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considering the big island

British Columbia
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considering the big island

We are considering a trip to the big Island in February - had planned Kauaii but possibly changing plans.

I have never been there although my husband has but over 35 yrs ago and back packing not staying in hotels. We really do not know which area to look at. My brother in law and wife always stay in Waikaloa and say that's the only place to stay however he also thinks that island is the only one worth going to.. We stayed in Maui -for 12 days two years ago and loved it , stayed in Lahaina.

We are a mid 50's average fitness couple who enjoy light hikes, a bit of beginner snorkeling and would prefer to be able to walk to restaurants for meals although we will be renting a car. Not against cooking in a condo but don't necessarily need a full kitchen.

What area would you recommend and as well hotels or condos and is Hawaii generally more expensive than Kauaii.? thank you.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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1. Re: considering the big island

I thought costs were very similar to Kauai, but things are definitely more spread out on the Big Island. We found Kona pretty walkable, but most areas not so much . . . you would be doing more driving. Wonderful island - we loved our time there!

What is your lodging budget? That may be more helpful for people to provide recommendations for you. :)

Schaumburg, IL
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2. Re: considering the big island

One of the things I love best about the Big Island is that it is generally warm (Southern most Hawaiian Island) and the Waikaloa area in particular has stunning gorgeous beaches. It is much more spread out than Maui and Kauai and when you land in Kona it is as if you have landed on the moon because there are miles of stark black lava that stretch along the ocean. There are some restaurants walking distance in Kona or Waikaloa (I would look in those two areas). If you drive from Kona to Volcanoes National Park (like we did) for a day trip the scenery is very lush and beautiful. Some on this board will recommend splitting your stay between Hilo and Kona. Or East and West, to cut down on car travel. You should probably do some reading about the Big Island look at the "Top Questions about Island of Hawaii" on the upper right of this page.

washington
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3. Re: considering the big island

We love the BI...going back in Feb. Be prepared for a very different island experience from what you have experienced...you land over miles of stark lava and are introduced to the island by walls of lava rock covered in bougainvillea on the bus to your rental car. We have friends who live in Waikaloa and we visit...could well be a golf course anywhere on the mainland!

If you loved Lahaina stay in a condo or hotel on Ali'i Dr. Just south of Kailua-Kona. For visitors it's a great location!

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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4. Re: considering the big island

I'm going to disagree with most of the above posts. Waikoloa Beach is a touristy, overbuilt area with no Hawaii charm and a rocky beach that isn't suitable for much besides windsurfing. The restaurants in the area are overpriced and mediocre. Kona has no beaches to speak off and has lots of vog and clouds, plus even worse restaurants and lodging options.

The Four Seasons Hualalai is the best hotel in the state, is just out of the vog belt and is in a gorgeous wetlands and coastline area, but is priced accordingly.

North of Waikoloa Beach are much better weather and lodging options, including the Mauna Lani (second best hotel on the island after Hualalai), the Fairmont Orchid, Mauna Kea Beach hotel, and the Hapuna Prince. This is primo beach territory.

The Big Island is my home, and there's lots of great things about it, but it's important to know what you're getting. Getting to the wide variety of sites and experiences involves lots of driving. It is not as easy as Kauai in terms of getting around. It also does not have the dramatic jagged green peaks and jungle that Kauai does. However, the snorkeling and diving are quite good and the lava fields against the blue ocean and green of the resorts is beautiful. Really it comes down to personality, budget, how much time you have, and whether you intend to travel to Hawaii again. Personally, Kauai is my favorite island and I wouldn't miss it.

Edited: 22 November 2011, 07:14
San Carlos...
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5. Re: considering the big island

I agree with the above post. We go to the Fairmont Orchid at Mauna Lani every year. It's close enough to Waikoloa ( 10 minutes ) that you can take advantage of the restaurants and shops but far enough away to feel secluded. I would never stay in the Kona area period. Lots of muggy weather, cruise ships, traffic and dumpy condos.

Island of Hawaii...
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6. Re: considering the big island

"I would never stay in the Kona area period. Lots of muggy weather, cruise ships, traffic and dumpy condos."

Each is on his own, there are lots of people who prefer Kona to Waikoloa, and lets not get general, the visitors most likely will never see the the "dumpy condos" in Kona. There are several condos for sale between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: considering the big island

i was in hawaii for 1 wk and found that in order of expense from most expensive to less, is waikoloa (with resorts)> kona> hilo.

more restaurants like main land in Kona.

hawaii is less busy than honolulu.

overall a beautiful place

San Carlos...
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8. Re: considering the big island

It is not a condo per se, but Uncle Billy's is a prime example of Kona's dumpy places to stay. Yes there are some more modern properties towards the south end of town, but none to compare to Mauna Lani or even Waikoloa. From what I can see other than the Sheraton and a couple of other places, Kona has at best 1 and 2 star places to stay. As I said, I go to the BI almost every year, and invariably Kona in the afternoon is cloudy and muggy in comparison to Kohala. Not to mention the greater chance of VOG. Kona does not have the charm of Lahaina IMO. I think for first time visitors it is good that they get varying opinions as to the different areas.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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9. Re: considering the big island

Thanks typicallytropical - We liked staying in our nice and affordable condo in Kona - worked very well for us. :)

Edmonds, Washington
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10. Re: considering the big island

I need to get my eyes fixed, because I must have mistaken the granite counter tops in the dumpy condo we stayed at just out of Kona for old Formica.

Some nice beaches up N. Easy reach from Kona too. But the overall wasteland appearance of the greater area is not somewhere we'd choose to stay.