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 155457 times)

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #330 on: February 27, 2015, 09:40:12 AM »
A wiki doesn't really show people's opinions, unless you read people's TRs that are perhaps listed in a wiki. I like wikis for their super concise way to find out what the top 10 activities are and then I can Google them to see what interests me before asking Q's in the thread about those specific activities/logistics.


I guess I didnt really mean opinions I meant experiences. Like info about particular hotels, which ones are better etc.

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #331 on: March 02, 2015, 12:05:47 AM »
Howdy to all.  Here is a trip report from our 6th trip to the Big Island, my favorite place on the planet.

We arrived in Kona on Sunday night and once again our first stop was at WM.  We then stopped by Chabad to pick up some food and off we went to Volcano, where we stayed for the first four nights.  We always break up the trip into two parts - Volcano and Kona.  This way we get to experience the best of both worlds. 

Chabad provides a variety of prepared food for sale.  In addition, I was told that they would soon be reopening a falafel place in Kona.  Also, for those who are interested, Costco sells kosher cornish hens and other items of kosher food.  Ask Rabbi Chazanow about which bread you can buy. 

On Monday, we visited friends in Hilo and then went off to Kalapana, where there is a nice black sand beach.  This year, there was quite a bit of sand on the beach.  There have been times in prior years when most of the sand was washed away.  We all had quite a bit of fun playing in the sand and surf.  Since we were all a bit jetlagged and tired, we took it easy and relaxed.

Kalapana  2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Kalapana 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Here is a really cool VW van that one of the locals restored all by himself.  He even painted it all by himself.

DSC_0608VW Van by peterbryan718, on Flickr

The locals at Kalapana lead guided lava hikes but this year the lava wasn't flowing in an accessible area. As a result, there were no guided hikes this year (not that I need one).

Information for those who are interested can be found here:  http://www.kalapanaculturaltours.com/

Tip:  If you go when the lava is flowing in an accessible area near Kalapana, request a private tour.

When there is ocean entry, another option to view lava is to take a lava boat tour.  We did that in the past and it was really nice.  Information for those who are interested can be found here:  http://www.lavaocean.com/

Even without the lava flowing in an accessible area this year, I still did my share of chasing lava and was not disappointed.  That is, of course, the primary reason I keep coming back to the Big Island.

On Tuesday we took a chartered helicopter flight with Paradise Helicopters. Once again, Cal, the owner of the company, personally came out to fly us around the volcano.  Many thanks to Cal for another awesome VIP experience.  A clip of our flight can be seen here:



Of course, the little guy came along for the flight.

Heli Charter by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Last years flight with Cal can be seen here.



On Tuesday evening we drove up Mauna Kea to the visitor center.  We couldn't drive all the way up to the summit since my kids are still too young.  Nevertheless, we had a nice time stargazing and looking through the telescopes.  I took a picture of the moon from the visitor center.

Moon from Mauna Kea 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

On Wednesday, my buddy drove us down to the black sand beach at Waipio in his pickup truck, where we had tons of fun.  I sat with the kids in the truck bed on the way down.  The kids insisted on sitting in the truck bed by themselves on the way up. (For those of you wondering, no - the baby didn't ride in the truck bed).

DSC_1353  Waipio by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Waipio 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

DSC_1293 Waipio by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Waipio 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Waipio 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

On Thursday, we went to South Point/Green Sand Beach.  This year, we went earlier in the day and it was really crowded.  Of course, the little guy came along.

Green Sand Beach 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

A YouTube video from the drive last year can be seen here:



Afterwards, we drove over to Kona, where we stayed for the remainder of our trip.

On Friday, we did a snorkeling trip to Captain Cook Monument.  Along the way, we saw tons of dolphins and humpback whales.

Kona Whale 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Kona Whale 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Kona Dolphins 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

A video of the snorkeling adventure can be seen here.   As you can see, the water is crystal clear.



On Shabbos, we all relaxed.  I was able  to see humpback whales from our ocean view porch and I took a very relaxing nap.

On Sunday, we were off to Greenwell Farms, where we go every year for awesome Kona coffee and our annual family photographs. This year we ordered a ton of coffee for our family and friends and for a nominal fee had them ship it to us, rather than shlepping it back.  Once you have Kona Coffee, its hard to go back to the other stuff.

IMG-20150201-WA0018[1] by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Say hi to the gecko.

IMG-20150201-WA0008[1] by peterbryan718, on Flickr

On Sunday evening we snorkeled with manta rays.  A video of our manta ray adventure can be seen here.  And yes, they really get that close - inches away.



On Monday, we went swimming at our secret spot in Kona and then we were off to meet up with my buddy and his wife for a beach bbq at another secret spot in Kona.  I purchased some chopped meat and hot dogs from Chabad for the grill.  While grilling, we saw humpback whales very close to the shore.  I never saw them that close before and of course they were gone in an instant.

Here is a long exposure I took at the bbq.

Kona Beach BBQ 2015 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Monday evening, we flew back home.

Stopped by the AA lounge - no kosher food.  I asked for fruit but it was all cut up.  I did get some whiskey.

IMG-20150202-WA0011[1] by peterbryan718, on Flickr

IMG-20150202-WA0013[1] by peterbryan718, on Flickr

Flight home.

DSC08240 by peterbryan718, on Flickr

After each Big Island trip, I think to myself that it can't get any better.  However, each year it does get better.  It still remains my favorite place on the planet.  If DW agreed, I'd move there in an instant and would never look back.  As I said in last years trip report, 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.

A final note:  whoever said you can't take kids to Hawaii or have fun with kids in Hawaii hasn't done Hawaii PBaruch style.  My little guy was all over the Big Island and went almost everywhere we went.  He was by Kalapana, Waipio, Green Sand Beach, up in a helicopter, and he went with us snorkeling (of course he couldn't snorkel but I still took him in the water).  The only activity the little guy couldn't go on is the manta ray trip.  My older kids did it all and loved every minute of it.

If anyone would like further information, feel free to send me a PM.





« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 01:10:05 AM by PBaruch »
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline Super Speed

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #332 on: March 02, 2015, 12:42:10 AM »
Howdy to all.
Awesome read, great videos!
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 02:03:06 AM by Super Speed »

Offline efflpetzel

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #333 on: March 02, 2015, 01:18:37 AM »

Awesome read, great videos!
do you realize what you just did

Offline TimT

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #334 on: March 02, 2015, 01:36:42 AM »
Nice TR, thanks.
do you realize what you just did
:)

Offline Super Speed

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #335 on: March 02, 2015, 02:03:26 AM »

Offline Drago

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #336 on: March 02, 2015, 02:25:50 AM »
Very nice, much appreciated.

Any advice for a 3 day trip? 2 adults, and we'd prefer to be in the green areas most of the time.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #337 on: March 02, 2015, 07:56:00 AM »
Nice! I gotta do the manta rays one day...
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #338 on: March 02, 2015, 09:46:37 AM »
Very nice, much appreciated.

Any advice for a 3 day trip? 2 adults, and we'd prefer to be in the green areas most of the time.

Depends on what activities you enjoy.  Your question is a bit too vague.  Also, 3 days isn't enough to spend on both sides of the island.

That being said, I'm sure you would enjoy Waipio (assuming you like the beach as well) - it is very lush and green.  Also, its is almost never crowded and you may find that you have the beach to yourself.  In addition, Waimea is very green and beautiful.
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Offline Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #339 on: March 02, 2015, 09:51:10 AM »
Awesome TR, let me know when you convince the DW to move.
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 Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #340 on: March 02, 2015, 09:52:22 AM »
Very nice, much appreciated.

Any advice for a 3 day trip? 2 adults, and we'd prefer to be in the green areas most of the time.
TBI is great, but if you want green and don't care about volcano stuff then you should go to OGG or LIH instead IMHO.
Disclaimer: PB will disagree
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 Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #341 on: March 02, 2015, 09:52:32 AM »
Nice! I gotta do the manta rays one day...
+1,000
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 PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #342 on: March 02, 2015, 09:54:39 AM »
TBI is great, but if you want green and don't care about volcano stuff then you should go to OGG or LIH instead IMHO.
Disclaimer: PB will disagree

I thought this TR would put the BI loshon hara to bed once and for all.   >:( >:( >:(
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #343 on: March 02, 2015, 09:56:16 AM »

Nice! I gotta do the manta rays one day...
according to the book scuba diving with the Rays is much better than snorkeling

Offline Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #344 on: March 02, 2015, 09:57:38 AM »
Lol, I'm not saying there's no greenery on TBI.
But you can simply can't compare the lushness to LIH or OGG to TBI.  The differences are stark.
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.