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followup to Island hopping/ Kuhio Shores/ Big Island

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followup to Island hopping/ Kuhio Shores/ Big Island

Thanks everyone! I didn't know about the two airports...very helpful. I believe we will stay on the north side of Kauai...that's the sunnier side, right? I thinkwe are going to get a Kuhio Shores condo for Kauai, and stay in a B&B on Big Island (probably Waterfalls Inn, if we cna get it...we have plenty of time to book).

We are most interested in outdoorsy things, like snorkeling, hiking, seeing the volcano, waterfalls and rain forest, and probably beach for two days. We don't play golf, but my boyfriend will probably want to surf someplace. He's a beginner, so nothing too crazy, (he's only surfed once before in California). I'm most interested in seeing birds/animals/plants...that sort of thing.

I think we have 12 days. We will stay one night just outside of the airport, since we will arrive late. Then we will fly to big island, stay for 5 nights, and then 5 nights in Kauai, I think.

Any advice on what to do would be great! I read somewhere that the snorkeling is really good in Kauai, right where we plan at Kuhio Shores.



Keno, OR
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1. Re: followup to Island hopping/ Kuhio Shores/ Big Island

We did our first snorkeling at Poipu Beach--very easy to start and the sea life is incredible, and that beach is rated as one of the top 10 worldwide on lots of travel shows. We rented equipment from Snorkel Bob's and they gave us info. on the beaches and rated them--easy, moderate, hard and that helped a lot. You can also take your snorkel gear from Kauai to the Big Island and return it in either place (the Snorkel Bob's is only located in Kona on the Big Island, but several places around Kauai). Definitely use the anti-fog goop everytime you go out--it keeps your vision clear. We used the disposable underwater cameras and they work great, very easy and not too many blurry images, surprisingly. On the Big Island there is a marine preserve at Kealakekua Bay (Captain Cook monument) that is fantastic--the water clarity on a sunny day is amazing, and lots of excursion boats take snorkeling groups there--we rented a sea kayak and just kayaked over--it's about a mile across a very peaceful bay, and spinner dolphins are often seen there. The first time we did it we didn't see any dolphins, but a whale was out near the breakwaters and we could hear her underwater--something I will never forget. We also went on a night dive/snorkeling trip with Jack's Diving Locker out of Kona--a little expensive, but worth every penny if the manta rays show up--they frequently do, and we had 4 there to watch--amazing to watch them perform their acrobatics, swooping through the beams of light (we had lights on the ocean floor and the divers and snorkelers held lights) to get to the plankton. Everyone at Jack's was friendly and helpful, and if you don't mind snorkeling in water at a significant depth (30 feet deep or so offshore), then it would be something I recommend--I was pretty scared at first, but just did it and had one of those great and amazing life experiences that made me glad to be alive and doing something so unusual.

Be careful about surfing in the Kona area--defintely avoid the Magic Sands resort/beach area. One of my colleagues tried it last winter and hurt his shoulder permanently. When he was in the ER, the staff there told him they have several patients a day from that beach, and have nicknamed it "Tragic Lands" instead--the guy ahead of him had broken his neck there. It looks tempting from the parking lot, but definitely not for the beginners...

If you are going to stay near the volcano for any time, try the Volcano TeaPot Cottage--it is adorable and very peaceful and private--luxuriously comfortable without being too fancy and it makes for a great resting-up place if you've been vacationing at a rapid pace--only about 30 minutes out of Hilo, and just a minute or two from Volcano National Park (www.volcanoteapot.com). We aren't affiliated with the owners in any way, but have stayed there twice now, and consider the cottage our "home away from home"--we will definitely go back every time we go to the Big Island. The restaurants in the area are very good too.

Kailua-Kona, HI
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2. Re: followup to Island hopping/ Kuhio Shores/ Big Island

Hi there,

I live on the Big Island, in Kailua-Kona.

There is an excellent snorkeling area just south of Kealakekua bay, at Honaunau Bay too, you dont have to take a kayak or boat to get there, and getting in and out of the water is very easy, they call it Two Step, because there are lava rock steps into the bay. I snorkel there regularly, and I have seen Dolphins, and tons of turtles, and it also a very beautiful reef, with tons of fish, mostly shallow, so you can see them very clearly. To get there, drive south from Kona on the highway until you get to highway 160, then turn right. You will see the sign for Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (the city of refuge, also a very cool place to see) and turn into it, but right before the parking lot there is a little one way road on the right, turn there and park, and make sure you watch some people get in (so you will know where to go), and make sure to go when the surf is low.

I hope you have a great time on your trip!