We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

Which Kailua-Kona hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
16 posts
Save Topic
Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

My wife and me will go to Kona for a week and this is our first time to Hawaii, we need help with our itinerary! Please tell me if my plans are workable, and if We are missing any sights. Any advice or recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Day 1 (9/19) - Arrive at Kona Airport at noon, pick up rental 4WD And head to volcano village. On the way will stop by captain cook, Puuhonua O Honaunau, south point and green sand beach. Check in at the volcano village.

Day 2 (9/20) - spend the whole day in volcanoes national park (jagger museum, thurston lava tube, chain of crates road)

Day 3 (9/21) - check out volcano village and head to Hilo. Spend two nights in Arnott's lodge. Sign up the tour to Maura kea.

Day 4 (9/22) - tsunami museum, rainbow fall, hot spring, kapoho, Isaac hale, Whittington

Day 5 (9/23) - take the Managua coast route to Waikoloa. Akaka fall, waipio valley, popolu black sand beach, The shops at Mauna laui for the Luau show at 7pm. Check in at Waikoloa Marriott.

Day 6 (9/24) - spend the day at the A-bay, and have the reservation for the Luau show at the Marriott at 5pm.

Day 7 (9/25) - check out and head to kona. kahaluu beach, join a snorkelling cruise.

Day 8 (9/26) - check out the hotel. Tour around the town, coffee tasting, farmers market. Fly back at 10pm.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
25,432 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

You do not need a 4wd vehicle.

Do you have to drive across the island the first day? Where are you flying from? Another island or the mainland U.S or....?

Just a note to avoid confusion that the island is called the Island of Hawaii or the Big Island - not "Kona". "Kona " generally refers to one of our airports and two large west side districts - but you aren't staying in either of them. Waikoloa Beach is on the Kohala Coast. I know it can get confusing! :-)

I'm not sure what you mean by "stop by Captain Cook". Captain Cook is a very small town. If you're referring to the monument in Kealakekua Bay, you cannot drive to it. Also all rental contracts currently prohibit the drive to Ka Lae (South Point) - and even if you drove it, the hike to Papakolea (the green sand beach) is almost 2.5 windy, hot miles each way. Also you would absolutely not want to do this with all your luggage in your car. Aside from those issues - Overall this is just too many activities in one day. If you're coming from somewhere outside Hawaii you'll also have to think about the time change and jet lag. If you're coming from another island then you could stop at Puuhonua O Honaunau and Punaluu! but that's all the stops I would do.

You only have seven nights and you're spending four of them east. IMO this is too many. I would just do two nights in Volcano and five on the west side and skip going to Arnott's. Do the tour of the Mauna Kea summit from the west side with Hawaii Forest and Trail or Mauna Kea Summit Adventures. They are much more professional IMO than Arnott's.

Pololu is not on the Hamakua Coast and this would be a separate day trip, not done as part of a trip from Hilo to the Kohala Coast .

I would skip the luau at the Marriott and instead enjoy the free hula and Polynesian shows at Waikoloa Beach and the Mauna Lani. I would also skip Kahaluu. There are many better beaches and snorkeling close to your hotel. I would also not make two trips into Kailua Kona. Just do that on your last day.

The better farmers markets are in Waimea and Hilo - not Kailua Kona.

Over on the right hand side of the main Island of Hawaii forum (up one level) there are several Top Questions. The ones on beaches and snorkeling will be of good use to you as well as the one on Hawaiian place names.

You are of course missing many sites, 7 nights is way too short of time for the whole island! But you can still do a lot, I would just do some more research so you understand drive times between many of these places and also I would definitely shorten your east side time and add it to the west side.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
16 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

Thanks SheaG to point out that the planning is still a mess. Omg. I spent two days of the research for what to do in Big Island and still being confused with the names and places. Lol. Just too much information flowing around. Too much stuffs to do there.

There are few tours we'd like to do

1. Mauna Kea

2. Snorkelling at kealakekua bay (we never snorkelling before and non swimmers)

3. Lava hike (if there's tour available at that time)

4. Manta ray snorkelling (if feel comfortable with it after the morning snorkelling)

Places want to visit

1. Green, black, white sand beaches

2. Volcanoes national park

3. Captain cook (coffee)

4. Puuhona o honaunau

5. Tsunami museum

6. Akaka fall

7. Ahalanui hot pond

8. A-bay

9. Farmers market

10. Luau show

We will fly in from LA

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
16 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

I don't see any free hula and Polynesian shows at Waikoloa beach though, except at the Mauna Lani.

Napa, California
Level Contributor
500 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

Take a look at this site for a Hula show at the Queen's Marketplace. waikoloabeachresort.com/index.php/things-to-… I see it on Wednesday and Friday nights.

Canada
Level Contributor
9,051 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

OP,

Look for the phrase "Hula Halau"... for shows demonstrating traditional dance and singing.

The above poster provides the WBR info.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
25,432 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

No worries, it's very difficult to plan for something when you've never been there! Thankfully you have time to change some things around.

I don't think the manta ray night snorkel is a good idea for non-swimmers. If you could start out at a local pool before you come to get some basic skills it would be a good idea IMO. Because you're staying up north, I would go with a snorkel tour up north and avoid multiple trips driving south. The snorkeling is better IMO and much less busy on the Kohala Coast than in Kealakdkua Bay.

I would drop the idea of seeing Papakolea. There's really no white sand on the island but plenty of golden sand beaches. There are many black sand beaches all around the island. If you add more time to the west side you could take a horseback ride into Waipio Valley and also hike down to Pololu which have black sand, and as I previously mentioned you can stop at Punaluu on the way to Volcano.

I would skip Ahalanui hot ponds. They are not at all sanitary.

Anaehoomalu isn't anything special. It's fine to check out since you're staying there but there are many other better beaches.

So you arrive Friday. Go ahead and make your way to Volcano but as I said I would just stop at Puuhonua O Honaunau and Punaluu. The drive will take you about three hours and allow about two or three hours for stops including lunch...if you leave the airport around 1pm then you won't get to Volcano until right around sunset. Check in for two nights. Have dinner at Kilauea lodge (good place to stay too), go see the lava glow from Jaggar museum if the weather is good. The next day spend all day in VNP. This is the day of the big market in Hilo so you could go there in the morning if you wanted but it will be some backtracking the next day.

Check out on Sunday drive to Waikoloa via Hilo and the Hamakua coast and visit the tsunami museum, Akaka Falls, maybe the botanical gardens if they interest you. Honokaa and Waimea are cute towns and are good for lunch. The drive takes about three hours not including stops.

So with five nights on the west side, and five days since you don't fly out until late the last night, you could do the Mauna Kea Summit tour, do a day trip to Pololu, a day in the Kona districts to do coffee tasting and a Kealakekua Bay tour if you want, and a couple of days for the Kohala beaches, free hula shows, shore snorkeling. Check out the Top Question on tips and must sees and dos.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
25,432 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

This topic has links to the schedule of the free shows at the Mauna Lani as well as at both the Queens Marketplace and Kings Shops in Waikoloa beach. The Mauna Lani is only five minutes away from WBR.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60608-i629-k76460…

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
16 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

Revised

Day 1 (9/19) - from LA arrived KOA at noon. Pickup rental car and head to volcano village. Stop at Puuhona o Honaunau and Punaluu.

---- Question: is it safe to leave the luggage in the car during the day?

Check in for two days and go see lava glow at jagger museum

Day 2 (9/20) - go to Hilo farmers market and spend the rest of the day in volcanoes national park

Day 3 (9/21) - check out and take the Hamakua coast to Hilo. Stop at tsunami museum, Akaka fall, Hawaii Tropical botanical garden, Honokaa.

---- Question: is it safe to leave the luggage in the car during the day?

Check in at the hotel in Kohala

Day 4 (9/22) - take a snorkelling tour with Sea paradise in the morning. Then coffee tasting in Captain cook. Walk around queen's marketplace then 6:30 to the Mauna Lani for free shows.

Day 5 (9/23) - morning to the Hapuna or Kaunaoa beach then to the Mauna Kea tour.

Day 6 (9/24) - Popolu valley and Hawi. If time permitted, Hapuna or Kaunaoa beach.

Day 7 (9/25) - hike at Waipio valley. Take the Manta Ray Glassbottom tour (wife prefer to stay dry at night).

Day 8 (9/26) - check out and go to Kukio bay, Kikaua point, beach tree bar and lounge.

---- Question: is it safe to leave the luggage in the car during the day?

Go to KOA, return rental car and take the flight at 10pm.

Any changes to make?

Question: is it worth to take the submarine?

Question: what about kalapana hike and lava hike tour?

Question: any recommendation for beaches good for sunbathing, nice scenic view for non swimmer?

ON, Canada
Level Contributor
12,733 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

A nice rework of your itinerary, and good to see that you will only be staying in two places during the week.

It's safe to leave luggage at Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau (it's a paid parking lot) but I wouldn't open the trunk when you get there, to avoid letting others see that you have a trunk full of luggage. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens and Akaka Falls should be OK too - but same advice about not opening the trunk (get what you need out of the trunk before you get to those stops.) At the Waipio Valley overlook you should be OK too.

<<"Day 3 (9/21) - check out and take the Hamakua coast to Hilo. Stop at tsunami museum, Akaka fall, Hawaii Tropical botanical garden, Honokaa.">>

The Hamakua coast is the route to the west side (Kohala coast). I would move the tsunami museum to the day that you go to the Hilo Market, but personally, I wouldn't go to Hilo with only one day in Volcano ... I would just spend the whole day at VNP. I feel that you are trying to fit too many places into your one week stay, and it might end up feeling like a marathon.

On your Hamakua Coast day, I would include the Waipio Valley overlook, and skip hiking it later in the week (to reduce repetitive and lengthy driving.)

<<"Question: what about kalapana hike and lava hike tour?">>

The hikes stopped last fall due to a change in the flow of the lava. Keep an eye on this thread to see if the situation changes again prior to your visit: tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g29217-i268-k708154…

<<"Question: any recommendation for beaches good for sunbathing, nice scenic view for non swimmer?">>

I would head over to the Mauna Lani resort - Makaiwa beach is lovely. It's a bit of a walk from the parking area, but you could drop your wife and beach gear off at the private parking lot, and the go park at the public lot, and walk the path to the beach. While at the Mauna Lani, it would be interesting to explore the historic fishponds and also the Puako Petroglyphs (there's a separate parking area for the Petroglyphs.) gohawaii.com/big-island/regions-neighborhood… I would substitute this for the morning that you had hiking in Waipio.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
25,432 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Help with itinerary: Kona, Hawaii for a week

This is a good rework and I concur mostly with Susan although I think Kauna'oa might be a better scenic beach for you. You do have to get there before about 9am to secure a beach pass. It's the only beach on the island with that issue.

I also think it's ok for you go to the Hilo Farmers market but Susan is right, it will involve some repetitive backtracking and driving. But you should have enough time in VNP if you do the market early. Plan about 8-9 hours total in the Park.

I would skip the manta ray glass bottom boat but if you do it, I'd put it on the same day as your coffee tasting to avoid multiple drives south.

As far as Waipio Valley goes...it's one of my favorite places on the island but you can play it by ear. I would stop at the overlook as Susan suggests and then later in the week see how you feel about doing the hike down. You may find yourself just wanting to stay put or be lazy. It's a little over an hour's drive to Waipio from Wakoloa Beach and the very steep hike down to the beach will take about an 45 minutes (longer going up). If you want to head across the beach and up the zigzag Mulawai trial for views back into the valley (go up three switchbacks) then that's another 45 minutes to an hour. So between the several hours of driving, hiking and time spent enjoying the beach (not generally swimmable) it's a full day.

Edited: 21 July 2014, 20:11