Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Is BIG ISLAND of Hawaii great for a sunny anniversary trip in WINTER?

Is BIG ISLAND of Hawaii great for a sunny anniversary trip in WINTER?

Oct 11th, 2011, 09:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Is BIG ISLAND of Hawaii great for a sunny anniversary trip in WINTER?

Is the Big Island of Hawaii a good choice for a sunny January/February wedding anniversary trip? Would rainy weather be likely to spoil the trip in winter? We don't mind a bit of rain as long as we get a lot of sun. We enjoy exploring wild & beautiful scenery, hearing the ocean from our room, eating at local spots with fresh local ingredients, and a little snorkeling.

We are planning a 9-night trip split between the Kona side and the Hilo side of the Big Island. My biologist husband hopes to find some natural areas. We won't use a crowded pool...unless it's romantic and we have it all to ourselves. We like romantic and low-key accommodations with a great location.

I'm reading that the Waikoloa Beach Marriott is on Anaeho'omalu Bay, which is protected enough to allow safe swimming and snorkeling even in winter. Is this true? Would this be a romantic place to stay? Is it in a very built-up touristy area?

We also want to spend some nights on the Hilo side of the Big Island. Sleep in Hilo or Volcano? Are any of the b&bs romantic with a scenic location on the Hilo side?

We have been to Kauai in June years ago and it was wonderful. Maui as a January trip worked out well...we stayed at the Maui Prince Resort south of Wailea, and were able to snorkel on the beach even in January. Also loved the Hotel Hana Maui. It rained, but it didn't spoil the trip.

Thanks for your thoughts! Last year we went to Bosque del Cabo on the Osa peninsula of Costa Rica for our anniversary trip...and that's hard to follow!
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 12:37 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 12,820
Giving the question a bump up to the top....

I cant answer all your questions, but will say
1) A Bay did have tsunami damage, I dont know how well its recovered. Maybe someobody will chime in on current conditions
2) Like your Maui trip, you should expect rain in Hilo like you experienced in Hana. Kona will be drier.

consider the Mauni Lani
FrankS is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,044
I don't think you are going to find a pool all to yourselves in a hotel/condo complex unless you are renting one of the more expensive villas. The Hapuna Prince has one that used to rent for $7000 a night.
Placename is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 03:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 225
we have been to the Big Island in December and in February and hardly got rain at all. We love it there. We rented a condo, though, no big resorts.
oregonmom is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 04:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
oregonmom: Thanks for sharing your experience. Which side of the Big Island did you stay on in December and in February? What were your favorite highlights? What draws you back to the Big Island?

Placename: We aren't worried about finding a pool to ourselves...because there is the entire ocean to enjoy! For us, pools aren't necessary...I just meant that if there was an empty pool it might entice us. But it's not necessary. In January at the Hana Hotel Maui, we happened to find a pool to ourselves one evening, and it was torch-lit...very romantic! Some people require a nice pool at a big resort...but we don't usually use the pool. In fact we would avoid the pool, no matter how nice, if it was crowded. But we wouldn't miss it either! We like to explore the coastal areas.

FrankS: Thanks for bumping up my question. I don't have any info on the tsunami damage unfortunately at present...when I checked today for new guidebooks, the 2012 guidebooks weren't in yet... So I'm using a Fodors 2009 Hawaii guidebook...temporarily! Also bought Hawaii The Big Island Revealed 2010...but that's a bit dated as well. I'm trying to use the internet now for info until the new guidebooks are available.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 11:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,480
Hilo is known for its rain. January and February are winter (rainy) months, so the odds are good that Hilo will be wet, but Hawaii can surprise you. Waikoloa is quite dry.
lcuy is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 11:14 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 888
The West, or Kona side, of the Big Island is usually dry year round. I believe it averages 9 inches of rain annually. The Hilo side will likely be wet.

On the Kona side, we loved Holualoa Inn (www.holualoainn.com). It's up in coffee country, though, not by the ocean. Check out the website. There is a pool and great views!
Leburta is offline  
Oct 12th, 2011, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 499
I was on the west side near Kona in January this year, and remember the threat of rain, and a little sprinkle only once. Don't expect lush, tropical vegetation there though. For that you'll want to go to the Hilo side, where you'll pay the price in terms of the rain.

Any reason you're not considering going back to Kauai?
islandaze is offline  
Oct 12th, 2011, 02:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Thanks everybody...still working on Hawaii trip.

islandaze: You asked why we aren't considering going back to Kauai. It was a tough choice! Our first trip to Kauai was in June and I think I prefer Kauai in June. But since we have never been to the Big Island, I don't have any particular "memories" to match...it will be an all new experience. Also my biologist husband is intrigued by all the variety of things to explore on the Big Island such as the Volcano, also the super high peak which is above 13,00 feet (forget the name right now)...

Even while I'm working on plans for the Big Island trip...I'm having second thoughts and wishing I was going back to kauai!

Still thinking...4 nights on the Kona side and 4 nights on the Hilo side of the Big Island. Not even sure which side I will prefer...I do like sunny weather...but I also love tropical green areas...so who knows which side I will end up liking better. However it's challenging choosing a good place to stay on the Hilo side for an anniversary.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2011, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 888
Check out Kilauea Lodge, near the volcano (www.kilauealodge.com)...
Leburta is offline  
Oct 12th, 2011, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,963
Who;e no one can predict the weather, Hilo will most likely be rainy and Waikoloa/ Kona sunny. I was in Hilo last December for a few days and it rained every day although not all day.
trippinkpj is offline  
Oct 12th, 2011, 06:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,359
I stayed at the Sheraton on the Kona side in May of last year. There was a lot of haze (steam) due to venting from one of the volcanoes. Wasn't sunny.

I also stayed at a B&B on the Hilo side, between Hilo and Volcanoes NP. Nice grounds but you could not enjoy them at night because there were a zillion chirping frogs.

It is an amazing island.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Oct 13th, 2011, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,299
Here are websites for 3 lovely B & B's on the Big Island. The first one is close to Hilo, the second is close to Waipio Valley in the north about 45 minutes from Hilo and the third is close to Kealakekua Bay in South Kona.




Your husband might also find the lower Puna area interesting. The tide pools have some amazing coral. http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/coral/mlcd_waiopae.html

Snorkeling is also good in south Kona in Kealakekua Bay and Honaunau Bay (locally called Two Step) located right by Puuhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge).

We usually go to the Big Island in Nov-Dec and Feb-March (16 times since 2000)-- and did go one time in January and one time in April. As others have said, rainier Hilo side--sunny Kona side.

If I can help with anything else, let me know.
martym is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 225
We have stayed at two different condos on Ali'i drive. We like the fact that the size of the Big Island gives you lots of varied terrain and you can see a lot of it in one circle of the island. (if you have to!!) Our girls griped a bit about the car time, but we just love to go all over. We intersperse that with down days at the beach and farmers market. Love to sit outside at Kona Brewing and have a great pizza. Look for "Killer Taco's" in a strip mall at the north edge of town. HUGE food. We were a group of 5 (grandma too) so we didn't eat at any of the fancier places. LOVE Hapuna Beach. Our favorite for boogie boarding. And if this 40something mom can do it, so can you and love it. Love Kaha'lu'u (turtle beach) small snorkeling cove toward the south end of Ali'i drive. Last time we went on a wagon ride in Waipio valley. It wasn't worth it and that was our only rainy day but it was beautiful. You don't get to go to the beach so save the $50 or whatever and admire it from the overlook. It's a bit creepy and very hippyish- No offense to anyone. Just tackier than I expected.
oregonmom is offline  
Oct 15th, 2011, 11:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Yes we are definitely going to the Big Island for our anniversary! I'm in the process of choosing accommodations on the Kohala coast... and also have a b&b in Hilo. Thanks for your replies...great info...I will be back with questions.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 09:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
I'm considering the Mauna Lani Bay Resort on west coast of big island. It's more than we expected to pay, as they only have deluxe ocean view rooms available...(no "ocean view" rooms available, which would have cost less.) Garden & standard rooms are available but I really want to see the ocean...more romantic for an anniversary.

I want to be on the Kohala coast for the sunny weather and good beaches. (I do know that winter weather & surf conditions can sometimes cause the winter beaches not safe for snorkeling & swimming on some days, though.)

Is the Mauna Lani worth the price?

I don't really have a 2nd choice that I like overall...the Waikoloa Marriott has a better price...but I hear the A-Bay can be windy in winter (January/February) and they build up a berm to protect the fishponds which blocks the view somewhat. Plus at the Marriott the rooms are further from the water it seems to me.

I also have some nights in a nice b&b in Hilo. I think we will enjoy that. We like the green side of the islands...despite the rain.

Thanks for your ideas and tips.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 10:20 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 12,820
I recommended the Mauna Lani in my initial post, as I felt it had want you were looking for including price. I have always received a fair price from them, but have seen dates that were too high that I passed on. Are you being quoted more than $300/nt?

If yes, look around for packages & promotions for the Mauna Lani
FrankS is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,830
For a more inexpensive stay on the Big Island, consider renting a condo at Mauna Lani, or Waikoloa, or in Kona itself. Or a condo or small house on the water in Kona, which is what we love.
charnees is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 01:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
FrankS: I do like the Mauna Lani...I appreciate the recommendation. I checked it out and for our dates in January/February, deluxe ocean view is available but its pricey, even with a AAA Pleasant Hawaiian package. Ocean view isn't available, neither with the package nor on their web-site. Only "deluxe ocean view" on the 5th or 6th floor is available. Garden view and standard view are available, but I dont' want that for our 30th anniversary...would be disappointing.
For both Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea resorts, for our dates, even with AAA Pleasant Hawaiian package, the package is pricey for the deluxe ocean views which are still available. Going directly through the hotel's web-site doesn't help either, not for our dates. Besides I've already committed to the package, although I am able to switch hotels with the package.
Mauna Lani is $1500 more for the package, above what I can get the Hapuna Prince for. (But I don't want to stay at the Hapuna Prince because the water sounds too rough in winter and the beach sounds windy in winter, from what I've read.
I might post a separate question to gather more info on hotels and beaches on the Kohala coast.
Despite the price, we are considering staying at the Mauna Lani (or Mauna Kea), as it's our 30th anniversary.
Many thanks!
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2011, 05:38 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 12,820

If you decide the $1500 is better spent on other things, I never felt that Hapuna Beach was 'rough.' Hapuna Beach is beautiful, but will get high surf at times

Enjoy your Anniversary!
FrankS is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:13 PM.