Topic Wiki

List of TR's:
JewJitSew, Something Fishy, Cbs, MendyP, PBaruch, mechayamom, 3yummyboys, PBaruch, shulem92, Yehoshua

Kosher Food/ Restaurants:

Synagogue:

Things to Do:
Lava (find out in advance what the best way is to see the lava):
  • Helicopter
  • Hike/Bike
    • Surface flow - depending on the conditions, it might be possible to hike to surface flow.  Inquire with Kalapana Cultural Tours.
    • Ocean entry - At the present time, there are three ways to access the area where lava is flowing into the ocean: (i) walk the approximately 10 miles round trip over the county emergency access road from Kalapana (you can also walk over the road from the National Park side as well); (ii) rent a bicycle from one of several companies and ride to the ocean entry; or (iii) pay for Kalapana Cultural Tours (www.kalapanaculturaltours.com) to drive you most of the way and then hike or bike the remaining approximately 1.8 miles each way. 
  • Boat

Caves/lava tubes

Mountains
  • CAUTION: after SCUBA diving, wait 24 hours before going up the mountains
  • Mauna Loa
    • Mauna Loa Observatory - if this interests you, contact MLO to arrange tour; they'll ask, "you know we don't do astronomy, right?"; will give you code to gate; one-lane, seriously winding and undulating road
    • ways to summit:
      • day hike from parking lot just before MLO gate
      • minimum 3-5 day hike from Mauna Loa Access Road
  • Mauna Kea
    • visitor center for telescopes in evening
    • to do at summit
      • view sunset
      • Keck Observatory
      • Lake Waiau

Waterfalls

Historical/museums

Beaches
  • Waipio
  • Kalapana/Kaimu - black sand; 10(?) minute walk over lava rock
  • Punalu'u - black sand; good place to see turtles (I once saw 4)
  • Papakolea/Mahana/Green sand beach - there is a local family that shuttles folks from the parking area to the beach for a nominal fee.  Private tours can also be arranged to the beach and surrounding area.
  • Hapuna - has been rated #1 in US, top 10 international

Snorkeling

Snuba (ages 8+)
  • from shore
    • Snuba Doo available (ages 4-7)
  • Fair Wind snorkel trip to Kealakekua Bay
    • no Snuba Doo
    • may allow <8 if child has done Snuba Doo

SCUBA

Swimming with dolphins

Coffee Farm Tours

NPS sites

Botanic Gardens
  • Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden htbg.com

Miscellany
  • Lava Tree State Monument
  • Ahalanui
  • Seahorse Farm (great place for kids)- http://seahorse.com/
  • Cape Kumukahi Lighthouse - you can see where the lava came right up to the fence surrounding the lighthouse
  • South Point
  • Atlantis submarine
  • Hilo farmers market, Wednesdays (and Saturdays)
  • Pololu
  • Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo
  • Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center - skippable; more expensive than Walmart; Rabbi Chazanow, previously of the BI has said that nuts without any chocolate/dairy are PAREVE, including Dry Roasted and Honey Roasted, even when bearing the OU-D

Hotels:
  • Kohala
  • Kona
  • Volcano
  • Hilo

Getting Around:
  • rent a car
    • Harpers - only rental car company that allows you to drive anywhere on the island
  • Bus
  • tours
  • bike
  • hike

Notes:
« Last edited by SSLPhD on May 28, 2017, 11:34:36 PM »

Author Topic: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread  (Read 68342 times)

Offline JewJitSew

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2012, 09:28:30 PM »
No specific reason. But staying on the Kona side really added to the mood with so much open space.

I did less research before visiting the Big Island than the others but it was probably my favorite.

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2012, 09:50:33 PM »
If you're adventurous I'd stay on the Hilo side, if you want sun and sand stay on the Kona side.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline JewJitSew

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2012, 09:28:20 AM »
If you're adventurous I'd stay on the Hilo side, if you want sun and sand stay on the Kona side.

Perhaps correct. However, as my wife and I are discussing vacation plans for the fall - I keep coming back to the Big Island. Really love that place. I am going with the idea that you cannot go wrong no matter where you stay.

Offline arid

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2012, 01:01:09 PM »
does anyone know of a apt/condo/house/hotel near chabad that we can stay by for shabbos?

Offline Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2012, 01:03:35 PM »
Why don't you contact the shliach?
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2012, 01:10:30 AM »
still waiting on an answer. googlemaps says all the hotels are about an hour walk away. looking for a metziah house/condo/apt that people have gone to

Offline Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2012, 01:11:27 AM »
Try calling?
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline ShlockDoc

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2012, 10:42:00 PM »
Dan,

The wife and I are planning our HI trip and will be spending two night in Kona.  We'd like to stay at the Courtyard by Marriot in Kona which is just a few steps away from Falafel in Paradise.  Everywhere else (Hilo, Maui) we'll be staying in homes from VRBO, Airbnb, etc.

The price that I got quote from the courtyard in Kona for two nights is 283.75 all in.  Can you think of a way to either bring that price down or to get upgrades even though we aren't Marriott Rewards members or frequent travelers....

Thanks for your advice!


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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2012, 11:12:42 PM »
Dates?
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2012, 08:59:55 AM »
Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel:  8/19-8/21

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Big Island Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2012, 01:23:05 PM »
I didnt see a specific thread for this Island yet. So....

I am going next July for 3 days. It will be a boys trip leaving from LA. I booked tickets on BA 25,000 Avios and will be staying at the Fairmont Orchid. I am confirmed in the Ocean Front suite for $272/nt using suite upgrades.

Has anyone stayed there? What are the must do's?
JEWDA "RIP"

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2013, 01:30:28 AM »
I finally got around to writing my "10 days in Hawaii with a 1-year old" trip report :D. Here’s Part 2 – The Big Island; you could find Part 1 – Kauai here.

- After reading Dan’s awesome Hawaiian trip reports we knew that this is the place to go. We knew that there’s no way we could afford a trip like this the ‘normal’ way. Thanks to Dan and DDF we were able to go on a trip that would have been more than $12,000 for absolutely free. I kept track of every single expense and in the end every last penny was covered by points. Final tally was 339500 points used (mainly MR and UR). More than 200K of those were sold to cover things that we couldn't use points directly for. In the end we got about 3.53cpm overall, which is great in my book and was definitely worth it.

- We finally got to Kona on the Big Island early Thursday afternoon after a crazy flight situation from Kauai (the story is in the Kauai TR linked above). We got our car (a Durrango which I really ended up liking) and drove down to Ocean View to the house we rented through HomeAway.

- Walmart in Kona off Highway 11 has some kosher food. We also found kosher baby jars there.

- We got a psak that we have to keep Shabbos on Saturday, as well as keep D’oreisas on Friday. This meant that we had just a couple of hours to get to the house, get settled, and prepare food for a two-day Shabbos. It was pretty hectic, but we knew that there’s two solid days of relaxing and klutzing ahead of us.

- Ocean View is an amazing place. There’s this stark emptiness all around. Everything is covered in crumbling lava from Mauna Loa, with the occasional wind-bent tree. The houses are few and far between – there’s absolute privacy. The ocean is visible from just about anywhere, and there’s a never ending wind. Besides for the occasional gecko chirp and the wind, it’s perfectly quiet. The Revealed book says that Ocean View is one of the largest repositories of people in the witness protection program, and it’s easy to see why. It’s also completely dark at night and is supposed to be a great place for stargazing. Unfortunately it was cloudy every night of our stay, so we didn't see any of that :(.

- We had a beautiful double Shabbos relaxing, reading, and swimming (the house had a private pool). We brought all the food from home and had regular Shabbos seudas.

Activities:

- As has been discussed a million times here, get the Revealed books. Best $14 you’ll spend on your trip.

- Sunday we spent on and around the Kilauea volcano.

- Driving up to the volcano from Ocean View takes a little more than an hour and is a very pretty drive. It alternates between stark lava fields and lush greenery. Driving on the flanks of Mauna Loa I was struck how much the landscape looks like Yellowstone, half a world away – the same rounded grassy hills with the clumps of trees. Must be something about volcanoes…

- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: We stopped in the visitor center first and spent a few minutes looking through the exhibits. Well worth it and you get a very good overview of the geology and history of the area.

- We took the “Exploring the Summit” ranger-led hike, which was very interesting. It was more of a walk than a hike, and is fully stroller accessible, which was great. You go through a rain forest and onto the edge of the main Kilauea caldera. It’s really amazing how abruptly the landscape changes from green, lush rainforest to absolute deadness. Very striking. There was a bit too much ‘getchke talk’ for my taste though – Madam Pele this and Madam Pele that. It took about an hour.

- The main road around the crater was partially closed due to high activity in the lava lake in the Halema’uma’u Crater, which was a pity. We were able to see the ash cloud from the lava lake though from the Volcano House overlook, but the view from the Jaggar Museum is much better – it’s closer and the angle is better. We tried to eat lunch by the benches outside the Jaggar Museum, but as soon as we took the food out we were surrounded by yellow jackets. We ended up eating in the car :D.

View from the Jaggar Museum:



- We then drove the entire Chain of Craters Road, and it was awesome. It takes you past all sorts of turnouts where you could see past eruptions and craters. It very interesting to see how nature is returning to normal after the devastation. Some turnouts are more interesting than others. We found Ko’oko’olau Crater, Pauahi Crater, and the Muliwai a Pele turnout further down to be the most interesting.

- Across the road from the Pauahi Crater parking area (between the two entrances) is a tiny little lava tube from the 1979 flow. It’s about 18” tall, but it’s interesting to see how it continues through the lava field. We spent an enjoyable few minutes exploring that area. Walk carefully – huge chunks of lava keep on shifting underneath you.



- The road itself is a very pleasant drive and passes through all sorts of landscapes. There are long stretches where all you see on either side is the lava field as far as the eye could see, with only the road snaking away into the distance. It’s quite the experience:



- By the time we got to the end of the road it was getting late so we decided not to walk the 15 minutes or so to see where the road got swallowed by the lava. We also skipped the Holei sea arch.

- We then headed to the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area, which is about an hour away from the park towards the Hilo side. This spot is technically on the Chain of Craters Road, but on the other side of the lava flow. According the County hotline, there was visible lava flowing at the time, but no ocean entry. We got to the parking lot after dark only to find out that there’s nothing to be seen. The lady in charge told us that the hotline message hasn't been updated in months…  We decided to walk the 10 minutes to the viewing area anyway. It was absolutely pitch black and quite surreal. When we got there we could just about make out two spots of red glow on the horizon. I took some long exposure pictures and was able to see a bit more, but all in all it was pretty much a bust:



- On the way back to Ocean View we stopped at the park again and drove to back to the Jaggar Museum to see the volcano in the dark. This is not to be missed – the glow on the ash cloud is an amazing sight. It’s hard to appreciate the scale of it all – the crater is almost a mile wide and the ash cloud even taller. It's a sight you'll never forget:



- On Monday we went snorkeling in Honomalino Bay. It’s about a 20 minute hike from your car, and is a stunning walk. When we got there we couldn't believe our eyes – a beautiful crescent of black sand, coconut palms all around, and not a soul in sight. We literally had the entire beach to ourselves.

This was the first time either my wife or I ever went snorkeling, and oh is it an amazing experience. The instant you stick your head into the water by the ocean’s edge you’re in another world, with hundreds of fish swimming all around you. And then you get to the reef and it just gets better and better. I had brought along an underwater camera to Hawaii just for this, which I of course I forgot in the car (duh!). We took turns snorkeling and staying with the baby on the beach, who entertained herself by eating sand nonstop :D.

Chillin':



- We had rented the snorkel equipment from Snorkel Bob’s on Kauai, and returned it to their location in Kona on the way to the airport for no extra fee. All very convenient.

- Seeing as we went with a baby, there were many places that were in our plan but that we didn't get to in the end, such as South Point, Road-to-the-Sea Beach, and others. I was also dying to see either sunset or sunrise from the summit of Mauna Kea, but it’s officially dangerous for babies and they won't let you up. I’m not complaining, now we have a reason to go back…

- All in all we had an absolutely AWESOME vacation, all thanks to Dan and DDF. We also officially have the Hawaii bug now and plan on returning to Kauai in June IY”H (the Big Island will have to wait for another time). This time we’re leaving the baby… We hope to do and see everything we couldn't the first time around.

Thanks for reading!
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 10:17:10 PM by Something Fishy »
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2013, 01:50:23 AM »
Wow! Wow! Thanks for the detailed TR!

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2013, 01:54:40 AM »
Really amazing pics.