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NeoPatrick Mar 5th, 2008 06:09 AM

Hilo or Volcano Village
If we're planning on a week stay on the Kona coast on the Big Island (as well as a week each on three other islands) but we want to add 2 or 3 nights to the Big Island, which makes more sense or adds more variety to the trip -- a few nights in Hilo or a few nights in Volcano Village. Several people have mentioned you can do both those areas from either point, so I'm thinking cooler temperatures and the more "remote" atmosphere of Volcano Village might be a pleasant change. I've found a neat "cottage" in Volcano village called Kate's Cottage. For what it's worth, we'd really like to keep lodging down very close to $100, although the cottage is about $125. Oh, and if in Hilo -- I think AC is a requirement for us in September. I found a wonderful place there, but without AC and not being on the water, it just sounds too hot and humid. I'm open to ideas of where to stay for doing that area, but please don't tell me about the $200 a night and up places. Oh and I've already looked at Priceline for Hilo -- with only two "upper end" choices and one being the very dismal sounding Billy's, I think that's out for us.

highflyer Mar 5th, 2008 06:29 AM

Kate's cottage looks nice and Volcano village has an arty feel with lots of little art shops so you might like that.

If you change your mind and would consider a B&B I recommend this one that's 15miles from Hilo.

bfrac Mar 5th, 2008 06:49 AM

Patrick, based on what you have said in earlier posts, I would stay in Volcano. This was your first choice anyway so go with what you felt when you first thought that.

The cooler temps and rainforest atmosphere will be a nice change from the rest of your stay. And as said before, Hilo is an easy drive.

elsiemoo Mar 5th, 2008 06:49 AM

Definitely Volcano Village, Patrick, especially if you're going without A/C in September! Hilo is just not my idea of a vacation spot, although there's a lot of beauty around there. I can only remember gray and rainy, although I realize some love it.

happytrailstoyou Mar 5th, 2008 06:56 AM

Two nights in Hilo was a highlight of our trip to Hawaii. It rained a lot, but we liked the authentic town and easy access to the beautiful west coast as well as to the volcano.

Hanalei Mar 5th, 2008 08:45 AM

Volcano Village will be cooler than coastal area and is much cooler at night. We rented a house from Kathryn (Kate's Cottage's host) a few years ago. She is a wonderful host and will provide you with a wealth of information regarding sites to see.

volcanogirl Mar 5th, 2008 10:06 AM

We really liked the Volcano area; the Kilauea Lodge is a nice spot to enjoy dinner - nice big stone fireplace and good food. It rained the entire time we were in Hilo.

NeoPatrick Mar 5th, 2008 01:22 PM

With an annual rainfall in Hilo of 120 plus inches -- that's 10 feet of rain a year, folks -- chances are sure good you'd see a lot of it whenever you're there!

happytrailstoyou Mar 5th, 2008 05:55 PM

Yes, it's a lot of rain, but it's Hilo, HI, not Forks, WA.

volcanogirl Mar 5th, 2008 06:19 PM

I think my husband ticked off our innkeeper in Hilo. He asked him if it always rained that much. I think he'd been asked the question hundreds of times. We had researched it, so we knew to expect potential rain, but never ending rain put a damper on things. The differences in the climates across the BI are pretty amazing. We had a fireplace in Volcano and loved it because it got so cool at night.

FurryTiles Mar 5th, 2008 09:54 PM

Aloha Patrick,

We stayed at one of Kate’s cottages in September last year – we wanted to book the Cottage, but as it was unavailable were offered Kahi Malu next door at the same price.

You can check my TR “The Big Island Loop de Wheels Sept 07” for more details:;tid=35090983

To save unnecessary reading which may not be relevant, here’s a cut ‘n paste about our accommodation at Volcano Village and VNP:

“Volcano Village: Kahi Malu, Kate’s Volcano Places a two-bedroom cottage in the rainforest, fully equipped and self-contained, with all the comforts for a thoroughly enjoyable stay, including a little fireplace for chilly mornings and evenings. U$125 pdpn incl tax. And yes, at nearly 4,000 ft elevation, the change in temperature from polite sweating on the west coast in minimal clothing to bedsox, fireplace and coats on the same day is noteworthy. Excellent reviews on TripAdvisor as well,

Highlight of this accommodation was the thoughtful attention to detail –including umbrellas, slippers, torches, hiking poles and protective gloves for night lava hiking. As well as the full version of the video shown at the VNP Visitors Centre, which we watched the evening before our visit, so we were erupting with full details and info”

“From Hilo, it’s Highway 11 inland to Volcano Village and VNP. About 40 minutes drive, 28 miles or so, climbing to reach an elevation of nearly 4,000 ft.”

“Volcano National Park

As we were just a few minutes drive away, we were so early we almost had the Crater Rim drive (10 miles) to ourselves. Mind blowing, so fascinating we drove it twice in opposite directions, and were fortunate to see two of Hawaii’s national birds, the threatened Nene geese, strutting along the roadside.

Chain of Craters road (approx 20 miles) equally wonderful, all the way to the ocean and the Holei Sea Arch.

Since the July earthquake, lava is flowing in an inaccessible area visible by helicopter only, but VNP was an astoundingly wondrous place with the mind trying to grasp that you’re walking in a volcano area (Kilauea) that’s been constantly active since the 1980s.”

Mmmm, would you like pics with that?

Happy planning,

Sue_xx_yy Mar 6th, 2008 03:23 AM

Neo - it's been over ten years since we stayed at Carson's Volcano cottages, so needless to say things might have changed. My memory is of a rustic, but charming cottage nestled in a grove of giant tree ferns. Very atmospheric. I just checked their website ( and the prices seem to be in your range (e.g "Nick's Cabin" $130 including breakfast; guest rooms a bit cheaper).

Forget Hilo. Volcano is a must, something quite unique. Quite frankly I don't think AC will be as much of a concern as on the Kona side - our visit to Volcano was in April of that year and we needed heat, not coolth, at night. Outside were the aforesaid giant tree ferns and other interesting vegetation, and at night a billion stars. Be sure to check in at the visitor centre as soon as you arrive to get the latest report on lava flows. If anything is happening that can be seen on foot (if only from a distance - bring binoculars) - go at once - things change quickly. Enjoy your trip.

NeoPatrick Mar 6th, 2008 04:26 AM

Sue, the AC mentioned was only if in Hilo - not in Volcano Village where it is not a concern.

That carsoncottage site is hard to navigate, but I finally found the actual Volcano Cottage. But meanwhile on there I was more taken with their Volcano Inn, just a sort of bed and breakfast in the rainforest without breakfast -- and much cheaper, like about $70 a night. That's very interesting. It looks as nice as most of the "lodges" there for up to three times as much cost. Unless I'm missing something.

Kate's Cottage has a lot of appeal though -- at about $100 a night (for three nights). And it's nice to get the positive feedback from Furry Tiles about the owners and the situation, even if not the same smaller cottage.

But I think you've all convinced me that Volcano Village would be the better choice to stay. And perhaps we'll stay three nights. I'm thinking we'll fly into Hilo (from Kauai) and spend much of that day there before going up to Volcano Village and then having two full days up there before heading to the Kona Coast.

WG Mar 6th, 2008 04:54 AM


Sue_xx_yy Mar 6th, 2008 07:10 PM

ACK! Sorry, Neo - I misspelled the link. That should have been

(I left out the s after carson .)

I should have clicked on the link in my first post just to check. As for the 'wrong' link I have to concede, I've never seen that link before so I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

By the way, back when we went, there was more than one cottage. Things HAVE changed....

NeoPatrick Mar 7th, 2008 03:37 AM

Sue, that's so funny. I did eventually get to Carson's Cottage that way, but it's different than this one! These are very nice.

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