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Big Island / Kauai proposed itinerary - Need Advice!

Big Island / Kauai proposed itinerary - Need Advice!

Jan 9th, 2012, 08:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 8
Big Island / Kauai proposed itinerary - Need Advice!

Does this seem reasonable for a pair of Hawaii first timers? We are mid-late 30s, leaving the kids at home and celebrating our 10-yr anniversary in May. We really want to visit BI and Kauai, though we are flying in and out of Oahu (direct flights already booked with miles - can't change).

May 14
very long day of travel - we'd arrive in Hilo by 7/8pm

May 15,16 - acclimate, see the Volcano, etc

May 17 - drive the coast to Kona, stopping along the way

May 17-18 - relax in Kona at the Four Seasons? (this would be a HUGE splurge for our actual anniversary - worth it??)

May 19 - fly to Kauai in the morning

May 19-24 - Kauai waterfalls, surf lesson, hiking, kayaking, possible heli-tour, relaxing

May 25 - fly back to Oahu and back to NY (7pm flight)

Other itinerary options include spending 3 days in Oahu and a week in Kauai. Or just spending our entire time in Kauai. Our first choice though is to visit BI and Kauai if it's not going to feel too rushed. Would appreciate your thoughts!
samijo is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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I'd chose to arrive in Kona and spend your time in The Four Seasons, taking day trips to Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park and the other sights. Four Seasons Hualalai is a wonderful hotel.

It would make me crazy flying all the way to Hawaii and not having a sunny beach to play on for the first couple of days.
Placename is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 11:06 AM
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Good point! Is it possible to do a day trip to the volcano from Kona though? It seemed like a very far drive.
samijo is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Sure it is. I've done it many times via the North route from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
Placename is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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We stayed nearby at the Hilton and did the volcano in a roundtrip daytrip. I was not a huge fan of the volcano. I really liked the area you are staying in, the Four seasons. The weather is nice. Kona area has great snorkeling. The turtles were enormous and they swim right by you. I guess it depends on what you enjoy. We drove all day to the volcano, lots of black rocks, and then it was a hike to see the lava flow, which most people returning said they didn't see, so we turned around, (we had kids with us). The waterfalls along the way were nice to stop at, and we LOVED the snorkeling on the Kona side. There is a beach called Hapuna Beach near your hotel. It had the best boogie boarding waves! I was slammed down into the sand a few times. I felt like a ten year old again!
I think a volcano trip would be a great helicopter trip. I personally would spend my time snorkeling on the big island and enjoying your hotel.
The Marriott was just refurbished a few years ago when we were there if you are looking for alternatives (money wise). The Hilton is big (HUGE) and busy with families, although maybe not in May.

I also think flying from island to island takes a lot of time and will kill two days of your trip. So, think about moving around a lot. We did 2 nights Oahu and 7 nights Big Island last trip with two kids around 10-12 years old. We did 10 days (5 on Oahu and 5 on Maui) about 20 years ago. We flew both times from the east coast. It takes a day or two to get acclimated to the east-west time change. You are flying through Oahu to get to the two islands? It would make sense to fly into Oahu and spend a day or two there and then spend a week somewhere.
girlonthego is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 09:50 PM
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To keep you from being rushed and stressed, I would recommend one island only. Then do the other island on your next trip. Most people who visit Hawaii want to go back again and again.
montereybob is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 03:07 AM
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I think your original plan is great. The flight to Hilo should be beautiful itself (especially if you go down the East side - past cliffs and the fabled Waipio Valley) - and I would suggest taking the extra 20 minutes to drive up to nearby Volcano Village - or stay at the Volcano Inn. The Volcano is simply great - and during the first week of our Honeymoon - we hiked through a rain forest - down into and across little Ki-Iki Hale - which is close to the Visitor's center - which also has a lot of info/movies, whatnot.

Driving from there on to Kona is beautiful and the 4 Seasons is a very nice place and you should enjoy your beach time there. Suggest you drive along Ali drive when you get into Kona town - and maybe drive up to the North end. The venerable Mona Kea also has a great beach in front.

Where are you staying on the Garden Island - Kauai? We are fans of the North Shore - Princeville and Hanalei (think the beautiful "Bali Hai" you see in the classic 1958 Rogers and Hammerstein movie/musical/WWII love story - South Pacific) - but it's also fun to drive down to sunny Poipu and over to Waimea to see the "Grand Canyon" of the Pacific.

And beyonf Hsnslri - at the end of the road - after passing over 7 one lane bridges - is one of our favorite beaces in all of the Islands - Ke Beach (Haena) which has a reef protecting the lagoon. It's great for swimming, snorkeling, and also taking the 2 mile hike looking down at the blue blue Pacific. (You can take longer hikes if you feel adventerous)

Just don't leave anything valuable in plain sight in your rental cars.

While we love all of Hawaii - and have been to all the islands many times - you are going to our two favorites - and we spent our two week honeymoon split up between BI and Kauai. Have a blast.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 03:12 AM
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BTW - flying from island to island is a joy - especially if you packed light - as you should for the islands. You can leave your hotel room and get to the small airports (The Inter-island terminal at Hono is separate from the main/international terminal) - and board in almost no time - and then it's usually less than an hour flying from one island to another(only 20 minutes from Honolulu to Kauai. When when we arrive - one goes to get the rental car while the other gets the luggage (if we checked) and you can be checked in to our new abode within the hour.

It's also beautiful flying from one island to another.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 03:15 AM
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BTW Dos: There are some very nice B & B's in Volcano Village (you are staying in a rain forest) - and Kay's place is just georgeous - a former artist's retreat. see: http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/hawai...age-lodge.html
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 03:18 AM
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One last thing: I could think of nothing better than to R & R for a couple days after your long flying day by staying at a nice B & B in the rain forest at Volcano Village. You will have plenty of beach time the rest of your trip.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 10:14 AM
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I also see no problem with moving from island to island -- I don't find that it takes that much time (get up reasonably early on the "transfer" day and you'll be in your new hotel by late morning). I haven't been on the Big Island since the late 70s, so I can't comment on that, but we've been in Kauai as recently as October. It's so beautiful, and peaceful, with fabulous beaches, great hiking, more-than-decent eating (this has changed recently for the better), fantastic (world-class) scenery. I'm partial to the south shore (Poipu), but the north shore is more lush (the south shore is pretty lush, too, but the north shore is lush-er), so many people like it better.
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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Wow! Thanks so much everyone for all your great ideas and suggestions. We have gone back and forth, but we've decided to go for it! We'll do a couple nights in Hilo - we were looking at Kilauea Volcano Cottages but I also checked out Volcano Village (thanks Tomsd!) and that might look even better! I am still convincing my other half to splurge on the FS in Kona - he thinks we should save the money and stay at the Fairmont Orchid which also looks nie. Any thoughts on that? In Kauai we were thinking of a couple of nights in Princeville (possibly the Westin?) and then the rest of the time at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu. Getting really excited now!
samijo is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 05:18 PM
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Several years ago, we stayed in a B&B near Kona and then overnighted in Volcano, Country Goose B&B. A very nice stay, and hostess Joan was very gracious. We also often stay on two islands, and Kauai is always one of them. North Shore is pretty stunning as TomsD said. Poipu is usually very sunny ... snorkeling in Kauai at Tunnels is good, often accessible if parking at Ke'e is filled.
edjim is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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Depends on what you want to do in Kona. I spent 9 days there with friends and went all over the island, pretty much just slept and ate breakfast in the condo. A resort would've been a huge waste of money for us. It was nice to beach hop depending on the conditions - it would be cloudy at one beach but sunny and perfect 30 minutes up the road. I would bet if we were at a resort we wouldn't have been as apt to move around and see as much.

So for me, spending the extra money for a 'better' resort isn't worth it, but I'm not in your situation. I would opt for the cheaper place - Hawaii is already expensive enough without splurging IMO.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Also on the North Shore of Kauai - check out the Hanalei Bay Resort. They have a great pool (swim around an "island") and also apaved walkway to the same beach shared by the uber exclusive St. Regis resort - at the end of the road in Princeville. see: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...ai_Hawaii.html

On Kona side - the Fairmont Orchid is just fine - actually very nice - as is really - any resort is on the beach on the Kona side.

Me - I could stay in a tent if it was on the beach in Paradise - but you ladies like room service and the like. I would just spear fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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You can also check out condo type rooms at "our" timeshare resort - the Cliffs Club at Princeville. see: http://www.cliffsatprinceville.com/

And we also stayed in a Condo on Ali drive by Kona on our Honeymoon - right on the beach- and loved it. Actually had the Mongoose playing on the front lawn. They are something.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 09:09 PM
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How fun!

I've been to all the islands a bazillion times. In my opinion, the best thing you can do on the Big Island is a helicopter over the volcano. In good weather, an early afternoon flight will give you the best chance to see lava, which is spectacular. Nothing like it. I only say afternoon because our pilot told us that they learn where the lava is visible after a few flights in. It is a trek to get to the airport but can certainly be a day excursion. Also, I found that part of the island to be somewhat run down and not much else of interest. We stayed at the Fairmont. It was lovely, but not the same quality or experience of the Four Seasons.

As for Kauai, stay at the Koa Kea on the south shore. I've stayed the Hyatt and the Princeville and had good experiences at both but for your anniversary sans kids, the Koa Kea is where it's at. Don't just trust me. Check TripAdvisor reviews. You will thank me later.

Aloha! Have fun! (and feel free to troll some of my other Hawaii posts for restaurant and other fun recommendations).
MelissaMorgan is offline  
Jan 11th, 2012, 03:52 AM
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There are so many great places to stay in Hawaii - you just have to google and google. I just got this from Ashton - a Hawaii owned group - and have stayed at some of their places and they were fine and pretty reasonably priced. They are offering a 4th night free if you stay 3, but there should be other bargains also available over there? Check it out yourself: http://www.astonhotels.com/specials-...eebie-freebie/

And the helicopoter ride is great - on both islands - and while we didn't take the one over the Volcano on Big Island - we did take the one up to the North Shore - where 3 of the longest free walling waterfalls in the world are located. We landed at a North Shore beach and switched around (it was a 4 passenger helicopter back then - so the person in the back middle didn't always have the best view) and also got to see the beautiful Waipo Valley.

On Kauai - we took Jack Harter - who was the best but not sure if he is still flying?
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 11th, 2012, 04:01 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Actually - I think they are offering a 3rd night free if you stay 2 - and have some nice Condos on Big Island and also looks like down by Poipu on Kauai - and hey - mid island by the Wailua River or Kapaa is just fine too - and there is a great/protected snorkeling area there - Lydgate Beach park.

see: http://www.kauaiexplorer.com/kauai_b...beach_park.php
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 11th, 2012, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Grand Hyatt is really nice, gorgeous pools. Haven't been to the Westin there, that place is timeshares but does have a restaurant. The restaurant and bar at Hanalei Bay Resort is closed at the moment, due to a fire. Otherwise that is a beautiful place as well.
jamie99 is offline  

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