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 209624 times)

Offline ah

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #480 on: August 11, 2015, 03:17:16 PM »
I feel the same way! There is so much I want to do and so little time!

When are you going?
2 weeks

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #481 on: August 11, 2015, 04:20:54 PM »
I'll be there August 27-sept 1

Offline keepsmiling123

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #482 on: August 11, 2015, 07:27:44 PM »
gonna be there in a little over a week if anyone wants my toaster when i leave, pm me!

Offline ah

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #483 on: August 11, 2015, 09:06:37 PM »
I'll be there August 27-sept 1
those are my Kauai dates :) will be there the 27th til night

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #484 on: August 11, 2015, 09:39:29 PM »

those are my Kauai dates :) will be there the 27th til night


Seems we are doing the same trip a week before you. We will be in Kauai from August 23-27 then off to TBI until sept 1

It's way too short but I really wanted to get in both islands and we can't be away for any more time.

Offline ah

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #485 on: August 11, 2015, 09:41:59 PM »

Seems we are doing the same trip a week before you. We will be in Kauai from August 23-27 then off to TBI until sept 1

It's way too short but I really wanted to get in both islands and we can't be away for any more time.
Thinking I should have stuck to Kauai this time and done BI another time, but I'm sure I'll love it when I'm there. Not the Hawaiian vacation on the beach I was thinking of though.

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #486 on: August 11, 2015, 09:43:43 PM »

Thinking I should have stuck to Kauai this time and done BI another time, but I'm sure I'll love it when I'm there. Not the Hawaiian vacation on the beach I was thinking of though.

I've had the exact same thoughts. DH wants to do more relaxing but there are so many things I want to see and do on both islands. I guess we will have to come back again soon ;)

Offline ah

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #487 on: August 11, 2015, 09:46:14 PM »
I've had the exact same thoughts. DH wants to do more relaxing but there are so many things I want to see and do on both islands. I guess we will have to come back again soon ;)
DF (friend) of mine wants to be on the go, busy 24 hours. I'm all for adventure but wanna sleep and chill also lol.

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #488 on: August 11, 2015, 09:51:51 PM »
Maybe I'll go with your friend and you can go with my husband :)

Offline mechayamom

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #489 on: August 19, 2015, 04:54:13 PM »
I have both the revealed books in print and Apps loaded onto my phone.
Have read the threads on DD.

Planning a trip from Oct 19 - 29.
Planning Oct 19 - Oct 25 on Kauai
October 25- October 29 on BI Flight leaves 12:30 PM

Staying GH Kauai  I have 4 free nights (on 2 different Hyatt cards) and would book the other 2 nights on C&P if available or flat out UR points.

Question:  How do I book the reservation?  Do I call the manager and ask to combine the 4 free nights onto one reservation or have to book as two different reservations?  I don't have diamond status, is best to hope for just an upgraded room perhaps?  And that is perfectly fine with me.

I will figure out Kauai itinerary..that one is easier.

I have question on the BI part.
I have to check the flights from LIH-HNL-KOA to decide what time I can arrive there...or I can fly into HILO...all depends on what I do.  Once I do I can have JJ book for me or use points. These days, what is the optimum points to use?

A little bit about myself and Hubby.  We are grandparents (50s) in ok shape.  Don't want to do extreme hikes, or falling on lava.
Would do helicopter rides and moderate hikes.    Also I only can have gluten free..so plan on bringing most food..would be curious to know what is available on the islands...will contact the shaliach.

We are certified divers and want to do a 2 tank scuba dive.  Already researched that Big Island Divers is the way to go....BUT, that means no ascending to heights for 24 hours.  So have to plan my itinerary accordingly.

Things of interest to me:
1) Scuba Diving
2) VNP either by Helicopter or driving through with stops within the park
3) Mauna Kea Sunset if open
4) Green sand beach, black sand beach, south point
5) was going to do Waipio on horseback but read it was overrated...did not go to the black sand beach or waterfalls.
Can we do this in a 4x4?
6) Some nice beaches on Kona side

Guess Hilo side is for another time.

Any recommendations?  Appreciate any PMs or postings with advice and suggestions.
Thanks.

Offline Ergel

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #490 on: August 19, 2015, 05:23:53 PM »
If you break down your questions into shorter posts, make them more specific and number them you are much more likely to get a response
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #491 on: August 19, 2015, 05:38:10 PM »
I have both the revealed books in print and Apps loaded onto my phone.
Have read the threads on DD.

Planning a trip from Oct 19 - 29.
Planning Oct 19 - Oct 25 on Kauai
October 25- October 29 on BI Flight leaves 12:30 PM

Staying GH Kauai  I have 4 free nights (on 2 different Hyatt cards) and would book the other 2 nights on C&P if available or flat out UR points.

Question:  How do I book the reservation?  Do I call the manager and ask to combine the 4 free nights onto one reservation or have to book as two different reservations?  I don't have diamond status, is best to hope for just an upgraded room perhaps?  And that is perfectly fine with me.

I will figure out Kauai itinerary..that one is easier.

I have question on the BI part.
I have to check the flights from LIH-HNL-KOA to decide what time I can arrive there...or I can fly into HILO...all depends on what I do.  Once I do I can have JJ book for me or use points. These days, what is the optimum points to use?

A little bit about myself and Hubby.  We are grandparents (50s) in ok shape.  Don't want to do extreme hikes, or falling on lava.
Would do helicopter rides and moderate hikes.    Also I only can have gluten free..so plan on bringing most food..would be curious to know what is available on the islands...will contact the shaliach.

We are certified divers and want to do a 2 tank scuba dive.  Already researched that Big Island Divers is the way to go....BUT, that means no ascending to heights for 24 hours.  So have to plan my itinerary accordingly.

Things of interest to me:
1) Scuba Diving
2) VNP either by Helicopter or driving through with stops within the park
3) Mauna Kea Sunset if open
4) Green sand beach, black sand beach, south point
5) was going to do Waipio on horseback but read it was overrated...did not go to the black sand beach or waterfalls.
Can we do this in a 4x4?
6) Some nice beaches on Kona side

Guess Hilo side is for another time.

Any recommendations?  Appreciate any PMs or postings with advice and suggestions.
Thanks.

1. No idea about scuba diving but you may want to do a dive or snorkel with the Manta Rays out of Kona.

2. VNP drive down the Chain of Craters road is very nice but this is on the Hilo side of the island.  There are some nice hikes along the route, including Kilauea Iki.  Info can be found here:

http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_day_kilaueaiki.htm

You can also do a doors off helicopter tour with Paradise Helicopters (2 videos posted in my TR's of helicopter flights).  You can take the flight from either Kona or Hilo but it will likely be more expensive from Kona and/or you may not get to spend as much time over the volcano if you take it out of Kona.  You might want to combine some beaches and VNP in a day trip if you will be coming from Kona.

3. Last I heard someone posted that Mauna Kea was open.  Dunno what is going on with the protesters at the moment.

4. Not sure what your question is about the beaches.

3.  Waipio is a very worthwhile trip to the beach and to see the taro fields.  I don't believe you can drive to the waterfall but you might be able to hike to it.  You need either a 4x4 to drive to the beach or you can hire someone to take you or take the shuttle.

4. There are some very nice beaches in the Kona area.  The Four Seasons has a great beach that you can go to during the day.  You do not need to be a hotel guest.  There are other nice beaches as well.

I might be able to make some arrangements for private tours depending on your interest and budget.
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline mechayamom

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #492 on: August 20, 2015, 12:27:11 AM »
Thank you PBaruch.
I have watched your incredible videos and your baby is delicious.
I am not a fan of night diving so I will pass on the Manta Ray dive even though I heard it is epic.

1) Do you recommend morning helicopter ride or afternoon? 
Right on the money for hikes with Kilauea Iki and Chain of Craters road.

Great idea to combine the beaches with VNP out of Kona.  That way I can see the crater at Jaggers at dark and then drive back to Kona afterwards.

Thanks again.  formulating my itinerary in my head now :)


Offline SSLPhD

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #493 on: August 20, 2015, 08:33:19 AM »
Thank you PBaruch.
I have watched your incredible videos and your baby is delicious.
I am not a fan of night diving so I will pass on the Manta Ray dive even though I heard it is epic.

1) Do you recommend morning helicopter ride or afternoon? 
Right on the money for hikes with Kilauea Iki and Chain of Craters road.

Great idea to combine the beaches with VNP out of Kona.  That way I can see the crater at Jaggers at dark and then drive back to Kona afterwards.

Thanks again.  formulating my itinerary in my head now :)

If switching hotels doesn't bother you (or you don't mind double-booking a night), I'd do something like this:
day 1: SCUBA (morning I think is best) and beaches
day 2: drive along the north route to East side, stopping to see waterfalls (Akaka, Umauma), then HVNP:  Thurston Lava Tube followed by Jaggar/Halemaumau late afternoon to night, spend night in Hilo area
day 3: helicopter tour (yes you want to do it first thing in the morning), back to HVNP for CoC Rd, check out one or two craters, Holei sea cliff, on the way back, Devastation Trail, then Sulphur Banks.  This is about 2 -3 hours worth of stuff in HVNP, I think.  Then, you take the south route back, stopping at a black sand beach (Punalu'u?), South Point, and then Papakolea (green sand beach) an hour or so before sunset.  I like this time for the green sand beach because there's almost no one at the beach, bugs are gone, but there'll most likely still be someone in the parking lot to drive you out (and back).  Then you continue on back to Kona, and get there at a decent hour.
day 4:  Waipio (if you must, I wasn't super impressed), Mauna Kea, etc.

Or, if you won't be on the BI early enough on day 1 to SCUBA in the morning, do Mauna Kea on day 1, and day 4 you can do SCUBA and Waipio.
40/50, 42/63

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #494 on: August 20, 2015, 08:50:46 AM »
Thank you PBaruch.
I have watched your incredible videos and your baby is delicious.
I am not a fan of night diving so I will pass on the Manta Ray dive even though I heard it is epic.



Thanks again.  formulating my itinerary in my head now :)


I believe you can dive with manta rays during the day as well

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #495 on: August 20, 2015, 09:39:09 AM »

I believe you can dive with manta rays during the day as well

I believe they're night dives, because that's where the manta rays come to feed--at night.  The two main feeding sites are by the Kona Sheraton and the old Kona airport.
40/50, 42/63

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #496 on: August 20, 2015, 03:08:16 PM »
@mechayamom

I forgot to respond to your question about kosher food.  On the BI, Falafel in Paradise in Kona appears to be open.  It is run by the Chabad Rabbi.  I'm not sure what gluten free options there are.  Information can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/falafelinparadise/info?tab=page_info

You can buy some kosher food at Costco (they have kosher cornish hens and other food) and in several other stores such as Safeway and Island Naturals.  You can also get food from the Chabad Rabbi here:

http://www.kosherinhawaii.com/

I suggest you contact Rabbi Chazanow for more information. 

You certainly won't starve on the BI.   :)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 03:11:47 PM by PBaruch »
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline mechayamom

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #497 on: August 20, 2015, 11:47:36 PM »
Thanks pbaruch. I like your ideas.
Traveling from LIH to KOA on Sunday so won't be there in time for morning dive.
Was planning on driving up the north coast to Mauna Kea for sunset.
Question. I don't mind staying on both parts of the island but what do you do with your luggage all day with it being in the car as you hit up sites.
That's the only thing concerning me.

I would snorkel but once you've dived it is just a tease to me
Gotta start booking some rooms

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #498 on: August 20, 2015, 11:51:22 PM »
Thanks pbaruch. I like your ideas.
Traveling from LIH to KOA on Sunday so won't be there in time for morning dive.
Was planning on driving up the north coast to Mauna Kea for sunset.
Question. I don't mind staying on both parts of the island but what do you do with your luggage all day with it being in the car as you hit up sites.
That's the only thing concerning me.

I would snorkel but once you've dived it is just a tease to me
Gotta start booking some rooms

We generally take the important stuff with us.  The rest, since we usually get a minivan, is well hidden in the sto and go compartment and elsewhere.
What do you do after your dreams come true?

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #499 on: August 21, 2015, 12:02:17 AM »
Trip Review from TBI: 8/9-8/12

....Continued from Kauai Master Thread

Landed in KOA Sunday morning and did early check-in to the Fairmont. Two nights free thanks to the Visa Signature Fairmont card! Gorgeous hotel....really high class. Grounds spotless, staff at your beck and call. Rental car was from Alamo again through Costco Travel. Jeep Wrangler for 4 days ran $300. Couldn't find a better rate. The Wrangler is a MUST for all the potential off-roading....
Didn't do too much on Sunday after settling in - went to Napoopoo Park for some snorkeling. Tough to find parking - the snorkeling was OK, not great. Drove up the highway to mile marker 89 where we attempted to do the unpaved road to Makalawena beach. Is is NOT for the faint of heart! The road is full of boulders, hazards, potholes,etc.....we made it about halfway and then turned around. We could have continued, but decided it's best to turn around and not miss sunset by A-Beach. We ended up going back to Makalawena on Wednesday using the hiking trail. We drove back to Anaheomalu Beach for sunset which is supposed to be one of the nicest and picturesque spots on the island. It did not disappoint. Very windy though, but the sunset with all the curved palms trees was a great setting for a beach BBQ.
Monday the plan was to check out the Hilo side of the island. It's a long drive from Kohala Coast so if you plan on going to Hilo, make it a full day event. First checked out Anahalui State Park. It's a nice place to eat lunch, with picnic tables, and a natural pool area with underwater lava pipes to make certain warm spots. The tide was high when we went so no hot spots since the cool ocean water kept coming into the pool area. Drove out of the park, made a right at the first intersection and drove along a neat unpaved path past a lighthouse where these huge waves crash against the cliffside. We then checked out Rainbow Falls for a few minutes. Like Spouting Horn in Kauai, it's a nice spot to stop by if you're in the area, but don't go out of your way to see it. Then went to the Botanical Gardens. Nice  flowers, etc....you can do the whole thing in about an hour. Ended the day at KoleKole State Park. Good quiet spot with tables to eat supper. They have stone BBQs set up there you can use (if you bring your own grates and coals). There's a little river with waterfall that people swim in and boogie boarders past the rock wall that ride the waves in.
Tuesday morning we got an early start to the day for kayaking in Kealakeauka Bay. Supposedly the dolphins are most active in the morning. This is TRUE! We got there at about 8 AM and got the kayak out to the bay by 9AM. The dolphins were all over the place, swimming under our kayak, jumping out of the water, etc....was pretty cool. Got the jump out of the kayak into the water to snorkel a bit with the dolphins. Then paddled a little further out to Captain Cook monument where the best snorkeling is supposed to be. There were a TON of fish there and the water was crystal clear. The best snorkeling I had was at that spot. We then checked out the Mountain Thunder Coffee Factory. Sampled some coffee and ended up buying a package of K-Cups and Macadamia Nut Coffee brittle (reallly good!) Several of their products are OU certified! Then went to the Kona marketplace to get some lunch at Falafel in Paradise.....we were very excited to finally have some fresh kosher food! After a half hour of looking for the place, we finally get there.....and it's closed! Apparently there were refrigerator issues and they were not going to open that day or the following day. So we missed out on that. Off to Mauna Kea for sunset! Looong drive on windy roads, up through the clouds into the fog, but it finally breaks open and we are at the visitors center. Sunset was cloudy and nothing to see but we were all hoping it would clear up for stargazing. About an hour later, the skies were clear and was littered with thousands (millions?) of stars. The big dipper seemed to take up half the sky. There was no moon which was good. Was an amazing sight. Checked into the Marriott for our final night. Would not recommend it. Not a great hotel - or maybe we were spoiled spending the prior two nights at the Fairmont.
Our last day, Wednesday, we went to do the Pololu hike near Waipio Valley. Not such a tough hike at and provides really amazing scenery. You hike down to the beach, and then back up. Each way is about 20 minutes or so. The hike back up is not easy, but not too strenuous. Use the restroom at the top before the hike - no facilities down there. Went back to check out of the Marriott. Had several hours to burn before our flight back so we went to explore Kiholo Bay for sunset, hoping to see turtles over there. Was really nice walk along the beach. Passed by the famous Bali house and the yellow house owned by the guy who invented the artificial pacemaker. He was sitting on his porch with his wife. Gave him a wave, he and his wife smiled and waved back. We didn't see any turtles b/c apparently we didn't walk far enough into the bay. Oh well. We had to get back anyway since the park officially closes at 7pm and we did not want to get locked in with our flight at 9:45.
To summarize: Great trip! Thanks to all those on the Dans Deals forum giving prior advice!