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Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

Ottawa
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Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

We're coming in late January and only have 4-5 days on the big island. We are going to fly into Hilo and spend 2 nights there including seeing the Volcano National Park.

We then have a couple more days before flying out of Kona (back to Honolulu). We're trying to figure out the best places to go and stay as we have never been to Hawaii before. We will have a rental car and have no problem driving from place to place but would love to see as much of the Western coast as possible from one hotel. Our main goals include snorkelling and beautiful scenery as well as reasonably priced accommodation.

Thanks for your tips!

Canada
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1. Re: Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

Good plan to fly into ITO and out of KOA for such a brief trip.

Could you share your accommodation budget? For those2/3 nights.

I assume you are speaking,of this January?? Accommodations book up early .....the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel is a terrific option, as well as Fairmont Orchid , or Hapuna Prince , if budget is a bit more modest.

The Big Island is incredibly vast....and you will be spending a great deal of time in your rental vehicle given the short time allotted for the Island.

Safe Travels

Big Island, Hawaii
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2. Re: Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

Late January, with such a limited time, I'd just stay one night in Volcano and then hele on over to the west side, especially if your flight arrival time allows for some exploration of VNP.

I agree with Wanderlust's hotel recommendations. Ocean conditions permitting the best snorkeling will be at the Mauna Lani. Hapuna has a good bodyboarding beach in winter if it's not too big, but poor snorkeling, although a large and lovely beach.

Note that it's a good three hours one way between Volcano and the Kohala Coast and if you sightsee along the Hamakua Coast during the transit, which is recommended weather permitting, that's a good six hour trip.

Edited: 02 January 2014, 01:09
Ottawa
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3. Re: Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

Thanks so much for your information! We are used to long driving distances having done driving all over Australia, NZ & being from quite a large country so a 3-6 hour drive isn't a huge deal for us.

It is later this month so I do need to make some decisions pretty soon! We would be aiming for hotels/B&B of about $200/night or less if possible. I'm still trying to figure out the differences between the Kona district & Kohala district - Mauna Lani is in the latter I guess?

Thanks!

ON, Canada
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4. Re: Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

Yes - the 3 hotels that Wanderlust mentioned are all on the Kohala Coast.

Big Island, Hawaii
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5. Re: Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

My point in mentioning the length of the drive was not because it would necessarily be a "huge deal" but because you have so little time it will definitely impact your ability to do many of the things you want to do. You'll need to have that information for scheduling purposes.

There are really not any b&bs in convenient locations on the west side. The Hapuna Prince will come in starting around $200/nt and all their rooms are ocean facing.

Island of Hawaii...
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6. Re: Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

The scenery along the west coast does not have the lush beauty of the east side, although it has its own beauty. You arenʻt going to be able to appreciate it from what you see going down the highway. It takes time to leave the main road, go into the coastal areas, walk the accesses, and explore on foot.

The point about driving is as Shea said -- what you want is to get to places so that you can begin to see them, because you wonʻt be seeing them from the car, and getting in the car for hours leaves you little time for the actual sights.

There are some drives on the island that I consider scenic from the main road.

1) Hilo-Hamakua Heritage Coast (Hwy 19 from Hilo to Waimea).

2) North Kohala loop (Hwy 270, Akoni Pule Hwy, out to Pololu, Kohala Mountain Road (Hwy 250).

3) Puna makai loop, some combination of Hwy 132 (pahoa to Kapoho), 137 (the Red Road along coast from Kapoho to Kalapana), and 130 from Kalapana to Pahoa.

4) Chain of Craters Road within the VNP.

5) Saddle Road (unusual landscape, not lush but starkly beautiful).

The road from Kawaihae down to Kailua Kona is not particularly scenic apart from the mountains in the distance and glimpses of ocean, and the road from the KOA airport into town can look absolutely dismal and industrial.

To really enjoy the west coast, as I said it will take time to explore, and you cannot do much in three days, for sure.

7. Re: Deciding where to stay on the Western side of the Big Island

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