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Help with 4-5 day itinerary

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Help with 4-5 day itinerary

Hello all,

First, apologies for the general nature of this initial inquiry. I usually prefer to conduct quite a bit of research prior to turning to the forum with more specific questions. However, I've just been dealt a - very pleasant - last minute surprise and will be taking my family to the Big Island for 4 days (5 if you include the day we fly out, in the evening) over Easter.

The only things I'm sure about with regard to this portion of our HI trip is as follows:

We will be arriving at Hilo in the morning, have a rental car and would like to immediately drive up to Akaka Falls before back-tracking towards Volcanoes National Park.

Any input on additional things to do on this day would be appreciated.

The second day will hopefully be spent in the Volcanoes Park area before heading towards the Kona coast.

We then have 2 full days (and the day we fly out) to explore this part of the island. Definitely want to visit Kealakekua Bay and Capt Cook monument. Would prefer to get there by foot and avoid the not inconsiderable kayak tour/rental expenses but am yet unsure whether this is feasible with regard to finding a safe place to park the car, and both ease and legality of day-long access to monument area. May end up taking a guided kayak tour with an outfit that is cheaper than others, advertises its tours as lasting over 4 hours and which gets to the area relatively early.

Other than that, I'm still flying blind. I'll do my traveller's due diligence but would still greatly appreciate opinions as to prettiest bathing beaches; best snorkeling areas (we love snorkeling!); tips on Volcanoes NP that I may not easily come across in the usual websites; and even on the most logical places to stay on such an itinerary, that would reduce our driving time as much as possible.

For the first couple of days, any safe and clean place that can house a family of four will suffice but once in the Kona area we would not mind spending a tad more on fancier accomodation (though budget accom. would still be fine - we're not the type that stay in resorts all day. We tend to leave early and come back to the rooms late.) Can I expect prices to be higher over the Easter period? Seems likely.....In any case, since 'cheap' and 'pricey' are very subjective terms I'm more interested in locations I should look into as regards accomodation and not individual properties, though all input will help.

Oh, and just in case it isn't already clear, we're a 2 adult, 2 teenager family that enjoys tropical beaches, snorkeling, scenic drives and views, hiking (though they would have to be short as our days are limited) and nature and wildlife in general.

ANY info that would serve as an initial framework for our intended itinerary would be great. Your varied - or perhaps similar - opinions would certainly save alot of time in fleshing out our programme.

Thanks in Advance,


Los Angeles...
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1. Re: Help with 4-5 day itinerary

A couple of comments on good snorkel spots:

Hiking down to Kealakekua is great fun and less hassle than a kayak if you are prepared for 2 miles down and 2 sweaty miles back up. You park just a little ways down the road that leads down to the bay, you will see a very small dirt track heading downhill to the right, it's not real obvious but not all that hidden either. It's OK to park on the road, just be sure you have enough room. Entry at the Cook monument is easy but getting back out is VERY tricky. The easiest place is to the right as you are in the water facing the wall, watch for urchins and surges and just sort of crawl out.

The other INCREDIBLE place is Two Step, or Honaunau Bay, next to the "City of Refuge". Park just off the road right before the park entry gate and walk down the road towards the shore, parking right at the shore is difficult. Entry & exit couldn't be easier, look for the spot out on the end of a lava ledge where all the other people are getting in and out.

Kahaluu is OK too, even though it's crowded, lots of fishies and Honu.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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2. Re: Help with 4-5 day itinerary

Um, flying into Hilo on Easter is the Merrie Monarch Festival and Hilo will be sold out. If you want any place to stay, start looking in Volcano STAT.

Google Merrie Monarch ... there are a couple current topics as well.

You can't access Cook's monument on foot other than by hiking a hot dry trail with 1000-1500 feet elevation change to the trail, which is why so many expensive boat and kayak options.

I am having a busy day and can't write a lot, but definitely check out the Top Questions and browse the Kayaking and dolphin topic there as you are interested in Kealakekua.

The forum really is full of answers to general questions ... so you have plenty of pertinent reading at your fingertips ... especially for VNP, volcanoes, snorkeling ... discussed all the time. Definitely read the Lava Viewing topic.

I wouldn't say prices are raised for Easter on the west side so much as the availability is less and bargains fewer. Around Hilo, yes, due to the festival everything commands top dollar for that week, but the most crowding is Wed-Sat, so if you are in and out before that you will find more options.

I would recommend staying in Kohala (along the coast), but if in Kona you might look at Marriott Courtyard, Keauhou Outrigger resort, Sheraton.

Marriott in Kohala is affordable but the rooms would be small for a party of four. Are you getting two rooms? Have you considered a condo? Food and drink will cost an arm and a leg in a hotel with hungry teenagers, so really suggest you consider a condo. For $150-$200 a night you can get something very nice, for less than cost of a hotel room.

Check out Waikoloa Beach Resort condos for good prices near great beaches and swimming.

Edited: 20 March 2012, 23:09
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3. Re: Help with 4-5 day itinerary

Thanks for the advice. Would appreciate opinions on this more specfic itinerary.

Have put feelers out for what appear to be reasonably priced accom. in Volcano for one night. Hope to get positive response re availability. If anyone cares to suggest a place that can put up a 2+2 family for approx. $150 (less is better :-) I'd appreciate it.

This will give us the day of arrival and the following morning and early afternoon to explore the Volcanoes NP area.

On afternoon of day 2 will head down to Honaunau Bay (Pu'uhonua O Honaunau - Place of Refuge)/Kealakekua area. Need accomodation advice regarding budget accomodation in this area (Captain Cook I presume?). Will only be staying one night.

Day 3 will hopefully be spent snorkeling both Pu'uhonua O Honaunau and Kealakekua before heading up to yet to be determined accom in Waikoloa area. Will look into condos that will agree to a two night stay. Again, any advice and opinions greatly appreciated.

Day 4 and most of Day 5 before flight back to Honolulu - snorkeling and swiming on Kohala coast beaches.

A tad hectic but it suits us fine since we want to see as much as we can in the short time we have on the island.

Thanks Again,


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4. Re: Help with 4-5 day itinerary

Sea Quest and Dolphin Discoveries boat tours can take you snorkeling to both Honaunau and Kealakekua in one morning. You don't have to stay in Captain Cook area to take this excursion.

5. Re: Help with 4-5 day itinerary

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