Big Island Vacation Plan
Aloha Vacation Cotages has been successfully operating its two vacation rental cottages on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island for several years now. As a result of it, our website www.alohacottages.net does not only provide detailed rental information like cottage amenities, property and area photos, trip reports from our Big Island guests about their stay with us but in addition, it provides a much appreciated Big Island visitor information source. Information includes Big Island weather updates, outstanding Big Island attractions and events like lava flow update at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or Big Island Hula Festival in Hilo, Hawaii Ironman Triathlon championship in Kona, Mauna Kea Observatories, best Kohala Coast beaches and golf courses, spectacular Big Island hiking and so much more.
We take pride in supplying as much information as possible about the area of the Kohala Coast where our cottages are located and the Big Island in general. However, facts and information on our website can easily become overwhelming for visitors, esp. when they are planning their first visit to the Big Island. Still we recommend our guests to find their way through the 'jungle' of words and photos about the Big Island. These are our personal reflections of this island and the Kohala Coast where we chose to live and started our vacation rentals.
When making your vacation plans for visiting the Hawaiian Islands rather focus on two islands and come back later for another visit. We feel esp. sorry for those Big Island visitors who planned 3 nights for the Big Island 'chasing' over this beautiful island not taking the moment or having the time to relax and inhale its natural beauty.
'The Big Island Revealed' will help you plan your vacation with us. We have copies at our vacation cottages. Still better, come prepared with the book in your luggage! Just click the book on the left.
For your first visit with us, we recommend at least a weekly stay using our vacation home on the Kohala Coast as your 'base camp'. We are centrally located for exploring not only South and North Kohala Coast areas but the Hilo and Kona areas as well. Staying at one place elimates having to pack and unpack plus the hassle of several check-in and check-out procedures. After a day of Hawaiian adventures, you are always coming 'home' and can relax and feel comfortable in your familiar surroundings.
Here are some basic ideas for a 7-day vacation plan for a stay with us:
After arrival, drive to Hapuna or Mauna Kea beach to take a first dip in the ocean, shop at local market in Waimea (open till 10pm), have a casual dinner at one of our convenient affordable restaurants (see restaurant guide). Sit on your lanai, take a couple of deep breaths, melt away your tension (may get a little help with a glass of wine) allowing your to enjoy our island atmosphere.
Take Hwy 270 to Hawi, 3000ft.elevation overlooking Kohala and Kona Coast. Drive through Hawi to the end of the highway to Pololu Valley Lookout. Hike 30 minutes down to the most beautiful & peaceful empty black sand beach and...exhale! Come back through Hawi, King Kamehameha's birthplace, have lunch at Bamboo restaurant, drive along the Kohala Coast Hwy and visit various Heiaus and National Recreation Parks. Finish the day at Hapuna or Spencer Beach or do something 'touristy' like stopping at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Inhale the Hawaiian flair while sitting at the Terrace listening to the island music, watching the Hula dancer (6 - 7p.m.), checking out the gorgeous sunset for a spectacular 'green flash' and taste the original Mai Tai.
Get up early for a day trip to Volcanoes National Park. Don't stop at attractions on your way as you will need all your hours for exploring the park and making it to the lava flow. Best at night! Take lots of water, cooler with food and flash lights. Be prepared for all weather conditions. Could be cooler and rainy in Volcano.
Snorkel day at Mauna Lani Beach Club. Find photo here. Take provided complimentary snorkel gear from our cottages and drive to Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. If it's Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, take the 'fish tour' at 10:30a.m. at the hotel first (no fees for visitors). It's fun for the whole family. After the fish tour, walk left, facing the ocean, passing Eva Parker cottage and ancient Hawaiian fish ponds till you arrive after about a 10min walk at the.most beautiful, protected white sand snorkel beach lagoon. After a couple of hours of snorkeling (coral reefs are close to shore and one will find an abundance of fish, turtles and even Eagle Rays, if lucky!) and sunbathing, have lunch right there at the ocean front restaurant or drive to the next resort, Waikoloa Beach Resort and have lunch at the Hang Ten Restaurant at the dolphin lagoon. Take a ride on the boat or train, look at artifacts, have dinner at home or Kawaihae. After dinner drive to Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and visit Manta Ray Lookout and enjoy graceful ballet of Manta Rays when eating their 'dinner' of plankton at dark.
Start early for spectacular White Rd. Hike (see photos) into the hills overlooking the back of Waipio Valley with waterfalls and ocean views. Moderate hike, also for children, 2 hr round trip. After your hike, drive further east on Hwy 19 to Honokaa town on the Hamakua Coast and visit famous Waipio Lookout. Lots of adventure awaits you in the valley, only 4x4 access, though you can take guided valley tours. Since you already made your way to the Hamakua Coast, why not continue to Akaka Waterfalls, another 30min drive east and walk the scenic tropical rain forest enjoying the green 'jungly' side. If you still have enough energy, check our Hilo Botanical Gardens, just 10 minutes down the road.
Majestic Mauna Kea mountain is still waiting for your visit. Aloha Vacation Cottages are at a convenient location for accessing the summit. Car rental companies now allow driving on Saddle Rd and access rd. to Mauna Kea Visitors Center, both paved. Harpers car rental is the only car rental company which allows 4x4 to legally ascend the summit from the Visitors Center (summit rd. is narrow and not paved!). When deciding for a visit to Mauna Kea, please, pay attention to weather conditions, esp. during the winter months..Blizzards are not uncommon and can endanger your life. No worries! We will always keep you updated on Big Island weather and surf conditions so you can safely enjoy your vacations with us.
If you are elderly or your health does not allow you to visit Mauna Kea summit (14,000ft.), why not explore the tourist areas of Kona...Painted Church, visit a Kona coffee farm and Alii drive and do some Hawaiian gift shopping!
Pack your luggage the night before. Leave bathing suits in the carry-on so you enjoy a few more hours on one of our beaches before heading to the airport.
As you probably noticed, even a 7-night stay is too short of a period to cover the Kohala Coast, not to mention the entire island. Kealakekua Bay with Captain Cook Monument, City of Refuge, South Point, Hilo town with farmers market, Kapoho tide pools etc. got skipped in our Big Island vacation 'itinerary'. Of course, your personal vacation plan will depend on your preferences for activities, Big Island places to see and to go and your overall target for your Hawaii vacation...relaxing beach vacation, exploring island attractions, spending healing vacations and more. Whatever your expectations are, our goal is to provide you with the best accommodations and service at the most reasonable rates. Looking forward to having you as our guests.