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getting around the BI

Brisbane, Australia
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2 posts
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getting around the BI

Hi, we are planning to go to the BI in November but both are not keen drivers so wondered how expensive it is to get around without a car please and the best place to stay.

Portland, Tennessee
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for Waikoloa
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1. Re: getting around the BI

I would highly RECOMMEND a rental car. I have never looked into hiring a car/driver. There will be some excursions that might provide transportation, i.e., snorkeling, diving, eco-tours.

Depending on what type of accomodations you are looking for, here are just a handful of places (West side of the Big Island):

The Waikoloa Beach Resort area (North of Kona airport)

The Marriott - marriott.com/hotels/…

The Hilton - …hilton.com/en_US/…

Kona area (South of Kona Aiport).

The Courtyard by Marriott - marriott.com/hotels/…

The Outrigger has a couple of properties in Kona - http://www.outrigger.com/

This website is a great tool when looking for accomodations:



Burr Ridge, Illinois
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2. Re: getting around the BI

Having driven on the other side of the road more than a few times in my life and not that long ago in Brisbane, I can understand your intrepidation with driving on the other side. It cn be expensive getting around the BI without a car. The BI is not set up for travel like Oahu or especially Waikiki.

If you decide to get a car I suggest getting some insurance as if you scratch the car because of misjudging the distance on the other side of the car (which does happen driving on the other side of the road) you simply drop off the car and move on.

While your insurance company may or may not cover insurance for a rental car, you may feel more comfortable having that coverage.

After a day or two driving on the new side will be more comfortable.

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3. Re: getting around the BI

The Big Island of Hawaii is probably one of the Top 5 places worldwide...where I wouldn't dream of being without a vehicle. The Island is vast. There is virtually no public transportation. Taxis are exorbitant ($60 one way to Resort area at Waikoloa Beach Resort)

The driving on Island is fairly straight forward. It is not a congested urban freeway venture by any means. You will save Mega $$$ by renting a vehicle....and have the ease of moving about the various regions of the Island to explore, Shop, Dine etc..

Regarding accommodation....Can you quote a nightly budget?

One area with a number of options is the Waikoloa Beach Resort


The area is located in the South Kohala Region on the BIg Island....close to many of the Island's best beaches. The region experiences some of the best weather....clear, sunny skies, little rain.

You don't mention your length of stay...or what type of accommodation you are seeking? Hotel? Condo?

The Big Island is a wonderful destination choice.

Denver, Colorado
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4. Re: getting around the BI

Definitely think about renting a car for the Big Island. Other wise you'll get towed around with the rest of the tourists like a cattle call. I'm seeing allot of Aussie's over here while touring the island.

Look at Hotwire I believe has car insurance you can add if your local agent doesn't have options. It will probably be way cheaper than the super expensive insurance the rental companies will offer you. BTW I'm on the island right now and got a prepaid discount. My 3 week trip was going to cost $660 for an economy car and using the prepaid option it reduced my cost to $440 (U.S. dollars) of course not including expensive gas.

I would think about 10 days as a minimum to see the Big Island w/ maybe 5 nights at Waikoloa resort (best beaches), 2 nights at Volcano or Hilo B&B (gardens/falls/Volcano), and 3 days at Kona hotel (good dining, shopping, snorkeling) so you can be close to the airport on your way home. Flying into Hilo is an option as well.

So if you go the rental car route be sure to plan out your trip so you are not driving back/forth but rather small day trips based on where you are on the map that day. Here's a good drive guide to help you figure it out.


Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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5. Re: getting around the BI

Yeah, basically it's not a good idea to skip a rental car, for all of the foregoing reasons. You need one, plain and simple.

TheodoreJay suggested "5 nights at Waikoloa resort (best beaches), 2 nights at Volcano or Hilo B&B (gardens/falls/Volcano), and 3 days at Kona hotel (good dining, shopping, snorkeling)" which I think is a pretty good split and suggestion with the following caveats. While I certainly recommend the Kohala Coast for the bulk of your time, I wouldn't limit it to Waikoloa Beach, which is my least favorite area on the Kohala Coast, although it does offer the widest range of accomodation to fit every budget. Outside of Waikoloa Beach but still on the Kohala Coast, I prefer, in order, the Mauna Lani, the Orchid, the Mauna Kea (although I think it's too expensive for what you get), and last, the Hapuna Prince.

Secondly, I don't think there's good dining in Kona, and it's my least favorite part of the island (I live there, so maybe that's why...lol). Your hotel options are poor and the beaches not very good. Kailua-Kona itself is a tacky little town. Plus we have lots of vog. I would just stay a couple of nights there, max. But again, opinions vary widely. It is a good base to explore Pu'uhonua O Honaunau, which is a must-see, in my opinion, as well as a boat trip to Kealakekua Bay, some charming galleries in Holualoa, coffee farms in South Kona, etc.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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6. Re: getting around the BI

agree with the rest, but if you are set on not having a car, then the best place to stay is where you want to spend most of your time, because you won't be getting around much without any transportation.

You can take a bus tour to Volcano; that is easy enough, although it's not how I would want to see the island. What you can't very well do is see anything that is not a big attraction like the VNP, unless you can afford a custom tour for several hundred dollars.

Airport shuttles will cost you $30 and up each way per person on the west side.

Most people who don't get cars would stay in Kailua-Kona, at Waikoloa Beach Resort, or possibly at the Mauna Lani. If you stay at a hotel in Kohala, you may have use of a shuttle such as what the Fairmont runs, but it is only within the resort.

There are taxis, but the mileage is so great that the cost is prohibitive for using them to tour.

Ottawa, Canada
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7. Re: getting around the BI

I've been to the Big Island twice, and IMHO car rental is needed to get the most out of it.

Rentals are very affordable as well. For insurance coverage, check with your own car insurer to see if you have coverage, or use a credit card that provides the coverage. I booked through these guys once, and directly with a car rental company another time. Unlike hotwire, if you book through a site like this your reservation is directly with the rental company and on normal rental terms - the big difference being that you can cancel the rental, whereas with Hotwire you are stuck with the reservation. This will also give you a good idea of the kind of price you should be getting, regardless of where you end up renting from.


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8. Re: getting around the BI

Really easy roads to navigate and drive...all were in great condition. I rented a Jeep Wrangler through Alamo on special and paid probably $400 for 4 days. Definitely get a car---most of what you'll want to see is definitely worth the drive!

9. Re: getting around the BI

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