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 155038 times)

Offline MLM

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2013, 10:32:14 PM »
www.vrbo.com

Hilo has a fantastic market on Wednesdays.

So maybe I should do Tues and Wed. Is it worth flying back from Hilo to LAX instead. (Currently I have BA tickets for 12.5k, to fly from ITO it would be 20k UA assuming Saver opens up)

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #46 on: June 25, 2013, 10:35:53 PM »
So maybe I should do Tues and Wed. Is it worth flying back from Hilo to LAX instead. (Currently I have BA tickets for 12.5k, to fly from ITO it would be 20k UA assuming Saver opens up)
No, you can catch sunset on top of Mauna Kea and then haul off to KOA for your flight.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #47 on: June 25, 2013, 10:54:09 PM »
No, you can catch sunset on top of Mauna Kea and then haul off to KOA for your flight.

Sounds like a great idea...

Maybe I will leave the Fairmont on Tuesday morning..drive via South Point to Hilo and do the lava sunset boat tour. On Wed morning we can do the Hike of Volcano at 8 AM and be back at 1 pm. We can then shower at our VRBO rental and eat (maybe checkout Hilo market) and then start driving back towards KOA stopping Mauna Kea for Sunset. (Flight is 9:35 PM).

What else should I do on the way to Hilo area on Tuesday? Should I go straight into Volcano National Park or stop at Green Sands Beach instead? Am I missing anything else here?

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #48 on: June 25, 2013, 10:59:35 PM »
I wanted to run an idea by you guys. I will have 3 days in Hawaii. My plan to see the Volcano/ Lava is as follows:

Leave the Fairmont Orchid at 8 AM and drive to South Point arriving 10 AM
Spend 1 hour there.
Leave at 11 AM and drive to Isaac Hale Park for a 1 PM Lava Boat tour (2.5 hour tour)
At 4 PM drive to hike which is 25 minutes South of Isaac Hale Beach Park at Uncles Awa Club in Kalapana
We do hiking tour with a guide (see lava at night) approx 4-5 hours.
We drive back to Fairmont get back at midnight....

Any recommendations on how to do this better?

I also plan to do a helicopter tour of the volcano.....
Just my 2 cents...

I've not done it myself, but have heard some negative reviews about the boat trip. They say it's quite nauseating and isn't otherwise that great.

I did the lava hike with a guide - walked to the ocean entry during daylight, hung out there for a while, checked out the surface flows when dark, and walked back. It of course can be very different when you go, but when I was there we had great views of the lava pouring into the ocean. We saw the boat bobbing around in the water and couldn't imagine they had that much of a better view.

I would instead try to get in a visit to Volcanoes National Park - maybe see the Jaggar Museum and do the crater hike.

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #49 on: June 25, 2013, 11:09:50 PM »
Just my 2 cents...

I've not done it myself, but have heard some negative reviews about the boat trip. They say it's quite nauseating and isn't otherwise that great.

I did the lava hike with a guide - walked to the ocean entry during daylight, hung out there for a while, checked out the surface flows when dark, and walked back. It of course can be very different when you go, but when I was there we had great views of the lava pouring into the ocean. We saw the boat bobbing around in the water and couldn't imagine they had that much of a better view.

I would instead try to get in a visit to Volcanoes National Park - maybe see the Jaggar Museum and do the crater hike.

Which guide did you use? I did hear about the sea sickness issue...but when I did the Captain Andy's on Kauai I was fine but maybe this is different...

Would you recommend a guided tour during sunset?

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #50 on: June 25, 2013, 11:26:26 PM »
-Volcano Heli
-Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park>Devastation Loop Trail
-Current Eruption
-Hilo Wednesday Farmers and Souvenir Markets
-Mauna Kea Summit
-Mauna Kea 4WD roads
-Volcanically heated pools/4WD
-Road to the ocean/Green Sand Beach/South Points/4WD
-Waipio Valley/4WD

There's a reason I did 5 nights on the Hilo side though you can compress that.  We stayed in a treehouse in Volcano.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #51 on: June 25, 2013, 11:35:31 PM »
Maybe I will leave the Fairmont on Tuesday morning..drive via South Point to Hilo and do the lava sunset boat tour. On Wed morning we can do the Hike of Volcano at 8 AM and be back at 1 pm. We can then shower at our VRBO rental and eat (maybe checkout Hilo market) and then start driving back towards KOA stopping Mauna Kea for Sunset. (Flight is 9:35 PM).

What are your dates?

Sunset in Aug. is about 7, which means that you'd want to be on the mountain till at least 7:45 or so, then you still have a 2+ hour drive to KOA. Not really possible with a 9:35 departure. The latest sunset could be to work with such an itin is 5-5:30.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #52 on: June 25, 2013, 11:37:21 PM »
True, probably a better idea to do it another night when you can stick around and see the star show after dark anyway.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #53 on: June 25, 2013, 11:41:10 PM »
True, probably a better idea to do it another night when you can stick around and see the star show after dark anyway.

Exactly. I would do it counterclockwise: Mauna Kea > Hilo > Heated pools > current eruption > Volcano NP > South Point > Road To The Sea > KOA.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #54 on: June 25, 2013, 11:46:54 PM »
Which guide did you use? I did hear about the sea sickness issue...but when I did the Captain Andy's on Kauai I was fine but maybe this is different...

Would you recommend a guided tour during sunset?

Yes, it was a great experience and would recommend it. I think sunset is better since you get both the daytime and nightime experience.

As for the guide... I hesitated before paying for one. I think the going rate is roughly $100pp to join a group of strangers for a walk. That seemed exorbitant to me. They claim they have easements, etc and it's not legal to go without a guide. I doubt it matters much - our guide did have us park on private property with whom they had an arrangement, but from there on it was over the lava. And I somehow doubt they got permission from each of the private landowners whose land sits under all that lava.

Despite all that, it was our first time on the island and we didn't have time to waste, so I went for it just to avoid any surprises. I found someone that did it for $60pp or so (will try to dig up the number if you want it). And I don't regret it. But if I were doing it a second time, I would look again into the possibility of doing it on my own.

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #55 on: June 25, 2013, 11:54:41 PM »
Exactly. I would do it counterclockwise: Mauna Kea > Hilo > Heated pools > current eruption > Volcano NP > South Point > Road To The Sea > KOA.

But that would mean doing Mauna Kea by day?

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #56 on: June 26, 2013, 12:01:14 AM »
But that would mean doing Mauna Kea by day?

Why? You could watch the sunset and then the stars for a while, and overnight in Hilo.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #57 on: June 26, 2013, 09:00:36 AM »
Why? You could watch the sunset and then the stars for a while, and overnight in Hilo.

Wouldn't it be better to leave Kohala in the morning and isn't Volcano NP past Mauna Kea? In other words how could I maximize Tuesday and Wednesday with an overnight in Hilo area?



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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #58 on: June 26, 2013, 09:59:22 AM »
Wouldn't it be better to leave Kohala in the morning and isn't Volcano NP past Mauna Kea? In other words how could I maximize Tuesday and Wednesday with an overnight in Hilo area?

I don't think such a route makes sense. Going Kohala > Volcano NP > Mauna Kea > and back to Hilo for the night involves at least 4 hours of driving, and that only gets you to the main entrance of the park. Getting to the county viewing area to accessing the flow (from the other side of Chain of Craters Rd.) adds another hour at least. You'd be going up and down the Saddle Rd. and back and forth through Hilo.

http://goo.gl/maps/cdx5E

If I were you I'd spend the day up north. Check the Revealed books - he's got a million amazing things to do there. Even a side trip to Waipio Valley only takes you less than an hour out of the way in total (driving time). The advantage is that you're not going back and forth all the time, plus far less time stuck in the car. So then your route will be Kohala > something in the area or Waipio Valley > Mauna Kea > Hilo for the night > then a full day to enjoy Volcano NP properly.

http://goo.gl/maps/8TvVo
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #59 on: June 26, 2013, 02:13:39 PM »
I don't think such a route makes sense. Going Kohala > Volcano NP > Mauna Kea > and back to Hilo for the night involves at least 4 hours of driving, and that only gets you to the main entrance of the park. Getting to the county viewing area to accessing the flow (from the other side of Chain of Craters Rd.) adds another hour at least. You'd be going up and down the Saddle Rd. and back and forth through Hilo.

http://goo.gl/maps/cdx5E

If I were you I'd spend the day up north. Check the Revealed books - he's got a million amazing things to do there. Even a side trip to Waipio Valley only takes you less than an hour out of the way in total (driving time). The advantage is that you're not going back and forth all the time, plus far less time stuck in the car. So then your route will be Kohala > something in the area or Waipio Valley > Mauna Kea > Hilo for the night > then a full day to enjoy Volcano NP properly.


http://goo.gl/maps/8TvVo

That is a very good point. There is an option to do a night hike with a guided tour. It leaves from Kalapana at 5pm, do you think I would better off at Sunset there or on Mauna Kea. I would probably sleep right near Volcano NP that night either way.