My husband and I took this trip with our 18yo son. Flights were booked as frequent flyer rewards (10 months in advance).
We planned 7 nights on the BI and one night in Honolulu.
After searching for countless hours on VRBO, we rented a condo at the Vista Waikoloa complex. This was the best thing about our entire trip. We so enjoyed having a place to hang out and relax. The complex was lovely. We had received notice two weeks prior that the pool renovations would not be complete. We didn't know there were renovations. We were told we could use the pool at a neighboring complex but it was quite small and inconvenient. There was a workout center on site and computer/printer for boarding passes. Our son used the workout equipment at least once a day. We opted to leave the laptop at home and (surprisingly) had no withdrawal!
Our unit faced Mauna Kea and the golf course. I was originally disappointed that we did not have an ocean view. But so enjoyed watching the mountain. We would sit on the lanai and watch as it turned nearly red as the sun set. It was almost magical. We drove to Waikoloa Village for groceries the first day. After that, we went to the Queen Shops for sandwiches, etc because it was so much more convenient. Wal-Mart in Kona was great and the new Target should be open now.
We chose Waikoloa for its nearly guaranteed sunshine, which was a good thing. Nearly everywhere we drove, it rained. We took a day to go up the north Kohala coast. Stopped in Hawi for a frozen banana. Enjoyed the scenery and art galleries but there isn't much else there.
The day we drove to the volcano, it poured. We paid to get into the park but it was raining so hard you couldn't see the car ahead, much less walk to the lava. We stopped at the gallery/shop but left without hiking as planned or seeing much else. We drove up via Puna and stopped at the black sand beach. It was cloudy but we still enjoyed the sand and watchng the people. We drove back via Saddle Road, which has been nicely paved. It's still quite a windy road but beautiful.
We drove to South Point. Beautiful sunshine the entire way. Stopped at Bayview Farms coffee factory. We didn't take a tour but bought plenty of Kona Coffee. We drove far past where you should with a rental car but the little HHR we had did great.
The closest beach was A bay. We walked from the condo. It's great to meet the locals, although there are plenty of tourists.
We drove to Kona a few times. We went to an open air market and bought a few gifts. Everything from t-shirts (cheaper than the fancy boutiques for the same item) to handmade pottery and fresh flowers.
Besides our GPS (we brought our own instead of going with the rental car "sales pitch". It paid for itself just this trip). I took "The Big Island Revealed" guide book. It was fantastic for finding parking lots and hidden pathways. Everything in it was true to form. We opted to avoid the fixed tours and do our own exploring. This book went with us everywhere.
Each Hawaiian island has unique features. The Big Island is not known for beaches. We chose it for the volcano and the sunshine. The weather interefered with our volcano trip. If I had had a crystal ball, we would have chosen Maui for the beaches. However, Hawaii is always beautiful. Their culture is truly fascinating. It's impossible to have a bad trip...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Vista Waikoloa is centrally located within the Waikoloa Beach Resort and offers spacious condominiums with fairway and ocean views of beautiful Anaeho'omalu Bay. Enjoy easy walking access to shops and restaurants at the Kings' Shops and Queen's Marketplace. All guests have free use of the Vista Waikoloa Recreation Center which includes a heated lap pool, two hot tubs, a large pavilion with gas BBQ's, a business center with WIFI and a fitness room. The check-in office is located on-site open 7 days a week with staff to personally greet you when you arrive. In terms of value, location and quality, the Vista is an excellent choice for your next stay at the Waikoloa Resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vista Waikoloa Hotel Waikoloa