Tourist advice

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Tourist advice

Postby Mahtzo Lou » March 21st, 2014, 8:54 pm

Planning to go to Hawaii (the big island) this summer for our 20th anniversary. My wife and I will be traveling with our two kids (boys aged 13 & 16 by the time summer is here). I don't really know too much about the big island.....other than it is big. On the agenda will be the volcano but I would like to know about other things to do or stay away from.

My wife is a non swimmer but likes beaches, the boys are quite good in the water and of course my preference is water too. What about surfing? are there any places where you could rent decent surfboards for a reasonable fee (I would rather not bring any on the plane).

I really appreciate any ideas
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Hookin » March 21st, 2014, 9:32 pm

The only place I know that rents boards is at Kahalu'u beach there could be more but I am not sure. Last I heard there was a surfing school there. The break can be really nice if it is big but if its small is a lot of fun on a long board too.

There are the zip lines in Hawi that are a blast and you are next to Pololu valley which is a cool little hike. Hawi has some old buildings but there are some nice little cafes to eat at.

Volcano national park is a great trip. Book a BnB near the volcano so you can really enjoy that part of the island and hike Thurston's lava tube, chain of craters road, the volcano museum, sulfur vents and other hikes to watch the lava flow into the water at your leisure.

If you want to go up Mauna Kea there are star gazing activities that they put on at the visitor center that are really cool but it gets chilly and watch out for altitude sickness.

Waipio valley offers horseback riding through the river and taro farms and there is Tex drive in that has great malasadas in Honoka'a on the way in and out of Waipio.

Best place for a local style sushi roll is "You Make the Roll" in Kailua Kona. The place is tiny but the fish is fresh and the rolls are delicious plus its the best prices in town.

If you want to try some great Island Poke try Umeke's which is across from the 76 station in Kailua Kona they get there ahi everyday and will be cutting fish most likely as you order your poke. Plus they have some other local specialty desserts like haupia, lilikoi, and other little cakes.

Mauna Kea Beach use to have an amazing brunch and the beach is nice for body surfing especially with a good off shore wind.

Hapuna is also a nice white sand beach that is easy to get to.

If your feeling adventurous you can go to green sands beach in Ka'u somewhere I have yet to go and I use to live on the Island for over 10 years.

Summertime should be good for fishing and or diving at the buoys too.

If you want to see some ancient Hawaii buildings go to Napopo'o to the city of refuge and bring snorkeling gear for 2 step which is a nice spot for diving. You will be in the center of Kona Coffee country too so get some fresh coffee from the coffee museum thats out there. Or pull in to one of the local coffee shacks and explore a little.

Lots of things to do. Pick up a Big Island today magazine when you step out of the plane as there are a lot of discounts offered in there.

Definitely go to a Luau if you can. If I remember correctly the best one use to be at the Hilton. You might want to double check. Hilton also has really nice pools, dolphins you can swim with, decent food and a cool art walk with train and boat rides. It is situated in Waikaloa which is very touristy but the shopping and restaurants are nice there in both the king and queens shopping centers.

Have fun and bring lots of sun screen.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Mahtzo Lou » March 22nd, 2014, 12:14 pm

Thanks Hookin! appreciate the advice
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby laguna80 » March 25th, 2014, 7:43 pm

Hope you have fun. I'm from the Big Island and it's pretty lovely. Kona side is definitely the more touristy side, with the nicer beaches too, but like Hookin has pointed out there is tons of sites around the island. Waikaloa hilton is pretty great, we snuck in there a ton of times. Fresh water pools with slides and salt water pools with fishes etc. Technically you need a wristband to go on the slide, but we always just said we lost our. Hookin basically set you up with tons of info. I'm from Pahoa which is on the Hilo side and kinda out of the way, but there's lava tree state park out there and a little secluded hot pond at Pohoiki if you're in the area.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Mahtzo Lou » March 25th, 2014, 8:07 pm

Thanks Laguna that sounds really cool. I don't know where we'll be staying, but I think my wife will want to stay in a hotel...probably means Kona I would guess.
Thanks again
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby laguna80 » March 28th, 2014, 5:20 am

Depending on your budget, you could stay at the Waikaloa (it's pretty expensive though). We stayed at the King Kam a lot (3 star hotel I think). It's located right in Kona, right close to the beach, in front of the hotel, there's a mini lagoon with an ancient Hawaiian Hale out front. Otherwise, there are tons of other hotels in the area. Puukohala heeiau is a pretty cool historical site, located right by Spencer beach park in Kona. It's known as a shark heeiau as they're often cruising right in front of it. Like Hookin said, Waipio valley is pretty awesome: little note, I don't know if they've done road improvement, but we needed 4wd to get down into the valley and back up when we were there in 98.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Mahtzo Lou » March 28th, 2014, 9:09 am

Thanks for the info. we won't be looking for high end hotels. trying to find a good price on a package. how far down to the waipio valley. If no 4wd, is it day hikeable?
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Hookin » March 28th, 2014, 1:43 pm

Waipio Valley is still 4wd. You can hike it no problem but your calfs will double in size on the way back up. You can also do tours of the valley on horse back and on quads I believe and they will drive you in and out.

As for hotels the really touristy section is in Waikola and its nice too. If you want to be close to downtown Kona there are a few options, King Kamehameha, Royal Kona, Uncle Billys, there are places in Keauhou too. You can also look into vrbo.com and airbnb.com they have some cool places to rent there.

I dont know the Hilo side very well asides from basic volcano trips and farmers markets.

Spencer beach is kind of dirty but you can see a lot of sharks fining around sunset towards pelekane bay near the underwater heiau. Its where the water shed dumps into near the harbor.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Mahtzo Lou » March 28th, 2014, 8:32 pm

cool, keep the info and recommendations coming. Thanks!
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Mahtzo Lou » May 30th, 2014, 1:16 pm

for those of you that have experience traveling with fins, what would you suggest? I have a pair of Moanas which I obviously want to keep.
thanks,
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Hookin » May 30th, 2014, 1:30 pm

Bring them on as carry on.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby gneckermann » June 19th, 2014, 7:49 am

Late to the party, sorry if you've already left. We did the Big Island last year and had some great freedives around the southeast corner of the island. The Eagle Creek XL duffel is perfect for fins. My Omer Competitions fit perfectly along the bottom, then just packed in the rest of our dive gear and some clothes with them. http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Creek-Trave ... eek+duffel

Beyond that we mostly enjoyed
Volcanos NP
Black Sand Beach
Place of Refuge
Kona Brewery (Good food to go along with Brews so your youngsters don't get totally left in the cold)
Mornings at the coffee plantations (we were staying right next to the coffee belt in Kona, was perfect to start your day at a new farm every day)
There's a BBQ joint right on the main road just east of Kona that is really really good. We found it on the last day and wished we'd found it sooner!
Oh and wifey really enjoyed the Royal Palace tour in Kona


Have a blast & congrats on 20-years.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby John Hughes » July 6th, 2014, 6:24 am

hey Lou, you should contact Capt Ron. He was there last year and hooked up some great adventures with his wife. I'm sure he'd be more than willing to share contacts.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby chris oak » July 6th, 2014, 11:04 am

There's a sea horse farm right by the airport and I believe an aquaculture center as well. We did the night swim with the manta rays, one of the highlights of my life, absolutely incredible. Make sure you check to see if they are around though before you book. The island is BIG, lots bigger than oahu and man it took forever to see the volcanos and we didn't get close enough because we took the major tourist area one. I know there are a lot of guys who spear hardcore there, you might check with sasha at salty seadog safaris. Great guy, he used to be active on weirdboard until he got tired of the bs there.

http://www.saltydogsafaris.com/

There are snorkeling places around, captain cook in kealakekua bay.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby byronq » July 25th, 2014, 10:56 am

And don't forget Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures, with Devon Verbeck and Brett Le Master. You might heck out renting a condo; I did when I attended the 10 day FII camp. It was pretty affordable. And check out Honaunau bay as well, the spinner dolphins come in early in the morning to sleep. Pretty fun to swim with them!
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Mahtzo Lou » August 17th, 2014, 12:44 pm

Thanks to everyone that posted suggestions. We'll be on the plane to Kona in a little over 4 hrs. Won't bring a gun but will bring my fins, mask and snorkel. I'll post photos if any are worth posting. Hope to dive, surf, check the volcanoes, go to a luau, swim with the Manta Rays,....
I guess we'll have to see when we get there. There's never as much time as you think!
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby laguna80 » August 18th, 2014, 4:54 pm

Hope you have fun! Big Island is wonderful.
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Re: Tourist advice

Postby Helif321 » April 12th, 2015, 9:16 pm

All of these advices are really useful and informative for all tourists as well as for me and my uncle. I am a tourist and like to visit nature and hidden spot all over the world. My uncle is like fishing and boating. I will share all of this advice with my uncle and will remember in my all next tour.
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