The Big Island is one of the most beautiful and diverse islands you will ever visit. It hosts 8 out of 13 of the world’s climate zones, stunning beaches, waterfalls and rainforests inhabited by species found nowhere else on the planet. It is also home to a series of majestic volcanoes that are constantly changing the island’s landscape.
We recommend that you devote a few days of your itinerary to seeking out both the active and non-active volcanic sites which make the Big Island such a wonder of nature. This itinerary is meant primarily as a template. As tastes differ we encourage you to change it as much as you want to tailor your own perfect Hawaiian getaway.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
- Day 1: Hitting the beaches
- Day 2: Ocean views and adventures
- Day 3: Volcano Village and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Day 4: Jungle and lava fields
- Day 5: Hilo and waterfalls
- Day 6: The Hamakua coast
- Day 7: Waimea and Pololu Black Sand Beach
We hope that you enjoy your time on the Big Island and ask that you help preserve this unique ecological and cultural gem by respecting local customs and paying heed to the golden proverb: “take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints.”
Day 1: Kona and the Beach
Start your trip by picking up your rental car from one of the car rental offices at the Kona Airport. Kona is the sunny outdoor capital of the Big Island and you will spend your first two days and nights here enjoying the beach.
Drive into town and drop off your bags at your place of accommodation (if you have not yet booked, have a look here for accommodations in Kona). If arriving between December and April, sign up directly for a whale-watching cruise or if you feel even more adventurous, we recommend to find out more about the Manta Ray night dive/snorkel. These tours are very popular and we suggest that you book at least 48 hours in advance. Afterward, drive north up Highway 11 to explore some of the beautiful west coast beaches such as Kua Bay, Beach 69, or Hapuna. Or if you are short on time, stop by the pier fronting the King Kamehameha Hotel in the center of Kona for a quick dip or a bit of snorkeling.
Finish your day by watching the sunset and enjoying a mai tai at the Kona Inn or any of the beachfront restaurants on Aliʻi Drive. Tomorrow will be a busy day, so don’t go to bed too late and be prepared for and early start.
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