How to split my stay on the Big Island

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Feb 15th, 2004, 05:28 AM
  #1
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How to split my stay on the Big Island

I'll be arriving on Big Island, Kona side on a morning flight from Honolulu and staying a total of 7 nights leaving around 3 or 4 pm of the 8th day. Plan to drive back to Kona to save rental car drop off fee. Would like to split my stay between Kona and Hilo any suggestions? How many days each side.
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Feb 15th, 2004, 07:42 AM
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The rental drop off fees vary by car agency and I think Avis may not charge one at all??
Just something else to consider...

What are you interested in seeing?
More beaches, snorkeling, water sports, or more rainforests and natural sights?
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Feb 15th, 2004, 07:51 AM
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I'm interested in hiking, spelunking, scuba,snorkeling and star gazing. Planning 2 days at VNP, and renting 4x4.
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Feb 15th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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For those activities you're better off spending most of your time on the Hilo side. Not much on the west side other than lava flows, and they get old (both to look at and hike) real quick. The two exceptions are scuba and snorkeling, the best of which are on the Kona side.

BTW if you haven't already, pick up a copy of "Hawaii the Big Island Revealed". The best hikes on the island aren't found in local activities guides or in most other travel guides.
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Feb 15th, 2004, 04:15 PM
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To be completely honest, I wouldn't waste my time staying in Hilo. We stayed in Kona for a week and enjoyed every minute of it. We did do a loop around the entire island in one day - a bit much, you should break it up if you can - but Hilo is nowhere near as nice as Kona. Stop in Hilo as a half-way point in exploring the island for a night, but enjoy your time in Kona while you can.
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Feb 15th, 2004, 04:27 PM
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Well, there's a big difference between staying on the Hilo side, and in Hilo. A bed & breakfast near Volcanoes Nat'l Park for example.. It'd be much closer to what you're looking to do, and you wouldn't have to put up with the Kona crowds and traffic (which are pretty nasty these days).
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Feb 16th, 2004, 03:22 PM
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fdecarlo- I'm leaning toward your suggustion thinking about a vrbo off the beaten path and away from the crowds. I'm from central Texas so a 45-50 min drive to the beach or to the mountains is about 5 - ll hours shorter than what I'm used to. Heck just drove 3 hours friday after work just to have some fun, stay with some friends overnight, eat, drink,and then drove back home at lunch the next day. Drivings not a problem.
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Feb 16th, 2004, 11:17 PM
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It's difficult to recommend one place to stay on the Big Island, because the best white sand beaches and nightlife are on one side of the island, while the rain forest, best hikes etc are on the other side. And it's a 2-hour drive between the two groups of activities.

Two popular compromises are to stay either south of Kailua (e.g. Captain Cook), or well north of Kailua (in Waimea or on the Kohala Coast in Waikoloa). This last option is actually the best, because it cuts driving time by an hour or so to the east side of the island, while Kona is still (relatively) close in case you feel like some nightlife, and the island's best white sand beaches are right at your doorstep.

Anyway if this all sounds confusing, that's because it is. I recommended a B&B near Volcanoes Nat'l Park because you didn't list beach bumming as one of your intended activities. But if it is, definitely check out Waikoloa or Waimea instead.
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Feb 17th, 2004, 05:41 PM
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decisions decisions. Anyother opions would be great. I know we won't be doing a lot of beach bumming but would like to get in a dive or two,and do some snorkeling.(Captain Cook?) Plan on spending two days at VNP for some serious hiking, Moana Kea star gazing, saddle mountain road tour, rainbow and akaka falls total trip will be 7 nights then on to kauai for more hiking but mostly water and beach stuff. Nightlife is not an issue I can party at home, but I can't see a volcano, kayak, scuba, snorkel etc. Anyone, info on caving would be great.
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Feb 18th, 2004, 10:29 AM
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I liked the Keahou Beach Hotel, just south of Kailua. It was close to Captain Cook and Honanau, and it had the big plus of excellent snorkeling from the small beach park (Kahaluu) adjoining the hotel. Coral wasn't much to see at this site, but the numbers and variety of fish were amazing, as was swimming with sea turtles all around us. Kealakekua was great, but not easy to get to.

In terms of spelunking, the Wild Lava Tube ranger hike at VNP is the best thing I can recommend. You have to sign up for it a week in advance, and they only take 12 people per week. It is a completely pristine tube, with big chunks of rock on the floor, and some bizarre formations that have grown from melted rock instead of dripping water. I found it particularly interesting, since I have been to a few developed caves around the country, as I assume you have if you're coming from central Texas. There's no wriggling through small holes here, but you do wear a headlamp and do some rock scrambling.
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