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Big Island Itinerary 

Click the activity on the schedule to navigate

Papakōlea Green Sand Beach

One of the four green sand beaches of the world. Hard to get to, but definitely worth the effort.

  • 45 minutes to 60 minutes

  • Relatively easy hike with little incline but no shade from the sun

  • Driving to the beach is illegal so you must park and walk

  • We saw certain vehicles that carried people over to the beach for a fee but we are not sure if it's legal

  • Bring snacks, lots of water and also a swim suit if you are planning on taking a dip

We really enjoyed eating here that we went twice!

  • Great seafood choices

  • Amazing service

  • Make reservations if you planning on having dinner

Driving in Big Island

Driving on the Big Island is pretty easy, easier than driving in Oahu. We did a lot more long distance driving while on the Big Island because we decided to stay only at Kona. Driving on the Big Island was fun. Beautiful scenery everywhere you turned it could have been considered a traffic hazard! 

  • Roads are a lot more quiet when compared to Oahu

  • Certain roads are not well paved

  • Most hotels charge for parking

  • Opt for a convertible if possible

Jackie Rey's

Our Big Island Itinerary

We spent 7 days on the Big Island or Hawaii Island. The Big Island is the biggest of the Hawaiian chain of islands. Although it is the biggest, we noticed that it was much more quiet when compared to Oahu. The Big Island was our favorite spot when compared to Oahu and Maui.

There are two main cities on the island, Kona and Hilo. Kona tends to be the more popular. We decided to stay at Kona because most of our excursions were on that side of the Island. Some people will split their time on The Big Island and spend a couple nights on at Kona and a couple of nights in Hilo. We decided to stay just on Kona side and drive to see Hilo. ​

View the sunset onto the tallest mountain in the world with the best conditions for stargazing. Many international observatories are situated on top because of this.

  • 6 hours+

  • We decided to go with a tour company for this excursion because:

    • They provided all the equipment required such as winter coats

    • Provided the transportation to the top, dangerous to drive to the top on your own

  • Amazing sunset at the top of Mauna Kea

  • Stunning star gazing, the most stars we have ever seen in our lives 

  • Very informative tour especially with the star gazing

Mauna Kea Summit Excursion

Boat excursion that requires you to jump into the water whenever dolphins are nearby.

  • 4+ hours

  • Amazing to see the dolphins swim near you

  • Requires a lot of jumping in and getting back on the boat, should be comfortable swimming

  • Bring a camera

  • Snorkeling after at a reef

Dolphin Dive/Snorkel Excursion

Kealakekua Bay Dolphin Kayaking

Amazing experience to see dolphins up close and snorkel near the Captain Cook Monument.

  • 3+ hours

  • Rent Kayak right by the pier

  • Need to kayak a bit out to see the dolphins, which were more plentiful than on the boat excursion

  • Lots of dolphins appear swimming around

  • Kayak to the other side of the bay to get to Captain Cook Monument to snorkel

  • Could have spent the whole day at the bay!

Sushi Rock and Trio
Kealakekua Bay Dolphin Kayaking
Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

A National Historic Park also known as the City of Refuge. It is filled with historic buildings and pretty cool exhibits.

  • 2 hours

  • Nice place to learn about the Hawaiian culture

  • Grab a brochure by the visitor center to learn about certain exhibits

  • Great place to take pictures 

Sushi Rock and Trio

Great tasting sushi

  • Quick place to grab some fresh sushi

One of the best diving experiences we have ever done

  • 7+ Hours

  • First dive happens around sunset time, amazing lighting while diving

  • Next dive happens when the sun has set

  • "Sit" at the bottom of the site and watch as manta ray's dance overhead over a big light

  • Snorkeling is also an option, you get to see the mantas from a top view

  • Skip the twilight dive if you are short on time and do the Manta Night Dive alone

Driving to Hilo

Nice drive to the other side of the Island. Different routes to get there.

  • Time depends on how many stops you would like to do. At least 2 hours from Kona to Hilo one way. Our trip took us the whole day.

  • Stops we did:

    • Waimea : beautiful green rolling hills​

    • Downtown Hilo: Went to check on the small stores and a farmers market

    • Akaka Falls State Park: 420 foot waterfall and a nice circular walking path

    • Pe'epe'e Falls and Boiling Pots: 80 Foot water fall and small pools that cascade    
      into each other

    • Rainbow Falls: Beautiful waterfall near downtown Hilo

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

One of the main attractions on Big Island located on the Hilo side of Big Island check 
their website for daily updates

  • Definitely a whole day's adventure especially if you want to see the
    volcano at night

  • Thurston Lava Tube: Huge lava tube that you can walk through

  • Kilauea Iki crater Trail: about 1.5 hour to 2 hours

    • Pretty calm hike​, hardest part is the climb back out of the caldera at the end

    • Amazing to walk on the lava bed that is still steaming, lava floor only 50 years old!

    • Hike starts off in a rain forest atmosphere than opens up to the bare lava field,
      amazing contrast to witness

    • Bring a rain poncho, its common for rain to occur while on the hike

  • Night overlook of the Halema’uma’u crater: View the volcanic glow at night

    • Located right outside the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum​

Driving to Hilo
Twilight & Manta Night Dive/Snorkel
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Walk Around Kona City

Beautiful city to talk around and grab lunch or dinner

  • 2 hours to 3 hours

  • Try to visit around sunset, amazing lighting 

  • Lots of places to grab dinner

Original Big Island Shaved Ice Co

Local favorite for shaved ice

  • Surprising how shaved ice can taste so good

  • Try flavors with tube (purple sweet potato) 

Original Big Island Shaved Ice Co
Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour
Da Poke Shack

Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour

Hawaii from above, no better way to view Hawaii!

  • Depending on which package you go with, can range from 1 hour to 2.5 hours

  • Best way to see the volcano especially when its not very active

  • Amazing to see Big Islands contrasting surfaces from afar

  • We opted for the waterfall landing, well worth it

  • Very entertaining pilot that was very knowledgable of the area

  • Great video at the end to purchase of your entire trip

Da Poke Shack

Famous for their Poke Bowls

  • Some seating outside, we decided to take ours to go

  • Usually has a line up, but moves pretty quickly

Walk Around Kona City
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