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8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

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8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

We are planning a trip in February starting in Big Island (x3 full days) followed by Kauai (x 4 full days). We like great beaches but aren't much for tanning / laying on the beach and would be more interested in activities (hiking, sailing and kayaking) and soaking in the island culture / stunning views! We have hotels in Kona and Kapaa already and a rental car booked on both islands. Ideally we would not be splitting our trip between the two, but any suggestions on activities / itinerary / restaurant tips would be greatly appreciated! Would we have to book activities in advance or do so on the island itself? We wish we had more time! Thanks in advance!

Big Island (home base = KONA)

- Volcano National Park (sunrise or sunset?) (hiking vs. helicopter?)

- manta ray night snorkel (any boat service recs?)

- maunea kea stargazing (if time available)

Kauai (home base = KAPAA)

- 1 day for Waimea Canyon / Kokee State Park - morning hike to Pihea trail

- 1 day for Hanalei Bay -- hike Napali Coast (hike to Hanakapiai Falls) / Kilauea lighthouse

- 1 day for Poipu Beach state park / Spouting Horn / Wailua Falls and Opaekaa falls

- sunset at the bar at the St. Regis Hotel

- helicopter ride (any recs on which company to go with? do we book in advance?)

- kayaking along Napali coast?

Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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1. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

Opaeka`a and Wailua Falls are short stops, as is Spouting Horn. Will you rent snorkel gear? Lawa`i Beach (near Po`ipu) has good snorkeling.

You might want to check out one of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Limahuli (north shore) concentrates on native plants.

Allow time to explore Hanalei Town.

Watch the weather; in February the Kalalau can be iffy.

February is NOT a good time to try ocean kayaking.

Know that Kilauea Lighthouse is closed Sunday/Monday.

Helicopter - I like Jack Harter and Safari.

San Carlos...
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2. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

You should have stayed on one island only. Three days on the Big Island is barely enough time to scratch the surface.

Dallas, Texas
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3. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

You better think of this trip like eating lunch. A short meal with your choice of sampling a couple of things, or a short meal with enjoying a gourmet experience of one item.

I'd try and do several items by car on Hawaii like a morning drive to the end of Wiamea (SP?) canyon (pray for clear weather to see the ocean), then catch the coffee plantation and Old Koloa Town on the way back. Another Day for North Shore. Lighthouse, Tunnels Beach, Hanalei Town. Do a helicopter tour another day to see what you have missed.

Then come back for a week to spend quality time on the Island!

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4. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

We just left the Big Island yesterday and are now on Kauai. We aren't big beach lovers either, but we love to hike and be active. On the Big Island I'd recommend hiking in Volcano National Park versus a helicopter tour. You can take your time and see lots. The lava tube is pretty cool and walking on the lava at the end of crater road is also neat.

We did the hike at Polulu Valley Lookout. It's steep and not for the out of shape, but the views on a sunny day are stunning.

Bring your guidebook and stop at a few beaches even if you don't plan to swim or snorkel. The views are great and we loved just watching some of the boogie boarders. Whatever you do, relax and enjoy!

East Coast
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5. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

Big island you can do a helicopter out of Hilo and then visit the park. It really does not take that much more time especially if you do the copter first early. The pilot can always find a skylight with lava creating a tube. Impossible to say what the conditions will be in a year but right now not much surface action.

The question about Sunrise/sunset would only matter to see the glow at Jagger museum. The park is open 24hrs but sections close depending on air quality. We have done this 10 times in the past but now prefer staying overnight to avoid the tense/unpleasant trip back in the dark Poor visibility and often serious rain storms.Plenty of sites/activities the next day too.

Kauai- I think an air tour here would be better than the BI. You don't leave much time for kayaking or I would recommend 1 on the Hanalei river or Wailua and hike to a small falls I would Hike pihea early see the sites of the canyon/Kokee, wind up at Poipu beach park the rest of the day..I am in good shape but after each of the hikes you list I would need the next day to be low impact.

Edited: 08 February 2014, 17:14
Venice, Florida
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6. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

Try to work in a dinner at Hukilau Lanai at the Kauai Coast resort. It's worthwhile.

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7. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

You'd better have lots of back up plans for Kauai, because you will not kayak the coastline. A river maybe.

It is not a smart idea to drive from Kapaa to Poipu and then drive all the way to St Regis for a cocktail. You don't realize the traffic you will get in and to me its such a waste of valuable time to be in a car so much.

Yes to booking a helicopter in advance and if this were me, I would do it the minute I walked off the plane or book it the very next day in case it rains and gets canceled and at least you have another day to see if its clear.

3 days on the BI is just not enough time IMO.

Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

Unless you're planning to spend a night near VNP, you shouldn't be thinking about sunrise or sunset there. It's a 2+ hour drive no matter how you slice it, and it's not advisable to do it in the dark. Given drive times and number of daylight hours, a helicopter tour might be your best bet, and probably the only one where you'd have a chance of seeing flowing lava.

I'd recommend Jack's Diving Locker for the night manta ray snorkel. We did it with them in June 2012, and loved it. And they run boats for just snorkelers, whereas some others have divers on the boats too, making for a longer day. If you're planning other snorkeling, do it along the Kohala Coast of the Big Island. Snorkeling on Kaua'i just can't compare.

Hope you don't regret visiting two islands in the short time you have. You'll lose at least 1/2 a day getting from one to the other, you know...

9. Re: 8 day trip to Big Island / Kauai - help!

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