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Monday, December 15, 2008

Hilo or Kona?

Aloha Hawaii travelers,
With Hawaiian island hopping being in the affordable range again, a visit to the Big Island's live volcano on your Hawaii vacation becomes of interest again. When we answer questions in Yahoo Answers Hawaii, we frequently come across the question where to stay on the Big Island. Here is what Big Island travelers should know about Hilo or Kona vacation.

Hilo or Kona, which location is the best for a Big Island vacation?

Yes, all the people who told you that Kona is on the dry side, West Coast of the Big Island, and Hilo is on the wetter, rainier East Coast, are definitely right. For this obvious reason Kona has more ocean front hotels and therefore is much more touristy than Hilo and Hilo area.. But isn't that what you have come for...sunny and dry weather in order to escape the rain from the Mainland!

What to expect at a Kona vacation?

You can expect extremely sunny and dry weather in Kona, even during the wetter winter season. Kona attracts thousands of visitors a year because of such outstanding events like the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in October or the Bill Fish Tournament in August. If you don't like crowds, make sure to stay away from those events but most visitors plan attending those attractive events on their Kona vacation. Make sure to plan your Kona vacation early. Kona has white sands beaches but they are smaller than best Big Island's Hapuna and Mauna Kea beach north of Kona, on the Kohala Coast. Kealakekua Bay, south of Kona, guarantees best snorkeling and scuba diving on the Big Island. With plenty of hotels, restaurants and discos, we recommend a Kona vacation for younger people who also look for some night life on their Hawaii vacation.

Kona Vacation, Hawaii cruiseship in Kona
What to expect at a Hilo vacation?

Hilo weather is most of the times humid and warm and rainy. You will see quite a number of residents with umbrellas, either as a protection from the rain or the sun. Hilo area features some lovely beaches. However, be aware they are the black sands beaches, which is definitely one of the biggest differences to Kona with its white sand beaches. Favorite sights to visit when staying in Hilo are: Rainbow Waterfalls, Akaka Waterfalls (a few miles out of Hilo), Hilo Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden Hilo and Hilo Zoo. Don't miss the biggest Farmer's market of the Big Island Hilo Farmer's market with the freshest tropical fruits, tropical flowers and vegetables at very affordable prices plus Hawaiian gifts and crafts. Best days are Wednesday and Saturdays. A few stands are always open during the rest of the week.

Hilo vacation, Hilo public golf course
Here are a few recommendation. Unless you really love the tropical rain forest and prefer black sand beach - there are no white sand beaches on the East coast - which are typical features of Hilo and area, decide for a West coast vacation!
No need to stay in touristy Kona, which can be at times quite 'voggy' (looks like fog but are fumes from our active volcano). Stay north of Kona, on the sunny Kohala Coast. Admittedly, the Kohala Coast resorts are quite expensive but there are quite a number of vacation rentals close to the best white sand beaches, Hapuna and Mauna Kea Beach!
The Kohala Coast has great snorkel spots in Puako. If you want to explore Kealakekua Bay, our best Big Island snorkel area, it's a short 30min drive to Honokahau Harbor where all the Kona snorkel ships take off.
When staying on the Kohala Coast, you can do a day trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Take the route via Waimea and Hilo (or even stay 2 nights in Hilo area), which is longer but straighter than the very curvy Kona one and passes all the best Big Island sights like Waipio Valley.
After your long adventurous day to the Park, stay a night or two in Volcano. There are wonderful Volcano places near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with jacuzzi where you can rest and recuperate from a day of Big Island adventure.
Enjoy the movie at the Visitor's Center, the Thurston Lava Tubes and of course, the fireworks of Madame Pele...hot lava flowing into the ocean and shooting up into the skies. Wow!

After all those exciting adventures, you will be happy when you are back lying on the warm sunny Hapuna beach. Have a wonderful Big Island vacation in Kona, Hilo and the Kohala Coast. Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacation Kona and Hawaii Vacation Hilo

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