We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

TR September 10-22- Quick Recap

Illinois
Level Contributor
1,813 posts
32 reviews
Save Topic
TR September 10-22- Quick Recap

My husband and I just returned from a glorious 12 nights on the Big Island. Thank you so much to the DEs and other regulars who answered my numerous questions before and during our trip.

This was our first trip to the BI, having visited Oahu and Maui twice each in previous years. We truly fell in love with the unique vibe of the BI (though we love both Oahu and Maui for their own special qualities).

We spent the first 10 nights at the Mauna Kea Resort...ocean view room - a great hotel experience. The hotel has an amazing collection of Asian and Pacific art work and we took the free art tour offered on Saturdays. We did a lot of relaxing and exploring area beaches for snorkeling and we really liked Kauna'oa, the beach right at the hotel as well as Makaiwa and Kukio. We had a couple trips to Waimea...for the Farmer's Market and Waimea Coffee for lunch on a Saturday and Merriman's for dinner on another trip.

Other favorite restaurants...'ULU Ocean Grill at Four Seasons - a real splurge for dinner and totally wonderful atmosphere, food and service. Truly in a class of its own.

Also liked Copper Lounge and Hau Tree at Mauna Kea, Tommy Bahama, Napua, (dinner) and Beach Tree and Daylight Mind (lunch) and Under the Bodhi Tree (breakfast). Staying in a hotel presents some challenges with meals...not wanting to eat every meal out. But we managed to fill in with some small things for breakfast and lunch from the nearby Foodland Farms and saving some leftovers in our room refrigerator.

We took short road trips...one day exploring south and seeing some beaches (Puuhonua O Honaunau) and the Painted Church. Another day went north and stopped wherever it interested us.

As far as tours, we took the Waipio Valley Horseback trip with Na'alapa Stables which was nicely done and very informative. I surprised myself and went along with my husband on the Blue Hawaiian 2-hr. "Island Spectacular" Helicopter Tour which was amazing and not scary (but one and done on helicopters for me lol!) My husband did the manta ray night snorkel with Fare Harbor right off the beach at Mauna Kea. He thoroughly enjoyed it and I enjoyed taking pictures from the lighted area at the hotel.

After our 10 nights on the Kohala Coast we moved to the east side, taking our time driving and stopping at Akaka Falls and the Botanical Gardens and for a quick dinner in Hilo. We arrived in time to go to Jaggar Museum for sunset and seeing the glow and then checked into the Volcano Village Lodge, a lovely B&B.

Then next day we spent a full day in the park from 9-5 doing both hikes and drives. We had bought a sandwich to share for lunch at a cafe in Volcano before heading to the park which was a great suggestion so we could be on our own schedule and not need to leave the park or go to Volcano House for lunch (fine I'm sure but we didn't want to be tied to a schedule). We left the park and picked up a pizza at Ohelo Cafe and took back to our B&B to enjoy on the deck for dinner. Then back to the park for one last look at the crater after dark. What a gorgeous and diverse national park! We had originally booked a tour with Hawaii Forest and Trail but we ended up cancelling after reading multiple times on this forum how easy it is to explore on your own. So glad we did!

We are planning a multi-generation trip to the Big Island in 2020 with our adult kids and 4 grandkids. Wish we didn't have to wait 3 years but that's the way it is. We were able to visit a couple potential homes we had seen on VRBO after the owners offered to give us tours. It really helped to get a feel for where we want to stay when we return.

So thank you again everyone! Truly could not have planned such a great trip without your advice. I'll be hanging around this forum making notes for our next trip and getting ideas for what might appeal to young kids. They will be from 3-8 at the time of our next trip which will be so fun:)

6 replies to this topic
Maui
Level Contributor
70,259 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: TR September 10-22- Quick Recap

What a nice report, Surgie! So glad you loved the BI.

Happy to read I didn't steer you wrong on the heli tour, LOL. I knew you could do it!

Illinois
Level Contributor
1,813 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: TR September 10-22- Quick Recap

Ha ha no - I did fine so appreciated the encouragement. When we were at the pool the next day and telling another guest how awesome it was he said, "Oh I would never do that! Those things go down!" So I was glad not to have that conversation until after our tour:)

Big Island, Hawaii
Level Contributor
31,162 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: TR September 10-22- Quick Recap

I am so glad you had a good time! Thank you so much for the trip report. You definitely went to many of my favorite restaurants and places and your mix of time was very well spent.

Did you find the turtles at Kukio?

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
408 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: TR September 10-22- Quick Recap

Thanks so much for the trip report. Taking notes for our April trip 😄

Illinois
Level Contributor
1,813 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: TR September 10-22- Quick Recap

Yes, Shea - meant to include that - we found turtles at Kukio!! Thank you!

And also meant to say - I hear you and others give the advice over and over - not to shortchange your time on the BI. Best advice ever! It really helped me in initially planning our trip to go in with the idea that more is better and that the island isn't only about the volcanoes. I know budgets and limited vacation can get in the way of an extended trip. But even though we were there for 12 nights, we could have easily filled another week. The island is so big and the travel times can be so much greater than on Oahu and Maui...even though the lack of traffic is more enjoyable!

Edited: 24 September 2017, 04:08
Bellingham...
Level Contributor
5,578 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: TR September 10-22- Quick Recap

What a great read! I'm always saying this, but I totally love trip reports, revisiting in my mind places I've enjoyed and gathering info for future reference.Thanks for mentioning the Asian & Pacific art at the MK. It's good to be reminded about gems like that. : )

~ Colleen

Reply to: TR September 10-22- Quick Recap
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted