Script on Big Island
5 days on the largest island in Hawaii
Aloha! Welcome to Island of Hawaii or Big Island, as it is better known.
Big Island is the largest and youngest island in Hawaii. It is almost twice as large as all other Hawaiian islands combined (hence its nickname “Big Island”).
On Big Island, visitors can visit different climatic zones of the world on the same day on the same island. The tourist finds everything from the Tropical climate to the Polar Tundra, the result of the protection effect and the elevations of the huge volcanoes Maunakea and Maunaloa.
From the molten magma that flows from Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park to the snowy mountains of Maunakea; from the lush valleys off the coast of Hamakua to the black sands of Punaluu beach, Big Island is an incomparable expression of the power of nature. ( source )
How to get?
There are two airports on Big Island: the one in Kona and the other in Hilo.
We arrived via Kona and left the island via Hilo. The visitor can also do the opposite. We did it that way to enjoy every corner of the island.
When to go?
The weather on all Hawaiian islands is consistent, offering only small changes in temperature throughout the year. There are really only two seasons: the summer months from May to October and the winter months from November to April.
See more information about the weather and conditions on Big Island by visiting this link .
High season is the summer season in the continental United States, so between June and September. At this time the incidence of tourists is higher on the islands.
Any time of year is a good time to visit Big Island. Located at sea level, the average summer temperature is 30º Celsius and 25º Celsius in winter. The trade winds maintain a pleasant temperature throughout the year. The whale watching season runs from December to May, with peak whale watching months between January and early April.
Where to stay?
We chose accommodation on both sides of the Island: first in Kona and then in Hilo. This is a way to get to know more points of interest and optimize the time for those who do not have many days.
We particularly prefer the Kona side as it has a newer structure and a more attractive beach landscape.
How to get around?
As it is a large island, it is recommended to rent a car (preferably a 4X4 after that there will be sections on this island that are accessible only with this type of vehicle). The idea is that the visitor makes a reservation before arriving. All major rental companies have offices on Big Island. See more about car rental here .
There are also guided tours of all kinds, from bus tours and taxis to transportation services and private limousines. Car rental agencies are located at Kona and Hilo international airports, as well as some resorts. Car rental companies are located within walking distance of the two intercity terminals. Taxis and other land transport are also available.
Hawaii County also offers free mass transportation via the Hele On (Let’s Go) bus. There are stops all over the island of Hawaii, with service between Kona and Hilo offered from Monday to Saturday. All buses are wheelchair accessible and it is free to go anywhere on the island. To see more about the service click on the link . ( source )
Check out our full itinerary in Hawaii by accessing this link .
After a good explanation of the aspects of this island, let’s go on our 5-day itinerary. Check it out below:
# 1 day
Our first day in Hawaii has already started intense and with many new landscapes. As the time zone helped us on our way from Sydney to Hawaii (we left the Australian capital on the 7th at 6:30 pm and arrived on the same day at 7:00 am), we were able to enjoy Friday with an already complete schedule. We arrived at the airport, went to pick up the car at the rental store Attention, here’s an important tip! On Big Island it is important to rent a 4X4 car if you want to climb the Mauna Kea volcano. After the main entrance to the park – the Visitor Information Center – until the peak, only cars with this type of traction are allowed to follow. After taking our official means of transport from this island, we drive towards our hotel for check in.We did all the procedures, left the bags and went on to local recognition.
As we were staying in central Kona, close to the center, we chose Magic Sand Beach for this afternoon of the first day. We sat on the sand and there we spent the afternoon with lots of sun, sand and that Hawaiian vibe.
After the day’s beach, we head back to the hotel and enjoy the sunset with the wonderful view of the place. We relaxed by the pool and toasted the trip with that special beer.
Towards the end of the day, we reserved our strength for dinner at a local pub and closed our first day.
Hotel review: Kona Coast Resort (5 stars)
Excellent hotel with complete infrastructure (swimming pool, tennis court, parking facilities etc.) and with a very good price for 4 people (on this trip we were in 4, a couple and two friends)
$ 508 (US dollars) for a 2 bedroom apartment (double bed and two single beds), living room, kitchen, two bathrooms and balcony.
# 2 Day
On this second day the idea was to make the northern part (from Kona) of the west side of Big Island, and that is what we put into practice.
We left the hotel and headed towards our first stop Kekaha Kai State Park . In this place we find a jaw-dropping landscape. At the beginning of the route, after leaving the main highway, we traveled a few kilometers along a dirt road, rocks and an incredible volcanic soil to see.
Soon we were already in the parking lot of the place and we went to the beaches of this park. The Makalawena Beach and Mahai’ula Beach two beaches que impress! Crystal clear water, very pleasant temperature, thicker sand and a view with palm trees to leave any human being with jaw dropping.
We decided to stay in the rightmost part of the main parking lot, as the beach was quieter and much more beautiful. There we saw a lot of marine life with snorkeling and some turtles surrounded us in the sea. We stayed at the place for about 2 hours and then we went on our route.
Our next stop was Hapuna Beach , the most popular beach on the Big Island, according to the travel guides we consulted. We found there a good infrastructure for tourists and residents (barbecue grills, leisure area and snack bar), but we decided to just take a few pictures and go on, since we had come from another beach and we were hungry. After a few minutes on the spot, we followed our route again. Entrance fee to the park: $ 5 dollars.
At that moment it was past 1 pm and we decided to have lunch at a restaurant nearby, more precisely, inside a resort. We stayed at the place for about an hour and a half. After resting and restoring energy, we continue the tour to the next points of interest of the day.
We then drive towards Hawi , the northernmost city on Big Island. From there we proceed to the Pololu Valley Overlook , a place with a beautiful view and a trail. We took advantage of a few more photos (we didn’t follow the trail) and continued our saga of the day.
From this point further north, we started our journey back towards the south. We return to the city of Hawi and access the road (route 250) that took us to Waimea. This route is very special! There we find a beautiful setting with a mixture of lots of nature around and a beautiful panoramic view of Big Island. The Kohala Mountain Road is 32 km and it runs the traveler winding and beautiful scenery. Don’t miss this route and its complete views of this island in Hawaii.
At that moment our second day itinerary was closed. We then proceeded along the main highway on the west side and drove to our well-deserved dinner in downtown Kona. The order of the night was a beautiful and juicy Outback. We close the day!
# 3 Day
And the third day on Big Island had arrived. On this day we booked a road trip to the southern part of the west coast of Big Island. We left the hotel around 10 am, and went to the southern end – Ka Lae . This is considered the southernmost part of the United States.
The trip took approximately 1 hour and a half and was filled with multiple scenarios, a very common situation on this island of Hawaii. Travel it from end to end and, without a doubt, experience different climates and vegetation in a very short period of road. At a certain moment the traveler is faced with a volcanic scenery, but just a little further on, a very tropical and rainy vegetation is already revealed. Without a doubt, a unique experience.
We reached the southernmost point at noon. There we find the trail to Green Sands Beach (olivine sand), a famous beach made up of a mixture of white, black sand and small greenish crystals. However, unfortunately, due to the diving schedule of other members of the travel group, we were unable to access it. At that moment, we had to go back to Kona.
Green Sands Beach: and a beach that is 4 km northwest of the south tip of Big Island and has a unique setting. Its structure is not composed of sand and sea like the “common” beaches, but of grass and the sea in front of it.
Tip: it is only possible to access it on foot or with a car with 4X4 traction. There is a parking lot at the beginning of the trail for passenger cars and pick-ups that make the journey if you want to pay to be taken to this beach.
Too bad we didn’t get time to access this place, but I advise the traveler to book time for the place.
After walking a little on the trail that leads to this beach, we decided to go back and enjoy one just the tip of the island. We went to the cliff and there we found some locals and tourists enjoying the space. Some tourists skip the cliff and enjoy the sea, but in space there is a sign with reference that this practice is not allowed. Even so many do.
After this trip to the southern tip, we returned to Kona and its center full of restaurants. It was time for lunch. We sat in a place by the sea and enjoyed the time.
After lunch it was time to leave some members of this trip at the marina for the day’s dive.
The end of the afternoon for others was sun, pool, peace and music enjoying the sunset.
The third day was closed!
# 4 Day
Our day four on Big Island was all focused on leaving Kona for Hilo (we left the west and migrated to the east of this island) and going up to the highest point in Hawaii, and one of the highest in the world.
We woke up early, had our coffee at the hotel (we booked a hotel with an apartment structure, so it had a kitchen) and checked out. We then proceed to the road and to Mauna Kea .
From Kona to the base of the mountain / volcano it takes approximately 1 ½ hours down the road. We arrived at the place around 11:30 am. Soon we identified ourselves at the Visitor Information Center and asked for information.
Mauna Kea: what you need to know to climb to the highest point in Hawaii and one of the highest in the world
- You need to have a 4X4 vehicle (when we visited the site we saw some cars that did not have this type of traction, however at the base all instructions were that we needed to have this feature, so do not hesitate to place a vehicle like this indicated, especially in the period of Winter);
- You can’t be pregnant;
- You cannot have heart problems;
- You cannot have scuba diving in the last 24 hours before climbing the volcano;
- Children under 13 are not allowed to climb;
- People with breathing problems cannot go up;
The road does not have very extreme conditions, even because a part of it is paved, however the indication and always have a vehicle with traction. Respect the rules!
Mauna Kea: learn a little more
Mauna Kea means “White Mountain” in the Hawaiian language, a reference to its summit, which is regularly covered with snow in winter. This is the highest point in the archipelago and one of the most prominent in the world! If we consider the measurement from the base to the peak, the volcano is 10,105 meters from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. So the highest mountain in the world. However, if we consider the measurement of the land base to the peak, the highest in the world will be Everest (00,000 meters).
According to its elevation, air quality and abstinence from light and pollution, this is the best observation point in the world!
At the top of this mountain / volcano there is a space research base and several countries have telescopes there, including: USA (NASA and University of Hawaii), Canada, France, United Kingdom, among others.
After proper information and instructions, we drove to the top. It took us approximately 30 minutes from the information center to the highest base.
There, what we found was really from another world. A totally different place, and very reminiscent of films showing the lunar and Mars soil. A really inexplicable experience.
There were many photos and many sighs with the scenery, and after an hour and a half we returned to base. It was definitely a special moment.
After this tour, we proceed to our lunch and then to the new accommodation on the east side of Big Island, Hilo.
We checked in, left bags, remade ourselves and at night we closed our day with a typical American dinner, Taco Bell, rs.
Hotel review: Shaka Shak (2 stars)
Hotel with a very simple inn face. Old structure of a wooden house with reasonable dependencies. Small room with a balcony reserved for 4 people (a double bed and 2 single beds).
Very hot place, full of mosquitoes and without air conditioning (I don’t recommend it).
$ 365.95 (US dollars) for the facilities I mentioned above.
# 5 Day
On this last day of tours on the Big Island, we booked a return to the top of Manau Kea and a few more points of interest in the northern Hilo region.
We returned to the highest point in the world, as two of the members of our trip were unable to climb the day before, due to scuba diving. But this time with a very special touch, we went to see the stars and the sunrise.
We woke up at 3 am and drove back to Mauna Kea. We arrived at the top at 5 am and stayed for a little over 30 minutes watching the beauty of the stars in an ultra clean sky and beautiful to live.
Around 6 am the sun was already on the horizon and we were admiring it as far as we could. We were still in place for 1 hour for more photos and, at approximately 8 am we were already at the base.
From this point we drive to the next place of interest of the day: Waipio Valley . This is a valley that shelters a very particular nature and where we could also find Black Sand Beach .
The Waipio Valley can be seen from a lookout, and there the visitor gets great photos. However, to go to Black Sand Beach, you must have a 4 × 4 car. In this case it would not be “optional” as the climb of the Mauna Kea in the summer. To access the beach we go down a very narrow, steep and full of holes.
It took us about 20 minutes to get down and we took advantage of Black Sand Beach for many photos. We then proceeded to our return and headed for the penultimate point of interest of the day, Akaka Falls .
We drove south from Big Island on the Hilo side to the entrance to the park that houses the waterfall.
We parked the car on the road before the official parking lot and continued walking along a small part of the road (about 100 meters).
There is a $ 1 dollar entry fee at this location and if you park at the location you pay an additional $ 5.
Inside the park the trail is light and paved. We went down in the direction indicated by the signs, we found a waterfall in the first lookout and soon after, walking a few more meters, we found Akaka Falls.
Some good pictures and we headed for our return to Hilo.
We arrived in the city and looked for a beach to close our day. We chose Carlsmith Beach Park . This place is not necessarily a beach as we usually see, but a park with stones and a structure for leisure. We stayed there for almost 2 hours. In this place we find a green turtle reserve. We even managed to see a huge one near the rocks where we were.
At this stage, we closed our itinerary for the last day of Big Island.
We travel the island almost entirely by its main and secondary roads. The only part we were unable to access was the Volcanoes Park (Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and its Kilawea Volcano) and Maona Loa, one of the largest volcanoes in the world. We didn’t go there because of a tropical storm that approached this island at the time we went. East coast parks have closed due to this problem. But if you want to visit, I suggest two ways: first it would be with your rental car and go exploring the places, and the second through a helicopter tour (there are several companies that do tours on the island, and the two most famous are Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and Paradise Helicopters).
- Luau at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
- Kilauea After Dark
- Waipio Ride the Rim (quadricículo)
- Dive & Manta
- Paradise Helicopters
- Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
- Guided Tours
- Lava n zip Zipline & Volcano Tour
- Volcanoes Waterfalls Nature (small group guided tours)
- Dolphin Discoveries Snorkel and Dolphin Adventures
- Snorkel & Surf
- Snorkelling Adventures
- Safari Helicopters
- Honu Sports Dive
- Umauma Falls & Zipline Experience
- Big Island Buggy
- Hawaii Island Tours
- Kula Kai Caverns
- Helicopter Tours Sunshine Helicopters
- Air Tours Fly First Class
- Mauna Kea Summit Adventures
- Dolphin/Manta Snorkel
- Volcanoes Maunakea Waterfalls Nature Tours
- Manta Guarantee
- Snorkel – Ocean Sports
Confira viagens pelo Brasil e pelo mundo.
Você escolhe o destino e a gente te guia.
Separamos algumas dicas e passo a passo para você planjar sua próxima viagem. Uma vez que você começar, não vai mais parar.
Não deixe de viajar porque esta sem tempo de planejar. Nós do Soul Viajero criamos o seu roteiro e você se preocupa em fazer as malas, viajar e relaxar.