a VirtualTourist member from London
Hiya, me and a friend are going to Hawaii in a fortnight, and were going to spend most of our time on the big island. My job is to organise the volcano's bit! We were going to spend just one or two night over there. Was thinking a day trek, and a trip for the night lava.
Is it better to stay in the national park, or just travel in from Hilo?
Is there transport in the park from Hilo, or is it better to hire a car?
Is it right that trekking around the park is easy enough or your own, or should we go on a group. We're young-ish and fitt-ish :).
Sorry to ask such silly questions _ work is so busy and I'm struggling to find anything that really answers my questions!
First: rent a car. The park is big, and you definitely need a vehicle. Otherwise you are stuck with tour buses--no fun, and you won't be able to spend more time at places you like.
You can find accommodations a bit closer than Hilo (B&B or rentals). I think the choices in the park are limited.
Go on your own--it's easy to find your way around. If you are even moderately fit you will be just fine. The hiking is not very strenuous.
I also suggest you rent a car. Easier to get around the island. We had rent a car and picked it up at the airport, but I remember them not having the car we had booked for!!
Accommodations in the park are somewhat limited, we had camped at a camping near the park for one night (we had brought some camping gear) and slepped the other night in a B & B which was really nice (look it over the net, I use VRBO.com).
We had found it easy to go around the park, so you shouldn't have any issues with that.
Don't forget to bring flashlights for your night trek...
First, I assure you, none of your questions are silly.
I have a slightly different take on this. You should get into Hilo, get a car as suggested, and head for the Park right away, assuming that you get there during the day. This is a place near the volcano attractions that cannot be beat. All you need to do in the park, you can do from there, with or without help and guidance. It is a rare find.
I lived on Maui for years and am pretty familiar with the islands. If you are going to be there for two weeks, then some time should be set aside for Kailua-Kona region on the other side of the island, but.....sorry I see you are LEAVING in a forthnight. My bad. Still, I suggest some time in Kona, and if there is time, (anything over 6 days, do go to Maui for a spell, as they say, Maui no ka oi (Maui is the best...)
You will not be disappointed in the volcano trip though, and even if you do not stay where I suggested, look at the attractions in the park, on their website and it will give you a better idea what to look for.
Aloha nui loa.......d:o)
I agree with (some of the) above posters. The best place for you to stay is in volcano village, located "on the doorstep" of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
It might not be possible to safely visit surface lava flows when you are there (see volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/activ..., but even without those, the park is for me the #1 most spectacular site on the Big Island. I also recommend to go and see the glow at halema'uma'u crater at night.
I recommend 2 nights in volcano village, and your days spend in the park hiking (great hikes!), and driving. There are also free guided hikes.
As for places to stay, go for condo's/vacation rentals. You will have your own house with if you want a fireplace (nights get cold in volcano village) and hot tub!
I'd like to add www.hawaiivolcanovacations.com to the link above. I stayed with them a couple of times and always have been extremely satisfied. They also have a couple of very affordable rentals.
Enjoy your trip!