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Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

Michigan
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Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

We're planning a return to Hawaii next March, and are thinking about staying on the Big Island this time. Although we both love the ocean, we don't hang out full days on the beach, nor do we snorkel or dive. Right now I'm leaning towards staying in the Hilo area, because we will definitely want to visit the VNP, as well as some of the areas to the north. We'd also drive to the Kona coast in our explorations, but I'm thinking Hilo might make a better home base for us.

Would welcome opinions from those who have visited this island!

New York, NY
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1. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

you could split up your days between the 2 sides. if you're exploring the volcanoes a lot by foot (park pass is good for 7 days), would be easier to stay on the hilo side longer. the farmers mkt in hilo is a lot of fun to visit, as is big island candies, two ladies kitchen for mochi, and the mauna loa factory. the kona side mostly is a bunch of nice resorts and lava rocks north of the airport then a bunch of strip malls south of the airport.

Healy, Alaska
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2. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

How much time will you have? The Big Island really does take some time to explore . . . and usually a split works best rather than being based out of one area. Lots to see and do on this very diverse island! Let us know what interests you do have and how much time you have - that would really help. :)

Michigan
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3. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

We'll be there for a week. Whether or not we could do a split would depend on accommodations. Right now, I'm looking at renting a vacation home in the Hilo area, and I would have to check to see if the owner will do less than a week's booking.

We like to explore historic areas, love to visit spots of natural beauty, some interest in browsing local shops, but don't generally do much shopping while on vacation. Also like touring places that allow us to see local industries (e.g., the banana plantation when we were in Costa Rica). No interest in lying on a beach for 8 hours! We're going to rent a car, so transportation isn't an issue. Both of us enjoyed the drive to Hana when we were on Maui, as well as visiting Haleakala National Park.

Calgary
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4. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

Last time we were there we spent 4 nights in Kona, 2 in Volcano and 4 in Kapaho (near Hilo). All were at vacation rentals. I highly recommend at least one night in Volcano so you can see the crater after dark without having to drive very far afterwards.

Chicagoland
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5. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

There are less desireable lodgings in Hilo and Kona Town. Hilo is mostly a commercial port and government town -- a really *wet* climate. (Think mold.). Kona is hippy-tacky, IMO. (Beautiful bay obscured by aged cement block condos.) Best lodgings are Kohala area and the town of Volcano.

A week is bare minimum for this really big island. Can you fly into KOA and out of ITO, or the reverse? Are you planning to stay on another island on this trip? Could you steal a little time away from it for Big Island?

This is the only place we routinely rent a mid-size or larger car.

Canada
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6. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

If you are looking to escape the often inclimate weather of Michigan in March.......you may want to re-think the east side of Big Island as your base. Rainy++,& cool.I would not expect you to have difficulty securing a rental for less than a week...as a night or two on the east

is more common than a week for most folks.A lot of visitors do a day trip to VNP.

The weather and location for touring in South Kohala is ideal. The vast difference in the various micro-climates on the Big Island always seems to catch me off guard.The torrential rains we have experienced around the Hilo area.....are really something else.

Whale watching in March on the Big Island is a favorite past time for many from the west side.....especially from shore in South Kohala.

Michigan
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7. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

Wow--so it really is THAT rainy in March on the Hilo side? I did find info that March and April are the rainiest time of year. I remember when I visited Kauai (many years ago), it usually rained every day, but only for a bit before returning to beautiful blue skies. Am definitely rethinking Hilo as a base. And, no, this will be a one-island trip, so there's no time to steal from another one. We'd actually be there one evening plus 7 full days.

Healy, Alaska
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8. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

Well - I guess we all have different opinions and experiences. We actually enjoyed staying right in Hilo and Kona. And while in Hilo (February visit) we had some of the BEST weather of the trip - no vog, clear & beautiful. It rained a few times at night, but only once for a short time in the day time . . . and one day while in the Kona area, it just poured . . . so go figure.

We had almost 2 weeks and still didn't see everything, so what is most important for you to do and see? That might help determine which side of the island would suit you best. Does weather make or break your vacation? For some people, that is very important - and not so much for others . . . we love the beach, but didn't spend much time on the beaches because there was so much to go see and do. :)

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9. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

Kona. Kona. Kona. Kona. Not the actual city, drive up the coast to North peninsula.

Drive through Hilo to see Akaka Falls and volcano park.

Otherwise, North Kahalo is AMAZING.

hikes, landscapes, walks, serenity, good value classes and massage.

I'm staying at private lokahi garden sanctuary with family. Best trip of my very experienced travel life.

Edited: 10 July 2012, 19:24
10. Re: Hilo or Kona? Not beach people, if that matters

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