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Questions and Suggestions for a Short Trip to the Big Island in Late December

Questions and Suggestions for a Short Trip to the Big Island in Late December

Old Oct 9, 19, 1:23 pm
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Questions and Suggestions for a Short Trip to the Big Island in Late December

I will be visiting my brother on the West side of Oahu for the third time this Christmas. So, I am reasonably familiar with Oahu. I have an 18 year-old boy (pretty adventurous and in real good shape) and a 14-year-old girl. (reasonably adventurous in pretty good shape -- myself, in good shape, but I just want to relax. However, will do what kids enjoy)

I am thinking of flying to Oahu for Christmas and spending about 3 days on the Big Island on my way home to Cincinnati. Does anyone have any suggestions about activities we can do in about 3 days. (maybe 4) Also, any problems we may have if we don't plan ahead with respect to air travel, hotels, rental cars and the availability of attractions.
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Old Oct 9, 19, 5:50 pm
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There's countless thing to do on the Big Island and is my favorite of the islands. You will certainly need a rental car, or you won't really be doing anything while you're there. If you want adventurous stuff, they of course offer pretty much any tour you can think of, but you'd want to look to book now and not when you're on the island. 3-4 days is not enough time to fit a lot into your trip, especially if you're driving from Kona to Hilo since you're spending a good portion of the day going to and from.

A few recommendations off the top of my head:

-Hapuna Beach is a great beach to hang out
-Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park
-Lava Lava Beach Club for sunset dinner
-Kealakekua Bay State Park
-Downtown Kailua-Kona has shopping and food (Island Lava Java is a good breakfast spot Huggo's on the rocks for sunset and drinks)
-Akaka and Rainbow Falls if you're heading to the Hilo side of the island
-Waipi'o Valley lookout
-Volcano Nation park (there's a decent winery there too, tea tasting for the kids)
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Old Oct 10, 19, 8:39 am
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Get a copy of the best guidebook, Big Island Revealed. You'll find plenty of options your family will enjoy. Book a hotel and car now--before it's too late, especially for a car.
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Old Oct 10, 19, 12:14 pm
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Thanks United 16 and linsj, your suggestions were very useful.
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Old Oct 10, 19, 1:41 pm
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Agree with the book recommendation. I got it before I went there for the first time and it was a tremendous help
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Old Oct 10, 19, 9:54 pm
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Sorry to hijack this thread.

What activities more suitable for a four-year-old girl? no driving.

We will stay at Westin Hapuna.

I think Hilo is out of reach.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 12:58 pm
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I would probably be using the rental car 12/31 through Jan. 3, 2020. Would availability be a problem at that time. Seems like I would be past the Christmas rush.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 3:24 pm
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Dailey, I would reserve a car now and keep checking prices as time goes ob. Prices can fluctuate greatly and if you find abetter deal, cancel your reservation and make a new one. I would not wait.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 8:03 pm
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Thanks. Will do
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Old Oct 12, 19, 6:51 am
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We use AutoSlash for our rentals. They have a link on FT. If you are looking to rent a condo Kona Coast Vacations is a good resource.

Last edited by JA610; Oct 12, 19 at 8:57 am
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Old Oct 15, 19, 12:07 pm
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Love the Big Island and will be visiting next month so will add on if anything new comes to my attention.

I would also recommend snorkeling (early morning) at Captain Cooks (Kealakekua Bay), This is considered some of the best snorkeling in the state. Best is to go on a tour in a zodiac. This may also include a Dolphin Adventure--You are dropped in the water as the dolphins are returning from their nocturnal feeding. You will be briefed on proper protocol (not chasing or harassing dolphins, but just floating and observing). You will never forget this experience. I know that Captain Zodiac is one provider. You may want to book this in advance. You can also just go to Kealakekua Bay on larger catamarans, if you want to be with a huge group that serves lunch, but I prefer the smaller zodiacs and discovering other dining options on shore. (Teenagers might prefer the big group.) Although you can hike to Captain Cooks, avoid doing this. I did it once and it is difficult, time consuming and can be brutally hot.

If you like poke, go to Foodland (grocery store) for the best and least expensive.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park--Drive there with snorkel equipment. After touring the park, drive over to "Two-Step" and jump in and snorkel. The aforementioned zodiac trip might also include a snorkel here. You should not snorkel directly from the park as it is a sacred location to the Hawaiian people and proper respect should be shown. It can get rough in the afternoon.

The Blue Dragon is finally open again and a great place for dinner and music. Does not take reservations at the moment.

Lava Lava Beach club is terrific for a real island feel. Make reservations.

I would also normally recommend a trip to Volcano, but if you are only going to be there three days, I would avoid spending all that time in the car. Besides, after the 2018 eruption, the lava is not flowing anywhere. I would also avoid trying to drive around the island. I have friends that came away with a bad impression of the BI, because they wanted to "see everything" and spent all of their time driving. Just stay on the west side and enjoy the beaches and snorkeling. If your brother is in Oahu, you will probably be back again.

Prepare everybody for landing at KOA. You will be landing in a lava field. It is black with no greenery at all. It will be shocking to anyone expecting a beautiful green island! Don't worry though, you find beautiful landscaping at the resorts and the water is crystal clear (swimming and snorkeling) because there is little rainfall on the west side.

Hapuna is my favorite beach (in front of the Westin). There is a nice short hike along the shoreline between the Mauna Kea and the Westin Hapuna.

If you feel like spending money, go to the Four Seasons for dinner, brunch or lunch. Be sure to go early so you can walk around this spectacular resort before or after your meal.

Big Island Revealed (The Blue Book) is absolutely the best for an overview of the island.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by TH310 View Post
...because there is little rainfall on the west side.[/color]
While that is normally true, this September has seen almost double the amount of usual rainfall in South Kona.
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Old Oct 17, 19, 10:55 pm
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Thanks very much for your very useful suggestions. My brother has told me the snorkeling is great. I am not really a water person. Will check with my children whether they want to snorkel.

By the way. Does anyone have any opinions on the Uncle Billy's hotel. I have made a reservation there. Price is reasonable and seems to be a good location. Doesn't need to be fancy, but I want to make sure it is clean.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Oct 18, 19 at 5:42 am Reason: consecutive posts merged
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