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Pu'ukohola Heiau

Sunnyvale...
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Pu'ukohola Heiau

I have read really good things about this park, and I'd surely like to visit it. The problem is, I am a little short on time since we are driving from Kona to Volcano on that day (can spend may be 1-2 hours in the park).

Any thoughts on how to make best use of this 2 hours? What are the must-see stuff?

Big Island, Hawaii
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1. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

This is a very small (but interesting) heiau. It takes 30 minutes maximum and is located on the north Kohala Coast. Are you perhaps thinking of Pu'uhonua O Honaunau?

You mention driving from "Kona" to Volcano? Where in Kona are you driving from? What route had you planned to take? Are you staying overnight in Volcano? Will you be returning to the west side via another route?

Sunnyvale...
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2. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

Hi Shea

No, I meant Heiau only. I din't know that you could cover it in 30 mins!

We would be staying in Captain Cook for our first night (22nd Dec, flight reaches Kona at around 8-30 pm). Next morning we would start the long drive to Volcano, and stay there for three nights. On the fourth day (Dec 26), we would drive back through the Southern Route (and see Pu'uhonua O Honaunau) to the airport. Our return flight is on 9-55 pm, so we have plenty of time in the whole day.

I know that even 4 days is nothing to explore this beautiful island, but I am trying to make the most of my trip. I planned for the trip only 10 days back, so most of the hotels are booked already. I could only manage staying in Volcano or Captain Cook.

On the first day, my plan is to start early in the morning, take the Greenwell firm tour, stop at Pu'ukohola Heiau / Mauna Kea beach for may be 2-3 hours, and then drive to Volcano. I would spend the whole of 2nd day / evening for the Volcano park. I am thinking of using my third day to drive through Hilo, Hamakua coast to Waipio valley lookout and back. On the fourth, I'd explore the southern part of the island as I said.

I know drives are long, but this is the best I could do since I booked the trip quite late. :(((

How does the plan sound? Anything else needs to be added?

Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

Honestly, this does not make sense.

I suggest to map what you are doing and remove the backtracking and repeat drives. Specifically, driving the Hamakua Coast twice, is totally unnecessary, if that is how you pland to get to Volcano (which is not clear to me).

It would help if you redo it and specify the exact route/highway you are using each day.

Like Day 1-4, laid out clearly instead of in paragraph style? Sorry, but itʻs almost Thanksgiving, and Iʻm short on time for working through plans unless they are in easy to grasp form, and itʻs good at any time.

Mauna Kea and Puʻukohola and Waipiʻo Lookout should be done in the same day. The 40 miles between Hilo and Waipiʻo feels like twice that many miles.

Sunnyvale...
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4. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

Ok, let me jot down the plan again:

Sun 22:

Arrive Kona at 9 pm, take rental car (2WD), drive to Captain Cook

Mon 23:

Start from Captain Cook

Greenwell coffee firm tour

Puukohola Heiau

Mauna Kea beach

Waipio valley lookout

Drive to Volcano

Tue 24:

Spend the whole day in the volcanoes national park

Go to see the lava flow at night

Wed 25:

Start from Volcano

Drive to Akaka Falls

Back to Hilo

Lunch and stroll at Farmers market

Hilo downtown, Japanese garden etc

back to hotel at Volcano

Thu 26:

Start from Volcano

Punalu‘u Beach

South point (if time permits)

Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

Airport (flight at 9-55 pm)

Feel free to add/delete/modify/suggest stuff :)

Big Island, Hawaii
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5. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

I don't like this plan either. Are you flying from or to another island? If so then I would change the interisland flight to fly into one side and out the other.

It would also go much more smoothly if you stayed on the Kohala Coast the first TWO nights (and your lodgings will be much better). Any chance of changing that? I just checked and all the Kohala hotels have availability dec 22-24. The Hapuna Prince has a good deal at around $250/nt, which for ocean view beachfront near Christmas on one of the best beaches in Hawaii is pretty awesome.

If you can't change your flights, but can add a night to the west side and move to the Kohala Coast, how that would look is then on your transit day between west and east, if you didn't stop there already, you could visit Pu'ukohola and then head out through Waimea on the Hamakua route, Waipio Valley lookout, Alaka Falls, Hilo, then check into Volcano lodging. The next day would be a full day Volcano, and the following day you'd ideally fly out of Hilo.

If you're insistent on keeping the flights and accomodations, I would drive the southern route the first day from Captain Cook to Volcano. Day 2 Volcano. Day 3 Hilo and Hamakua up to Waipio. Day 4 head over to the west side early on the Saddle and spend some time on a beach like Kukio and Kikaua Point or you could go to a Kohala beach and swing by Pu'ukohola.

Big Island, Hawaii
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6. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

A note that you won't see any lava flow in VNP (or anywhere else) right now. You will see the glow from Halema'uma'u crater well after dark by driving to Jaggar.

You have way too much stuff planned. You just won't be able to get all that in and the routes don't make sense. Try to see what I'd anything you can change as Insuggested re lodging or flights. If you can't look at my revised suggestion which will at least get you most of your must dos. I would skip the coffee farm tour and Ka Lae on your time frame.

No interest in snorkeling or the ocean?

Edited: 27 November 2013, 00:19
Canada
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7. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

Yikes, what a plan.

Agree....it would REALLY help with this last minute trip if you could fly in to one side and out the other.....but then again....

Have you got a vehicle reserved?????

Hilo Farmer's market will not be open Wed Dec 25th....but the full market will be open Tues Dec 24 and Dec 31 st this year.Christmas Day is a time reserved for family, and most places will be closed up tight........so strolling about Hilo will not see much in the way of retail or dining open.

Let me guess one night in Captain Cook...on arrival night...Manago Hotel?

To pack a 10 day trip into 4 days is ill conceived, no matter when it was planned. If you only have 4 nights....then so be it. Stay on one side of the Island. If VNP is a focus ( Kinda cold in Volcano in December), then fly in and out of ITO.

It hasn't even been touched upon that crossing the Island on Departure day is not best practice......too much chance for a variety of roadblocks.

Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

I am still not clear which route you are driving to Volcano?

The 3 routes are Hamakua (19), Kaʻu (11), or Saddle.

If Hamakua, why would you drive past Akaka Falls and go back there the next day, is my question.

As Wanderlust said, you donʻt want to be in Hilo on Christmas Day, will be ghost town, closed up.

VNP is of course open that day. Question is, if you are staying at a hotel in Volcano, do you have it figured out where you are feeding yourself on Christmas? You wonʻt have a kitchen, and I doubt there is any place open.

Staying west side on Christmas would have been much better. Not changeable now?

You need to figure out the food and shopping for food because of the holiday, ASAP. There are no stores in Volcano that are better than a 7/11.

Edited: 27 November 2013, 01:18
LA
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9. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

Your accommodation in Captain Cook is making this itinerary very difficult. If it's Manago Hotel, it's really a crummy place. I'm with everyone else who says find a way to change it to a hotel closer to south Kohala/Waikoloa. .

You don't have time for the coffee tour.

Spend some time on the beach first, when you have the best chance of getting less wind and smaller waves.

There is no guarantee you will get into Mauna Kea beach, as the parking is so limited and I wouldn't waste my time driving down from the highway only to find there is no parking available. I would forget about that and try for Hapuna Beach State Park.

Island of Hawaii...
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10. Re: Pu'ukohola Heiau

Just want to say, donʻt be discouraged by all the criticism. Weʻre kind of straightforward here. The sooner you cut away what is not working, the sooner you can pull together a good plan. It will happen, just needs tweaking, and we need to hear if anything can be changed that would make this work better.

You canʻt fit a 7 day itinerary into 4 days (Iʻm talking a fast moving 7 day plan), as youʻre trying to do. Not having been here before, you donʻt realize how long the drives are from place to place. Also you have the potential of severe weather getting in your way on the east side.

Something you might consider, if you do day stay in Captain Cook, is just going over to Volcano via the southern route. Do Puuhonua O Honaunau the first morning, then head south. Coffee tour if you go fast. With an early start, youʻll have time at VNP that day. Do not try to drive around the north of the island sightseeing from Captain Cook.

If nothing else, I would ditch the last Volcano night and go stay in Kohala at a hotel where you can hang out using the facilities until time to go to airport. Hapuna Prince would be ideal for that. They may even give you a late checkout.

This is not the right time of year to spend a lot of time in East Hawaiʻi. Itʻs sort of comparable to planming on driving to Big Sur. Maybe the weather will be good and maybe it will suck too much to do it. (Actually I have gone to Big Sur on Christmas once or twice when the weather was nice, but it was only a day trip from where I was staying on the Monterey Peninsula, so I could have done something else if the weather turned nasty. Youʻre putting yourself in it for three nights without a Plan B.)

There is so much good stuff to see and do in Kohala at Christmas. Itʻs an awesome time to be there when the mainland is freezing. Instead of walking around Hilo and Volcano in the rain ...