Big Island Itinerary - Day 4

Traveling from one coast to the other.

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Guide Series: Big Island Vacation Itinerary
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Today you'll be checking out of your Hilo based hotel and checking into a new hotel on the Kona (west) side of the Big Island. You'll want to get up this morning, checkout, and have your hotel hold your bags as we still have a few things left to do in Hilo before we head west. Leaving valuables like all of your luggage in the car is not recommended.


First up this morning is a helicopter ride! What better way to see the island than from the sky. Taking a helicopter tour will give you a new perspective on Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is a great way to wrap up your Hilo visit. There are several helicopter companies on the Big Island and those that fly from the Hilo side are Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Safari Helicopters, Paradise Helicopters, and Hawaii Volcanoes Helicopter Tours.


Next up, we're going to head over to the Pahoa area of the Big Island which is the easternmost tip of the island. Our first stop will be at Lava Tree State Park which is a 17 acre State Monument where you can view something very strange, lava molds of tree trunks. Back in the 1700's, a lava flow came through this area and covered all of the trunks of the Ohia tree in lava. The trees burn away and what's left is nature's own sculptures, or maybe we should say Pele's (Pele - The Volcano Goddess) own sculptures.


Now it's time for some snorkeling and what better place than the Kapoho Tide Pools / Wai'opae Tidepools Marine Life Conservation District! This is a very large area full of protected tide pools and can make for some great snorkeling. The pools are well protected from the open ocean due to the reef that sits here but still get excellent water circulation that supports an amazing amount of coral and marine life. Since this is largely volcanic rock (there is no sand here), you'll want to wear reef shoes to avoid getting cut up. Note that there are no facilities here.


Ready to get warmed up? Our next nearby spot is Ahalanui Beach Park / Maunakea Pond / The Hot Ponds which, as you can see, goes by many names. The important name there is "Hot Ponds" as these are volcanically heated pools of both spring and ocean water. That's right, nature's own hot tub. This is a truly unique experience that you won't want to miss.


That wraps up our trip to the [CID:42[ (east) side of Hawaii's Big Island so now you'll want to go grab your luggage from your hotel and make the 1.5 (or so) hour drive over to the Kona (west) side. For many, this will mean heading to the Kailua-Kona or Waikoloa areas for their hotel or condo rental.


Check into your hotel or resort and then try and catch a sunset from any ocean location nearby. Then it's off to dinner and a little unpacking before we start exploring this side of the island tomorrow.
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