Hawaii Big Island (December through March)
Jan. 27 - Feb. 4, 2018 /
Feb. 10 - 18, 2018 / Feb. 24 - Mar. 4, 2018
contact us to set up a custom trip!
Trip Cost: $2,495 double
occupancy - 9
Days & 8 Nights, All trips start on a Saturday and end on a Sunday.
to 4 guests. Two rooms - two for couples and for those who can share a
Degree of difficulty - can be customized for the group to be easy with moderate
options, or moderate with challenging options.
Born in the clash of liquid fire and surging
ocean, the Big Island became the grandest Hawaiian island and bears nature's
indelible marking of variety and beauty. Sun-swept and rain-cooled, lofty
volcanoes dusted with snow, beckoning beaches of wondrous hues, this island
offers the walker a sense of adventure and an unmistakable joy. Lush forests
and rolling grasslands contrast vividly with dramatic lava fields of various
ages. Strange birds call from Koa and Ohia trees, and voluminous waterfalls
drop from velvet cliffs to the green valley floors. See humpback whales not far
offshore, breaching and spouting in the Pacific waves during their breeding
season. And a language as intriguing as the local history and customs.
of our island loop trip:
We convene in Kailua-Kona, and go
up the Kona Coast to visit and walk the trails at Kaloko-Honokohau National
Historic Park to see how the ancient Hawaiians lived, fished and cared for
their land. Green sea turtles are often found along the shore. This is a
wonderful way to get acquainted with the local culture and terrain. Then we go
south to Captain Cook to stay two nights at the quaint family-run Manago Hotel,
where the sunset views are stunning, and a Japanese-style dinner at Teshima's
is in store. The next day we visit Kealakekua Bay where Captain Cook, the
famous navigator and explorer, first landed in 1778. Ancient lava cliffs line
the bay, and we might spot Spinner Dolphins. At Honaunau Village we can watch
outrigger canoes being launched, walk the shoreline trail in search of whales,
or learn about native culture in Pu'uhonua O Honaunau Place of Refuge National
Historic Park. We'll also visit a Kona Coffee plantation and a lovely Painted
Church overlooking the ocean.
We continue southward around the island's southwestern corner, taking a side
trip to South Point (Ka Lae), the southern-most point in the US, where it is
believed the first Tahitian-area sea voyagers landed over 1,000 years ago. We
also stop to watch, and talk with the local fishing folk as they fish with
special poles and ladders from the rugged lava cliff edges. A coastal path
leads to the Green Sand Beach (Papakolea), where the ocean has captured an
olivine-rich crater, a unique and protected swim spot.
We then travel eastward to Volcanoes National Park with its mile-high rain
forests, lava caves, Nene Geese, and steaming Kilauea Caldera. We'll may peer
into Halema'uma'u Crater, the "house of ferns", stride across the cooled lava
pavements of Kilauea Iki Crater, and visit a bird sanctuary of old-growth trees
that has been spared from the lava flows. The visitor center helps us interpret
these geologic wonders for us. We'll hike out through a lava tree-mold forest
to the old Pu'u Huluhulu crater, where we can get a glimpse of the Pu'u O'o
crater, the one that is currently spewing lava. Later we travel down the Chain
of Craters Road to the south coast. We're based at My Island B&B in Volcano
Village for two nights, in a beautiful garden setting.
Then, we continue to the Puna District in the southeast, where we do a walk
through a lava tree forest, an oceanside back roads walk, and to a black sand
beach, and even the opportunity to get close to a lava flow (conditions
permitting). Afterwards we travel north to non-touristy and interesting Hilo,
with its cheery red and green roofs and swaying palms overlooking the Pacific
and the sunrise on Hilo Bay. The Hilo area is renowned for its orchid growing,
waterfalls, and proximity to Volcanoes National Park. It lies at the forested
foot of the massive shield-type volcano, Mauna Loa ("the long mountain").
Bamboo forest walks to Akaka and Kahuna Falls complement a ramble along lovely
Onomea Bay with its sweeping ocean views. Our two-night stay at the Dolphin Bay
Hotel is short stroll to Hilo's shops, the incredible farmer/craft market, the
Pacific Tsunami Museum, the historic Lyman House, and the fascinating new
Imiloa Astronomy Center which are all options here.
Lastly, we head northward up the windward Hamakua Coast to hike one mile down
into Waipi'o Valley, with it's spectacular waterfalls, to reach the ocean. This
was once home to the kings of old Hawaii. We'll spend the last two days and
nights in North Kohala, with its lush ranch lands and nearby, stunning Kohala
Coast beaches. We do a fabulous hike down to the coast with sweeping views
across the Alenuihaha Strait to Maui in the distance. Then our Upolu Point walk
gives us whale watching opportunities and a visit to the Mo'okini Heiau, a
sacred ceremonial site; then we head down into Pololu Valley. Kohala Mountain
and massive, snow-capped Mauna Kea ("the white mountain") are the
Waimea(Kamuela) area's dramatic backdrop. The stay is at a cozy lodge, near the
largest cattle ranch in the US!
After a final farewell on the coast, we return to the Kailua-Kona airport, or
to a hotel of your choosing on the Kona or South Kohala coasts at the end of
Trip includes lodging for 8 nights on tour, all meals, pickups & dropoffs at a Kailua-Kona hotel or at the Kona airport, and all guiding
services. We recommend arriving at least the day before the trip starts. We can
recommend a hotel to stay at that night.
Moderate hikes with some challenging options. The terrain is flat to gently
rolling in most areas with a few invigorating up and downhills. Walking
destinations include: Tree fern rain forests, undulating lava "pavements",
beaches, Oceanside back roads and trails. Ireland-like green pasture lands and
colorful cinder cones, lava flows when conditions permit. We do approximately 5
to 8 miles daily, usually up to 3-4 miles in the morning, then a picnic lunch,
and another 3-4 miles or so (optional) in the afternoon. Rest/beach/shop days
(or half days) are options too on a few days. The flexible schedule will
respect your vacation walking and non-walking needs.