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Old Mar 28, 14, 7:58 am
  #10  
puchalskir
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Programs: AA Plat Pro, Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 649
Definitely get the Revealed Guide book. I would stay in the Kona area most the time, but stay in Volcano for 2 or 3 days. You can drive from Kona to Hilo over the saddle road in a about an 1.5 hours now, so you can easily do day trips there.

We stay in the A'Bay area. We prefer to rent condos, there are plenty there and they can be very good values. There are plenty of shops/restaurants etc that are walking distance. It's a good base, but you do sort of get sick of driving 30 minutes into Kona on the same road. Hope you enjoy looking at lava.

Near the airport is a seahorse farm which is worth it even though it's expensive. You might need to book in advance.

We drove to the visitor center at Mauna Kea. You definitely need a 4x drive with a high clearance to do the drive from the visitor center to the top. We hike from the Mauna Loa observatory to the summit, that was one of the worst hikes I've ever done. All lava, and the views from the top aren't that special.

Volcano has tons of great hiking. If you can make it to Kalapana, it's worth it to drive there to see the more recent lava floes. The area to the east of that is very pretty to drive through. Lava Tree park is a worth while visit.

Try to go to Hilo when the farmers' market is in full force. The tsunami museum in Hilo is also interesting.

You can actually drive around the island in a day and do quick stops at places if you are a glutton for punishment. We did it in about 10 hours with a bunch of stops. Try not to speed, there are speed traps.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me. We go to the big island every year and we don't go to just lay on the beach, although that's fun too.

Rich
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