Big Island Hawaii Travel Guide - On A Budget
1. Rent a car!! It will save money in the long run if you really want to see the island. If you want to go on any rough terrain, rent a four wheel drive vehicle. If staying at a resort, please get out and explore! Our island is so diverse and the beauty can't be fully experienced inside the boundaries of a hotel.
2. Go to Walmart or Cosco and stock up for the week.
3. Go snorkeling!!! We have some of the clearest, most beautiful turquoise waters in the world. With breathtaking views underneath full of vibrant colors of coral and fish.
*** Here is where to snorkel for FREE! Type in your phone gps, "Two- Step Beach". It will take you south of Kona, beside the City of Refuge. Take the turn right before the park entrance. Don't pay to park there. Park on the side of the road up the hill, and to the left. There isn't really a beach with sand.. but there is Lava rock. Bring your own snorkeling gear, and leave your valuables in the car. All you need is a mask, fins, and a towel. Notice where other people are swimming in the ocean (there are ALWAYS people there). There are two natural steps in the lava rock before you enter the water. Be careful with the tides, and dive out into the water. Don't dive straight down. There is coral below. Here, dolphins are frequent in the mornings. Usually in massive groups!! You can swim with the dolphins and sea turtles here. On your way out, I can't say this with more emphasis.. DO NOT grab the rocks with your fingers on those natural lava steps!! Inside the grooves are sea urchins. Lay your hands flat, and hoist yourself up.
4. Go up to Mauna Kea for sunset and stick around for the stars to come out. There are several tour buses that do this, or you can just rent a four-wheel drive vehicle to drive up the volcano! Just type it in your gps and you will find it.
5. Eat shave ice at Big Island Shave Ice Inc.
6. Go to Hilo for the day and drive the Hamakua coastline. Stop by Akaka Falls. Be sure to park on the side of the road to the right (before you reach the parking lot) to avoid the $5 parking fee.
7. Go to Hapuna beach. It's one of the whitest sand beaches on the island. It's popular for a reason! You will pay a $5 parking fee but it's worth it.
8. Eat at the Seafood Bar in Kawaihai. That's where I met Will Ferrel... That was the highlight of my life. It's a hot spot for a reason! Food can be expensive... But their desserts are reasonable if you just want something sweet!
9. If you are at a resort, soak in the hot tubs at night then go to the hammocks underneath the stars. If you're not at a resort, you can still go into the resorts and explore! These resorts are beautiful, and I highly recommend at least visiting them and taking pictures.
11. Hike down to Pololu Valley. Type it into your gps, and it will take you on a narrow, long road to the north side of the island. You will pass through a town called Hawi. You'll find yourself at the edge of a road, with a small parking lot. There's a trail that takes you to the bottom of the valley in about 30 minutes. There's a black sand beach here that is beautiful, along with hobbit-like trees all around. But DO NOT swim here. The rip currents are intense and dangerous. Just take your pictures, and observe! If you keep hiking, following the small path, go up on the other side of the valley and follow the trail for about an hour. You will come to an overlook with a small bench. Be careful here, it's extremely windy and the ground is a little unstable.
12. Go to Waimea town (where I live) and view the green rolling hills. These are our ranch lands!
This is Akaka Falls in Hilo! You can view this from a paved sidewalk, and it's only a quarter of a mile walk to see this gorgeous, cascading waterfall!