Big Island Lodging Logistics

Nov 18th, 2009, 09:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 88
Big Island Lodging Logistics

We are flying in and out of Kona and would like to allocate 2 nights in the Hilo/VNP area.

Our flight lands in Kona around 2 and we were going to head straight to the Hilo area that same day hoping to get to HIlo before sunset. My question is should we do 1 night in Hilo (that first night) and then 1 night in VNP (since on day 2 and/or 3 we are planning to go to VNP)? Or should we do 2 nights in VNP?

I was thinking of hanging out in Hilo the first night which is why I'm considering splitting up our nights and hotels b/w our 2 nights on the east side of the island. Any thoughts???

Thanks so much!
aristokat is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 04:28 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Depends on how long you've been in a plane that day. I'd probably split my time if you're arriving in Hawaii that day after a long flight (with a change in HNL?). It's about 60 miles from Kona to Hilo, but it's a beautiful drive and you likely won't make good time (which is fine).

If you're already in Hawaii and coming from one of the other islands, I'd probably spend a few hours in Hilo and then 2 nights in VNP. Although I will say we enjoyed Hilo and certainly wouldn't argue with you if you decided to enjoy a night there.
dfr4848 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 243
One thing you might want to consider is that there are several lovely stops along the way between Kona and Hilo, including the City of Refuge (fascinating) and the famous black sand beach (starts with P, Punahao, or something like that). We also drove down to the bay where Captain Cook was seen (can't see the monument unless you snorkle, I think, or boat. The neatest part to me was the coolers of leis that I'd see along the way. It's on an honor system, leave some money and take a lei). Anyway, I'm just saying that you may want to take some time. Also, Kona is an interesting little town, and doesn't take much time at all. There's a great snorkeling place south of Kona, you can swim with turtles.

Okay, to answer your question, though, I think that I'd drive to VNP and spend two nights there. Then if you want to go into Hilo the next day, you can. There's just not that much to do in Hilo, unless you want to drive up the coast and stop at waterfalls, etc. We drove from north of Kona, stopped along the way, and arrived at VNP after dark. Spent the next day and night at VNP, then drove into Hilo the next morning, ate pancakes at this really fun place, and flew out.
CindyW is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 499
I don't know how much time you have on the BI and that would be an important factor. I happen to like hilo. It is old hawaii. The pace is slow, there is little or no glitz. I like the gardens, the shops, the architecture of old town, and the farmer market. I like spending at least one day there. Some people hate it, because the people can be unfriendly. It's a matter of preference. I guess if I were to advise I would say, stay in volcano but spend one full day around hilo.

wbpiii is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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I don't like staying one night and moving on.. it's too much checking in and out and remember you might have to check out at 10 or 11am and then your room at the next place might not be ready until 2 or 3pm.
Stay at VNP for 2 nights. Spend a few hours in Hilo.
sassy_cat is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 12:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 88
Thanks everyone! I should have clarified. We're going to be on BI for 6 nights. 2 nights in Hilo/VNP area and 4 in Kohala area. It seems like there is not much to do in Hilo then aside from a couple hours?

When we arrive from the mainland we were going to head straight to the east side of the island and spend the evening in hilo since it seems not much to do at VNP at night. But maybe we will pass Hilo along the way and spend the night at VNP. Do most people travel south or north to VNP from Kona?
Would we be able to see Place of Refuge that same day we arrive?

aristokat is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 499
I would not get off the plane and go to Place of Refuge. I would spend 1/2 day at Place of Refuge and two-step. Go early and snorkel at two-step and the go over and visit PoR.

Most people probably go north to VNP so you don't have to go through Kailu.

When I go to Hilo, I go to the HTBGarden that takes a couple hours, I usual eat in HIlo. I walk through old town and shop. I go to the Tsunami museum and to the Farmer's Market. I walk to coconut island and the nearby japanese style garden. I hit a few waterfalls and relax. This is a good seven hour day.
wbpiii is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 04:11 AM
Join Date: May 2006
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Agree that I wouldn't get off plane and go straight to Place of Refuge.

We've driven both the north and south routes to VNP. Prefer the north - more scenic.

I think there is certainly more to do in Hilo than a couple of hours. wbpiii has given you some good suggestions.

We don't like to change hotels often either, but since you're coming from the mainland, I still suggest spending that first night in Hilo.
dfr4848 is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 808
The past few times we have landed in Kona from the mainland about noon, had some lunch and then drove to VNP along the southern route for 2 or 3 nights. We always stop at Greenwell farms for coffee and a few photos along the way. We have no problem with this drive.

I also like Hilo very much and would spend some time there.
bfrac is offline  
Nov 24th, 2009, 02:58 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 16,378
I recommend Hilo for 2 nights; more options, and VNP is a VERY easy drive from Hilo. BTW, sunset is pretty early in the winter; however, if you actually get your luggage and car by 2:30, and drive the northern route (a tad faster than the southern, IMO) you'll probably make it by sunset. Not a whole lot of time for stops along the way, though. (The major highways on the BI have limited (yellow spectrum) lighting, I believe due to the desire to keep light pollution from the observatory.)
Don't forget to drive up the mountain and see all the Hilo waterfalls! It's a really nice place.
sylvia3 is online now  

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