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planning to explore Big Island/Maui but we don't drive

planning to explore Big Island/Maui but we don't drive

Old Mar 4th, 2012, 05:01 PM
  #1  
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planning to explore Big Island/Maui but we don't drive

We are from Asia and our trip to Hawaii is set May 31, 2012 , staying in Honolulu for 4 nights. We are planning to extend our travel to Big Island and Maui and it's just me and my son (19 years old) . My only problem, major problem, is I don't drive and we were wondering how we can move about doing the excursions such as seeing Volcano lava tour, Sunrise summit tour of Kaleakala and many others. It seems that there are no other means of transportation other than driving on your own based on what I've gathered in reading travel forums. Our plan is to go to Hilo and stay for 2 nights then to Kona for another 2 nights. Are they both a must see places? Questions like which airport, what hotels (average price) to choose is making me crazy
Should I abandon the plan to visit these places if there are no other means of moving around? But my son is so much into it already, plans to hike, see the Keck observatory, do a lot of photography of sunrise and sunsets....
Can anyone help please suggest.
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 05:20 PM
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I suggest you Google Volcano Tours to see what comes up. There are bus tours from Kona, but I don't know about from Hilo. The problem is that you have to go on the tour's terms, which cuts out the freedom for your son. I believe that right now there is no active lava flow, although that could change at any time.

There are buses running on the Big Island, but they take a long time and are not designed for tourists.
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 06:55 PM
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You will have to take tours. The bus system is for workers and is not at all convenient for tourists.

I would make my Big Island airport plans based on the tours you find. For only 4 nights, I would fly into and out of the same airport. You are going to find that hotels do not have shuttles and you will have to use taxis. They are expensive. A taxi from Kona Airport to Kona town accomodations will be about $40 and from Kona Airport to Waikoloa area accomodations will be about $60.

I also suggest you start looking at the Hawaii branch on
www.tripadvisor.com

You have a lot of research to do.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 01:18 AM
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THank you to charnees and Placename for your inputs. I appreciate it very much. I am now going over all the tours that offers pick up from hotels. I know that transportation is going to be our big limitation and time is running out for me to decide if we really should make a go for it.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 03:54 AM
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pricnceresortsawaii.com hapuna Prince Mauna Kea great deals on priceline also stayhawaii.com . in addition to tours cheap shuttle on konaweb.com Volcanoes NP and BI are the best GO for it!
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 07:20 AM
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The only way to see lava is from a plane or helicopter; it's not flowing (I believe not even into the ocean, except from underneath right now).
There are myriad tours that pick up and return to hotels, and several airport shuttle companies (for example, http://speedishuttle.hudsonltd.net/res?GROUPID=WBM40813).
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 08:48 AM
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I don't think the Hapuna Prince Hotel is a good option if you don't have a rental car. You are essentially marooned there.

I'd look at a hotel in Kona, where there are things to walk to or take the little shuttle. The Courtyard King Kamehameha Hotel in Kona has been refreshed since Marriott took it over and would be a more reasonable option.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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You are going to need to use tour companies for what you describe.

On Oahu (The Bus) public transportation is an option, but not on the other islands.

Honestly without a car, I'd think possibly about sticking just to Oahu.

How many nights total do you have? You mention 8 nights in your post, but that didn't include any on Maui?
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 09:48 AM
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We just stayed in both Hilo and Kona. It was far easier to get to VNP from Hilo, but not sure if there are tours from there. Not many hotels there either.

We stayed at the Courtyard in Kona and it was in a very good location for walking to restaurants. The rates are good as well. It was recently refurbished and the rooms have coffee makers and mini-refrigerators, which is handy.

There are lots of tours available, you will just have to find the ones that interest you. They won't be cheap.

I would not stay at Hapuna Beach Prince[and I have stayed there and loved it]it is simply WAY too far from anything.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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Sylvia 3, Hi, thanks for your reply. Yes It is also one of my concerns as I've read reviews regarding the unpredictable flow of lava. Thanks for your link to airport shuttle!
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 04:07 PM
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Suze, I was going to give up on extending our travel to Big Island and Maui but my son is insistent. We have discussed doing 4 nights in Big Island and 3 nights in Maui and would just take the taxis. I am still looking for tours and hoping they pick up at hotels.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 04:10 PM
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DebitNM, Hi, our friend also recommended Courtyard in Kona where they also stayed before. We plan to stay in Kona as our base to make things not so complicated without driving.

If you've got more tips as to what activities you can recommend that can be done in Kona.
Thanks.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 04:17 PM
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I don't know anything about this tour, but here is one I found by googling Big Island Volcano tour.

http://adventureinhawaii.com/bigisland_volcano.htm
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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The night Manta Ray tour would also be fun for your son.

http://adventureinhawaii.com/bigisland_mantarays.htm
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 04:36 PM
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And there is a Mauna Kea summit or stargazing tour that would be worthwhile, too.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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Based on what your goals are and your limitations, definitely pick a larger hotel with plenty of activities on-site and a concierge who can help you organize all these tours and pick-ups. You don't say what your budget it, but be prepared to spend quite a lot for tours, taxis and shuttles...as long as you aren't worried about cost, you can purchase your way to the experiences you want. If you are worried about cost, you will have to set priorities.

I recommend booking your accommodations and then start using the hotel concierge right away to get a "cost per excursion" and start booking them through the concierge.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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That's a good idea, voyager61.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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Hi Voyager61, at the moment we are setting the definite dates then I will consider your recommendation on booking accommodations. I guess we have not much choice re budget due to our limitations. We just have to choose the really must see excursions to make the trip worth it. Thanks.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 05:31 PM
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placename, hi, yes, Mauna Kea Summit is one on the list of my son. I just don't know if this excursion is really worth going with it's price
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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The Courtyard has a concierge desk [we didn't use it, but it was there for guests].

We did the night Manta Ray snorkel trip and it was the highlight of the trip. This is the company we used: http://sunlightonwater.com/swim-with-manta-rays

There are tours here:

http://www.unclebilly.com/UB_activities.html
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