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Yet another itinerary question....

San Diego...
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Yet another itinerary question....

We are three, aged 74, 63 and 62 and in pretty reasonable physical condition; the eldest wears a pacemaker and really needs to avoid walks of a long duration (over 2 hours) or that involve any kind of steep ascents.

Our plan

10/22 - Kona Airport arrival at 3:30 pick up pre-arranged rental car, drive to Keahou Kona Surf, check out Kahaluu Beach, dinner at Huggo's

10/23 - Easy Wind snorkel/BBQ cruise, Place of Refuge, South Point

10/24 - Visit coffee plantation (I've been buying coffee from Hua Hua Farms for years, and have been invited to come for a tour), check out several beaches in Kohala

10/25 - Hamakua Coast

10/26 - Hilo, spending the night there. We have the option of staying a second night, OR staying in Volcano, as we're heading for VNP the next day.

10/27 - VNP, with either staying the night there, or returning to Hilo. My thinking is to stay in Volcano, and on the next day, prior to returning to Kona, exploring Puna, black sand beach etc. Does that make sense?

10/28 - see above

10/29 - all beach day?

10/30 - return to reality in Southern Calif

Comments appreciated

ON, Canada
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1. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

The Hamakua Coast would be good to do as part of your trip to the east side, i.e. on the 25th, continue on to Hilo or Volcano instead of returning to the west side. Or delay your Hamakua Coast trip until the 26th.

On the east side I would stay in one location for the two (or three) nights rather than checking in and out of two accommodations there.

Rather than return to the west side at the end of your VNP day, I would wait until the next morning and enjoy a more leisurely trip back without worrying about getting back before dark, or having to do the drive after a long day of exploring in VNP.

One thing I would add to the itinerary (on the east side) is the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. It's a beautiful place to spend a couple of hours. The person who wears the pacemaker might need to make arrangements for a shuttle back up to the parking area as that climb might be too taxing. I'm pretty sure that the gardens provide this service (with a golf cart) for those with physical limitations.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

Great advice; we will cover Hamakua Coast on the way to Hilo; we will check out the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. Doing this will give us an extra day. Any suggestions? I'm a bit hesitant to do the Mauna Kea trip, as one of the tour operators discourages anyone with a heart condition; I've asked for clairification.

Sorry about the lack of clarity above; we are visiting VNP on 10/27 and either spending the night there or going back to Hilo, can't decide which yet. Would seem to make more sense to stay near VNP and explore Puna, black sand beach, etc. the following day, the 28th, and then return to Hilo.

ON, Canada
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3. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

Sorry .... your post was very clear, but I read it too quickly and misunderstood.

We stayed in Volcano and enjoyed it, but we only did a one way trip across the island (via the Hamakua Coast) as we flew into Kona and out of Hilo. I like your idea of staying in Volcano and doing the south route back.

For your extra day, I would devote it entirely to the Kohala Coast and go up to Hawi and Pololu Valley overlook. Come back down the Kohala Mountain Road (very scenic) through Waimea, and back to the Kohala Coast. Do the coffee plantation tour on a different day.

I think you have a lot on your first full day - where does the snorkel tour go from? I don't think South Point is a good destination ... it's a long hike in to Papakōlea Beach (aka Green Sand Beach) as the road in isn't drivable in a rental car. If you hike in, you'll be sharing a dusty, rutted road with locals driving it. Also, you would be doing repetitive driving there and back (on Hwy 11) as it's the same route as you'll be taking if you come back the south route from Volcano.

Re the clarification for the Mauna Kea tour ...the altitude at the summit (14,000 ft) is an issue for anyone with heart or respiratory problems : …hawaii.edu/info/…visiting-the-summit.html

Edited: 22 September 2013, 03:10
San Diego...
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4. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

The snorkel tour leaves from Keahou Bay, not far from us, and runs until 1:30; we planned to go to the Place of Refuge from there. And, yes, that may be enough for a day. Thanks for the advice on South Point!

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5. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

"Kona Airport arrival at 3:30 pick up pre-arranged rental car, drive to Keahou Kona Surf, check out Kahaluu Beach, dinner at Huggo's"

Kahaluu doesn't have any beach to speak of, it's crowded and the reef is dead. It wouldn't be a priority for me, especially because by the time you get your car and check in and drop your luggage it will be close to dark. I also find Huggos way overpriced and mediocre food. I'd consider going up to Holuakoa Gardens in Holualoa for dinner or Rapa Nui in Kailua Kona. Not oceanfront, but much better food.

"10/23 - Easy Wind snorkel/BBQ cruise, Place of Refuge, South Point"

I assume you mean Fairwinds. I would do Pu'uhonua O Honaunau on your transit day to the east side and skip Ka Lae. Instead, this is the day I'd consider a coffee plantation.

"10/24 - Visit coffee plantation (I've been buying coffee from Hua Hua Farms for years, and have been invited to come for a tour), check out several beaches in Kohala"

These are in the opposite directions. I'd just focus on the Kohala coast beaches or go to Kukio Bay/Kikaua Point.

"10/25 - Hamakua Coast"

I'd instead drive to the east side via the southern route and stop at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau and Punalu'u en route.

"10/26 - Hilo, spending the night there. We have the option of staying a second night, OR staying in Volcano, as we're heading for VNP the next day."

I would just spend one night in Volcano and then transit back via the Hamakua Coast.

Your remaining days on the west coast (do you have the option of staying on the Kohala Coast?) I'd consider spending in the north; heiaus and historical parks of North Hawaii? Snorkeling at the Mauna Lani and Waialea Bay, hiking into Pololu, upcountry towns of Waimea, Honokaa, and Hawi, etc.

ON, Canada
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6. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

<<"I would just spend one night in Volcano and then transit back via the Hamakua Coast.">>

If they spend just one night on the east side, and visit Pu'uhonua O Honaunau and Punalu'u on the way over and do the Hamakua Coast route on the way back, including stops such as HTBG, Akaka Falls, Waipio Valley ... wouldn't that leave them a bit short on time at VNP? Or did you mean one night in Hilo & one in Volcano?

Edited: 22 September 2013, 12:07
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7. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

I have managed to get confused by the itinerary, but I agree that if the stay is one night, and both transit days have substantial stops, then VNP is cut short. If there is a full day on the east side, that would be better.

However, I would combine Puʻuhonua with the coffee farm tour, would skip Ka Lae, and would drive directly to or from VNP on the southern route, which then leaves a good amount of time.

Actually, because Hamakua is better in morning, and check in will be about 3 PM, I would drive Hamakua on the way over, plan to be at VNP by 3 PM, do some lookouts and Chain of Craters, eat, go see the glow, stay the night there.

Then I would explore some more in the morning, check out, drive back via the south, make a quick stop at Punaluʻu.

ON, Canada
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8. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

Thinking of our drive over along the Hamakua Coast in April, I don't think we would have had the time or energy to fit Chain of Craters road in that day ... but it's one of those things that you can decide once you get there, especially if you have two nights in Volcano.

Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

Good point! With only one night, it becomes necessary to push one's energy the whole time. Depends on whether you do that anyway.

I like Chain of Craters in the afternoon light with the sun rays and often rainbows, but it is a major drive and you have to do it all at once. Crater Rim and other parts of Upper Park you can do in chunks of time and come back to it.

San Diego...
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10. Re: Yet another itinerary question....

One night in Hilo and one night in Volcano...