Don’t have a lot of time on the Big Island? That’s OK, we’ve narrowed down the list of must-see’s for you. This is the largest of all the Hawaiian islands, which means there’s lots to see and do here. However, a short trip can be done, so let’s get going on the itinerary.
K?lauea Iki Trail:
Take a day hike within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Follow the trail as it meanders through a lush rain forest, ending at the K?lauea Iki Crater lava lake, which resulted when a vent erupted back in 1959 and spewed lava 1900 feet from underneath the Pu‘u Pua‘i cinder cone. Love native birds? You’ll see them here as you walk across the dry lava lake chock full of steam vents and spatter cones.
Go hiking atop this 14,000 feet above sea level mountain, which happens to be one of five major mountains on the Big Island. World-renowned for its greatest concentration of telescopes, you can take part in a star gazing party held every night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. It’s sponsored by the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station, located at the 9,300-foot level. Start with watching an astronomy video, then take part in a discussion on astronomy and Mauna Kea in particular. At the end, go outside to get awesome views from the state-of-the-art telescopes.
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden:
Also known as the “Garden in a Valley on the Ocean,” the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden can be found off Highway 19 along Hamakua Coast, which spans for four gorgeous miles. If you’re a nature lover and botanist, you will truly appreciate this living plant museum, which comprises 2,000 species, 125 families and 750 genera over a 40-acre valley. Because it is nestled deep in the valley, the natural greenhouse effect takes over, protecting the area from the tradewinds. And hey, the fertile volcanic soil doesn’t hurt either! Take hikes along nature trails to view tropical rainforests, streams, waterfalls and panoramic views of the Pacific.
This is the best place to snorkel for young and old. You can in fact snorkel right off the beach here, ideal for small children who may only want to go slightly out into the water. Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park is where the very first westerner, Captain James Cook, landed in the late 1700s, approximately 12 miles south of Kailua Village. Part of the Marine Life Conservation District, the marine life here is amazing, so spend the day, bring a picnic lunch and don’t forget the snorkeling gear. If you don’t have your own, you can rent some here.
This should cover your three days on the Big Island. You may be slightly rushed but you’ll have the time of your life. If the next leg of your journey takes you to Oahu, book a Circle Island Tour with Hoku Hawaii Tours to learn about our great island.