Topic Wiki

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

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 cgr on February 24, 2022, 09:16:15 PM »

Author Topic: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread  (Read 209765 times)

Offline Drago

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #460 on: August 02, 2015, 02:59:35 AM »
Where?
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2023504

Former US Peace Corps barracks.
Not s/t for the faint of heart :)

Offline Moishebatchy

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #461 on: August 03, 2015, 09:39:32 PM »
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT??!!

LMAO!!!!

Touche, Dan. Very well tzugeshtelt. I'm impressed you even found that from 3 years ago... ;D

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #462 on: August 09, 2015, 08:10:38 AM »
Looks like Mauna Kea visitors center is open again, let's hope it lasts

Offline ah

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #463 on: August 09, 2015, 08:19:23 PM »
Seems I made a mistake of booking all 3 nights on the BI at the Fairmont, but what's done is done. If I will make one loooong day trip to volcano national park and it's surroundings, what should my day look like? Interested in seeing black/green sand beaches. Keep in mind safety concerns (are there any?) with inexperienced drivers driving back at night to the other side. Considering a day tour but not sure we want to be on anyone else's schedule.

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #464 on: August 09, 2015, 08:28:25 PM »
Seems I made a mistake of booking all 3 nights on the BI at the Fairmont, but what's done is done. If I will make one loooong day trip to volcano national park and it's surroundings, what should my day look like? Interested in seeing black/green sand beaches. Keep in mind safety concerns (are there any?) with inexperienced drivers driving back at night to the other side. Considering a day tour but not sure we want to be on anyone else's schedule.

Not sure you will have time for all of that in one day.  As for driving, I do not see any issues with driving at night from Volcano to Kona.  We have done this drive many times at night.  There are horror stories everywhere and the BI is not immune.  On one trip we heard of some foreign tourists who drove on the wrong side of the road and ended up killing a bunch of people. 
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline ah

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #465 on: August 09, 2015, 08:31:30 PM »
Not sure you will have time for all of that in one day.  As for driving, I do not see any issues with driving at night from Volcano to Kona.  We have done this drive many times at night.  There are horror stories everywhere and the BI is not immune.  On one trip we heard of some foreign tourists who drove on the wrong side of the road and ended up killing a bunch of people.
Ok, that's reassuring...what should be priorities then? Wish this wasn't so expensive https://www.tombarefoot.com/hawaii-activities/paradise-helicopters/kona-volcano-by-air-and-land/5147

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #466 on: August 09, 2015, 08:32:37 PM »
Ok, that's reassuring...what should be priorities then? Wish this wasn't so expensive https://www.tombarefoot.com/hawaii-activities/paradise-helicopters/kona-volcano-by-air-and-land/5147

The owner of Paradise Helicopters is a friend.  PM me if you want info.
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Offline Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #467 on: August 09, 2015, 08:35:07 PM »
Seems I made a mistake of booking all 3 nights on the BI at the Fairmont, but what's done is done.
Non-refundable?
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 ah

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #468 on: August 09, 2015, 08:37:56 PM »
Non-refundable?
Yup. Did it though amex travel for $100 amex offer credit as my free nights that I got with the intention of using there are worth more sold than the retail price the hotel is asking.

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #469 on: August 10, 2015, 05:18:14 AM »
Ok, that's reassuring...what should be priorities then? Wish this wasn't so expensive https://www.tombarefoot.com/hawaii-activities/paradise-helicopters/kona-volcano-by-air-and-land/5147

If you want to "do it all," leave the hotel about 2.5 hours before daybreak, so you could see Halemaumau Crater's glow and see it change to its daytime look (outside Jaggar Museum).  Then head to Thurston Lava Tube, do it before the crowds.  Chain of Craters Road down to the Holei Sea Arch, stop to see some of the craters.  Devastation Trail right just as you get back off CoC.  Sulphur Banks hike and Visitors Center on your way out of HVNP.  Head to Kalapana for black sand beach.  On your way back to your hotel, stop by the green sand beach, maybe an hour or so before sunset.  There should still be some natives willing to drive you out, but the beach won't be crowded anymore.
40/50, 42/63

Offline jj1000

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #470 on: August 10, 2015, 09:40:15 AM »
Seems I made a mistake of booking all 3 nights on the BI at the Fairmont, but what's done is done. If I will make one loooong day trip to volcano national park and it's surroundings, what should my day look like? Interested in seeing black/green sand beaches. Keep in mind safety concerns (are there any?) with inexperienced drivers driving back at night to the other side. Considering a day tour but not sure we want to be on anyone else's schedule.
3 days is not close to enough time to do eve the main attractions on TBI no matter where you stay, so focus on what you want to see and plan for just that.

I stayed at the Fairmont for a week and it was amazing, mind you I got upgraded to an ocean suit and there were tons of whales/turtles every morning but that's no here or there ;).

If you drive to green sand beach you need to be experienced and have a 4 wheal drive car. I think you can go to volcano park and do snorkeling or manatee on the way down or back, and stop at a colored sand beach, probably best to choose one.

As I said though you will not get done the main attractions, so choose what you want to see most and map your route accordingly, you will drive past the same attractions there and the way back so if seeing a volcano glow is the most important go there first and on the way back try and do green/black sand beaches, southern most point, snorkeling/manatee stuff by captain cook.

And then the next day try for Mana Kai, and the final day try Waipio, and waterfalls near Hilo.

Just some thoughts. But in short in 3 days I would say

1 day Volcano (Personally I skipped the park and did other activities I cared about more.) and everyhting in the way down to it, like a stop in Kona, colored sand beaches, southern most point, captain cook water activity, etc.
Day 2 Mana Kai (was closed when I was there)
Day 3 Waipio Valley and waterfalls on the way to Hilo.

The hotel charges to store kosher food FYI and were very not nice about it. We ended up storing our food in our cooler and refilling it from the ice machine.
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Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #471 on: August 10, 2015, 10:33:18 AM »


Day 2 Mana Kai (was closed when I was there)


? Is that Mauna Kea?

PS JJ I'm still waiting for a response re: inter island flights :)

Offline jj1000

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #472 on: August 10, 2015, 10:52:26 AM »
? Is that Mauna Kea?

PS JJ I'm still waiting for a response re: inter island flights :)
Yes, sorry for typos didn't sleep last night. I'll do it now.
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Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #473 on: August 10, 2015, 11:01:23 AM »
What's there to do by Mauna Kea for a whole day? We were planning to go for sunset/stars.

Thanks.

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #474 on: August 10, 2015, 01:06:59 PM »
3 days is not close to enough time to do eve the main attractions on TBI no matter where you stay, so focus on what you want to see and plan for just that.

I stayed at the Fairmont for a week and it was amazing, mind you I got upgraded to an ocean suit and there were tons of whales/turtles every morning but that's no here or there ;).

If you drive to green sand beach you need to be experienced and have a 4 wheal drive car. I think you can go to volcano park and do snorkeling or manatee on the way down or back, and stop at a colored sand beach, probably best to choose one.

As I said though you will not get done the main attractions, so choose what you want to see most and map your route accordingly, you will drive past the same attractions there and the way back so if seeing a volcano glow is the most important go there first and on the way back try and do green/black sand beaches, southern most point, snorkeling/manatee stuff by captain cook.

And then the next day try for Mana Kai, and the final day try Waipio, and waterfalls near Hilo.

Just some thoughts. But in short in 3 days I would say

1 day Volcano (Personally I skipped the park and did other activities I cared about more.) and everyhting in the way down to it, like a stop in Kona, colored sand beaches, southern most point, captain cook water activity, etc.
Day 2 Mana Kai (was closed when I was there)
Day 3 Waipio Valley and waterfalls on the way to Hilo.

The hotel charges to store kosher food FYI and were very not nice about it. We ended up storing our food in our cooler and refilling it from the ice machine.
thanks! which colored sand beaches are easily accessible and on the way to VNP without going too much out of the way?  Whats manatee?

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #475 on: August 10, 2015, 02:00:47 PM »
thanks! which colored sand beaches are easily accessible and on the way to VNP without going too much out of the way?  Whats manatee?
All the things I listed are on the way to VNP. Just need to choose the order you wan to do things.

Read the book to decide which beach you want to do.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #476 on: August 10, 2015, 02:03:38 PM »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punalu%27u_Beach

This is a nice beach and you may see turtles.
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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #477 on: August 11, 2015, 12:17:07 AM »
thanks! which colored sand beaches are easily accessible and on the way to VNP without going too much out of the way?  Whats manatee?

I amend my recommendation for a day doing volcano-related stuff:  scratch Kalapana.  PBaruch is right, Punalu'u makes more sense for a black sand beach (although after spending a cumulative month and a half on the BI over the past few years, I've never actually been there) as it's on the way to the Papakolea green sand beach.  IIRC, you have to go through Hilo to get to Kalapana; not worth the time.  I don't know about Punalu'u's accessibility.  Papakolea is definitely not a small detour, but certainly worth it if you can avoid the crowds and the bugs.

Also, if you intend to actually spend time on the east side of the island, there's no way you'll be able to do a Captain Cook water activity (on the west side) on the same day, but definitely do it on another day.
40/50, 42/63

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #478 on: August 11, 2015, 12:31:38 AM »
I amend my recommendation for a day doing volcano-related stuff:  scratch Kalapana.  PBaruch is right, Punalu'u makes more sense for a black sand beach (although after spending a cumulative month and a half on the BI over the past few years, I've never actually been there) as it's on the way to the Papakolea green sand beach.  IIRC, you have to go through Hilo to get to Kalapana; not worth the time.  I don't know about Punalu'u's accessibility.  Papakolea is definitely not a small detour, but certainly worth it if you can avoid the crowds and the bugs.

Also, if you intend to actually spend time on the east side of the island, there's no way you'll be able to do a Captain Cook water activity (on the west side) on the same day, but definitely do it on another day.
Thanks! I'm ready to give up, this planning is too stressful. The only thing I have planned that I want to do for sure is wild hawaii snorkeling and marine life experience. I was convinced by tripadvisor reviews and pictures. I'm also just going book a tour to volcano national park that stops at black and possibly green sand beach as well. As far as the other 2 things I wanted to do, can't figure out how to time them properly and it's driving me crazy. Either I run straight to waipo from the airport when I land, or I have to leave hotel at crack of dawn one day to get in a 7:45am ATV outfitters tour of waterfalls and then head to waipo (really don't see myself doing that) Or I run to waipo after the snorkeling trip which is slightly risky with time and I would really want to shower/change first. Isn't this supposed to be a vacation??

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Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #479 on: August 11, 2015, 07:28:37 AM »
I feel the same way! There is so much I want to do and so little time!

When are you going?