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How would you tackle the Big Island14-17 days in December/January

How would you tackle the Big Island14-17 days in December/January

Old Feb 27th, 2021, 11:42 AM
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How would you tackle the Big Island14-17 days in December/January

We have 14-17 days or so end of December into January.. It is my family of 6. 4 boys aged 10 13 15 and 18.. Planning to spend Christmas and New Years there. Assuming that the holidays might be nice to be at a resort townhouse at the Mauna Lani? So my question is how would *you* set up the trip? We fly in and out of KOA from Michigan no matter which day we actually choose our arrival time will be late 8:30 pm and when we leave our flight leaves even later 10:30 (also out of KOA).

Would you head to the Mauna Lani first? Do 10-12-14 days there with either day trips or staying the last few nights of our trip on the East side (not sure where yet). Our initial plan was to go to Mauna Lani first; stay from 12/21 to 1/2 then head over to the east side for another stay; 1/2 to 1/5. With that scenario we would be doing the drive from the Hilo / Pahoa are to the airport on our departure day (we have time since our flight leaves late) I think if that is the plan we will not get to the southern part of the island.

The other plan could be to stay in a hotel right by the airport that first night (the 16th?) and then spend the next few days exploring; starting out towards the southern border then getting to our next stay/base to see the botanical garden and Volcano and whatever else is a must see/do while on that side. Then we could take the whatever route we want to the Mauna Lani (more sight seeing/hikes - or perhaps we will do more of that as day trips when our car is not full of 6 peopleís luggage) Maybe around 12/21? Then spend the 10-14 (some places require 14 days during the holidays) at ML and do the hikes and Mauna Kea and Wiapiío Valley etc. Our drive on departure day would then be from ML vs. the Hilo side.

Not sure what might be best or if it is 6 and a 1/2 dozen. . . I donít know what exactly we want to do since my first order of business is fights and lodging and car. But we like to be active and chill. We love to hike play at the beach snorkel paddle board kayak boat trips (only my husband and oldest can handle deep see fishing though) horseback riding. . . But we will want a comfortable home base for the long stay. Also it is more ideal to narrow it to 15-16 days but need to fly in/out on a Tuesday-Thursday.

Just wondering if one option is better than the other for what we could see and do. But also keeping in mind if we are in between bases we will have our luggage in the car and there are 6 of us.

Thank you so much for your input!
Karen
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Old Mar 1st, 2021, 07:51 AM
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I would probably head directly to the Mauna Lani from the airport. I would base myself there for most of the days, but that's because I like that area a lot and then spend a few days at the end of the trip on the Hilo side.

When we have the 10 pm flight home, I book our condo an extra night so that we leave luggage there, spend the day doing whatever we want to do, and then we can come back, shower, and head to the airport that evening.

Some of our favorite things to do:

Snorkel at Makaiwa Bay at the Mauna Lani and have lunch at Napua. Also the Foodland at Mauna Lani Shops is a good grocery store.
Boogie board at Hapuna Beach.
The beach at the Mauna Kea resort is beautiful.
Get ice cream at Anuenue in Kawaihae. There is also a great fish market across the street where we buy fish to grill at the condo.
Hike to the Pololu Valley (well, our daughter isn't a fan of the hiking, but we like it).
Snorkel at Captain Cook. You have to go with a licensed guide.
Manta Ray night snorkel.
Snorkel at Two Step then visit the Place of Refuge and then stop at Annie's Island Burgers for lunch.
Happy hour at Lava Lava Beach Club.

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Old Mar 1st, 2021, 10:09 AM
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Great idea about booking the extra night! That might alleviate several concerns. Someone one the other forum mentioned that just this weekend that was some kind of highway shut down. there was no other way to the airport from the Hilo side. While that certainly would be inconvenient and stress inducing having to make some decision about the airfare etc., that also seems to be to be not a common occurrence? But perhaps I am wrong. Thanks so much for the ideas too! Been so busy trying to book our accommodations that I haven't been able to focus on the itinerary since that will ultimately depend on where we are and when.

Do you have a favorite complex within the Mauna Lani you like?

Thanks again for your response.
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Old Mar 1st, 2021, 10:12 AM
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Oh one more question - where do you do the night Manta Ray snorkel? Is that south of Kona or up the coast at Mauna Lani? And I'd like to go with a guide at Captain Cook but not sure when to plan that trip (a day trip from the Mauna Lani) if we start and ML first then go to Hilo/Volcano at the end to explore the National Park and the coast line.

Thanks again.
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Old Mar 1st, 2021, 11:04 AM
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The Manta Ray night snorkel is in front of the Sheraton hotel in Kona.

We stay at the Waikoloa Beach Villas because they are inexpensive. I'd prefer to stay at the Mauna Lani, but I haven't been able to find a condo in our price range.

We usually try to plan snorkeling at Two Step and seeing the Place of Refuge and snorkeling at Captain Cook earlier in our trip because with the time change, we're always up very early, so it's easy to get up, drive south of Kona and be snorkeling by 8 am or so. By about day five, we're all sleeping a little later in the mornings.

We did miss our flights home once when we were on Maui. There was a car wreck and the highway was blocked for three hours, but I wouldn't be too concerned about that happening.
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