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Signature 3-Day Itinerary

OUR MOST RECOMMENDED SIGHTS

Hawaii Island (aka the Big Island) beckons with its diverse landscapes and adventures waiting at every turn. In just 72 hours, this itinerary takes you from snorkeling the clear waters of Kealakekua Bay, to hiking the awe-inspiring trails of Volcanoes National Park, and finally to soak up the sun on the pristine shores of Kua Bay. This is what we’d recommend for our friends or family visiting if they had just 3 days on the island. So, get ready and dive into your adventure on the Big Island of Hawaii!

 
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Day 1 | the best snorkeling on the island

7:00 am – 11:30 am – Kealakekua Bay
The best snorkeling on the island awaits at Kealakekua Bay. We’re talking calm, protected waters. Fifteen hundred foot sea cliffs. Underwater visibility of over 100 feet, and 250 marine species. The choice of how to get there is yours. Google Map

[drive approx. 15 mins.from Pacific 19 Hotel to the Kona Boys HQ on the Belt Road in Kealakekua]

Option 1
The best way to snorkel Kealakekua is with Kona Boys which starts with a 45-minute kayak across the bay with a stop to watch for dolphins and, from November to March, humpback whales. Then it’s time to snorkel (all gear is provided) in the marine sanctuary. Lunch is served on shore while your guides “talk story” about the bay’s important Hawaiian history. Plus, you can keep your snorkel gear for 24 hours free of charge (we recommend Two Step Beach for another great snorkel spot!). Read More…

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Option 2
The climb. This off the beaten path hike offers rewarding views, but the climb back up is very challenging and only recommended for those in very good shape. Starting at Napoopoo Road, the trail snakes through a well-preserved, native dry-land forest, falling steeply towards the bay. A descent of 1,300 feet in just 1.8 miles means the way down is a breeze, but your return journey is a steep uphill challenge. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel, fins, and reef-safe sunscreen plus LOTS of water.

 
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12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
– Enjoy a snack with a view @ The Coffee Shack.
– Price Range $

The Coffee Shack is a family owned local restaurant with a fantastic view of 26 miles of the Kona coast, overlooking Kealakekua Bay. It offers an incomparable view of Kealakekua Bay, where the famous explorer Captain James Cook first arrived in Hawaii. It is perched high on the mountain slope overlooking the lush mountainside of fully producing 85 year old coffee trees. Enjoy the beautiful open lanai for breakfast, lunch, or just a quick cup of coffee on your way to Volcano or Pu’uhonua O Honaunaua (Place of Refuge) National Park. Google Map

[drive 15 mins from Nāpōʻopoʻo pier to The Coffee Shack]

 
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1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Make your way back to Pacific 19 hotel. Google Map

[drive 25 mins. from The Coffee Shack to Pacific 19 Hotel]

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
A few options:

1. If you want to re-engergize after a big morning, relax and lounge by the pool (with an adult beverage in hand).
2. Take a walk around historic Kona Town. We recommend stopping by Scandinavian Shave Ice around the corner from P19 and enjoying it on the sandy Kamakahonu Beach just a few steps away
3. If you’re full of energy, head to Magic Sands Beach about 10 minutes away for an afternoon beach day and enjoy the white sand and waves!

 
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5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Have an early dinner @ Sushi Sam ($$$)
or Izakaya Shiono Kona ($$),
or check the P19 restaurant guide for something else that suits your fancy.

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
End the day by watching the sun set at the Old Kona Airport Beach, about 1 mile from Pacific 19 Hotel.

8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, here are three good options:

1. Aloha Vibes is an upscale cocktail bar at Kona Inn
2. Da Shark Shack is an open air dive bar looking out to the water. The Mai Tai is great + they serve hot dogs
3. Cheeky Tiki Kona (right around the corner from P19). Ask for the P19 special.

 
person holding raw fish with chopsticks
sushi cone on a plate
older person slicing sashimi
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Day 2 | the world’s largest volcanoes

8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Hawaiʻi Island is all about volcanoes. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has both the world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa, and Kīlauea, the world’s most active. It’s a sea to summit park, going from coastline to summit. At over 500 square miles, it’s barely smaller than the island of Oʻahu. There’s a lot of ground to cover. Our recommendation is to explore the park with Hawaii Forest and Trail so you can go with an expert guide to get the most of your time there (plus they handle transport, gear and meals for you so you don’t get bogged down in logistics).

Option 1
Skip the driving and dive into the geology, history, and features of the park with an expert-guided trip with Hawaii Forest and Trail. This all-day adventure even includes experiencing a private lava tube that is not open to the public, meals + drinks, plus all the gear you’ll need including reusable water bottles, backpacks, snacks, bug spray, sunscreen, walking sticks, and on-the-ground knowledge of the park. We highly recommend this option to get the most out of your park visit, especially if you’re short on time to plan logistics. And, since you skip the park fees, all your meals, and a tank of gas, not only is it an amazing experience, but it ends up being a pretty good value. Read More…

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Option 2
If you want to do a serious day hike like the 12 mile Napua Trail, you may consider a self-guided itinerary. We recommend leaving as early as possible in the morning to arrive with plenty of time to explore the park. It’s about a 2.5 hr drive from Kona to the park entrance. Make sure to check the National Park website for updates and current conditions, as well as a great list of available hikes, park routes, and history. We recommend the Kīlauea Iki trail, a 3.25 mile fun and easy hike that crosses warm fifty year old lava. Or, for the intrepid adventurer, our favorite is the Napua Trail, a 12 mile day-hike that showcases the best of the park. Google Map

 
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8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
You’ll get back around 8:00 pm
A lot of Kona closes early, so if you’re looking for an evening snack here are a few options that are open late:

1. Ocean Street Tacos ($), the name says it all. Quick and tasty.
2. Da Shark Shack ($), lively open-air dive bar with an ocean view on Ali’i Drive.

 
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Day 3 | the Perfect Beach Day

Every Hawaiian trip needs that perfect beach day. Here’s how we like to do it.

8:00 am – 9:00 am
– Kick the morning off with a coffee from Waimea Coffee Co @ P19. And, don’t forget to get your beach towels, chairs, and umbrella from the front desk.
– We like to grab snacks from the KTA Supermarket just up the street from Pacific 19 (try the smoked Ahi and dried Aku!).
– Then stop for an açaí bowl to-go at Pink Mocha Cafe on your way to Kekaha Kai State (Beach) Park. We like the easy access and calm waters of Kua Bay, about 20 minutes north of P19. Google Map

10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Enjoy the beach until you’re sun drenched and hungry!

[drive 20 mins. from Kona to Kekaha Kai State Park]

 
 

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Lunch time!
Try lunch at Willies Hot Chicken or Kona Brewing Co. Both serve great food with a wide selection of beers on tap and are open daily for lunch until 9:00 pm.

[drive 20 mins. Kekaha Kai State Park to the Brew Block in Kona]

 
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3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Rejuvenate at Pacific 19. Enjoy the luxury linens or a cocktail by the pool.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Dinner
For your final meal, we like driving 20 minutes south to Kenichi Pacific ($$$) (time your drive to catch the sunset). Or, a great option about 1 mile from the hotel is Orchid Thai ($$) which serves fresh thai cuisine and is BYOB.

8:00 pm – Dessert + Kona people watching
End your day with something delicious from Gypsea Gelato. It’s located above the volleyball court on Ali’i Drive, which makes for great people watching.

 
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