Hawaii, the Big Island

Feb 7th, 2015, 05:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 17
Hawaii, the Big Island

We are Seniors, and want to visit the Big Island. What is the weather like in April and May. Is there a better time, weatherwise, to visit Hawaii. What in your opinion are the must see and do things. We are fairly active. Thank you for any and all suggestions.
javajunebug is offline  
Feb 7th, 2015, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 12
Those months usually have excellent weather as do most months in Hawaii. December and January tends to get more rain. However any time of year tropical rains can arrive for a few minutes, hours or days. So there is no guarantees on Hawaii weather in any month. But the percentages are on your side in April and May.
mauibob is offline  
Feb 7th, 2015, 08:20 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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We are visiting in May!

Weather should be very good in either month. I would avoid Easter week because of cost and crowds. Other than that, you should be good.

On the Big Island, you can snorkel with giant turtles! You don't have to pay to go on a snorkel tour to see them either, but a snorkel tour is fun! You can horseback ride, take a helicopter tour, visit a live volcano, boogie board at Hapuna beach, and so much more!

I would recommend staying on the Kohala coast because it is the sunny side of the island and there are some very nice resorts there.
There is a very nice Fairmont hotel, and the Marriott is nice as well. We are staying at the Hilton, and we liked it the last time we stayed, but it is huge and very busy with families. You would probably be happier in a smaller resort.

If you have more specific questions, ask away!
girlonthego is offline  
Feb 8th, 2015, 03:56 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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My family and I spent two weeks on the Big Island a couple years back in the summer of 2012. I don't think the weather then was significantly different than when you'll be there. I put together a web album when we returned with photos and explanatory captions. If interested, seeing what we did may help you plan your trip. Embedded within the captions is advice about where to stay and how to split your time ... it's a very large island, with so much to see and do! Have fun planning!


Mjneenan is offline  
Feb 8th, 2015, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Those are great times to go. I would look for lodging asap especially if you are thinking early April around Easter. Might not be a lot left.

The BI is best done with two separate bases. One on the East and one on the West. If possible, fly into one side and out the other. For the East, stay in either Hilo or Volcano. Spend a couple days visiting VNP. Then, drive via the Hamakua coast over to the West side and visit the Botanical Gardens, Akaka Falls, Waipio Outlook, Hawi, etc. Kohala is the area with the best beaches so I suggest staying there. We like to rent condos for the additional space they provide but there are plenty of nice hotels as well.

The BI has the best snorkeling in Hawaii so spend some time shore snorkeling along the many beaches or maybe do a boat trip. The Manta Ray night snorkel is a bucket list activity. There are quite a few historic and sacred heiaus to visit as well as nice hikes. Many people consider a visit to the summit of Mauna Kea to be a must do. You can drive yourself as long as you have a 4wd vehicle rented from Harpers (no one else will let you take their rentals to the summit) or best yet go as part of a tour. Tours have the benefit of providing parkas (it can be cold and snowy) and have drivers used to the extreme altitude and windy mountain driving.

You could spend a day down in South Kona and visit Place of Refuge and snorkel two step if the water is calm and you feel comfortable with the entry and exit.

Whales will be gone but there are turtles and dolphins all over the place. Just be careful to keep your distance (100 yds?) and you will have a great experience.

Have a great trip.
taitai is offline  
Feb 8th, 2015, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,960
Here's an interactive rainfall map for the state:


It's doesn't change much from month to month, but slightly less rainfall is received in fall than spring. The map also shows the major difference between the wet and dry sides of the major islands.
fdecarlo is offline  
Feb 10th, 2015, 10:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 955
Was on the BI a few years ago, and will go again in April. Here is a report I filed back then. Beach info is probably pretty good, but restaurants....? Well they change. If you have time, you might want to check out the lava flows on the east side. Pretty spectacular. Can do it by helicopter. Have fun.
BillJ is offline  
Mar 18th, 2015, 05:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 17
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and helpful suggestions.
We are flying in to Honolulu for 4 nights and then to Hilo for a few nights and on to the Kohala coast for another few nights.
Wish we could go to the Observatory but we both have cardiac issues. We want see the VNP but trying to figure out which one suits us. One Volcano Tour said it would take 12 hrs. Does anyone have suggestions for Tours. Not sure I want to be in a Helicoptor. ( I did pluck up enough courage to fly in a single engine Pontoon Plane in NZ and enjoyed every minute of it.) Back to the Volcano tours. Any suggestions welcome. Thank you.
javajunebug is offline  
Mar 19th, 2015, 04:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,540
You don't need to go on a tour to visit VNP. It is very, very easy to do yourself. It is a national park like Yellowstone or any other and has rangers and guides and everything is very well marked. Do a little research and decide what hikes, vistas, views are are most important to you and just do those. There are ranger led hiked throughout the day if you are interested in doing those, or just go by yourself.

There is no accessible surface flow at this time (although that can change). You can see the lava glow at night from the caldera and that is cool. The best way to do that is to stay one night in Volcano so if you can make your East-side lodging choices one of the cute cottages/b&bs in Volcano that is best. The park is open 24 hours so you can drive up to the caldera after dinner and check out the glow and most of the other visitors will be gone and you will have it to yourself.

If you insist on doing a guided tour, I have heard great things about Hawaii Forest and Trail although I have not used them myself.
taitai is offline  
Mar 19th, 2015, 09:10 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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I agree with taitai that you can do everything you want on your own, at your own pace.

RE: nightime at the caldera? We found quite a few people enjoying the glow with us, almost as many as were there in the daytime! (Maybe for the full moon photo opps). You could also stay at the reopened Hawaii Volcano House Hotel, in the park, right on the rim of the caldera (or consider one of the campground cabins; bedding included). BTW, if you are U.S. seniors, you should have the free National Park senior pass by now?. Do the Thurston Lava Tube cave walk; it looks intimidating going down (while you think about going back up), but the way through and then out is far easier than you think, even if you are a bit activity-limited.

Friends took an all-day bus coach circle-island tour (via Roberts) and enjoyed it, but it did take a very long day.

Many of the beaches on the Kona coast were damaged by the chain of winter storms this year (some said it was the worst in decades), so do your research. For example, Hapuna lost 1/2 its area, but might be recovered somewhat when you visit. (Our favorite sandy beach has nothing but rocks/coral rubble now, but we hope the sand will eventually be replaced.)
If you decide on a helicopter tour, I'd do one out of the Hilo airport; there's more than one company that has a "waterfall-volcano" focus ride that doesn't take too long.
sylvia3 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2015, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
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You can buy the seniors lifetime pass on-site at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We just got ours at Joshua Tree. Just be sure to have proof of age with you (a drivers license is all you need).
sf7307 is online now  
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