Big Island Itinerary Feedback

Old Mar 24th, 2007, 08:22 PM
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Big Island Itinerary Feedback

Can you give us some feedback on our itinerary for an upcoming trip to the Big Island in April?

We'll be there for two weeks (two adults, 3 month old infant, and joined by 7 yr old girl for the last 5 days). The 3 month old is a surprisingly good traveler (he went to Maui in February), and seems OK in the Baby Bjorn and baby backpack. We're pretty active but also will relish some time hanging on the beach.

Here's the itinerary:
- Stay in Waimea first night
- Kohala Mt Rd to Hawi
- Polulu Valley (overlook, maybe hike down to the valley and back)
- Lunch at Bamboo in Hawi
- Snorkeling at Kapa'a Beach or Mahukona
- Mahukona Heiau
- Lapakahi Historical Park
- Snorkeling at Lapakahi Beach
- Night at Waimea again
- Waipi'o Valley (probably just the overlook; I don't think we want to hike down and up with the infant or take the horse ride -- advice?)
- Short hike in Kalopa Forest State Park
- Rainbow, Pe'epe'e, and Wai'ale Falls near Hilo
- Lyman Museum, wander Hilo a bit
- Night in Hilo
- Nani Mau Gardens
- Puna: Lava Tree Park, Champagne Pond, Kapaho Tidepools, Ahalanui
- Other Puna beaches -- are they worth it?
- Night in Hilo
- Hawaii Tropical Gardens
- Drive back to Kona / Kohala (maybe on Saddle to Road?)
- Stay 8 nights in condo in Kona or Kohala (haven't booked it yet -- I know we're late)
- Mostly hang on various beaches and do a lot of snorkeling
- Also see: Pu'ukohala Heiau, Ahu'ena Heia, Hulihe'e Palace, Kealakekua Bay, Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, hike Kiholo Bay, Malama Petroglyph Trail on Kona side
- Drive to Volcano NP; see Akaka Falls on the way, have lunch in Hilo
- Stay two nights at Volcano House
- Earthquake Trail, Kilauea Iki Trail, Thurston Lava Tube
- Museum at the Kilauea Crater (name?)
- Chain of Craters Rd, incl various sights along the way like Pu'u Lea Petroglyphs, Hilina Pali Lookout, Holei Pali Lookout
- See the lava flows (hopefully!) later afternoon /early evening
- Next day drive back to Kona via southern route (2.5 hours OK?) and fly home

I realize that two separate trips to the East side is suboptimal, but it's the only way we can let our daughter experience West coast beaches and the volcanoes given her late arrival.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 08:26 PM
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BTW, we've got the Volcano House reserved already, but still need to pull together lodging in Kona / Kohala and Hilo. Any recommendations are appreciated (as are all your tips in previous trip reports).

Hopefully we'll score a nice B&B in Hilo that won't mind an infant. On the west side, we'll need a condo (probably a decent size 1 BR) or maybe luck into a nice small cottage. Looks like a lot of things are already booked, so our choices may be limited.

BTW, how's the driving on Saddle Road? And how long does it take to get across on it?
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 08:29 PM
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This website may help you find a cottage -
http://www.alternative-hawaii.com/accom/bicot.htm
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 08:39 PM
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Can't find the thread that was here recently about jeeps and rental cars on Saddle Road. Most rental companies specifically ban driving on Saddle Road.

I'm so glad you have hand out time on the beach in your list. Don't overschedule your time in paradise!
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 08:13 AM
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hi

i dont mean to be a downer, but the one thing i remember vividly from the volcano was the terrible scent of sulfur and the warning signs everywhere that it was dangerous for babies and pregnant women to be on or near the volcano.

can you please check on this before bringing the baby there? call the volcano national park headquarters or send tem an email or see if it is on their website. you dont want him/her to inhale something that just smells bad t an adult but is tosic to him/her.

kerikeri
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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toxic.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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Sounds like you're packing in a lot ... so while you're at it, I'd include the Place of Refuge. BEAUTIFUL!
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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kerikeri: Good point; hadn't thought of that. The NPS web site says:
"Visitors with heart or breathing problems and infants, young children, and pregnant women are expecially at risk and should avoid Halema`uma`u Crater, Sulphur Banks, and other areas where volcanic fumes are present."

We'll call the park and ask specifically where else we should avoid.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 12:06 PM
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Ahalanui may harbor bacteria like staph and strep that are deadly. Anyone with a weakened immune system is especially vulnerable, and that includes small infants. Trip Advisor has had alot of discussion recently about the Puna Coast warm tidepools, and the health risks.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Songdoc: Thanks, Place of Refuge is on the list (Pu'uhonua o Honaunau). It looks very cool!

CeeJayTx: Good point about the volcanic heated tidepools -- I had read the same thing.

But the 3-month old certainly won't be swimming. Just have to make sure one of us doesn't transmit anything to him.

We're now booked into Waimea Gardens Cottages for the first two nights (Aah The Views was unavailable). Thinking about the Bay House, Shipman House, or Waterfalls Inn for Hilo, in that order. Anyone stayed at them? I've seen some good feedback on Waterfalls here on Fodors.

We're thinking about staying in Waikoloa / Kohala area instead of Kona. A friend mentioned that the "vog" is worse in Kona, and that the baby probably wouldn't like it.

So I'm looking at condos at Kolea (nice , near the beach, and $$), and funky beach cottages in Puako. Two very different options. Anybody have any experiences with these?

If we're going down Chain of Craters Rd in VNP, should we also bother going to the east side of the lava flows in Puna? Or the black-sand beaches there?

And by the silence out there I assume the itinerary looks fairly solid? Thanks in advance.
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