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1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

Minneapolis...
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1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

We just found a timeshare available for us to exchange into (husband, myself, and 9-year old son) for Spring Break next March in Kailua-Kona (Kona Reef). I've put it on hold for 24 hours while I do a little research, as I've been searching for something to be available for this specific week for several months!

Anyway, we have never been to the Big Island, and I'm wondering about staying on this side of the island vs. Hilo or somewhere else. We will rent a car and we love to explore, hike, snorkel, visit beaches, and in general see the sites. We've been to Oahu and Kaui and Big Island are on our list to visit next - we especially LOVED Kaui!

Is Kona an okay home-base for us? I really have not had much time to research this yet and need to make a decision quickly. If we stay there would it be wise to come a day or two early and stay in Hilo to visit the sights there?

Any guidance is much appreciated! THANKS!

washington
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1. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

We love Kona in Feb and March! If you are used to dealing with condo exchanges you know what you are dealing with within your network!

We have had no problem touring the island from Kailua-Kona...done VNP many times. It's a long day.

Just be aware that the BI is raw and new, nothing like Kauai!

It will be an adventure! One we have enjoyed many times.

Island of Hawaii...
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2. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

Book your Kona Reef, you will be all right!

New York
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3. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

Kona is perfect home base! Go for it! You will love Big Island! Snorkeling is awesome!

Big Island, Hawaii
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4. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

For snorkeling, hiking, and beaches, you do want to base on the west side of the island rather than Hilo. While Kailua Kona isn't the best base for beaches, the best of which are all about an hour north on the Kohala Coast, there is good snorkeling in and around Kona in March and you can do easy day trips from Kailua Kona to the beaches and the also very good snorkeling up on the Kohala Coast. Also most snorkeling and whale watching boats leave out of Honokohau or the Keauhou Bay harbors, which are very close to Kailua Kona, so it's a good base for those kinds of tours.

It is a long day as mamma points out to drive to VNP but it's doable from Kona, however if you want to do a lot of hiking or spend the night there to possibly see any nightime lava action and have some time to visit Hilo area attractions, it's a good idea to spend one or two nights in Volcano or Hilo, so I would come a day or two early and do that.

Edited: 15 June 2012, 03:53
Minneapolis...
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5. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

Thanks everyone for the quick replies! Sounds like we have found exactly what we are looking for and I'm going to definitely confirm! I'm so excited I'm sure I will be back to this forum often after I have done a little more research on my own.

The countdown to next March begins!

Milwaukie, Oregon
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6. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

I like the location of Kona Reef. It is close enough for an early morning stroll into town..before it gets too hot.

Minnesota
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7. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

You may want to book your rental car as soon as you know your flight schedule.

Cars were still extremely costly in early March this year.

Fayetteville
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8. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

When we were there last year all the rental car companies ran out of cars. Second the vote to get your rental now.

We spent a month in Kailua- Kona last year. With a car you can see most of the island.

We stayed near Hilo for a few days. It gave us a chance to see the volcano and the Area around Hilo. It was worth it for us.

Minneapolis...
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9. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

I'm definitely thinking we will fly into Hilo 2 days early before heading over to the west side. Any suggestions on where to stay in or near Hilo? I quickly looked at Hilo hotel reviews and it doesn't look like there is much there that is that great?

Given we will be in somewhat of a basic condo for the rest of the week, I don't mind splurging on something really nice for the 1st couple of days in/around Hilo.

Albuquerque, New...
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10. Re: 1st Time Visit - Kailua-Kona opportunity - 24 hrs to decide!

We're fans of Hale Kona Kai condo next door, but have stayed at Kona Reef 4 or 5 times; you'll enjoy the whale watching, the mentioned proximity to town (great shopping & fun restaurants)and Honl's beach next door. If at all possible, try for an ocean front unit; either building A or D; move your pointer to the aerial photo for a look-see ( www.hawaiigaga.com/Details.aspx… )

Here are some videos I dial up when need of a K-K fix:

Taken from a Helicopter-

www.youtube.com/watch…

Drive through town (Honl's Beach/Kona Reef begin @ 2:00)-

www.youtube.com/watch…

Honl's Beach with Kona Reef in the background- www.youtube.com/watch…

As far as east side accommodations, there are numerous ocean front houses for rent at the most reasonable prices anywhere in Hawaii. The whale watching is average in terms of numbers, but, thanks to the quick drop-off of the ocean floor, we've had numerous close (VERY) encounters with humpbacks...the most exciting of which have occurred at night when the big folks stop for a snooze. Unfortunately, most houses have a minimum stay of 3 or 4 nights.