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1st time to the Big Island

montana
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1st time to the Big Island

My husband & I will be coming to the Big Island for the first time in Feb. after a weeks stay in Oahu.( for business) Thinking of staying in Kona because husband loves to scuba dive & this seems to be where alot of dive boats take off. Suggestions on where to stay? After Oahu, we will be looking for peace & quiet. What are must sees on the island? Can we drive to the volcano in 1 day? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

San Carlos...
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1. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

I much prefer the Kohala area than Kona, which can be very busy at times. I am a big fan of the Fairmont Orchid. I t used to part of the Ritz hotel group, and it shows. Kohala and the Kamuela area are really peaceful and laid back. You will love the BI.

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2. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

We just got back from a 10 day trip to the BI. It was not what I epected. Since it sounds like you're not travelling with kids your trip should be smoother than mine. Kona is cramped, crowded and has a "dirty" feeling. We did however stay at the Sheraton at Keahou Bay just south of Kona which was FABULOUS. I drove all around the area and didn't really see anyplace that i'd rather have stayed. You won't be on a sandy beach ANYWHERE in the area. On a positive note, the area seems ideal for diving. The Kohala resort area is much cleaner, much more upscale, NOT kid friendly for restaurants. Think of that whole side of the island as a barren lava desert wasteland with dots along the shoreline where the resorts have tropicalized their area. The volcano is a 2.5 hour drive from either Kohala or Kona (more interesting from Kohala) and I found the Northern drive (hwy 19) to be very enjoyable and lush. I wish I'd gone to Maui though as the big island was a lot of work.

Oklahoma City...
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for Oklahoma, Grove
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3. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

We nearly always stay at Magic Sands. The condos all face the ocean and it's only about 40 feet away. The waves crash on the shore so beware some find it hard to sleep. It puts us to sleep...

Also be aware the units are individually owned and maintained so check out the trip reports or reviews of the units. My preference is to stay on the 3rd floor in a unit that has a lanai.. The complex has a small pool near the BBQ where hubby and I hang out with Bloody Marys while he grills fresh fish, steaks or whatever. Combine with a salad and the sunset and you have a winner. We are also divers, but have only done the manta ray dive with Jack's Dive Locker which we HIGHLY recommend doing. You can go along as a snorkeler on this tour as well. It is surreal!! We've done the volcano as a day trip several times, but start very early and realize you'll be back very late. Another great activity that you'll have to ask HawaiiDan about specifically is kayaking/snorkeling Kaleakakua Bay (Capt. Cook's monument). There are some new rules, etc. I have done the tour boats there, which are fine, but not as adventurous as kayaking. We've done the tour to the summit of Mauna Kea which was fabulous if you like to stargaze, but be careful to plan your dives with altitude in mind.

Oklahoma City...
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4. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

Sorry, I forgot to tell you this Feb. we are staying in a house for the first time because we have friends who are joining us for 3 days and could not get enough condos at Magic Sands for them. It is on vrbo.com and is call Hale Honu. It is not far from Magic Sands which is south of Kona and has a great beach next door called Disappearing Sands. In winter the sand is sometimes swept out into the ocean for a time, thus the name.

winnipeg
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5. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

Hello

We are staying in this home = Feb 2007 - are the owners reputable - and how were the amenities - I would really appreciate a reply - (a little worried)

Thanks

Karen

Palm Springs...
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6. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

effective now and for the future as far as I can see, 1/2 of capt cook bay and the reef is totaly closed to entry by swimmers, snorkelers, divers Hikers, Kayakers and all boats...... it is being partolled by the local DLNR officers who are not very tollerant of even the slightest transgression

You can Kayak the outter half, but not anchor or land on the shore. Kayak tours have stopped and the snorkel toure have adapted to the outter half..... This will be in effect for a long time.... a long time as the 600 ft cliffs above is still not stable

Individual visitation ( not on a tour) was declared illegle as of May 26 this year.. but enforcment was lax.......now due to liability it is gone to the extreme.

It took mother nature to enforce the rules and help save the bay

Oklahoma City...
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7. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

Worried girl-

We are staying there this coming January so I don't know the answers to your questions except to say I checked out the owners and the property to my satisfaction which is why we are renting it. I got emails, pictures, and even a video from former renters who gave high praises and good reviews of their time there. The owners have answered every email quickly so try corresponding with them to try and alleviate whatever you are worrked about.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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8. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

As BIPS said, be sure to keep the altitude in mind when planning dives and subsequent travel........especially to Volcano National Park. I too can recommend Jacks Dive Locker.

Mike in Tulsa

Oklahoma City...
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9. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

Hey Mike, are you in a dive club in Tulsa? One that goes on trips together, etc. We've recently stopped going with our usual diving partners and are looking to join a larger group. Just wondering...

New York
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10. Re: 1st time to the Big Island

hawaiidan,

Since the bay around Captain Cook area is closed, do you know of another place we can go snorkeling at. I will be going to The Big Island this Sunday, and I definately want to snorkel. Is there a place that I can access without tour guides? Also, are there any place I can rent snorkeling gears for a decent price? I will be staying at the Hilton Wakailoa.

Thanks!