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Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Philadelphia...
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Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Hi, TA friends :)

I’m planning an early November trip the BI for an all too short stay. This trip is my/our honeymoon and the stay on BI has two aims: (1) enjoy a relaxed introduction to the unique beauty of BI and (2) see VNP. I say that to say – I know we don’t have enough time to cover all the great activities and sights of BI, and I hope I’ll be able to plan a return trip in the future to cover more ground. For this trip, we have 6 nights and I had initially thoughts we’d do 4 on the west coast and 2 at VNP. The reason I planned for 2 nights at VNP was to maximize our chance of seeing lava glow/activity (and a clear starry night). I understand no one can predict and there are no guarantees, etc etc, but I’m wondering if the extra night will materially increase our chances for lava. What I mean is, are the weather patterns such that if there is rain/fog/cloudy weather, is that often part of a pattern that may linger for a few days? If so, perhaps we’ll just plan for 1 night at VNP and hope for the best.

Given our limited time, my plan for VNP is modest – Jaggar Museum for lava glow at night and Kilauea Iki trail in the morning. If we add a second night, of course we’ll add in additional sights, but if we only do those two things, we’ll still be happy.

Given your observations of local weather, does staying a second night really improve the chances of seeing lava glow, or when poor weather rolls in, does it usually linger for a time?

Thank you in advance!!!

Big Island, Hawaii
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1. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Well, aside from your question, there are other considerations...it would help if you post your overall plan. Are you planning to fly into KOA and out of Hilo? If so can you make it a late flight out of Hilo?

As far as the weather goes, I'd have to say there's really no pattern. Sometimes it will be cloudy and rainy for days and other times every other day. In general, yes, your odds will be maximized by staying two nights but not enough IMO to justify spending another night with only six nights total.

I think with just one night you can actually do more than you're planning, depending on your flight arrangements. For broad planning purposes, consider that the main sights of the Park, including Kilauea Iki, take about eight or nine hours. So if you got to the Park around noon the first day and on departure day you had another half day, you could do a fair amount.

Philadelphia...
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2. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Thanks, SheaG! I know I’m verbose so I always hesitate on typing up more information…I fear I will bore people!

We are flying out of Hilo (4pm), so that’s why I figure we have ample time to hike in the morning and then freshen up and have lunch before heading to the airport. We usually like to give ourselves what we consider a “safe” amount of time to arrive at the airport, so if we plan to arrive around 2 (I may need to drill down and confirm that’s comfortable for us, we will have a rental car to return), we have to depart say between 1:15 and 1:30…we may not want to add Chain of Craters Road or another excursion and risk our timing.

In terms of our arrival the first day, you may recall we’re planning to stay at the Four Seasons…and so I was thinking we’d hit the road around checkout time. If we make a stop for lunch and/or at Akaka Falls (or somewhere else relatively safe for our luggage/car situation), I imagine that is a minimum 4 hour block of time. I understand in early November sunset should be around 5:45 or so, so I didn’t figure we’d have a lot of daylight time for activities around VNP.

In any case, the BI arrival and departures are

11/10 arrive KOA about 1:30pm

11/16 depart ITO about 4pm (didn’t want to make it much later, b/c we’re flying to Kauai (with stop that layover in HNL) and wanted to arrive there in time to pick up car, get into condo, go to dinner, etc.

So I’m debating moving to VNP on the 14th vs. the 15th.

If the chances for are not materially better for lava with a second consecutive night, perhaps we’ll stay at the Four Seasons 5 nights total. Do you happen to know the hours of the “Aloha Fridays” guest reception? I just read about that today, and if we stay 5 nights, Friday would be our checkout day. If it’s not until late, maybe we can leave a little bit earlier and squeeze in another part of the park, as you suggest.

I appreciate your advice! Thank you!

Big Island, Hawaii
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3. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Ah, I see. Well, I'm always a fan of staying longer at the Four Seasons. If you left there at 11am you could take the Saddle and reach VNP around 1:30pm. Have the FS pack you a lunch to eat in the Park. That would give you four hours before dusk. Plenty of time to go to visitors center and then drive down Chain of Craters and see the Holei Sea Arch and walk the Puu Loa petroglyph trail. The next day you could do Kilauea Iki and the Crater Rim sites including Jaggar in about four hours and then have time to eat and freshen up before heading out to the airport around 1:30pm. Maybe see if where you're staying in Volcano will give you that late checkout.

Big Island, Hawaii
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4. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Oh, Aloha Fridays reception at the FS...my recollection is 3-5 but I'm not certain...they are extremely responsive to emails there so definitely email the concierge desk/guest relations and ask. A perfectly lovely amenity, but not worth missing out on more of VNP IMO.

resort.concierge.hualalai@fourseasons.com

Edited: 17 July 2014, 00:02
Island of Hawaii...
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5. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

I would vote for 2 nights VNP but don't feel strongly it has to be that way.

Considerations: 4S is so expensive I would not want to depart early, in fact I would want to stay after checkout.

You could leave at 2 PM if you take Saddle and get to your new lodging, then have some late day time and that extra chance for a clear look at the crater. Noon if you go north and do Akaka Falls.

The next day can be all VNP, and stay somewhere great like Volcano Village Lodge. If you get some rain, relax away in the beautiful forest.

You could go down to Hilo after checkout then or something non-exertion all in the park. Allow 1 hour for transit and to get gas and return car and 90 minutes at the Airport for a comfortable process with no anxiety. I would earmark 3 hours total from Volcano to do the math in your head for your time to sightsee. Roadwork is always a possible delay or accident on highway.

My overall preference for the two nights is based on

A) the importance you put in VNP as your reason for coming;

B) saving several hundred dollars on room rate difference but getting up to 4 hours more of 4S bang for the buck on your last day.

C) 2 nights to improve viewing or double up on good viewing

D) More relaxed time in VNP and ability to take breaks during periods of inclement weather.

E) you would be checked in the whole time you are east for the first two days, and so have a place to go if need be.

In early November the norm is some sprinkles and light rain, more than in Ocober, but fairly low chance of any storm system. It has happened historically, but your odds are good you won't have a washout. However, your odds are dicey for an entire day of sunny weather at VNP.

You are not being verbose by our standards here. Fire away!

Edited: 17 July 2014, 02:42
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6. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

We booked two nights in Volcano about 7 months prior to our trip for the same reason. Then about a month before our flight, we were wondering if there was enough to do for that amount of time. We almost canceled one night, but two nights is really only one full day, so we kept it.

It worked out fine, because there was some heavy drizzle the first night, so we watched the glow from the park lodge, as well as an endless film of past lava flows. The next night was clear, so we saw the glow at the Jager overlook. We enjoyed our two days and would do it again.

Philadelphia...
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7. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

thanks for all the input. I was actually thinking we’d take the northern route to VNP, because I think we might like that scenery better. if reducing travelling time isn’t our only concern, and we want the more scenic drive, isn’t the northern route recommended? I’m not sure how “coastal” it is – ie, how often one can view the ocean while driving along – but I would much prefer a coastal drive. are you both suggesting saddle road for purposes of reducing drive time?

sheag, your note actually has me leaning towards staying for 2, b/c it’s a reminder that, indeed, we really would like to do chain of craters road, the sea arch, etc. esp if the friday reception isn’t a not-to-be-missed event.

kamaainak, you and I are on a similar wavelength about maximizing the value of our $ investment at FS. i’m just so on the fence about giving ourselves an extra day to feel luxurious there vs. possibly feeling like it was too short at 4 nights (with some off-resort day activities). also, they have a promotion now for a $500 resort credit for 5+ night stays. that doesn’t cover the cost of one night, but it could make a dent in our other charges, and if we are interested in an additional night anyway…btw, that promotion can be combined with what you get when booking with a FS Preferred Partner.

roger0830, I’m glad you enjoyed your 2 nights and thanks for sharing!

I’m going to talk it over with my partner and perhaps recommend we stick with our 4+2 plan…I’m sure I’ll be posting more questions soon…thanks!!!

Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Incentives you can get from 4S for a 5 night stay would surely play a part in the decision. Best of luck crunching all the numbers and perks. :)

Yes, the northern route is coastal from Honoka'a to Hilo. You are back from the coast at Honoka'a, but the ocean views there are awesome. There are times you don't see the ocean due to trees, but there's a lot of blue on that route. And lots of green, When the sun is out, the waving green grass that grows wild is almost luminescent. The Saddle Road is an interesting volcanic landscape. While it is not green, there are pretty wildflowers. The hill formations are unique.

It sounds like what you really need is one more night on the island. I know, you wish.

Big Island, Hawaii
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9. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Thia is a tough one but the $500 resort credit for the extra nightat the FS- which goes a long way toward paying for the additional night- would be a big factor for me...plus trust me you'll be heartbroken leaving the property. I'm staying there one night this weekend and I'll be arriving practically at daybreak the day of and leaving close to midnight the next night. True story! :-)

I would do 5/1.

Edited: 19 July 2014, 06:47
Philadelphia...
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10. Re: Thoughts on weather patterns to decide 1 vs. 2 nights at VNP

Alright...my partner and I talked and we are going with 5/1. (And I mis-spoke above about the Aloha reception...if we were staying 4 nights we might have missed it...but not that we're staying 5 nights, checkout will be Saturday and we will be there!)

We agreed that when we get to Volcano and long for more time, well that will be our incentive/signal to plan another trip (because you are right, KamaainaK, more time is what we need).

Now on to find the right B&B for one night...thanks very much, and SheaG I hope you had/have a wonderful stay for that one night! Please let me know if you noticed anything improved, declined, etc., especially in terms of restaurants.

I appreciate you all!