Recent Big Island reviews
"My group of six adults stayed here for a week in August. Both the view and the close proximity to town make this an unbeatable location. The constant sound of the waves made for a great night's sleep. The master bedroom is outstanding but the other three rooms are all fairly small in comparison. My husband and I paid a larger share of the rental fee to compensate the others. This was a nice enough unit but I would not call it luxurious for several reasons. There was far more storage than we needed but the kitchen bath and hall cabinets appeared to be constructed of pressboard and due to the humid climate the vinyl surfacing was peeling off in places. The kitchen could use some additional utensils, pots, bowls, and dinnerware. The dining table was uncomfortably high so we did not eat many meals at it. The furniture on the lanais was nowhere near as nice as it appears in the photos. It was exceptionally rusty, even for a tropical climate, so we didn't eat out there often either. We had to call maintenance twice due to plumbing issues. The off-hours maintenance folks were truly bad while the daytime folks were fabulous. They even sent a plumber over on a Saturday to repair a leaking shower. I would consider renting this unit again but I would also seriously consider a different unit along the same stretch of beach."Guest: L F. Date of Stay: August 2014 Review Submitted: September 3, 2014View listing
"I arrived and the emailed instructions for gaining access worked fine. The Condo was exactly as described and perfect for my needs. Anything that you might need (non-perishable) was already there and so my grocery shop was easy and quick. I dutifully left some new garbage bags, dried herbs (for cooking) and washing up liquid for the next occupant. At no point did I meet with the agent of the owner, but there was no need. An AC unit in the living area would have been an additional bonus, but those in the bedrooms worked fine and overall I couldn't have been happier. Well done VRBO."Guest: Anonymous Date of Stay: October 2014 Review Submitted: October 26, 2014View listing
"Lovely little hideaway not far off the beaten path. This was our first stay in a VRBO property and we loved it. We stayed in 2 other resort properties while in HI and this was our favorite lodging. The cottage is a nice mixture of quaint and upscale spa. It is very spacious. The bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and sitting area are all sizeable. The front porch also has a nice swing to relax on. While you could sleep up to 6 I think this is perfect for a family of 4. There is an upstairs loft with a futon that would be nice for an older child (though I would not put younger ones up there because they would have to climb a ladder). The setting is also lovely. After turning off the highway and driving for a few minutes you feel are in the country. At night the frogs serenade you to sleep. Also, you will be visited by the owner's dogs. If you are a dog lover, you will be in heaven. If you are not a dog lover (I am not) you will be by the time you leave. Bunny is one of the cutest, spunkiest little things I have ever seen. The only downsides to this property (and there are always downsides) is that light sleepers might be bothered by the frogs. A pair of earplugs (which every light sleeper should travel with) would take care of things. I myself am a light sleeper and was not bothered by the frogs. The roosters also crow in the morning but they did not bother me. Most folks will be awake anyways because of the time difference with the mainland. I would return and stay in this property in a heart beat. Amazing value for the price."Guest: Coral W. Date of Stay: May 2014 Review Submitted: May 27, 2014View listing
"Let's face it, the Big Island is a big big island...so there's really no central spot that is convenient everything. But if anything is close to that, I recommend Puako and this condo in particular. The luxury resorts are nearby - and that's where the rich people in our party stayed so we could still be 'close' - the drives most other destinations were all on the order of an hour or so, and that covers from Mauna Kea summit to Waipio Valley to Pololu Beach to Hilo and botanical gardens. Arrangements for this condo could not have been easier and we're handled ny the owners with promptness and care. The 3 rooms were all quite comfortable and there was an abundance of things already in the condo so all one really needed was food and a good attitude. Having the convenience of a market next door is great (closes at 7p though). We really appreciated the access to a string of beaches on the Puako Road as well. I was told Neil Young lives down there somewhere, too. I give this a top recommendation!"Guest: mikentosh Date of Stay: August 2014 Review Submitted: August 28, 2014View listing
Big Island Travel Tips
Hawaii is hands-down one of the most sought-after destinations in the U.S. There are eight main islands, and the largest and northernmost is called the Island of Hawaii -- better known as The Big Island -- to avoid confusing it with the rest of the state. It is a paradise filled with unparalleled natural wonders and all but two of the world’s climate zones, which serve as a home for a wealth of biodiversity. Come get your own slice of heaven on earth.
What’s a better sight to see than an active volcano spewing lava? Visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see it for yourself. The Big Island is not only big, it’s still growing! Kilauea has been erupting since 1983. Situated 30 miles southwest of Hilo, it is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. As a whole, the park boasts more than 150 miles of hiking trails through craters, rainforests, deserts and the volcanoes themselves. It is even considered a World Heritage Site. Amazingly, 250,000 to 650,000 cubic yards of lava are produced each day, which is enough to cover a road 20 miles long. Hurry, because no one knows when Kilauea will stop erupting! Catch this phenomenal natural event while supplies last! The visitor center is open from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For the science behind it, take a walk through the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum for geologic displays, videos and maps. Besides the volcano, you and the family can explore Crater Rim Drive, an 11-mile scenic drive within the park.
Along the western edge you will find the black lava fields of the Kohala Coast. However, a little further south lies the yang to its ying, Hapuna Beach, which is bursting with Hawaii’s biggest white-sand beaches. Let’s put it this way: Hapuna has hit international top ten lists year after year. The landscape are pristine, and the vistas couldn’t get much better. At Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve, you’ll discover lava rock carvings etched hundreds of years ago by native Hawaiians. No one is exactly sure what they mean, but it is generally thought that these carvings are records of birth and deaths from the ancient culture. There’s no better time than now, so treat yourself to luxury living as you can freshen up at top-tier spas to recharge and feel yourself again. Don’t forget to hit a round of golf on the world-class fairways and greens. Jack Nicklaus designed Hualalai Golf Course, while Robert Trent Jones Sr. had his hand at Mauna Kea Resort. Rest assured, you won’t go wrong.
Hamakua Coast, on the eastern side, is famous for its waterfalls and riveting rainforest. Explore the heart-stopping Akaka Falls, where waters spill 442 feet through a gorge into the river below. You’ll be surrounded by bamboo, birds of paradise and huge ti plants along the way. The coast is ribbed with valleys and gulches that you’ll see during your drive at the Hamakua Heritage Corridor, a trip that passes rainforests and waterfalls alike. Unwind in 275 acres of beauty at the World Botanical Garden, home to the Umauma Falls, before you go zip-lining along vistas of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a perfect adventure for thrill-seekers young and old!
You’ll be shouting “ahola” as you arrive in Hilo International Airport in this eastern region. The landscape brims with more rainforests and gardens than you will know what to do with. For science lovers, enjoy the amazing exhibits in the Pacific Museum and Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hilo’s newest top-notch attraction. To get a fresh bite to eat, pick out your favorite exotic fruit at Hilo Farmers Market, a knockout among locals. Cafe Pesto serves seafood caught the same day that will leave you and your family wowed.
Puna packs those black-sand beaches that Hawaii is known for. Tourists flock to Kalapana, a historic town destroyed by lava. Today, the site is the prime spot to see the lava reach the sea. A few miles away, you can see Keaau, where lands used to be covered in sugar canes. At the Lava Tree State Park, there are molds of trees that lava formed in the 1700s. Swim in pools heated by the volcanoes beside regions rich in tropical fruits and vegetation. Isaac Hale Beach Park provides one of the island’s most coveted surf spots, although swimming is not recommended due to the strong currents.
In Hawaii, you’ll leave with more than just a lei around your neck, you’ll come home with zip-line extravaganzas, volcano explosions and Pacific seafood dinners floating on your mind.