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New to the island

Saskatoon, Canada
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New to the island

We will be in Maui for a week and would like to come to the Big Island for an additional 4 days in early January. There will be 2 adults looking for a hotel or condo oceanfront. We would like to be close to good snorkel spots. Our budget is $200-$250/night. We will take one full day to explore the east side of the island. Any help would be greatly appreciated as we are having to finalize arrangements under tight timelines. Thank you

Portland, Tennessee
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for Waikoloa
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1. Re: New to the island

I think a hotel for your short stay is going to be your best bet because most condos during that time require a minimum stay since you are close to the Holidays.

I use this website for comparing resorts:

hawaiirevealed.com/free-travel-info/big-isla…

The website will give you great information when looking for a resort or condo.

Edited: 24 May 2013, 15:30
ON, Canada
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2. Re: New to the island

With a short stay and wanting to see both sides of the island, I would fly into Hilo, get a one way rental, spend the night at Volcano and then head to the west side for your last 3 nights ... fly home from Kona.

Just to clarify though ... when you say 4 days, do you mean 3 or 4 nights?

On the west side, one of the resorts on the S. Kohala coast would be a nice place to stay... but I think snorkelling at that time of year might be iffy due to ocean conditions.

Canada
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3. Re: New to the island

SusanM2004 makes an excellent suggestion about flying into ITO......or at least into KOA and out of ITO.

Shall one assume you are flying back home to SASK after your BIg Island stay? Are those Mainland flights already in place? Perhaps the return is from OGG.

The length of time you have assigned for the Big Island is extremely short. I would be expanding the number of days if possible or staying on just one side. I understand the desire to try and see it all...but the Big Island is massive and much of the days will sadly be spent inside a vehicle.

When you say early January...are the dates beyond Jan 04/5th? As that should be the approximate time when the "holiday" crowd heads back.

A hotel may be your best bet for such a short stay...although I know the lovely Hali'i Kai will do a short stay.

castleresorts.com/Home/…halii-kai-at-waikoloa

This shorter stay would be booking through the Castle office vs a particular vrbo owner.

Either way...the South Kohala area is highly desirable.Look to Mauna Lani Bay resort Hotel or Fairmont Orchid.

I'm not entirely certain if your plan is to drive over to the East side for the day...or stay over 1 night ( best practice)?

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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4. Re: New to the island

My first suggestion would be to add more time. It is extremely difficult to help people plan very short trips to the BI to see both sides of the island. 3-4 days works fine if you just want to stay on the east side or just on the west side. It's very awkward to do both. Especially if flight schedules mean that your "4 days" is really more like 2-3.

Bear in mind the BI is as big as all the other islands combined. "One full day" to explore the east side is going to involve mostly driving and missing a lot. It is a very bad idea to cross the island at night, so you will miss out on any surface lava action by having to leave Volcano 3-4 hours before dark to get back to west side lodging. The Park itself really needs 5-6 hours just to do the highlights, and then you would have no time for all the other east side attractions.

The second suggestion is to fly in one side and out the other. This will allow you to spend the night on the east side without having to double book.

There's a current thread right now from someone wtoth a similar time frame, and we have posted some sample itineraries of how to go about it, here:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29217-i268-k65264…

Again, it's really not ideal, you're going to spend lots of time in the car and have a fairly exhausting "drive by" approach to a very big island, so if you can make adjustments now before you start booking and getting locked in, that's ideal.

Also do read through the Top Questions on where to stay, things to do, and the snorkeling TQ. Snorkeling in winter here can be very iffy unless you go fairly far south, where there are no hotels, condos, or beaches and usually is best accessed via boat, although from shore at Honaunau bay is a good site.

Edited: 24 May 2013, 18:48
Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: New to the island

If only doing say 4 days and 3 nights that's only really adequate to get a sample of the Big Island or focus on one region. If you really want to see say Volcano National Park as a priority then fly into Hilo and maybe an accomdation at the Shipman House B&B or Palm Cliff House farther north of there and the range no farther than Waipio Valley to the north or South Point to the west. To properly tour the Big Island think more about maybe 5 nights South Kohola, 3 nights Hio/Volcano, 3 nights Captain Cook/Kona.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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6. Re: New to the island

As wa said, you will not be able to explore the east side of the island in one day trip. You can pick one thing like VNP and get a very brief look at it, but keep in mind there are less than twelve hours of daylight in winter, and the circle drive is 6-7 hours without any stops at all.

For winter snorkeling, as Shea said, a short stay like that will not guarantee you the ocean conditions you want. Wonderful weather, yes, cooperative ocean only with luck.

I might suggest only coming over for VNP, but winter in VNP can be very cold and rainy.

All in all, I would not come to this island for less than a week with your goals, so I'm not sure what to suggest. I don't want you to come and hit rough ocean and then stormy east side weather, as that won't leave you with a good experience of the Big Island. 7-14 days is an optimum first visit.

Edited: 24 May 2013, 20:20
Big Island, Hawaii
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7. Re: New to the island

Please also read through the "warm clothes" TQ. That time of year Volcano can be very chilly. If it's not raining, it's very pleasant hiking weather during the day, but many visitors are unprepared for night temps in the 30s. Even in spring or summer it can be not fun if you're not prepared, I was there last weekend and it was raining fairly hard and in the 40s and low 50s, and many visitors were very miserable in their shorts and tshirts. Just bring some layers and rainwear to account for some swings in temps and weather, as discussed in that TQ. I enjoy the crisp, high-elevation weather in winter, and it's a beautiful area with some gorgeous hikes, including in nice rainforest canopies that are pleasant even in the rain, but only if you're dressed properly.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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8. Re: New to the island

My main thought was that there are days in every winter when there are storms and you can't or shouldn't even drive cross island due to weather. Again, timing is everything, but with a short stay you have no flexibility.

My issue with upper VNP in winter is the biting cold wind in the more open areas like Jaggar lookout. Not all parts are windy, not the fern forest area. Volcano Village nearby is cold at night, at 4000 feet, but it doesn't have the wind, and it is nice as Shea said as long as you are ready for the low temps.

9. Re: New to the island

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