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) - UPDATE - you are now restricted to .5 miles from the surface flow due to dumb tourists putting themselves in danger and almost getting killed. As a result, viewing ocean entry from land is not as enjoyable as it used to be; (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
  • Thurston Lava Tube (parking now restricted to 30 minutes)
  • Kaumana
  • ranger-led to?
  • Cave 3
  • Kazamura Caves http://kazumuracave.com/

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
      • adz quarry

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
  • If you plan on going to more than one NPS site in your time in Hawaii, it probably makes sense to get a Hawaii Tri-Parks Pass, which costs $30 per year for all three parks that collect fees (HAVO,HALE,PUHO), instead of up to $25 for a few days for one park.
  • Hawaii Volcanoes NP (HVNP) (ALL BUT KAHUKU UNIT IS CLOSED FOR NOW)
    • Jaggar Museum/Halemaumau overlook
    • Thurston lava tube (Definitely do the dark end if open, but has been closed for years.)
    • Chain of Craters Rd. to Holei sea arch
    • Kahuku (only weekendsEXPANDED HOURS FOR NOW)
    • Easy hikes:  Sulphur Banks, Devastation Trail, Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs
  • Pu'uhonua o Honaunau NHP
  • Kaloko Honokohau NHP
  • Pu'ukohola Heiau NHS (heiau means temple)

Botanic Gardens
  • Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden htbg.com

Miscellany
  • Lava Tree State Monument CLOSED
  • Ahalanui (covered by lava, July 2018)
  • 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 July 14, 2018, 10:31:09 PM »

Author Topic: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread  (Read 155469 times)

Offline sky121

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #180 on: February 20, 2014, 04:51:24 PM »
What Hawaiian island has more?

How many things do you need to do? It's not quantity, is it?
"Not all who wander are lost"

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #181 on: February 20, 2014, 04:51:49 PM »
I think the easiest way to sum it up is that Kauai is prettier, but the Big Island is more interesting.

Yah, the only interesting thing that happened to me on Kauai is that my jeep blew up. 
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Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #182 on: February 20, 2014, 04:53:16 PM »
How many things do you need to do? It's not quantity, is it?

Its not quantity - its variety and some of the things that the BI offers can't be found elsewhere with such easy accessibility. 
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline Ell Eee

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #183 on: February 20, 2014, 04:53:25 PM »
to sum it up, where would you suggest a first timer to go? which island? i would say BI is a must

Offline sky121

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #184 on: February 20, 2014, 04:54:05 PM »
to sum it up, where would you suggest a first timer to go? which island? i would say BI is a must

It would depend on the person and what they are looking for and what they appreciate.
"Not all who wander are lost"

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #185 on: February 20, 2014, 04:54:42 PM »
to sum it up, where would you suggest a first timer to go? which island? i would say BI is a must

Why not both Kauai and the BI?
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Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #186 on: February 20, 2014, 04:55:22 PM »
Why not both Kauai and the BI?

Wouldn't that depend on time constraints?  I wouldn't recommend less than a week in either place. 
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline Ell Eee

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #187 on: February 20, 2014, 04:57:16 PM »
in my situation i flew in to HNL, so i had all islands on my option list (was only able to choose one) if i meet anyone in the same position i think BI is the choice

Offline Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #188 on: February 20, 2014, 05:36:58 PM »
in my situation i flew in to HNL, so i had all islands on my option list (was only able to choose one) if i meet anyone in the same position i think BI is the choice
I'd rank them
Kauai
Maui
BI
Oahu

But that's me.
BI technically does have more to do (it's BIG!), but I appreciate the green lushness and fresh Vog-free air of LIH and OGG more than that.  And there's more than enough on LIH/OGG to occupy a week.
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Offline Bosco

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #189 on: February 20, 2014, 07:27:45 PM »
I think the easiest way to sum it up is that Kauai is prettier , but the Big Island is more interesting.

That's why I'm a little concerned. I feel like the fact that it's not as pretty and lacks the nice hotels and resorts the others have, that might put a damper on my vacation. Should I not be concerned about that? I also don't love the fact that I wot be able to use points for hotels (wanna stay on Hilo side tues to fri and fri to mon morning near Chabad).

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #190 on: February 20, 2014, 07:29:57 PM »
The whole reason I want to go to the BI is that it seems like there's a ton to do and, with such a broad spectrum, I feel like you can't go wrong. But I'm scared that the likely rainy Hilo weather, coupled with subpar/expensive lodging may take away from the trip.

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #191 on: February 20, 2014, 07:32:51 PM »
Why not both Kauai and the BI?

I'm there Tuesday afternoon to Monday morning. Dan suggested spend all our time in the BI.

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #192 on: February 20, 2014, 08:56:34 PM »
The whole reason I want to go to the BI is that it seems like there's a ton to do and, with such a broad spectrum, I feel like you can't go wrong. But I'm scared that the likely rainy Hilo weather, coupled with subpar/expensive lodging may take away from the trip.

Enough has been said.  Make your own decisions and/or mistakes.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #193 on: February 21, 2014, 10:06:29 AM »
Howdy to all.  Here is a trip report from my recent stay on the Big Island, my favorite place on the planet.

We arrived on a Sunday evening and our first stop was at the local Kona WM.  While Mrs. PBaruch did some shopping, I took the opportunity to do my thing (you all know what that is) - everything went off perfectly.  Our second stop was at Chabad - Rabbi Chazanow, where we picked up dinner and some food for the week.  A big thank you to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Chazanow for the delicious food and all of your help.  You greatly enhance our vacations.  Then off to Volcano where we stayed for 4 nights. 

The following day, a freak storm blew in and drenched the island in rain.  We weren't about to sit around all day and my good buddy Bruce Omori, a photographer with a gallery in Hilo (www.extremeexposure.com) drove us into Waipio Canyon.  We made it to the the black sand beach where my kids had a blast playing in the sand in pouring rain.  We then drove around Waipio for a while crossing rivers swelled by all the rains. Bruce's raised Toyota pickup truck worked phenomenally well.  Mahalo to Brudda Bruce for an awesome experience.  To all those naysayers, I have this to say - you can still have lots of fun in the rain.  Besides, how many people get to go to Waipio in pouring rain?

I uploaded a YouTube clip of the Waipio adventure for your viewing pleasure. 



On Tuesday and Wednesday, we drove through the Chain of Craters Road in Volcanoes National Park and did some hiking in various parts of the park.  Also, we drove to the black sand beach at Kalapana.  This year there was actually sand on the black sand beach and we were able to get down to it and play in the surf.  Unfortunately, there was no lava surface flow near Kalapana in an accessible area so I could not hike to the lava, as I did in prior years. 

Here is a YouTube clip of the entire Chain of Craters Drive:



Please note that this clip plays well in higher resolution mode but in lower resolutions there is quite a bit of pixelation. 

We were supposed to meet up with our friend Alex on Wednesday night.  He arrived earlier and decided to hike Mauna Loa, which he started on Sunday morning. If any of you are not aware, Mauna Loa is universally considered the hardest hike in Hawaii - 18 miles one way to the summit.  Alex didn't show up Wednesday night and we all became very concerned.  Seems that all that rain we were getting turned into a huge snowstorm at the mountain tops.  Both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa were blanketed in snow (the road to the top of Mauna Kea was closed and there was no viewing at the visitor center due to cloud cover).  Alex was caught up in the snowstorm and couldn't get down the mountain.  He ended up sleeping outside in the snow for two nights. Ultimately, the story has a happy ending.  Alex was rescued by helicopter on Thursday morning.  They found him wandering down the mountain near the summit.  He was dehydrated, suffering from altitude sickness and symptoms of frostbite, but alive.  We remain hopeful that he will have a complete recovery.  And now, we can both say that we had near death experiences in Hawaii.

A link to articles about his ordeal can be found here for those who are interested:

http://www.nps.gov/havo/parknews/sverdlov.htm

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/New-York-Hiker-Trapped-Hawaii-Mauna-Loa-Volcano-Snowstorm-242904701.html

At least one good thing came out of this ordeal - we got a free behind the scenes tour of the Jagger Observatory thanks to our new friend Park Ranger John Broward.  Mahalo John!

On Thursday, the sky opened up to a beautiful sunny day over Hilo, which was perfect for our doors off helicopter flight with Paradise Helicopters. Calvin, the owner of the company, personally came out to fly us around the volcano.  Many thanks to Cal for an awesome experience.  A clip of our flight can be seen here:



Towards the end of the clip, you can see a rainbow over a small patch of road in the area previously known as the Royal Gardens subdivision. This patch of road was, for some unexplained reason, spared by the lava flow.  I thought of Parshas Noach when seeing the rainbow and road surrounded by the lava field. 

You can also see the remains of Jack Thompson's house - all that is left is a satellite dish, a water tank, and some roofing material and debris.  Jack was the last holdout in this area until his home was finally claimed by the lava in 2012.  While the house was standing, I wanted to hike out to it and spend the night there and bring Jack some beers.  Unfortunately, Jack was away and when we came back the next time, the house was already gone. 

Later in the day, we drove to South Point and to the green sand beach.  Levi and his very capable Toyota 4Runner drove us to the beach as our rented minivan would never have made it.  A clip of the drive can be seen here.  It is a bit choppy at times because the truck was traveling at a good rate of speed over very bumpy terrain.



After our green sand beach excursion, we drove to the Sheraton in Kona, where we were upgraded to an ocean view room due to my Starwood Gold status.  The view was absolutely gorgeous and we were on the ground floor, which made it convenient to walk around on Shabbos.

On Friday, we did the Dolphin Quest at the Hilton and then went snorkeling and swimming at Kikaua Beach, which is perfect for little kids due to its protective cove.

On Friday night, after the Shabbos meal, we wandered over to Rays on The Bay Restaurant (at the Sheraton) where we were able to watch Manta Rays swimming right behind the restaurant while getting a bit sloshed.  Next time I hope to snorkel with the Manta Rays as I didn't have time this trip.

On Sunday, we went to Greenwell Coffee farm, where we stop by every year for awesome Kona coffee and to take our annual family picture (it has become a tradition). Then it was time to pack out for the return home on a United First Class flight with lay flat bed seats. 

While we were not able to do everything we wanted to do because of time constraints and the weather not fully cooperating, I have this to say to those who don't think the Big Island totally rocks.  Go to Maui, Kauai, or wherever you want.  I'm more than happy to keep the Big Island to myself.  :O)

Can't wait till next time. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this trip report. 
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 01:02:27 PM by PBaruch »
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #194 on: February 23, 2014, 01:26:44 AM »
Howdy to all.  Here is a trip report from my recent stay on the Big Island, my favorite place on the planet.

Wow, great report.

It's interesting, from everything I've read the road down to Waipio Valley is horrible, but the road to the green sand beach is not so bad. From your videos it seems just the opposite - that road to the beach looks positively nasty.

Do you have any pictures to share (especially from the helicopter)? I'd love to see some.

As an aside, 2 points: The videos aren't playable on mobile devices (including iPads), so you might want to change that (I believe it's a Youtube setting somewhere). Also, try putting some RainX outside the GoPro housing, that way it won't let raindrops accumulate.
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