Big Island - Departure Day Hotel

Old Jan 11th, 2006, 04:50 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 271
Sarah: Thanks for the info on the Hilton vs. Hapuna. I got the sense that the Hilton would be "too much", as we are visiting smack in the middle of school vacation (DS 13). So Hapuna it is and I can't wait!!! We're only staying two nights at VNP and then on to Hapuna. We arrive mid day into Kona and will take our time driving to VNP as we really want to take in the scenery. Currently no plans to stay in Hilo. DH didn't want to change locations too many times, so its VNP and Hapuna.
Chepar: We are looking for a dive operation / boat to take us out and rent equipment. DH and DS will dive, I will most probably just ride along. We are visiting in mid-June. Looking for recommendations on dive locations too. Thanks for any info you can pass along.
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Old Jan 11th, 2006, 05:56 PM
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I typically recommend either Ocean Concepts or Island Divers for boat dives. Ocean Concepts dives primarily off the west coast of the island, and Island Divers primarily off the south and east shores. There are good dives sites off of all these shores. Both operators will do hotel shuttles if you want.

The typical 2 tank boat dive will do a deep wreck dive first, then a shallow reef dive. Ocean Concepts does have 2 tank shallow dives on certain days if the divers in your group are not very experienced. You can rent full sets of gear with both operators. You (as a non-diver) may have to pay a "snorkeler fee" to ride along.

Diving the North Shore in the summertime is great and if you have the time and a car - you should take advantage of it.

The winter conditions make the North Shore conditions impossible to dive for a good part of the year, so the short time frame that you can snorkel/dive up there helps the reef stay pretty healthy. Also, a good part of that coast area where the dive sites are located are marine preserves.

Most of the sites are shallow - and a couple of them have a nice beach area. You can rent full sets of gear at either Haleiwa Surf & Sea or Deep Ecology - both in Haleiwa Town. Both shops may even offer guided shore dives if you didn't want to do it on your own.
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Old Jan 11th, 2006, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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sounds like your question has already been answered but for what it is worth, the Mauna Kea (sister hotel to Hapuna) will let you store your luggage and use the very nice locker room (with towels, soap etc) to shower before you get on your flight. Hapuna probably has the same set up. The airport is very close and laid back. if you leave an hour and half before your flight you will have more than enough time. i definitely wouldn't waste your money paying for an extra night at the hapuna or anywhere closer to the airport.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 06:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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yes Chepar is being very kind I don't why I thought there was Japanese influence at Legends. ...It's Hong Kong style.

There have been a few threads on the Legends Restaurants. Don't worry about being able to distinguish between the Vegitarian or Seafood restaurant. The title will tell you which is which, they are very near each other too.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 06:48 AM
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Sherrie just my opinion but I think that looks like a long day to arrive mid day and try to fit in volcano. We arrived at 3 and found it to be a long day just driving to Hilo side, we did not fit in park on that day.

Just want to remember that the lushest side of the island is on the hilo side. Also remember sunset is at 6pm, we missed a lot on our drive in because we did stop twice for provisions putting us on hilo side after dark. Just a thought.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 09:29 AM
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more info than I am sure you need sherrie but I can't hep me self...
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:53 PM
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Posts: 271
Thanks all for every reply. I love reading them all. Sarah, keep 'em coming. The info is great. Wow, didn't remember that the sun set so early! If we arrive mid day into Kona, we should be at Volcano by 4:00, don't you think (of course, depending on how many stops we make along the way)? I was anticipating a 2 to 2-1/2 hr. drive. Am I wrong? We'll stay two nights and then on to Hapuna. Hopefully, we'll have plenty of time to explore during that time.
Chepar, I'll check out those dive outfits. Thanks again for the info.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I guess I am not thinking that mid day means NOON! You should be ok....I really have to stress that you want to be near the flow at sunset and beyond if possible. The entire park is beautiful as you push towards the evening! During the day the vistas at look out points around the park (dormant craters and seascapes) are breath taking.

Remember 2.5 hours is 5 hours round trip. I think its 2.5 just to Volcano park another 40 minutes to the flow and 40 back of course. People do this park in one day...I want to discourage you from this because this because it is such a remarkable place.

Less is always more of course and you should weigh what that means for you. I see that you don't want to drive around on your last day. A number of guide books caution against the temptation of too much driving on the Big Island, something I like to consider when planning. ok...I am lecturing, sorry. Do the park in a day if you don't want to get out of the car much. I have done that on weekend trips to the big Island when staying on Oahu.

Here are some short drives around the park area that you will in all likelyhood need to skip or choose amongst if you are only on Hilo side for the day.

Page 124 Big Island Revealed(4 mile scenic drive). This is a road side view.

Better link!

Thurston's Lava tube
15 minute walk down to this tube but it just might be 15 minutes walking you skip when faced with a 3 hour car ride back

There are lookouts and trails in the park that I can't recall by name that deserve time. Petroglyphs one, Kiliuea iki crater view to name a few only.

Akaka Falls I just skipped this for the sake of time on this past trip. AH here is a website with many sights on the big island...pick and choose.

Consider double booking that first night on Big Island decide closer to the date...would b my advice.

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