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Old 12-18-2010, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
241 posts, read 367,479 times
Reputation: 135

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I have a job offer in Kona which I am considering for 1.5 years from now and I've never been to Hawaii so I'm thinking of a vacation in February to look around. The main stop will be Kona for 5-6 nights. Any recommendations as to which other Island to visit for 3-4 nights?

Flights seem cheapest to/from Honolulu, but is it much different from other US big cities or is it a unique experience culturally?

I will be renting a car on The Big Island to travel around and could do so on the other Island I end up choosing. I assume it is fairly cheap/easy to book a flight between islands -- from what I found in a brief search it looks like $150 return is pretty standard?

Also, hotel recommendations in Kona? I am looking for something with a kitchenette that has a good beach location/nice ocean view without spending toooo much -- thinking that this looks ok:

Royal Kona Resort (Kailua-Kona, HI) - Resort Reviews - TripAdvisor

Outdoor activities/hikes not to miss on The Big Island?

Thanks for any info!
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
2,723 posts, read 6,243,616 times
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February is during the height of high season however if you are just one person you could probably get an ocean front 1 BR or studio in Kona for $800 to $1000/week. Most are condos with a full kitchen. The Royal Kona Resort has kitchenettes? I didn't know that! The King Kamehameha has microwaves, fridge and coffee pots and the recent renovations are absolutely beautiful. Call now and get your accommodations because for instance, our vacation rentals that we manage are all solidly booked till the end of March with only a few days here and there available.

Is your future job in the Kona area?
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:53 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,290 posts, read 5,307,671 times
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Wow. Are you lucky!
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:35 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
2,904 posts, read 4,772,713 times
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As far as activities not to miss -- the volcano! You should plan to spend a day exploring the Volcano National Park and driving down to the current ocean entry in Kalapana. Hard to say what lava will be flowing in February, but the whole area is so very special and you won't see anything like it on any of the other islands.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
5,976 posts, read 9,753,300 times
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How about the Kona district for the first half of your vacation and the Hilo side for the rest? It would save spending a lot of time driving from one side of the island to the other.

Generally, when living in the state of Hawaii and on an island that isn't Oahu, your primary islands that you will be on will be your usual island with side trips to Oahu. The major airline hub in the state is on Oahu as well as the major medical facilities and the major supply centers so perhaps visiting Oahu would be helpful if you are planning on living in the state. Being on vacation in Hawaii isn't a thing like living here, though, but at least you'll have an idea of what the terrain looks like.
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Old 12-19-2010, 01:25 PM
 
683 posts, read 1,789,384 times
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Honolulu is pretty different from other major American cities, and anyway a trip to Oahu doesn't mean just seeing Honolulu... our island has a lot more to offer. I'm a big fan of Oahu.

But the BI is big enough & diverse enough that I'd suggest staying there the whole time rather than island hopping. (As someone suggested, stay part of the time on each side of the island.) Some things to do on BI:

volcano, definitely.... walk through a lava tube
snorkel at kealakekua bay
swim with dolphins (and in Feb you'll also see whales) Swim with dolphins, whale watching - Kailua-Kona Hawaii
if you can afford it, take a helicopter ride to see the lava flow
go to Waipio valley, at least the overlook... even better, hire someone to take you down into the valley.
go to the observatory on Mauna Kea... see if there are any fun events happening while you're in town (Welcome to MKVIS - Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station)
I love coffee, so I had a lot of fun touring one of the big coffee farms and learning about the industry there.

If you're really set on another island, I can post again with stuff to do on Oahu...
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
241 posts, read 367,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KonaKat View Post
February is during the height of high season however if you are just one person you could probably get an ocean front 1 BR or studio in Kona for $800 to $1000/week. Most are condos with a full kitchen. The Royal Kona Resort has kitchenettes? I didn't know that! The King Kamehameha has microwaves, fridge and coffee pots and the recent renovations are absolutely beautiful. Call now and get your accommodations because for instance, our vacation rentals that we manage are all solidly booked till the end of March with only a few days here and there available.

Is your future job in the Kona area?
No, probably doesn't have kitchenettes...any links to condo rental places? It is myself and my girlfriend and we would like a 1bdrm on the beach/ocean view.

My job would be in the Kona area...I also have had a job offer in Honolulu, but from what I've read it seems that The Big Island would be more to our liking.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
241 posts, read 367,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotzcatz View Post
How about the Kona district for the first half of your vacation and the Hilo side for the rest? It would save spending a lot of time driving from one side of the island to the other.


Being on vacation in Hawaii isn't a thing like living here, though, but at least you'll have an idea of what the terrain looks like.
Is the Hilo side worth seeing for 1/2 of our vacation? I have heard the Kona side is much nicer in terms of weather and proximity of things to do.


I hear this often in the forums, Obviously, I won't be living in a resort and be fanned by banana leaves if I live in HI. However, is it really that difficult to envision what life would be like there after visiting? I am quite well traveled and have lived in various areas of the US and Canada.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
241 posts, read 367,479 times
Reputation: 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by newUHprof View Post
Honolulu is pretty different from other major American cities, and anyway a trip to Oahu doesn't mean just seeing Honolulu... our island has a lot more to offer. I'm a big fan of Oahu.

But the BI is big enough & diverse enough that I'd suggest staying there the whole time rather than island hopping. (As someone suggested, stay part of the time on each side of the island.) Some things to do on BI:

volcano, definitely.... walk through a lava tube
snorkel at kealakekua bay
swim with dolphins (and in Feb you'll also see whales) Swim with dolphins, whale watching - Kailua-Kona Hawaii
if you can afford it, take a helicopter ride to see the lava flow
go to Waipio valley, at least the overlook... even better, hire someone to take you down into the valley.
go to the observatory on Mauna Kea... see if there are any fun events happening while you're in town (Welcome to MKVIS - Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station)
I love coffee, so I had a lot of fun touring one of the big coffee farms and learning about the industry there.

If you're really set on another island, I can post again with stuff to do on Oahu...
Thanks for all the info. It sounds like it would be best to stay on the BI if I can get a reasonable flight in/out without landing in Oahu. Looks like there are some decent prices right now on the major travel sites.

As far as places to stay, it's reallly difficult to tell what's decent and what isn't. Any suggestions? We are looking to spend $1000-$1200 for 7-8 nights on the island. Requirements are beachfront/oceanview with a nice beach and snorkeling nearby. Clean/decent/quiet place ideally with kitchenette.
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Old 11-27-2014, 03:42 AM
 
Location: Oregon - Pahoa
67 posts, read 14,455 times
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I am with Hotcatz here. You really want to divide the island in two to really want to experience it.

Quite honestly, I feel like there is more to do on the Hilo side. But that is just me. I have spend a considerable amount of time on both side. I chose to buy a home on the Hilo side. Yes, there is annually quite a bit more rain on the east side.. but that is what keeps it so green and beautiful. I come from Oregon, where 9 months out the year is rain.. I HATE RAIN. However when I am in Pahoa, it doesn't bother me a bit. Wait 5 min, or drive a mile or two, and it is gone. My issue was always thinking of rain, and then thinking cold. But that is obviously not the case. When seeking property to buy down in Puna, it was an unusually dry week. Somehow in our travels about, we always missed the rain. So, initially I didnt get to see the rain, it was rare I will say that. So after returning to get set up in my new home. I was sitting outside reading a book. It started to rain. My first instinct was to put everything away and run inside. So as I was moving everything under the carport. I realized.. this rain is refreshing. It feels good and its cooling me down.. but I am still warm. So, I ran inside, grabbed a sandwich baggie. Slid my phone in it, pulled the chair back out into the rain, sat down and continued to read. Just as I got comfortable and was really digging the whole idea of reading in the rain and NOT being cold. The rain stopped and moments later, the sun was back. On countless other occasions I have been home, started to rain, but was headed to the store, or somewhere to swim... drive a few blocks.. sunny. Stop at one place, sunny, starts to rain, leave.. drive a mile.. sunny. You can expect rain daily. Sometimes it doesn't rain all day.. but POURS at night. I was at my house for a few weeks in June. Beautiful each day, maybe a 5 min sprinkle. But around 9 pm each night.. it would down pour for hours. But, didnt bother me at all! It was usually gone by 7 am.

As for lodging.. look into VRBO.com, Flipkey.com, homeaway.com, and airbnb.com - You are more likely to find a place with a kitchenette. Having an ocean view might be a bit harder to come by. But, you would be surprised what you can find as far as full on condo's that are affordable. I once stayed at White Sands Village (I think that was the name) It is across from Magic Sands beach. 2 bdr condo and a view of the ocean from the lanai. I think it was like $720 for the entire week. Get over to the Hilo side and you will find the prices are a bit better as well. Granted getting an ocean view is less likely, but tropical rainforest views avast!

What to do... Volcano Nat'l Park, Waipio Valley, Waimea, any and all beaches between Kona and Spencers, Capt Cook, Green Sands Beach, Pahoa, Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls, Onehakaka, Kapoho, Maku'u Farmers Market, shops on Ali'i, Waikoloa Village, Hawi.. a week is not simply not enough time!

As for other islands.. depends on what you are looking for. Kauai has unspoiled beauty and is slow paced compared to Oahu and Maui. Maui is beautiful, plenty to do, road to Hana, I'oa Needle and Valley, Lahaina is fun and it is "less" touristy than Oahu but more upbeat. Oahu has a legit city.. but you also have Pearl Harbor, North Shore pipeline, Diamond Head, and much more. But on Oahu, it is like a metropolis, traffic jams, and long travel times. If you want to go all out.. hit up Molokai.. just trust me on that! It is not like anything you can experience on any of the other islands.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveydoe View Post
Is the Hilo side worth seeing for 1/2 of our vacation? I have heard the Kona side is much nicer in terms of weather and proximity of things to do.


I hear this often in the forums, Obviously, I won't be living in a resort and be fanned by banana leaves if I live in HI. However, is it really that difficult to envision what life would be like there after visiting? I am quite well traveled and have lived in various areas of the US and Canada.
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