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Please comment on plans for our week! (focus on snorkeling)

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Please comment on plans for our week! (focus on snorkeling)

I would love some feedback on our trip plans--we want a variety of snorkel experiences and of course some relaxation time. We are staying at Mauna Lani condo and will probably eat in, get to bed early so we can get to the ocean early in morning

Day one, get to Mauna Lani mid afternoon, hope to snorkel there

Day two, beach snorkel maybe two locations if time allows

Day three, kayak trip with Kohala Kayak--anyone know them? there are 4 excellent reviews on TA but more information would be great

Day four, Hula Kai deluxe morning trip

Day five, Mauna Kea beach either in morning or have lunch there and then use beach--opinions? (it will be Sunday)

Day six,, explore during day, Manta Ray snorkel in eve (opinions Jacks's vs Sea Paradise vs others?

Day seven open --probably shore snorkeling using Shea's advice

Day eight open, back up if we need to repeat Manta Ray trip

Comments? Any not to miss boat tour to add? Thanks!

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1. Re: Please comment on plans for our week! (focus on snorkeling)

Sounds good, will let Shea comment!

The Kauna'oa beach plan is not good on Sunday. On Sunday the Mauna Kea has the Sunday brunch, and hotel parking is tight. On some other day you could get away with saying you're going to lunch at Hau Gazebo or just have drinks, but I doubt they will let you down without a beach pass unless you have brunch reservations. The brunch is very good, but you said lunch.

If you can go to the beaches on weekdays and do the tours and other things on Sat-Sun, you will have fewer people to compete with for parking.

Mauna Lani would be a fine choice for Sunday. I don't think one day there will be enough once you see it.

What month are you coming?

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2. Re: Please comment on plans for our week! (focus on snorkeling)

sorry I did not say--first week of April.

Also, we are considering a trip to Kealakekua Bay, which some say is a must and others say not what it used to be with concerns about overuse. What do you think? I am really asking the destination experts who know the island, since most visitors say it is great. And if we go, what would be the most responsible company/smallest boat (I know we can't kayak)--we don't need the boat with the waterside!

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Kealakekua Bay
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3. Re: Please comment on plans for our week! (focus on snorkeling)

We used Captain Zodiac to take us to Kealakekua Bay, I would recommend them. The boat ride can be a little uncomfortable, since it's a small inflatable. But it was a good crew, and the equipment was good.

Seems like you could squeeze a lot more into your itinerary. Most days it looks like you only have 2-4 hours of stuff planned.

I'd highly recommend hiking down into Pololu Valley, if you are able.

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4. Re: Please comment on plans for our week! (focus on snorkeling)

I'd throw in a trip to PU'UHONUA O HONAUNAU. The Cultural Center is pretty neat and the snorkeling is fun.

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5. Re: Please comment on plans for our week! (focus on snorkeling)

This is a good start, I wouldn't try to squeeze a lot more into your itinerary, I think leaving room and letting the day take you, especially when you're going to be in the ocean a lot, is a great plan.

I would agree to go to Kauna'oa another day besides Sunday. Bear in mind the snorkeling isn't very good, but it is a beautiful beach.

You should go to Honaunau Bay. It's definitely one of the best places to snorkel in the state. Combine it with a day trip to the Puuhonua O Honaunau historical park.

There are also some nice heiaus and historical parks fairly close to the Mauna Lani, Puukohola, which is a short stop but interesting, Lapakahi historical park, the Mookini heiau.

Kohala Kayak is great. I think they generally snorkel around the Puako reef. In that vein, consider going to Waialea Bay, which is a pretty beach with good snorkeling.

The Hula Kai sometimes goes to Kealakekua Bay if the ocean conditions are poor. But truthfully, I wouldn't otherwise go out of my way to snorkel at Kealakekua Bay. It's really gone downhill in the last decade. I think Honaunau Bay is better.

April can sometimes be sketchy oceanwise, so you may want some back up plans if snorkeling isn't working out, like the heiaus mentioned above, or the hike down into Pololu. I would also consider a horseback trip to Waipio Valley and seeing Akaka Falls. I love snorkeling, but the island is a lot more than that. Also I'm not sure what snorkeling you're used to, but While the Big Island snorkeling is certainly the best in Hawaii, it's sometimes disappointing to those with other world snorkeling experiences. I recognize the limitations, but still love it, and the manta rays are always special.

Make sure you've read the Top Question on snorkeling here and the linked article.

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6. Re: Please comment on plans for our week! (focus on snorkeling)

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