Kona or Hilo?

Sep 11th, 2010, 03:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 139
Kona or Hilo?

We're planning 8 days on the big island with our two daughters, 14 and 17. We have been thinking of starting with 3 days in the Hilo, VNP area and the use Kona as a base. Does this make sense? We like hiking, waterfalls, snorkeling, kayaking, beach time, etc. Is Kona a good base for these activities.

I understand Kona is drier than Hilo. It's still somewhat lush and green, right?

Appreciate any feedback.
nelcarp is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 04:32 PM
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Hilo was too rainy for me.
I'd stay in Kona with one or two nights in Hilo and/or Volcano.
starrs is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 07:02 PM
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nelcarp, we loved staying at #44 near Volcano, one of the options at Hale Ohia

#44 was a trip - sleeping in a converted water tank
That cottage wouldn't work for your family but we loved the grounds and the location. If you like Thai, be sure to eat at the Thai restaurant in Volcano. Small, family owned and operated but very good. Loved Volcano NP too - although we had to buy rain jackets while we were there. That was okay - it turned out to be a great souvenir (rain parkas with the VNP logo), but we were ready to get back to the sunny side of the island. No, it's not as lush as Maui or Kauai but it's fascinating and lovely. Enjoy your trip.
starrs is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 07:40 PM
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Whar starrs said.

There's Kailua-Kona the town/city and there's the Kohala coast where a lot of nice resorts are. We find it very relaxing there. With a family I think something with activities like Hilton waikoloa could work. We personally like the mauna lani resort, looking for petroglyphs, seeing the ancient fishponds, etc.
annw is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 09:09 PM
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But the Kohala coast isn't terriby "beachy" in all spots; shoreline, yes, and some lovely small beaches. But it is gorgeous!

However, when you first get off the plane at the small Kona airport, and drive either into town or toward the resorts, you will start to have second thoughts and think you are on some recreated lunar landscape, with all the lava rock and dry grass! But it gets much better! If you go definitely get over to the petroglyph park (bring good walking shoes, not flip flops, and bottles of water),
annw is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 04:59 PM
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Agree with starrs and annw ... no more than two nights at VNP, then over to the Kohala Coast/Kona would be good. Hilo was way too gray and rainy for me ...
elsiemoo is offline  
Sep 20th, 2010, 07:50 PM
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there's more hiking, waterfalls on the hilo side. more beaches, snorkeling, kayak type activities on the kona side. don't get me wrong there's beaches on the hilo side but hilo is VERY rainy. right now it might not be so bad as hawaii is experience extreme droughts in many places. no rain=better vacation.

kona is lush and green in south kona/kealakekua bay and holualoa(where kona coffee is grown). the further up the coast you go(north) the more dry it becomes.its almost a desert. if you drive up the coast for awhile its nothing but lava rocks. people write their names and lots of things with white rocks contrasting the lava rock.

as for nice beaches on big island, check out hapuna beach just north of waikaloa. thats the easiest one to access by car. there are many good beaches on the big island but they require a 4x4 to get to them.
honolulubenny is offline  
Sep 21st, 2010, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 167

The South Kohala, North Kona area is quite dry, with 8-10 inches of rain a year, and therefore has no waterfalls, but there's plenty of hiking. As you drive north from the airport the area is all lava, but the resorts have fully mature vegetation and are quite lush. I'm partial to Kona Village Resort where there is a jungle-like landscaping but without the bugs, pretty much. As a devoted fan I did a website which describes it in detail: www.davidskvr.net and I invite you to take a look and see if it intrigues you. All the food is included, as well as the snorkel gear, the kayaks, the small sailboats, tennis, etc.
mumpsimus is offline  
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