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8 Day Big Island Trip Report

Merritt Island...
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8 Day Big Island Trip Report

We are just back from 8 days on the Big Island and we had an incredible time. I'll just hit on the highlights and feel free to respond with any questions. We were two adults and one 11 year old boy.

We flew into Kona and headed for the Marriott Waikoloa. I can not say enough nice things about this resort. We found a great deal on this hotel and were very pleased. Our room faced north and west and had an incredible view. They have three pools, a slide, and a sandy area going into one pool for toddlers. They are on the beach (you walk past lovely fish ponds to get to the beach). The beach is Anaeho'omalu Bay which is beautiful. You pay $20 a day resort fee and get self-parking, unlimited internet, and snorkeling equipment for two for half-day every day. At the pool they have a cooler of water and cups so there is always free water. Pool drinks are expensive so never ordered one ($11 and up). Did have lunch at pool and it was a great burger, 9.00 I think?. Every night the restaurant offered specials so we ate there one night, which was very good. We also attended their luau. The food was good, the show was good, and setting gorgeous at sunset.

The hotel is very close to the King's Shops and the Queen's Marketplace. We enjoyed getting food from the Gourmet Market and eating their or taking back to room. We ate at Macaroni Grill which was good and Merrimans, which was o.k. We had Marble Slab several nights.

Our first day we headed to Wal-Mart and picked up water, soda, boogie board, etc. then spent rest of day by the pool and beach. We could have gotten everything at Queen's gourmet market and saved the drive, it would have just been more expensive. Second day we went on a snorkeling tour with FairWinds which I reviewed under activities. I highly recommend it but do your research, may not be right for you. After snorkeling we went to the Place of Refuge (Pu'uhonua o Honaunau). This is a must do. We loved it. It was overcast at Place of Refuge but it seemed whenever we returned to our hotel the sun was shining on it!

Day three we headed for Volcanoes National Park. We stopped at the Black Sand Beach on the way. Husband tried to steal a little black sand but my son and I made him return it because we didn't want bad luck. He said, "Why are they selling it in the gift shop then?" Any how, all is returned so no worries. At the volcano we hiked the Kilauea Iki trail and saw the Thurston Lava tube. Also went around crater rim ending at Jaggar Museum. AMAZING! We stayed the night at the Aloha Junction B&B which I've also written a review about, great place. We went back out to the Jaggar that night and saw the glow, it was foggy though so hard to see. There was a great ranger there that told us all kinds of wonderful information.

Day four we headed back up the coast north and back to hotel. We stopped at Rainbow Falls, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, lunch at What's Shakin, Akaka Falls, Waipi'o Valley Lookout and then back to hotel. Great drive, wouldn't change a thing.

Day five I did laundry at the hotel, we played ping pong, hung at the pool. We also took the beach walk to the Hilton. You must wear shoes. The Hilton was beautiful and huge, we just checked it out and left.

Day six my son and I participated in the Kona 10K and 5K fun run in Kona. Great race (there was also a marathon and half-marathon). After the race we had a $9.00 Grand Slam at Denny's, it was great! Then we went to Kaloka-Honokohau National Historic Park and skipped stones in the ocean, really pretty. That night we did the Marriott Luau which we fully enjoyed.

Day seven we headed north. We went to Pololu Valley Lookout and had lunch at Short n Sweet Cafe which was very good, we had a cheeseburger pannini and peanut butter pie. YUM. We then chekced out the view of Maui from the airport road and the wind farm. On the way back we stopped at Pu'ukohola Heiau National Park and then we sepnt time at Hapuna Beach. The beach was great and my son got to spend sometime boogie boarding.

Day eight - we paid $75.00 so we could keep our room until 8:00 pm because we had an 11:00 pm flight. This was a great idea! We went kayaking in the morning and did a little snorkeling around the bay. Then we headed south and went to Bubba Gumps for lunch (not great, pretty view) and did some shopping and had shaved ice. I could have skipped this entirely and stayed at hotel.

That's about it, longer than expected, sorry! It was a perfect vacation and I can't imagine a better vacation.

Canada
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1. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

Enjoyed your very informative report. The Queen's gourmet market is a bit of a favorable surprise isn't it? The prices are certainly higher than Waikoloa Village market or Kona groceries ..but lots of choice.

Good for you to think to pay the extra and stay at the hotel til 8 p.m. departure night. We pay through til the next day as well(Condo/villa) and no worries...what a huge difference to that last day it makes. Our return trip home is 9 hours of flying and a 5 hour time change..so to get on the plane near midnight having checked out at 10 a.m or noon would be torture. But I suspect a lot of people do it.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

What a great trip and report! Thanks.

Albuquerque, New...
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3. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

Really enjoyed your report and agree: late checkout on day of departure really helps (although leaving Hawaii is always a bummer).

Any plans for a return visit?

P.S. We missed Short & Sweet earlier this year; won't let that happen again...very cute place!

Merritt Island...
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4. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

No current plans to return but we will someday, we were very sad to leave.

Short and Sweet was a great find, we were going to go to Bamboo Restaurant but they were closed on Monday's, glad they were closed.

Montreal, Canada
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5. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

Thanks for posting. Really enjoyed it and found it very helpful. Sounds like you had a great time!

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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6. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

like the others said, great report! Got happy feelings just reading about all the fun.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

I really enjoyed your trip report esp. as we plan to go to BI early Aug. and now that I finally booked the flight, the room, and reserved a rental car, I can now turn to the fun part--what we'll do when we get there. We, too, are staying at Waikoloa Marriott. I pricelined the room, got great rate, but I hope I can upgrade!!!! Did you priceline the room???

I liked your specifics about the resort fee and that it includes snorkeling gear. Did you use their gear to go on your snorkeling trip? Why did you think the snorkeling trip may not be for everyone?

We're also going out late on return day so we'll probably keep the room like you did. Great idea!

I can't wait to try your restaurant suggestions!

Thanks, Again!

Merritt Island...
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8. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

We got our room through Expedia, a package deal. I originally booked a garden view but then about a month before we left I saw that they had oceanview rooms on sale. I called Expedia and to my shock they upgraded our room and gave me a $225.00 credit!! The downside - because I booked with Expedia I did not get my Marriott points, I was disappointed about that.

We did not use their snorkel gear on our snorkle trip - we used the snorkel gear provided by Fairwinds. The reason I said it was not for everyone was that if your looking for a smaller, more personal snorkeling trip you may want to try another trip. If you like people, fun slides, great snorkeling, good lunch, don't mind kids, you'll have a blast.

Let me know if you have anymore questions!

San Francisco Bay...
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9. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

Hello! Thanks so much for sharing with us about your trip! My husband and I know nothing about the big island, and we’re thinking about going in sept 2009. I hope your recent time there can help us with some questions …

We’re considering staying at the marriot Waikoloa. How far of a drive is it from the kona airport to the resort? why did you pick the ‘west’ side to stay on as compared to the east, south or north side of the island?

you mentioned that the resort is “on” the beach – how was the walk from your room? I have a foot condition (heel pain – plantar fasciitis), and could only walk short distances at a time. Is there snorkeling on this beach? my husband loves snorkeling and it would be great if we could have such easy access from the resort. I also snorkel, but I’m not as brave as my husband, and I don’t like to go too far into the ocean – can you see fish if you just went in a little ways? Is this beach a good “swimming” beach as well?

Shopping … you mentioned that the king’s shops and queen’s marketplace was very close. You also mentioned “wal-mart” – how far was wal-mart from the resort? are there any supermarkets, like safeway, etc., close by where you can pick up groceries? Are there any reasonably priced restaurants nearby?

Is it possible to go around the island in one day? Did you encounter any VOG (volcano fog) around the resort, or during any part of your vacation?

San Francisco Bay...
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10. Re: 8 Day Big Island Trip Report

Hello! Thanks so much for sharing with us about your trip! My husband and I know nothing about the big island, and we’re thinking about going in sept 2009. I hope your recent time there can help us with some questions …

We’re considering staying at the marriot Waikoloa. How far of a drive is it from the kona airport to the resort? why did you pick the ‘west’ side to stay on as compared to the east, south or north side of the island?

you mentioned that the resort is “on” the beach – how was the walk from your room? I have a foot condition (heel pain – plantar fasciitis), and could only walk short distances at a time. Is there snorkeling on this beach? my husband loves snorkeling and it would be great if we could have such easy access from the resort. I also snorkel, but I’m not as brave as my husband, and I don’t like to go too far into the ocean – can you see fish if you just went in a little ways? Is this beach a good “swimming” beach as well?

Shopping … you mentioned that the king’s shops and queen’s marketplace was very close. You also mentioned “wal-mart” – how far was wal-mart from the resort? are there any supermarkets, like safeway, etc., close by where you can pick up groceries? Are there any reasonably priced restaurants nearby?

Is it possible to go around the island in one day? Did you encounter any VOG (volcano fog) around the resort, or during any part of your vacation?

thanks in advance for your inputs!