Notes From Our Big Island Visit

hawaii-012010 123 (1)As I mentioned last week, I have so many ideas, suggestions and experiences to share with you that I hardly know where to start. I’m conscious that some readers may be in the process of planning your own vacation to the Big Island, so I wanted to go ahead and provide some brief advice and insights from our trip.

I’ll have more detailed posts to share, but in the meantime I’ll briefly list my newly garnered advice on where to stay, what to do and where to eat on the Big Island.

Where To Stay On The Big Island

We really picked a couple of excellent winners this time around. We stayed on the town of Volcano for two nights and in Waikoloa Beach Resort for 10 nights.

* In Volcano (Hilo side), we loved the Volcano Teapot Cottage. It’s an adorable two-bedroom cottage that was built in the early 1900’s. The hosts were delightful and kept us well stocked in fresh island fruits and yummy baked goods. We wished we could have stayed longer.

* In Waikoloa (Kona side), we stayed in a fantastic villa resort at Hali’i Kai. I think it may be the best villa (condo) community in all of Hawaii. The community has an ocean front pool that is gorgeously designed and landscaped. On top of that, there’s a great poolside restaurant and bar. The food was some of the best we had on the island. We enjoyed watching whales from pool and exercise hale and our private lanai. We found the villa we rented (8A) on The owners were easy to work with and allowed us to pay via Pay Pal for our protection. We’ll definitely be back to Hali’i Kai!

What To Do On The Big Island

* We were finally able to get to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden off the Four Mile Scenic Drive. I had heard good things about the garden and I thought I’d enjoy it, but it exceeded my expectations! As we paid our $15 admission, we were advised to allow an hour to tour the garden. I think we spent well over two hours there.

* We loved the Friday night Kona Village Luau – Savai’i, Origins of the Polynesia Luau. The luau buffet was the best we’ve had with a ginormous selection. Their kalua pork was prepared straight from the imu and it was so delicious. Oh, and the show was very good, too.

* We thought the snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay was some of the best we’ve done, yet. As I mentioned in my post, Planning to Explore Kealakekua Bay, I chose to snorkel with Fair Wind II. They provided a great tour that suits all levels and interests.

* We gave the Ocean Sports Sunset Sail another try and they continue to do a great job. The secret to taking this particular sail is that this time of year, it also becomes a free whale watching tour. We saw a whale breach approximately 75 yards off the boat. I have a few 20% off coupons I can pass along in case you’re headed there anytime soon.

* For more suggestions of what to do on the Big Island, see Best (Hawaii) Big Island Free and Budget Friendly Activities

Where To Eat On The Big Island

We had good experiences at the following restaurants:

  • Kiawe Kitchen on Old Volcano Road in Volcano
  • Cafe Ono on Old Volcano Road in Volcano
  • Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae
  • Tex Drive-In for malasadas in Honokaa
  • Yong’s Kal-Bi Korean Restaurant in the Waimea Shopping Center (KTA) in Waimea (Recommended by Jerry & Bobbie at TheRightBlue)
  • Kona Brewing Company in Kailua-Kona
  • We continue to recommend Roy’s and Sansei in Waikoloa Beach Resort

For more suggestions on where to eat on the Big Island, see Best Big Island Restaurants

  1. The Sunset Sale looks interesting to my wife and me. Is the coupon you mentioned available?

        1. Ilene – sorry I thought I had some extras but I can’t seem to find them. I would guess that if you called them to book and said that you were told them you’d like a 20% discount per a friend’s recommendation — they’d probably honor that. If you give it a try, please let me know how it works. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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