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8 days on the BI

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El Paso, Texas
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8 days on the BI

Hi. We recently changed our plans from a week in kauai to 8 days on the BI, after much research and discussion with the fam. We have booked 4 nights (possibly 6) in Kona. We will arrive 3 days before that 4-night stay begins (we have timeshare and booked what was available). My plan in to arrive in Hilo, stay 3 nights there/volcano, drive to kona for 4 nights. We could potentially stay in Kona for 2 more, but we will have to change rooms.

My questions for the board are:

1. Should we stay 1 night in Hilo and 2 in volcano? or how should we divide those nights?

2. We are military so we can stay at the military camp inside volcano park. It is not cheaper, so cost does not factor in to the decision- should we stay there or elsewhere? Is it better to be in the park or outside the park at a cute little b and b?

3. Do we truly need a 4 WD? The owner of the military camp says yes. Other opinions? rent a jeep?

4. Do we stay in Kona for those extra 2 days, go north, or what? Then fly out of Kona?

Thanks so much and I look forward to your responses!

Jen

Oklahoma City...
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1. Re: 8 days on the BI

The more time the better, so yes, add the nights. With all the moving that would be involved, then, I'd stay in Volcano at the military camp your 3 nights, if you really want to see VNP and are interested in this area. I'm pretty sure IS cheaper for what you get. Check out Kilauea Lodge and compare prices. If they aren't that much different, I'd stay there....we love it there. You do not need a 4WD. Definitely fly out of Kona. I prefer Kona accommodations, but most here prefer Kohala, especially if you are coming in the summer. Are you?

I think Kona is a great base of operations for what WE like to do (snorkeling, diving, etc.) but if the things you like to do are in and around Kohala, maybe that would be the best place for you. That is where the more popular beaches are to be found, big resorts and shopping areas, thus more restaurant choices.

Edited: 26 April 2012, 16:24
El Paso, Texas
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2. Re: 8 days on the BI

You have stayed at the military camp? Or Kilauea? The military camp is $220 a night for a 2-bedroom cottage. I will look at the lodge you mentioned. Any more info you can share about either would be nice. We will be on the BI from June 23-July 1. Hubby is being deployed on rather short notice so I am planning in a hurry... :(

We are active and enjoy snorkeling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, exploring, adventures, etc... i like to hike but the fam is not too big on it...i am thinking hiking around a volcano will be different! Also, we plan to take surf lessons. and I do enjoy nice beaches, but those last 2 nights will be over the weekend so i assume they may be crowded.

any recs for ziplines?

thanks!

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3. Re: 8 days on the BI

We really enjoyed our 4 night stay in VV. It is really nice to have the morning and the evenings to take in the changing view without all the daytrippers. We took day trips to Hilo for a couple of hours - love Queen L's park for a stroll. We took day trips down to Pahoa and Kalapana. I imagine the military camp is apartment style and you will have a kitchen. Otherwise there are quite a few great rentals in the hood. We loved Maile Treehouse which has a lower guest room that might accomadate your family - don't know how many of you there are. No need for a jeep imho. You won't have enough time to go off the beaten path.

Edited: 26 April 2012, 16:39
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4. Re: 8 days on the BI

Here is my review of Kilauea Lodge:

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60607-d5091…

I think the room rates are between $170-185, with a full breakfast, since this is a B&B type property. I'd stay there again in a heartbeat. KMC prices have gone up since I last checked I guess. No, I've never stayed there, just talked to them at length because I was considering them for accommodations for a group of kids I was taking to the Big Island a couple of years ago.

For everything you mentioned, I still think Kona would be your best bet. No rec on zip lines, I've only done one on Maui. There isn't a lot of talk here about them, but I'm sure someone will weigh in. Have you read the reviews here on trip advisor for both KMC and other accommodations in Volcano? It's a good place to get a feel for places and sometimes they post pics.

Once you get your flights and accommodatiions booked, get a car booked ASAP. Pick up at Hilo airport and drop off at Kona. There is a drop off fee, unless yu book through Costco and maybe others. Anybody know?

Edited: 26 April 2012, 16:50
El Paso, Texas
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5. Re: 8 days on the BI

If we stayed in Hilo, what are some of the good beaches for swimming, etc?

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6. Re: 8 days on the BI

Hmmmm, I just looked at the KMC website at their rates. There is a $72/night deployment special you may qualify for as well as a nightly regular rate for the 2-bedroom cottage of $143 or $156 with jetted tub. Have you looked at their website rates or just talked to them? They can be a little squirrely on the phone. The rates depend on your status so have that handy.

El Paso, Texas
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7. Re: 8 days on the BI

I checked again and i was off on my prices for military camp .. 3-bedroom cottage for $150... dont know where i got that other number :)

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8. Re: 8 days on the BI

KMC and Kilauea Lodge are on opposite ends of the spectrum of accommodations. Personally, I don't mind lesser accommodations if it is near what I want to do and I'm spending lots of vacation time in a particular place. If I only have a couple of days or so, I usually splurge.

I've only been to Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo. It was just OK for me. We enjoyed the views and saw a pod of dolphin in the area so that was a bonus. Others who snorkel there will give you better recommendations.

Edited: 26 April 2012, 17:07
Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: 8 days on the BI

You could do the loop hike at Kilauea Iki trail then have the family come back to get you at a designated time. Shorter walks the family could handle would be Thurstaon Lava tube, Steam Vents, Sulfur Banks, Petropglyph trail, or maybe first mile of Maun Ulu trail.

Pick just one Volcano accomodation or Hilo (depending on your direction of travel). Hilo is more central to all of the south east sites and easier for a trip north along the Hamakua Coast.

HIlo is not know as a good "beach" town. Richardsons Beach is pretty good for snorkeling. Kolekole Beach park north of Hilo is good for advance swimming but watch the rocky get in at the river inlet and the water is cold.

Cocunut Island and Japanese Gardens in Hilo is a nice place to watch the sun go down and some pretty good swimming spots there as well.

The Shipman House in HIlo is a quality B&B or Dolphin Bay Hotel if on a tight budget. Volcano can get pretty cold at night be prepared w/ sweaters and rain gear for sure and shopping/dining is very limited up there.

Edited: 26 April 2012, 19:16
El Paso, Texas
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10. Re: 8 days on the BI

Theodorejay-

So do you think 3 days around Hilo or 3 days in Volcano park would be more fun? I noticed your surfboards... We all want to take lessons and possibly rent boards for the week. Any recs on lessons or beaches to practice/avoid?

Thanks!