Thursday, January 31, 2013

Where to Stay on a Hawaii Island Vacation

Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
Since moving to South Kohala last summer, we have had the benefit of talking with many visitors to the island staying in the nearby resorts.  We enjoy listening to their stories of touring the island, seeing the erupting volcano, and watching the whales.  Surprisingly, many of the visitors who stay at the luxury resorts are disappointed with the lack of exciting adventures nearby.  Visitors in search of an  “Adventure Vacation” are bored at the remote, fancy resorts, whereas visitors in search of a “Resort Vacation” are thrilled.  

Hawaii Island offers a luxury “Resort Vacation” on pristine, white sand beaches where you are pampered with staff who bring towels and drinks at cabanas on the beach and everything you need is right there. Years ago, when we had stressful jobs on the mainland, we often went to Hawaii just to rest, lay around the pool, be fed, and do nothing. The five-star resorts in South Kohala are perfect for this type of vacation.  Though they are remote, there are cruises that leave from Kohala boat landings and nearby helicopter tours that offer a way to view the active volcano without requiring the long drive.

South Kohala Luxury Resort
Visitors in search of an “Adventure Vacation” find Hawaii Island one of the best places for excitement and discovery.  There are zip lines over waterfalls, rafting trips through earth tunnels, swimming with huge manta rays at night, ATV tours through tropical jungles, evening boat trips to view lava spewing into the ocean, jet skiing, scuba diving into lava caves, horseback riding tours, and deep sea fishing.   You can go parasailing, rent a Harley motorcycle to tour the island, rent a bicycle to ride the Ironman route from Kona to Hawi, or tour lava fields at night.  However, the resorts in South Kohala are far from Volcanoes National Park, tropical forests in East Hawaii, and marine activities in Kona.  When planning an Adventure Vacation, staying near the action makes more sense and saves many hours in the car driving from place to place.
Thurston Lava Tube hike Volcanoes National Park

On one of our favorite vacations to Hawaii Island we toured the island in search of adventure; we stayed at the Kona Islander Inn within walking distance to the pier, a B&B in Ka’u District close to spelunking in a lava cave at Kula Kai, our favorite B&B in Volcano – Kilauea Lodge - near hiking trails in Volcanoes National Park, at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel on Banyon Drive near tropical gardens, and at the Hilton in Waikoloa Beach to relax before leaving the island.   The cost of these modest hotels and B&B’s were far less than staying at a resort hotel the entire time and it allowed us to pay for more activities.
Devastation Trail Volcanoes National Park

Whatever type of vacation you are planning, recognizing the long driving distances on Hawaii Island, reserving activities in advance,  and selecting the right place to stay, makes all the difference in having the most fun on your vacation.

B&B Cottage Volcano Town


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