeling jaunts.No "tour" companies involved.

Parking fees are just part of the deal ( annoyingly so...) It shouldn't come into the equation when deciding Yay or Nay on a necessary Big island car rental. Luckily the condos aren't charging parking fees "yet".

Vancouver, Canada
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76 posts
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7. Re: car rental or not

Thanks everybody, So nice to have a forum like this where you can get answers to specific questions. It looks like I'll be renting a car.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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8. Re: car rental or not

I would reconsider the idea of using tours as your primary window on the island sights. Getting in the car and doing road trips of your own is IMO more fun, more flexible, and certainly more affordable.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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39,836 posts
44 reviews
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9. Re: car rental or not

I think you if you want your specific question answered regarding whether those specific tours pick you up at your hotel, you will have to contact the tour provider - there is no way anyone here on the forum would have that knowledge unless they took the same tour and stayed at the same hotel. AS well, tours change - I would want to know that information directly from the tour provider - even your hotel may not have the specifics and you certainly wouldn't want to be left scrambling for a ride to your tour if they didn't come to your hotel. Good luck! :)

10. Re: car rental or not

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