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Big Island Hostels

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Big Island Travel Tips & Suggestions

A rental is a must to get around. If you're looking for adventure, try a 4x4. Some of the best beaches are only accessible by 4x4 or a very long hike. The Big Island is home to the nicest and happiest bunch of people I have ever encountered, and how could they not be -- the air they breathe smells of sea and sweet flowers! Kona was "touristy" but had a small town feel, whereas Hilo felt more like a city (with reason, it is). I think my favorite part of the trip was walking through the Waipio Valley -- a phenomenal experience, from cascades of brightly colored wild impatiens to alien fruit trees and the random wandering horse, and kind wandering tourists I met along the way, and of course the waterfall and black sand beach, it was the highlight of my trip. The volcano was another sight to remember -- I got phenomenal photographs. Sometimes I think my memories of the Big Island are all a dream. The Big Island is definitely more laid back than other popular islands. Pretty much everything is closed and quiet by 10 p.m. (in Kona, at least). If you're looking to party into the wee hours, you may want to consider a different location. But if you want to relax and see nature at its finest, the Big Island is a great place to be. — From Chicago, IL
We visited the Big Island in 2004 and are going again this year. We loved it. It was great to visit the towns/cities when we wanted, but also easy to get away and enjoy solitude on many quiet beaches. The rainy, jungled, Hilo side had dramatic thunder storms -- very cool! Kona was definitely more touristy, but interesting and was closer to the best snorkeling areas. The Big Island has a little bit of everything. Avoid Issac Hale and Puna, as these are the areas where local Hawaiians are especially territorial about their land and not all that friendly to tourists. We stayed in hostels and a VW camper van and had no problem getting around. A rental car of some sort is a must if you want to see all of the island. — Eero
I'm lucky enough to have been more than once. There are real and friendly people. I need to return but I'm still unsure about sleeping on a volcano. — pete still
Kona is the best. — Anonymous
This island is fantastic. There is so much to do and its far less touristy than you might expect. Its pretty much essential to hire a car to make the most of it though, and try to avoid Kona. Hilo is the rain captial of the USA but the weather changed in a matter of a few miles on Hawaii. Its amazing. — Tesh N Ben

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