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Tentative itinerary-

Kamloops
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Tentative itinerary-

Tentative itinerary

Hi All,

I am very excited as in 3 weeks I will be returning to the Big Island (I visited in Sept 2010 on my honeymoon) this time hubby and I are bringing my mother, sister and BIL.

Notes on us:

Please note our itinerary will be a lot different than that of most of what I have read on here…we don’t want to stay in a resort/hotel and prefer to be more rural/don’t mind driving.

Hubby and I stayed on BI for 17 nights on our honeymoon-

10 in Milolii and 7 in Hilo.

We loved being in Milolii. We did visit the white sands and the north west coast but really loved the south. We spent a lot of time at Homomolino Beach, most of the time we were the only ones there.

We will be staying the 1st night at a hotel in Kona, then moving to our vacation rental south of Captain Cook for 6 nights then moving to another rental at Kapoho. I know this is very different for most, however for the agenda we have planned it should work out well.

Tentative Plans:

Arrive Friday:

Planes in at 8pm, get rental van and head to hotel.

(Uncle Billys booked- just looking for something cheap and cheerful)

Hopefully find somewhere to get some dinner.

Saturday:

-Walk around the area around the hotel, grab a shave ice sort of thing

-Visit Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park

-Shop at Costco, fruit stand on the way to our rental (rental is in the subdivision above Pebble Beach) south of Captain Cook

-Grill at rental, enjoy view in the hot tub (when we stayed in Milolii we loved sitting enjoying the view (kept at pool temp)

Sunday:

-Sleep in, enjoy Kona coffee on the lanai after a long day of travelling.

-Head into town, stop at a coffee farm or two

-Dinner at Huggos (the one with the music etc)

-Manta night snorkel

Monday:

-Kayak tour of Kealakekea Bay

-Dinner/sunset at rental

Tuesday:

-Place of refuge, 2 step

-Dinner: Mom, Sis, BIL – Luau (they really want to go to one)

Hubby and I- somewhere around- possibly Kona Brewing for yummy pizza

Wednesday:

-Early am to drive up to white sand beaches/northwest

-Hupuna Beach

-Possibly go up past, Pololu lookout etc

-Dinner: ??

Thursday: Heading South to the Hilo side:

-Drive south, stop an hour at Punaluu Black sand (possibly snorkel depending on weather- we did on our last trip and loved it! Lifeguard suggested it and gave us tips, lots of turtles!)

-Continue on, possibly stop at VNP to do Thurston Lava tube, Kilauea visitors centre, Jagger museum. Just do a couple of things on our way by (coming back to do a whole day at the park later)

-Settle in at rental at Kapoho

Friday:

-Snorkel at Kapoho tide pools (we loved this on our previous trip)

-Afternoon evening: puna area, viewing point, etc or:

One of:

Other things we have talked about:

-Evening at the visitors centre at Mauna Kea Observatory

-Hilo: Imiloa Astronomy, Tsunami Museum, Banyan drive etc.

Saturday:

VNP:

-Hiking

-Any of Thurston tube, visitors centre, Jagger museum if we didn’t do earlier

-possibly Drive down Chain of Craters

-Dinner in Volcano

-Back to VNP to see the “glow”

Sunday:

-Leave to lead back to Kona for flying out that night:

-Day unknown-

-Airport to return car etc

-Leave 9pm

I know this is really different, but I would appreciate your comments, suggestions, especially on getting from Kapoho to Kona on the last day, which way to drive etc.

Can’t wait!!

It is really hard to plan a trip with so few days and so much to do on BI!

Big Island, Hawaii
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1. Re: Tentative itinerary-

Ok. First off I wouldn't stay at Uncle Billy's if you paid me. It is not cheerful, it's frequented by drug activity and prostitutes and desperately needs to be disinfected. I'm pretty sure this opinion is shared by everyone here, which is rare. :-)

Please don't kayak in Kealakekua Bay. It's detrimental to the marine life and ecosystem. Consider a snorkel boat tour like the Hula Kai that goes to less travelled but very beautiful places down south.

Since you'll be in Kona town on a Saturday, there are a couple of farmers markets you can go to for produce, etc for your rental. I don't like Huggos or KBC pizza, some people love them. Personal taste.

Since you've been in the area before, I assume you know what you're getting at Kona Paradise and won't comment.

I personally think it's stressful and problematic to try to drive from Kapoho to Kona to catch a flight. It's a long way and you'll have to leave early to try to avoid any unexpected delays which means a lot of time lost. Bad weather, wrecks, traffic through Kona, can all be potential factors (a minivan with 6 tourists just ran off the road yesterday on Hwy 11 killing one and seriously injuring two). I would either

fly out of Hilo or reorganize the itinerary so you are staying in or near Kona the night before the flight.

I would not try to go to Mauna Kea from Kapoho, it's a very long drive on very dark roads at night.

Edited: 24 February 2012, 17:38
Kamloops
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2. Re: Tentative itinerary-

Thanks so much for the feedback!

Will definitely find something else for UB’s- yikes! Any place cheap and cheerful you can recommend?

Re: Kona Paradise- not sure what I’m missing but the area looks nice and the rental has all positive feedback? Maybe you can elaborate a bit?

Re: last day- When we visited last we drove from Hilo for evening Kona flights- I think it was a couple of hours maybe? We very much enjoy driving and I believe we were in Kona by lunch time easily? My husband is a paramedic and on his driving days he drives 12 hour shifts with limited breaks, so driving isn’t really a concern for us. We enjoyed the last afternoon to walk around, have a last shave ice, dinner in Kona before heading to the airport.

Mauna Kea is a bit far with the added distance from Hilo to Kapoho, so that is one we might leave for a future trip…

Big Island, Hawaii
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3. Re: Tentative itinerary-

The King Kam (now a Courtyard Marriot) in Kailua-Kona or even Kona Seaside would be fine for one night.

I was responding on my phone and in a little bit of a hurry before, so I didn't mean that to sound like it probably did re: Kona Paradise. It's a beautiful area but it is quite remote, especially the further down the hill your rental is. Three of the four nights you're there you will be coming back from Kailua-Kona or north quite late. Driving in the dark on those roads requires a lot of concentration and after busy vacations days, etc., is not ideal, IMO.

Also it's a very local subdivision and IME (I have friends and family down there) tourists are not particularly welcome. You will likely encounter some stink eye at the beach and driving around. I would be concerned about theft in the house while gone.

I understand the desire not to stay at hotels and resorts, and to travel more "alternatively", but particularly on this island, residential local neighborhoods like Kona Paradise, Milolii, Hookena, areas of Puna, don't welcome what is perceived as an intrusion. Some people tend to romanticize the notion of living like locals or living amongst residents (not saying you do), but the truth is, for the most part, and speaking in general terms, tourists are not really welcome in those areas here. Having said that, it's clear you have made your reservations and will be here in three short weeks. If the reviews are good and as long as you have your expectations set, hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised. You've stayed in Milolii so you probably understand what I'm talking about (that's what I meant the first time when I said I wouldn't comment...I figured you knew in general what you were getting).

I have never seen a lifeguard at Punaluu and it is generally not swimmable, so I'm surprised at your report. I've been there several times, including recently, and maybe it's just been timing, but I did some googling, and all the sites I saw confirm no lifeguards. Anyone else know about lifeguards at Punaluu?? Anyway, it's a beautiful stop.

Re: luau, I really can't recommend any, especially since Kona Village closed. I would save the money and splurge on a nice dinner somewhere. If they insist, the King Kam one isn't bad.

Re: enjoying driving, it's entirely up to you. I love driving and I love my car, however when I'm on vacation, with unfamiliar roads, and taking into consideration the unusual incredible darkness of the roads on the Big Island, the lack of shoulder, and the very high incidence of accidents and DUIs, all IMO make it a less than ideal location to spend every day driving long distances on the road. Hilo to KOA is about 2 1/2 -3 hours depending on the route. Kapoho takes longer. I just don't think it's an ideal situation to be catching a flight, but it is what it is. Since you intend to spend some time in Kona town before catching the flight, the southern route probably makes the most sense, although if your rental car contract allows it, just because you will already have gotten very familiar with that route, I'd consider driving the Saddle or even the Hamakua Coast since you will not have seen any of that during your trip. But I would start out really early and leave yourself pllenty of time. As you said, you can always kill time in Kailua Kona or even Waimea before your flight if you get into town early. Waimea's a cute town with great, fun restaurants.

The Kilauea Iki hike at VNP is beautiful and takes about 2/12 hours. There may be lava visible while you're here from the Kalapana viewing area which is easily accessible from Kapoho, but who knows what will be happening.

Pewaukee, WI
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4. Re: Tentative itinerary-

If you stay at King Kam, the snorkeling right off the small beach there was great. We saw more there than at 2 step, but maybe we went too late (late morning) at 2 step.

Corvallis, Oregon
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5. Re: Tentative itinerary-

I recommend the Kona Seaside to a log of people if they're looking for a one nighter, otherwise the King Kam0 is a nice step up without spending a bundle. I've met a few people over the years that have liked Uncle Billy's, but oh so many who didn't and after one day moved to the Royal Kona and were much happier.

I'd stay in Captain Cook or Honaunau proper over Pebble Beach, but that's me. If you like solitude the right property in Pebble Beach will give it to you, you'll have a 10-20 minute longer drive to anwhere north of you than the other two spots from Pebble Beach (but then again I'd take Pebble Beach over Milolii any day, and you were happy with Milolii - you'll likely enjoy Pebble Beach very much).

Have a blast.

Oklahoma City...
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6. Re: Tentative itinerary-

I think the OP is getting Punalu'u and Kahalu'u mixed up. There are lifeguards and tons of turtles at Kahalu'u.

Big Island, Hawaii
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7. Re: Tentative itinerary-

I thought about that Bips but she identified it as being south of Kona Paradise on the way to VNP, so it seems unlikely.

Oklahoma City...
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8. Re: Tentative itinerary-

Maybe so. I don't care who recommends snorkeling Punalu'u, I wouldn't do it and I'm an avid snorkeler and diver. Been there a bunch and have never seen a lifeguard and only have seen a few turtles total. I go because of the black sand.

Edited: 25 February 2012, 01:35
Kamloops
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9. Re: Tentative itinerary-

when I planned our first trip I looked around home away until I found a house that I liked- it happened to be in Milolii- the pictures of the house, view, lanai with hot tub looked great (it was located in the upper areas, not way down where the locals were.)

It seemed to be mostly vacation rentals- there was a snorkel bar which was nice to visit and the walk down to it was pleasant as were the few people we saw. Even when we drove down to Milolii village area and parked and walked into Homomolino we never at all felt uncomfortable or stink eye. Staying there wasn't about living with the locals (I'm not sure exactly what this is) but mainly I found a lovely house in an area with amazing ocean views etc. I had not been to the big island nor knew the island at all.

All the reviews on that house were very positive as well. To be honest we loved staying there! Yes the drive was long, but the scenery was lovely. We live in a mountainous area and drive up to a ski hill on weekends in the winter so I guess perhaps that's why we didn't think anything of the winding road.

The house in Kona Paradise was picked because it had a great view, was a lovely big house for the 5 of us, and had lots of very positive reviews.

To be honest, the reason why we are returning to the Big Island to spend our vacation rather than trying another island was because every person we met was lovely and friendly. I always tell people, when I speak of the BI, that I felt like a traveller, not a tourist.

Maybe I am being too naive and should be more guarded, however my experiences on my previous trip made me fall in love with the BI...the one I experienced.

The black sand beach which we snorkeled briefly at was the one which is very black, a lot of tour buses stop, that has the washrooms which have Aloha tiled on the side. The snorkeling was nice, not deep or rough or anything. There were a couple of other people out as well. There was a lifeguard then (I checked and I have a picture with him in the background.) It was more shallow and calmer than when we were at 2-step..

3 of the 5 of us don't drink so defiantly won't be drinking and driving, we are just looking forward to our vacation on BI...

Thanks for the hike recommendation, we are hoping for lava, but who knows...

Island of Hawaii...
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10. Re: Tentative itinerary-

It does seem like she's mixing up the two, including mixing up the location. They both have turtles, so ...

Here's a pic or two of a typical water day at Punalu'u ... snorkel appeal, I don't see any.

eyeflare.com/images/illustrations/1125-punal…

http://www.lotsafunmaps.com/view.php?id=22

compare to Kahalu'u

to-hawaii.com/big-island/beaches/images/kaha…

County list of life-guarded beaches

gladtravel.com/HI-info/…26_Information.pdf