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 155483 times)

Offline westman812

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #240 on: June 27, 2014, 01:06:53 PM »
Just returned from our Big Island getaway courtesy of your local Delta Glitch ticket, and wanted to post a report, as I've done in the past with Kauai and Maui. I apologize in advance for the rant.

Flights: $119 RT in Business to HNL; we bought 3 tix, assuming our 18month old would come. She didn't come in the end because our last 10 hour journey to Israel, just 2 months earlier, was a disaster, even with the extra seat we had for her. The cancellation fee would've negated any credit so just wasted the ticket. Originally, booked JFK-LAX-HNL-LAX-JFK then decided to go to KOA. Obviously Delta wasn't going to change to KOA, even when they'd made multiple schedule changes(each under 90 mins individually), the best they'd do was switch routing which I did on the outbound JFK-ATL-HNL. HNL-KOA-HNL was $310 one way and 6K united on the other(no miles option on our arrival date). The flights themselves were great. JFK-ATL 738- standard domestic first-no tv. ATL-HNL was the new reverse herringbone business, which was really comfy and private. Narrow seats but still more room than business on their 767's. The FA's were all really great and the 9 hour flight went by really quickly. On arrival to HNL, transferring to inter-island terminal was seamless(less than 10 min walk or shuttle bus- no security checkpoint), with a pit-stop through HNL's Japanese gardens with Koi ponds on the way for some serenity(and some amazing plane spotting through some of the fences). While Hawaiian airlines interisland flights bug me because of their obnoxious pricing- they are the only ones in the market essentially- they have great customer service and on-time performance. They really operate like clockwork, there are tons of flights each day, and they have interline agreements with most Airlines, to transfer bags easily, without having to claim and re-check. The return HNL-LAX on 753 was horrendous, even with the best seats on the plane(1A, B have cutouts with extra legroom), as there are old leather recliner seats, and pretty much everything was broken. LAX-JFK was a 763 with lie-flat coffin seats; no complaints as it was a much needed improvement from the previous segment. Food; on all flights were consistently bad; either frozen, tasteless, or non-identical, I believe it was Borenstein all the way through(although I'm still trying to forget, ugh). Food in Hawaii was ordered through R'Chazanow, who's an awesome guy, and I encourage anyone going to any island, to offer to bring food to the shluchim, as they provide an amazing convenience for kosher tourists in Hawaii.

Car: Midsize SUV through Alamo certs from the AMEX daily getaways deals- saved over a $100(total was around $120 for 5.5 days)- Didn't really need the SUV as we didn't end up doing South point(was rainy in that area), Mauna Kea or Waipio valley drive(the last one was against the rental agreement, and everyone said it was very slippery).

Hotels: Mauna Lani hotels and bungalows- I had very mixed feelings- overall positive but here's the list; Pros- Great service- even more prompt and friendly than the GH Kauai, perhaps because it's a much smaller hotel. Nice gounds and amenities- Great beach and spa complex- the $25 resort fee covers internet, vallet parking, bikes, snorkel gear, and cabanas. The fitness center and tennis courts rental are also included, but require a 4 min bike ride to get to as it's sep from the hotel. I didn't mind the ride, and we really enjoyed the tennis(they also provide rackets and balls so you don't have to shlep your own). Price- $190 through Hotwire hot rates! We upgraded to ocean view for an extra $50 which I found to be semi-worthwhile, as we ate most of our meals on the Lanai. Cons- Small pool area- no explanation needed. Rooms/layout of the hotel- While the rooms were very spacious and re-modelled, there were a few things that bothered me;a)No blackout shades, which basically meant getting up as soon as the sun came up(save the violin playing, we just went back to sleep!).b)The A/C didn't function all that great(was a little old school, as  it only kicked in when the temp dropped, as opposed to others which continuously blows air)c)The way the hotel is laid out with basically one giant courtyard in the center surrounded by rooms, make any noises, whether birds, loud children, or luggage wheels, largely amplified. Still, overall, the hotel is great value, with a very picturesque setting. Also, it was shabbos friendly, in that all the stairwells are within the indoor courtyard, so none of that automatic light shtick that you find in almost every other hotel in Hawaii.

Activities
We really just wanted to relax at the hotel, which is what we ended up doing most of the time, with some snorkeling in between. I only allocated 2 days of actual touring. The first day we drove to the Volcano, which is really an amazing sight to see. Did some hikes, walked through the lava tubes, and got a great viewpoint from the Jaggar museum. The only way to see lava is by long hike or helicopter, both which we weren't too interested in doing, but appreciate @Pbaruch's suggestions and guidance. That night we stayed north of Hilo in a great rental http://www.vrbo.com/149612. The following day we did the 4 mile scenic drive, a must to get close up to the bay. We also did Akaka falls,Kolekole Beach Park, and one of the revealed books adventure hikes which got us our very own huge waterfall. Many advised that Mauna Kea wouldn't be easy, so we decided against it.

 True, we may have missed opportunities of a lifetime, but our goal was to take it easy and enjoy some nice sights along the way, which I feel we accomplished. We saw most of the island from the roads and my main takeaways were that it's an incredible island and that the Hilo side doesn't get enough publicity, because in many ways I enjoyed it even more than the road to Hana. In fact, after visiting Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, I'd rank both Kauai and the big island ahead of Maui just because Maui is extremely touristy compared to the other 2. This is just one man's opinion. I'm here to share my thoughts and offer assistance or advice in gratitude to the DDF contributors that made my trips to Hawaii so enjoyable. Thanks for reading!

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #241 on: June 27, 2014, 04:13:06 PM »
I'll be needing a minivan for 8 days in KOA.  If anyone has some good tips about getting one on the cheap I would much appreciate it.  So far with some cursory looking I found a rate of $452.40 inclusive of all taxes and fees.

Thanks in advance.
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #242 on: June 27, 2014, 04:19:27 PM »
I'll be needing a minivan for 8 days in KOA.  If anyone has some good tips about getting one on the cheap I would much appreciate it.  So far with some cursory looking I found a rate of $452.40 inclusive of all taxes and fees.

Thanks in advance.

Try asking here.
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Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #243 on: June 27, 2014, 04:24:06 PM »
What do you do after your dreams come true?

Offline chevron

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #244 on: July 04, 2014, 12:54:23 AM »
hey, chabad big island has a match donors campaign up to 18 gets matched by 18k, help them out. I gave and am very greatful for what they do and their hospitality to me

https://madmimi.com/p/46bef4?fb_action_ids=10154286577775291&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=m

Offline rabbichaz

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #245 on: July 04, 2014, 01:00:29 AM »
hey, chabad big island has a match donors campaign up to 18 gets matched by 18k, help them out. I gave and am very greatful for what they do and their hospitality to me

https://madmimi.com/p/46bef4?fb_action_ids=10154286577775291&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=m


Thank you Elchonon! We have 1 Day left! Please participate, to help us reach our goal! And come visit again!

Offline njmacman

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #246 on: July 04, 2014, 01:39:16 PM »
We will be coming soon to the Big Island. Hope to see you!

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #247 on: July 22, 2014, 04:02:00 PM »
Has anyone stayed at the Fairmont Orchid? Am wondering how it compares to other hotels in the Kona area and if its worth a premium over the Sheraton.
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Offline njmacman

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #248 on: July 22, 2014, 06:15:10 PM »
We are here now. Plenty of kosher items at Costco.

Offline westman812

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #249 on: July 23, 2014, 02:08:03 PM »
Has anyone stayed at the Fairmont Orchid? Am wondering how it compares to other hotels in the Kona area and if its worth a premium over the Sheraton.

Walked over there on shabbos(5 min walk from Mauna Lani). I'd say it depends on the price and what you're looking to get out of it. The Hotel and grounds are amazing and well worth it. There are frequently many conferences and business groups there so don't expect service to be overly personal. I'd say overall it's similar to the Grand Wailea which I personally didn't think was worth the money. Having said that, if rates are below $350 a night, I think there's good value to be had. Also, beware that the stairwells are sensor-lit, unlike the Mauna Lani and perhaps others.

Offline efflpetzel

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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #251 on: September 28, 2014, 10:33:17 PM »
They're rebuilding the Chain of Craters Road (which has been buried under lava for years) now that the latest flow is threatening to cut off the entire Puna region.

http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/local-news/chain-craters-road-construction-begin-tuesday
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Offline Drago

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #252 on: September 29, 2014, 09:27:55 AM »
Guys, can I get my 'green' fix here, or is it mainly lava views?
And could I keep a few little kids busy?

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #253 on: September 29, 2014, 10:31:25 AM »
Guys, can I get my 'green' fix here, or is it mainly lava views?
And could I keep a few little kids busy?

The Hilo side is nice and green, with waterfalls and the beautiful Waipio Valley. However it doesn't really compare to Kauai or the Road to Hana IMO.

Regarding children's activities I'd say it about the same. Hikes both easy and hard, amazing beaches, parks, etc.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2014, 10:40:14 AM by Something Fishy »
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Offline Dan

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Re: Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
« Reply #254 on: September 29, 2014, 10:38:21 AM »
The Hilo side is good and green, with waterfalls and the beautiful Waipio Valley. However it doesn't really compare to Kauai or the Road to Hana IMO.

Regarding children's activities I'd say it about the same. Hikes both easy and hard, amazing beaches, parks, etc.

+1.
Note that the Hilo side can be very rainy and cool.
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.