We arrive from Oahu at 11:30am on a Thursday. Despite the advice given here, we are flying in and out of Kona. I know it's going to mean a longer drive on our first day, but the tickets and rental car were less doing it this way, as opposed to flying into Hilo and out of Kona. We plan to pick up the car and begin our drive to Volcano via the southern route. We would like to get out of Kona before stopping for lunch and will see the sights in Kona later in the trip. Any suggestions for lunch between Kona and Volcano? It is my understanding that it is about a 3 1/2 hour drive, so once we get to Volcano and get checked in to Kilauea Lodge, we'll probably just relax for the afternoon/evening.
We are spending the day on Friday at the national park and exploring with a guide.
On Saturday, we'll check out of the Lodge and make our way to Kohala via the northern route, going through Hilo. The only stop we have planned in this area is Akaka Falls State Park, but we may also stop at the Botanical Gardens. Would we have time for both if we got an early start? We are also planning to stop at the Waipio Valley overlook later in the drive.
We're spending the next five nights at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Once we arrive on Saturday, we'll just spend the rest of the evening relaxing and probably have dinner at the hotel.
Over the next four days, we want to divide our time between relaxing, visiting the Kona area, including Place of Refuge, and exploring the northern most part of the island. We're thinking of doing a snorkel trip one morning and have received some advice here about trips from the Kohala area. We will probably spend one day doing things south of our hotel, one day north and the other two days on the beach or by the pool.
I have spent some time going over restaurant recommendations and really want to have sushi somewhere (Sansei? Sushi Rock in Hawi? Any others to consider?), dinner at Roy's, and Kona Brewing Company. On the day we explore the northern part of the island, we'll probably have lunch at Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi.
Our flight home leaves Kona airport at 9:58am on Thursday. Based on things I've read, we need to be at the airport around 8:15 or 8:30. Is this correct? What time should we leave the hotel to ensure that we get to the airport on time?
A big thanks to all of the regular posters here for giving such wonderful advice to everyone. Any thoughts or other things we should consider?