Commonly known as the Big Island, Hawaii is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands (twice as big as the other islands combined, to be exact) and is known for its diverse landscapes that include lush rainforests, colored-sand beaches, and two active volcanoes. If you’re looking to get in touch with nature while enjoying a stunning tropical backdrop, you should definitely aim to spend a few days on this unique island during your Hawaiian vacation.
There are several things you don’t want to miss during your trip to Hawaii. You definitely want to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is the number one site for visitors on the island. Experience Hawaiian culture at its finest, and be sure to sign up for the weekly Secret Lava Tube Tour. Head over to Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s most sacred location, and observe the stars when the sun goes down. Go snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay, then go horseback riding in Waipi’o Valley, which is home to stunning waterfalls, hikes, and wild horses that roam free. Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park has ancient temples and is a great place to learn more about the kapu system that governed ancient Hawaii. Check out Hapuna Beach, a white-sand beach that is half a mile long and one of Hawaii’s most iconic beaches. If you’re a fan of hula, you’ll want to come check out the Merrie Monarch Festival, which draws in people from around the globe to participate in this statewide hula competition. The weeklong festival runs from April 16 to 22 in 2017.
Many people choose to visit multiple Hawaiian islands during their trip. Other nearby islands that are popular destinations include Maui, Kauai, and Oahu, and there are numerous inter island flights that range from 20 to 50 minutes, depending on your destination.
Hilo is the capital of the Big Island and lies on the east side of the island. It is exceptionally rainy here and is filled with a lush, tropical rainforest with colorful flowers and waterfalls. The downtown part of Hilo has lots of museums and galleries, as well as a weekly farmers market, making it a convenient place to stay. Kona is the vacation capital of the Big Island, with a range of accommodation that includes luxury homes and cute beach shacks. With close proximity to nearby resorts and golf courses, Kona is an ideal place to book your vacation rental. Another great place to stay is Waimea, which is the biggest town on the North side of the island and is more rural with rolling lush pastures. This is a great place to get away from it all, if you’re looking to spend time in the country.
The best way to get around the Big Island is by renting a car, but there are other alternatives that include taxis, the ride share taxi program, or a bike rental. There is also the public bus service, which is the cheapest way to get around. Known as the Hele-on-Bus, it can take you just about anywhere on the island, but most of the departure times are early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
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