Friday, November 28, 2014

Hawaii: Big Island. Kona and Volcanoes National Park

Some tips:

  • Good low cost dining: Subway. Check the one in Alii drive, ocean front.
  • A few restaurants accept OpenTable reservations. Use them to get OpenTable points and securing a table.
  • Some restaurants have their own private parking, others use the public lot behind Alii's drive. In hot tourist season, they probably get full.
  • Plane tickets under $200 (one way) can be found on thanks giving day, and Wed after thanksgiving holiday.
  • Rent a car to have more flexibility and be able to visit more places. 

Hotel Sheraton Kona Resort

View of Manta Rays after sunset, directly from the hotel !
Excellent swimming pool
Gym with ocean view.. very nice for morning exercise!

The hotel is a few minute away from Kona and doesn't have direct beach access.
Rooms are big and comfortable, with everything that would be expected from such an hotel (flat screen TV, safe, coffee maker, hair dryer) . Mountain view rooms have a nice view  day and night, but the 2nd and 3d floors are kind of noisy, get a higher floor if a quite room is a priority. 
The rooms have a big balcony.
The self parking lot is kind of far from the room. When checking in/out, take the car near the registration office (front lobby).

The hotel charges a $30 fee per day in addition to room rates, for resort use (includes internet access from room, use of troley that goes to different touristic places, self parking, and few other things). It is a mandatory fee.

Mountain View from balcony

Swimming pool

Swimming pool and ocean in the background


Sheraton Kona

Sheraton Kona

Sheraton Kona

Sheraton Kona

Sheraton - view from the Gym and swimming pool

Around Kona

Hulihee Palace

Hulihee Palace

Hulihee Palace

Kona Mokuaikaua Church from 1820 (oldest church in Kona)

Kona Mokuaikaua Church

Captain Cook town, Sandy's Drive Inn (old place with low cost but pretty bad food).

Subway restaurant in Kona. Excellent location , Good and low cost food with Ocean view. A great deal. 

Kona Brewing Co. - Very nice place with lots of good beers. The pizza wasn't great, though.

Kona Hotel Courtyard Marriot King Kamehameha

  •  Nice hotel, big and modern rooms. 
  • Excellent location, in Kona downtown.
  • Access to the beach (small, but it's ok)

View from the room balcony

Inside the hotel

Hawaiian paintings

Sculptures inside the hotel

Very comfortable bed

Big room

Another view of the bed

TV, safe in room, coffee maker, hair dryer, etc.

Kealakekua Bay (Captain Cook Monument)

  • The monument can be seen at the other side of the bay, but it isn't reachable by car. Either by sea or by a 1hr+ hike (not an easy one)
  • This  bay is supposedly one of the best places for snorkeling in the Big Island

Volcanic landscape near the narrow road

Volcanoes National Park

  • The park lies about 2 hour drive from Kona (it's only 95 miles away, but the road is narrow, and speed limits are lower)
  • Volcano is the closest town to the park entrance , probably 2 miles away. Perfect place for overnight (visiting the park at night is recommended in order to see the lava glow, it's a very unique view)

Aloha Happy Place - Bed And Breakfast

Aloha Happy Place - Bed And Breakfast (very nice and comfortable rooms, very good service, safe place, well furnished, but rooms can get cold at night)

Crater Rim loop - Volcano steam vents and crater

Sulphur bank

Volcano view from Jagger Museum 

Hiking in Devastation Trail

Volcano view from Jagger Museum - at night see the orange glow of lava

Kahaluu Beach Park

  •  Excellent for snorkeling. Fish close to the beach, big variety. It's like swimming in a fish tank.
  • Seems safe for family, the water isn't deep.
  • Sand isn't that nice, and the beach is pretty small. This place is for snorkeling mostly.
  • Free parking is available, however it will probably get full in high season.
  • Clean bathrooms

Bellow is the list of fish that can be seen in Kahaluu Beach ( I rented the snorkel in this Bob place, decent pricing and also allow after hours drop off, They also sell underwater disposable cameras for $16) 

Leaving the Big Island...

Kona Airport (KOA)

Departure from KOA in Hawaiian Airlines