HAWAII THE ISLAND
CALL 4 SEASONS TRAVEL HAWAII DESTNATION SPECIALIST
Getting to the island of Hawaii
Travel to Kona International Airport (KOA) in Kona to the west, or Hilo International Airport (ITO) in Hilo to the east. Most visitors arrive in Kona. There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu first and then taking a short, 35-40 minute flight to the island of Hawaii.
Getting to the island of Hawaii is easier than ever with daily direct flights into Kona International Airport. Major air carriers from Canada, the U.S. and Japan fly directly into Kona. Most of the direct flights are from the U.S. West Coast — mostly Los Angeles and San Francisco — plus Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Chicago, and internationally from Vancouver and Tokyo. Some seasonal carriers also make the trip with charters.
The island of Hawaii has five national parks, sites and trails, each with its own natural beauty and cultural significance. Of course we have famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home of the world’s most active volcano, but also historic “place of refuge” Puuhonua o Honaunau, the imposing temple Puukohola, where family blood was spilled to unite the island, the more than 175-mile Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, and Kaloko-Honokohau, where aquaculture was practiced in ancient times.
To avoid confusion with the name of the entire state, the island of Hawaii is often called the “Big Island,” and what an appropriate name it is. Nearly twice as big as all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined, its sheer size can be intimidating. You’ll find all but two of the world’s climate zones within this island’s shores. The dramatic size and scope of the largest Hawaiian Island create a microcosm of environments and activities. On this island’s vast tableau, you’ll find everything from extravagant resorts and incredible golf courses to modest local towns and sacred Hawaiian historical sites.
The island of Hawaii is best known for the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (one of the world’s most active volcanoes), the waterfalls and gardens in Hilo and along the Hamakua Coast, stargazing on Maunakea’s summit, Kona Coffee, golf in the resorts of the Kohala Coast, and manta ray night diving.
Traveling on the island of Hawaii
We recommend a rental car for flexibility and ease, and we strongly suggest booking before you arrive. All the major rental companies are found on Hawaii Island. There are also guided tours of every type from bus tours and taxis to shuttle services and private limos. Rental car agencies are located at the Kona and Hilo International Airports as well as some resorts. Rental car companies are located just a short distance from both inter-island terminals. Taxis and other ground transportation are available curbside.
Hawaii County also offers free mass transit via the Hele On (Let’s go) Bus. There are stops all around the island of Hawaii, with service between Kona and Hilo offered Monday through Saturday. For schedules, go to www.co.hawaii.hi.us.
Because the island is so big, consider arriving on one side of the island and departing from the other. For example, you might fly into Kona, exploring that side of the island awhile, then driving to the Hilo side (roughly 2 hrs, 30 min) and exploring for a while longer before flying out from the Hilo Airport, or vice-versa. (Be sure to ask car rental companies about drop off charges.)
Looking for ideas to celebrate a romance, get out into the great outdoors or keep the whole family happy on island of Hawaii? Check out our top 10 suggestions for great activities, by category.
And if you want to know more about island of Hawaii, be sure to visit the Our Islands page for all that island of Hawaii has to offer.
The golden sunsets of the Kona and Kohala coasts on the west side of the island are the picture-perfect backdrop for catamaran cruises departing from Keauhou up through the Kohala Coast. Some include dinner, champagne and live entertainment.
The amazing night skies above island of Hawaii are sure to inspire romance. Book your clients on a guided tour up the slopes of Maunakea where they can peer through giant telescopes and learn about the constellations from astronomers.
Just outside Hilo are some of the most spectacular waterfalls in all of Hawaii. Akaka Falls State Park is a wonderful place for couples to wander through the rain forest on paved footpaths to view two gorgeous falls.
Island of Hawaii offers many options for romantic trail rides that you can book for your clients. The uplands of Waimea, where ranchers are happy to share their stories of paniolo culture, are ideal for trail rides through rolling meadows. On the east side of the island, couples can enjoy a lush landscape of streams and waterfalls on a ride through the Waipio Valley.
Outdoor Spa Treatments
Many of the upscale resort spas on the Kohala Coast offer special spa suites for couples with their own private gardens. Some also have private treatment cabanas overlooking the ocean.
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
North of Hilo, this is a place of spectacular ocean vistas and nature trails meandering through an enchanting landscape of ginger, bromeliads, palms and other rare and exotic plants.
Another lush beauty spot near Hilo is Liliuokalani Gardens, an idyllic Japanese garden with pagodas, a teahouse and a half-moon bridge spanning a tranquil pond.
Artists are drawn to island of Hawaii’s inspirational landscapes and laid-back pace, a fact that your clients will appreciate when exploring the art galleries that abound in towns like Hawi, Holualoa and Volcano Village.
Kailua Village Walking Tour
A great way for clients to enjoy the palace, as well as other historic sites in town, is to take the Kona Historical Society’s Kailua Village Walking Tour, available in either guided or self-guided versions.
Your clients will enjoy the magic of a sunset luau with buffets of local specialties and live Pacific Island music and dance.