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A Few Tips For Hawaii? (The Big Island)  
User currently offlineEvan767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 2957 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2200 times:

So my family and I are planning a trip to the big island on the 21-23. Since I was assigned the frustrating job of finding a cheap hotel that is worth it for the money, I thought I may as well pass the burden on to you guys!  Big grin Seriously though, I know that with this forum filled with as many travelers as there are, you guys would be the best to ask for advice. I have done a few searches and read a few responses myself but can't decide on a good hotel. I am looking for a place to stay one night in Kona (21st) and one night in Hilo (22nd). I am looking for a cheap hotel particularly for budget travelers (preferably something less than 140 or so, but if there is anything way more worth it for a few extra bucks, please tell me). We would like it if the hotel had a good location and a pool or something like that.

Also, any tips on what to do on the Big Island? We know about that Volcano, but anything other than that (particularly scenic)? It doesn't look as great for surfing or swimming as it is in Waikiki and on Maui.


The proper term is "on final" not "on finals" bud...
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDavestanKSAN From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1678 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2193 times:

I'm headed there myself at the end of the month...I will miss you by a few days.

What a beautiful place it is, you'll love it.

As far as hotels, they are all pretty good.
Check out this link.....here
It is a list of hotels with prices and reviews from people who stayed there.

An amazing hotel IMO is the Hilton Waikoloa Village. here

Its pricey, but check out the pics, its amazing there. I've never stayed there, but its worth it to check out even if you're not staying there.

Not too sure about Hilo, I've only stayed at Kona.

There's a lot to do on the island. Driving around the island is an amazing drive, lots of crazy scenery. You should definetly go to downtown, its really cool there, lots of resturants and historical monuments. Its hard to describe but you really feel the Hawaiian culture and get an appreciation of its history.

I'd reccomend Pu`uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park website really interesting things to see there.


So many things to do. Snorkeling is craazzzzzy, the water is amazing. The golf courses are incredible even if you dont play golf. As you said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Oh you should also check out the lava tubes. You can walk through one of them.

Anyway theres a ton more to do, just google Kona or Hilo activites and you'll see all the things there are to do.

Have a safe and fun trip, relax!

Cheers,
Dave



Yesterday we've sinned, today we move towards God. Touch the sky....love and respect...Safe Star!
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39885 posts, RR: 74
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2187 times:

Me and my girlfriend stayed at the Hilo Banyan hotel.
I loved the place!
Nothing had changed there since 1972.  Cool



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineIAH777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 0 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2174 times:

- Have your camera ready upon arrival, as KOA is open-air.

- Only three ways when driving from Kona to Hilo:
1. Over the top, which will require something more substantial than a Buick
2. Around the west end and through the largest working cattle ranch in the US; very pleasant drive through some very diverse climates/environments
3. Around the south end, through macadamia nut and coffee platations, wineries, Volcano Nat. Park, a black sand beach, etc.

- Order an Entertainment coupon book online for Hawaii. We paired that with AAA and got some killer room deals at the Marriott next to the Hilton in Kona.


User currently offlineLorM From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 409 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2171 times:

Quoting DavestanKSAN (Reply 1):
An amazing hotel IMO is the Hilton Waikoloa Village. here

I first stayed at the Waikoloa when it first opened, after that I've been back multiple times each year ever since. Don't stay anywhere else on the Big Island but the Hilton Waikoloa. Forget Hilo!

This the premiere hotel to relax at! If you enjoy swimming in the ocean, you have your own private enclosed salt water lagoon that is fed by the ocean. Snorkling here is probably the absolute best on the Big Island, outside of going to Hanauma Bay on Oahu. Marine life is plentiful and a bunch of green sea turtles love to hang out at the waterfalls. Swiming with dolphins is also availiable. If you need to get your chlorine pool fix there is a 1/4 mile long pool and several others with slides. Plus there's trams and boats that take you to your hotel wing. The food is very good there with many restaraunts within the hotel and within the grounds.

Don't bother with the hotels in Hilo. They are ALL in need of major renovation. There is absolutely no reason to stay overnight in Hilo. If you MUST stay at a hotel in Hilo, stay at the Nani Loa or the Castle Hilo. You can rent a car in Hilo and return it in Kona.

I strongly recomend flying into Hilo not Kona and seeing the volcano when you first arrive. Then do some sight seeing in Hilo and drive to your hotel in Kona after you do the volcano. Driving from Hilo to Kona is not at all difficult, there are many great scenic valleys that you will pass if you drive to Kona using the northern route. Like I said you can rent a car in Hilo and return it in Kona.

After the volcano, be sure to stop at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts Visitor Center (its on the same road to the volcano and back to Hilo), maybe sightsee in Hilo then drive to Kona using the northern route. Kona has much more to do, walking around downtown Kona along the shore is another good thing to do while you're there.

Hope the weather is great when you are there!

[Edited 2006-08-09 10:50:18]


Brick Windows
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39885 posts, RR: 74
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2161 times:

Quoting LorM (Reply 4):
Don't bother with the hotels in Hilo. They are ALL in need of major renovation. There is absolutely no reason to stay overnight in Hilo. If you MUST stay at a hotel in Hilo

I totally disagree.
Hilo is much nicer than Kona. If you want to sit in your renovated hotel room, I guess Kona is fine. Hilo really feels like Hawaii.
Hilo has beautiful lush rainforest, waterfalls and very friendly native Hawaiians. The older style hotels gives the place an even more enchanting feel.
Kona is just a mini-Waikiki (tourist beach in Honolulu). Worst of all, it's expensive as hell. At least Waikiki has reasonably price restaurants and 95 cent Mai Tai's  yes 

I'd recommend staying in Hilo and driving out to Kona. Best of all in Hilo, you can see KC-135 tankers flying in in out often and doing steep turns at low altittude.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineOHLHD From Finland, joined Dec 2004, 3962 posts, RR: 25
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2142 times:

Maybe you should stay in one of the great Bed& Breakfast.

Since the distances are not sooo great you can stay a bit outside the cities.

I was there in 2001 so I do not rmeber all the names where I stayed. Maybe I find sometime to find the names of the B&B´s.

If I can´t ....... ENJOY the Island  Big grin


User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2136 times:

It was 1994 since I've been to the Big Island, but we stayed at what was then the Ritz-Carlton, Mauna Lani. Was beautiful there. The hotel was eventually sold and became "The Fairmont Orchid" hotel. Great man made bay for snorkling. It's probably just as pricey as it was back then, but a great place to relax and enjoy.

UAL


User currently offlineLorM From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 409 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2121 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
I'd recommend staying in Hilo and driving out to Kona. Best of all in Hilo, you can see KC-135 tankers flying in in out often and doing steep turns at low altittude.

They do touch and goes and practice approaches at KOA as well. Its much more common at KOA than at ITO. The majority of the KC-135s are from PHIK (Hickam at PHNL) and fly under the Hoku callsign. The largest scheduled aircraft you'll probably see is ATAs 757 and FedEx's MD-11. Sure the late turn approach to rwy 8 has its Kai Tak moments, but after the 10th 717 and 732 it gets old fast. More than likely it will be in the 26 config. If you absolutely MUST spot, do it at Kona, the traffic is much more varied and interesting.

Quoting DavestanKSAN (Reply 1):
I'd reccomend Pu`uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park website really interesting things to see there.

Totally recommend it and it's on the Kona side.

You get what you pay for in Hilo, and thats not much. Did an overnighter in Hilo earlier this year. There is very little beach at Hilo, unless you consider a brownish dirt like clay to be your ideal beach. You wont see the rainforest or the valleys without first driving out of Hilo. The Wapio valley is another spectacular valley view to stop at. So is the Laupahoehoe gulch. It's all on the north route out of Hilo through Waimea.

Yes Kona is more expensive. The majority of local people who work at the Kona resorts live on the Hilo side of the island, it's too expensive to on the Kona side. All those cars driving out of Kona through Waimea in the evening hours? It's them driving home from work. The home building industry is booming in the South Kohala and Kona area.

And no Waikaloa has not been renovated. It was built great the first time.  yes . There is absolutely no reason to stay in your room. Few pics from one of my stays at the Hilton Waikaloa. The boats and the trams take you to your respective wing. Beach is the private lagoon - amazing snorkling. 5th pic is the lobby of the Queen hotel wing - IMO the best. Yours truly down the big waterslide in the last pic. SHAKA BRADDA.








If you want to stay in a sleepy quiet environment, stay in Hilo - it's great for
that for sure. Hell, Waikaloa has it's own heliport that does scenic island and volcano tours if you're so inclined. If you want to fully enjoy your stay on the Big Island stay on the Kona side  Smile.



Brick Windows
User currently offlineScarletHarlot From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 4673 posts, RR: 56
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2099 times:

Go buy the Big Island Revealed - Ultimate Guide guidebook.



This book rocks. It gives unbiased, real opinions on every hotel on the Big Island. It tells you about all the restaurants and things to do. And if something sucks, it tells you.

I bought other guidebooks on our first trip to Hawaii and never bothered again. This was the only book we used.

http://www.wizardpub.com/bigisland/bigisland.html



But that was when I ruled the world
User currently offlineCOrocks From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1215 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2086 times:

The coolest experience I had there was diving with the giant mantas. If I recall, the boat will leave an hour or so before dark from Kona. They take both divers and snorkelers. They drop crates of lights on the bottom which attracts plankton, which then attracts the mantas. I was on the bottom 35ft and my wife was snorkeling on top. The manatas will go up and down between the divers and snorklers. They are huge, 10-12ft accross - and extremely graceful. One of the most awesome experiences ever.

Be sure to read up on going out to the volcanoes. The best thing is to go a few hours before sunset, so that you arrive at the lava tubes right before dark. They are really neat when they are glowing. Be sure to take flashlights, tennis shoes, and lots of water. It is a tough hike out to the lava.


User currently offlineGoCOgo From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 701 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2084 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
I totally disagree.
Hilo is much nicer than Kona. If you want to sit in your renovated hotel room, I guess Kona is fine. Hilo really feels like Hawaii.
Hilo has beautiful lush rainforest, waterfalls and very friendly native Hawaiians. The older style hotels gives the place an even more enchanting feel.
Kona is just a mini-Waikiki (tourist beach in Honolulu). Worst of all, it's expensive as hell. At least Waikiki has reasonably price restaurants and 95 cent Mai Tai's

 checkmark  Much of Waikiki, Kona, and Lahaina for that matter feel like facades put up for the tourists, whereas Hilo is much more real (and real is better).

Quoting LorM (Reply 8):
You get what you pay for in Hilo, and thats not much. Did an overnighter in Hilo earlier this year. There is very little beach at Hilo, unless you consider a brownish dirt like clay to be your ideal beach. You wont see the rainforest or the valleys without first driving out of Hilo. The Wapio valley is another spectacular valley view to stop at. So is the Laupahoehoe gulch. It's all on the north route out of Hilo through Waimea.

While I agree that the action is limited in downtown Hilo, it's at least worth a half a day of exploring, where you will fell al lot more kama'ina that in Kona. But the natural beauty is part of what makes Hilo much more attractive as well. Hawaii Volcanoes is much closer to Hilo, and the area described to the north is worth a few days of hiking and exploring. Do you really want to spend 3-4 hours a day for a couple of days driving to the wonderful Hilo-side attractions, when you could just spend a few nights in one of the reasonable hotels in Hilo?

And as for the hotels, why do some of you act as if you always require 4 or 5 star treatment at the hotel? When I go to Hawaii (outside of Waikiki, at least), I don't want to stay in the hotel any longer that required. All it is is a place to sleep, and even the Hilo Seaside offers that. If you want a spa with your hotel everywhere you go, why bother leaving Waikiki?



"Why you fly is your business, how you fly is ours"
User currently offlineDahawaiian From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 229 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2080 times:

Good Beaches on the Kona Coast: Hapuna, Anaehoomalu and 69's to name a few. I just got back to Oahu from Kona after SCUBA diving over the weekend, and it was great. The weather was awesome and the water was very clear. The snorkeling/diving along the Kohala and Kona coastline is excellent. Although it may be pricy, try and take an intro dive if you are up to it.

As far as hotels go in Kona, the King Kamehameha Hotel is one option, but do not be expecting too much from them. It is pretty cheap and near the ocean, but I would imagine it is in need of repairs by now. Hotels generally get more expensive as you travel up the Kona Coast (Waikoloa Hilton, Mauna Lani, Hapuna Prince, Mauna Kea etc...), so somewhere in Kona is your best bet.

While in Hilo, do yourself a favor and stop by Big Island Candies. I swear their candies are some of the best I have ever tried, albeit a bit pricy. Check out Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls in the Hilo area. Oh yeah, and you may want to avoid travelling on the scenic Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa if driving between Hilo and Kona. In my experience, rental companies specifically tell you to avoid it, and it is not a place you want to get stuck at because it may take a long time to get help. Hope this helps you out a bit.
Aloha


User currently offlineFtrguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2074 times:

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 9):
Go buy the Big Island Revealed - Ultimate Guide guidebook.

This book rocks. It gives unbiased, real opinions on every hotel on the Big Island. It tells you about all the restaurants and things to do. And if something sucks, it tells you.

I bought other guidebooks on our first trip to Hawaii and never bothered again. This was the only book we used.

http://www.wizardpub.com/bigisland/b....html

I will second that. We went there a month ago and this book was dead on 100% of the time. A must buy if going to Hawaii.

Hilo is a dump, stay away. Cool to pass through, but that's about it. Its a city that is stuck in the 1940's.


User currently offlineEvan767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 2957 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2070 times:

Thank you for everyone's help! Sorry, I didn't take anyone's advice on hotels. We have decided to stay in the Outrigger just south of the Kona Airport the first night thanks to AAA. The hotel apparently has excellent snorkeling on the beach at the hotel site. We haven't got any reservations for the east side of the island, but we are looking into this house which has a few cottages right by the volcano. It is priced at about 122 a night I think which is about how much we paid for the outrigger and it looks very small (4 rooms) and private. Also it looks very excellent for it's location. We might just pass through Hilo on the way back to Kona on the North Side of the island instead of staying the night there since you guys are making Hilo sound a bit worse than the rest of the island. The highlight of our trip will be the volcano and that is mainly what we are going to see. I will however, use some of everyone's advice and check into a few of these things while we make our counter-clockwise trip around the island! Thanks everyone for the help!


The proper term is "on final" not "on finals" bud...
User currently offlineA330Fan1 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 856 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2059 times:

i recommend 2 things

1) macadamia nut chocolate factory mmmm so good.
2) helicopter tour of volcano

i personally would make sure #1 is done first, and 2 if time left over.  Smile have fun!


User currently offlineAloha73G From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2362 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2054 times:

Hilo is under rated. Most people ignore it, dont give it a fair shake, and miss its charm. There are ALOT of great little shops and museums and the forrests/waterfalls around Hilo are spectacular.

I reccomend the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel and the Naniloa. Both are quite adequate and have great staff's with a certain 'local charm'.....Aloha Spirit  Smile

For me personally Kona is a bit too 'fake' and over run by "rich mainland haoles." I like (prefer) the relaxing, informality, and charm of Hilo.

As far as beaches go, the Big Island is the worst island (its too young for nice beaches). There are some great parks around hilo though with amazing tide pools.

Also, definately drive to South Point (Ka Lae)....the road is a little off the beaten path, but the Southern-most point of the USA has one of the most amazing views I've EVER seen.....there are cliffs (about 50 feet high) that look down on the oacean, about 15-20 feet deep. The water is completely clear and you can see the fish swimming. Also, there is a ladder to climb back up, if you decide to jump in....I wished I had brought my simsuit when I was there because it looked ridiculously fun (and I'm not a risk-taker OR oceanlover).

-Aloha!



Aloha Airlines - The Spirit Moves Us. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. Aloha, A Hui Hou!
User currently offlineGoCOgo From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 701 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2046 times:

Quoting Evan767 (Reply 14):
you guys are making Hilo sound a bit worse than the rest of the island.

Re-read many of our posts. There are quite a few of us who recommend Hilo. Rather-or-not you like Hilo or not depends on what kind of vacationer you are. If you are the type that insists on an all-inclusive resort where you never have to leave your hotel, idea of a great hiking trail is a half mile of paved trail with a hundred other people, and think that hotel luau is just like the luaus Hawaiians where having centuries ago, Hilo probably isn't the place for you. If you enjoy a little more adventure, are content with little more than a bed in your hotel room, and enjoy interacting with the real culture of the area, Hilo is even better than Kona.



"Why you fly is your business, how you fly is ours"
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