The Big Island, as the island of Hawaii is called in order to avoid confusion, is home to the most active volcano in the world and also an island of huge variety. Larger than all the other islands put together, it’s an island of amazing contrasts with lush rainforests, monolithic cliffs, beaches of many colours and active volcanoes. In one day you could go skiing on snow filled mountain and swimming in the ocean or hike through lush rainforest and walk over the barren lava fields.

Visitors are constantly delighted by the 14,000 foot snow clad summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the two tallest mountains in the Pacific, the desertscape of Ka’u and the astonishing green grass of Waimea.

An island of massive and varied terrain, Hawaii offers spectacular ocean vistas, plunging waterfalls, dense forests, mountain greenery and expansive deserted beaches. There are abundantly flowering vanda orchids and 30,000 other orchid species, as well as anthuriums, the beautiful heart shaped flower.

Given the large distances on the Big Island (the island’s surface area is larger than all the other islands combined) you can see the best sights by car or bus tour visit. The road across the island is 500 km long and takes approximately 6 hours to complete, with no stops en route.

Top Areas to Stay in Kauai

Kailua Kona

Kona, Big island (HT)

Kailua Kona or “Kona” as the locals say is great place to stay, well known for fishing, snorkeling, sunsets and nightlife. It is a chilled out and warm area on the island.

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Waikoloa Beach

Waikoloa, Big Island (HT)

Waikoloa Beach is the only area on the Big Island with natural yellow sand. It is a beautiful spot and home to only a few top resorts.

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Hilo

Hilo, Big Island (HT)

The small harbor town of Hilo is a great base to explore the eastern half of the island including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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Directors Choice – Top Hotels for all Budgets

Director of Pacific Island Travel, Rob Kusters shares his top picks of Hotels, Resorts and Condos on Big Island for all budgets!

Royal Kona ***

Royal Kona Resort, Big Island, Hawaii

“Moneywise I would say this is the best deal on the island. Set on striking black rocks on the Kona Coast, and just a few minutes from Kahula town so you are close to a good selection of restaurants, bars and shopping. If booking in October  Ironman is on so it will be very busy.”

Waikoloa Marriott *****

Kaanapali, Maui (HT)

“Stunning property with beautiful sea views. Located on 15 acres of lush property facing the beach. Features all the facilties you would expect from a 5 star property. Good value for money at this 5 star. ”

Chalet Kilauea ***

The Chalet Kilauea, Big Island, Hawaii

“Make sure you book early to ensure you get the ‘Chalet’, the best value chalet from the Kilauea collection. Small and intimate and certainly worth its money. Enjoy stunning sunrises and be first in the National Park (it tends to take the masses from Kona around two hours to get here).”

Mauna Kea ****

Hapuna Beach Hotel, Big Island, Hawaii

“This top hotel is ideal for a romantic getaway. Set on the beuatiful sunny Kohala Coast on a quiet crescent beach.”

More information about Big Island

Lava from Kilauea Volcano meets the sea, Hawaii Island.1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to both the world’s largest volcano and the world’s most active. The Kilauea, is definitely the highlight. You see columns of smoke rising from the crater and lava flowing down its slope. Find Out More >

 

"Couple enjoying Wailua falls, Hana Maui"2. Rainbow Falls
At Rainbow Falls, just outside the town of Hilo, you will find yourself in a very different world.
Rainbow Falls derives its name from the fact that a rainbow is produced by mist from this 80-foot high waterfall on sunny mornings. During extended winter cold spells, an impressive ice formation builds around the falls. Find Out More >

waipio3. Waipio valley and the Polynesian Temples
Along the coastal road you will see beautifully situated numerous waterfalls, beautiful bays and an abundance of colorful flowers. Stopping at Waipio Valley for a hike and tour of the Polynesian temples is a must. Find Out More >

 

molokai0023_l4. Hawaiian Cowboy Ranch
On the Kohala Coast the best beaches are located as well as most of the resorts and hotels. Inland there are picturesque villages and huge farms. “The Parker Ranch “is one of the largest Ranches in America. Here you will also find regular rodeos. Find Out More >

 

People walk past Hale o Keawe Heiau5. Puuhonua (Place of Refuge)
The black rocks on the Kona coast provide a sharp contrast with the dark blue of the ocean, the bright blue sky and the green of the vegetation. Here you will find the Puuhonua (temple complex), now known as Place of Refuge. The Puuhonua protected the kapu breaker (law breaker), defeated warriors, as well as civilians during the time of battle. No harm could come to those who reached the boundaries of the place of refuge. Find Out More >

akaka falls6. Akaka Falls
Akaka Falls is a beautiful waterfall eleven miles north of Hilo boasting a tremendous sight as the water tumbles 440 feet to the base. Find Out More >

 

papakolea-green-sand-beach-hawaii-beaches

7. Black and Green Sand Beaches
Black sand beaches formed by volcanic sand can be found on the Big Island. Kehena Beach and Punaluu Beach are popular with both locals and tourists. You will find green sand beaches at south point! Find Out More >

Group whale watching8. Whale Watching
During the winter months (December to May) you can see humpback whales off the coast of the Big Island. Both guided tours and private charters are available. Find Out More >

 

star gazing9. Manua Kea Star Gazing
Mauna Kea is Hawaii’s highest peak and at the top you will find the world’s clearest stargazing is here. There are a cluster of observatory domes here which take stargazing to a whole other level. Find Out More >

 

Shipwreck Beach10. Hapuna Beach
One of the nicest white sandy beaches on the Kohala coast with beautiful turquoise waters. It is a great spot for swimming, body boarding, snorkeling and of course sunbathing. Find Out More >

 

 

Big island has very limted public transport. Getting around by local bus, bikes, moped or on foot is fine if your staying in one area. However it is best to get a car in order to get to most of the interesting beaches, parks or other attractions, or to travel from the Kona coast to the Hilo coast. Places like the green or black sand beaches, or the Mauna Kea summit and astronomical observatories are only accessible by four-wheel drive. Note that car rentals tend to book months in advance, depending on the season.