Travel to the Big Island of Hawaii – Episode 629

categories: USA Travel

Travel to the Big Island of Hawaii (Travel Podcast)

Hear about travel to the Big Island of Hawaii as the Amateur Traveler talks to Justin Barnes from about his island home.

Justin says, “one thing about the Big Island is that it has more diversity in one small place than about anywhere else on this planet. I don’t think people appreciate how tall the two mountains that dominate the interior of the island are. They are almost 14,000′. You can have snow and sand on the same day just by driving up and back down the mountain. Any type of climate that you want to see, whether it be rainforest or desert or moonscape or everything in between, can all be found on one island.”

Justin recommends spending part of your trip on the west, the Kailua-Kona side of the island, and part of your time on the east, the Hilo side of the island.

We start in Hilo. The Big Island is an active volcanic area as we were reminded recently. The island is not the same as when we last talked about it on Amateur Traveler. The most recent eruption in 2018 destroyed a number of houses in the Hilo area but at the same time create a new black sand beach.

Hilo is the wetter and more traditional Hawaiian part of the island. It is also closer to Volcanoes National Park. There are lava tubes right and waterfalls right outside of town that you can explore.

We also talk about exploring Mona Loa and Mona Kea from Hilo as a day trip. Both mountains are massive as they stretch down to the ocean floor. Mona Loa is thought to be the most massive mountain on the planet, although more than half of it is below sea level. The mountains are ideal for star gazing as they are up above the cloud cover on most days. They are also, therefore, much much colder.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a sufficient reason alone to visit the Big Island. You can learn about how volcanos work and, on some rare occasions, even safely get close to flowing lava. Keep a sharp eye out for Pele’s tears as you explore the trails of the park. No two visits to the park will likely be the same.

Justin then guides us around the southern end of the island, where we can visit a green sand beach, Captain Cook Monument, and the best-named national park site in the U.S.: Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.

After a stop at the resort area in Kailua-Kona, we continue around to the north to visit the remote Waipio Valley.

Learn what the best snorkeling spot in Kailua-Kona, where you can find good poke, and where you can do a night dive with manta rays is.

The volcanos have stopped erupting for the present, and the Big Island is open for business. It is a fascinating place to explore or just relax. Why not try some of both on the island of Hawaii?

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Show Notes

Justin and Crystal
The Big Island of Hawai’i
Hawaii (Island)
Hawaii, the Big Island
Hilo International Airport
Kona International Airport
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
Rainbow Falls
Akaka Falls
Banyan Drive
Coconut Island
Kaumana Caves
Mauna Kea
Mauna Loa
Star Gazing Program
Hilo Helicopter Tours
Waipi’o Valley
Waimanu Valley
Chain of Craters Road
Maku’u Farmer’s Market
Lava Tree State Monument
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
National Parks on the Big Island of Hawaii – Lava and History
Devastation Trail
Punalu’u Beach
Ka Lae
Green Sand Beach
Captain Cook
Place of Refuge
Captain Cook Monument
Kealakekua Bay
The Painted Church
Ali’i Drive
Manta Ray Night Dive
Hapuna Beach
Four Mile Beach
Pololū Valley
Waipio Valley
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park
Hawaii Belt Road

Da Poke Shack
Hana Hou Restaurant
Hilo Bay Cafe
Royal Kona Resort
Merrie Monarch
Saddle Road
Big Island of Hawaii Photos


about Travel to Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania – Episode 621 Bob wrote:

Hello Chris, I’ve been listening a long time and think it’s about 7 years now. I enjoyed the recent podcast about Western PA, and having recently visited the area in/around Pittsburgh myself wanted to add something that I believe is relevant. Pennsylvania and Western PA, in particular, are well known for the historic covered bridges that abound. We used the Washington PA area as our home base on our recent trip, it’s about 30 miles or so southwest of the Pittsburgh area. The number of covered bridges very nearby the Washington area is incredible and there were 4 different driving routes that can easily be followed that will take a visitor from one covered bridge to the next in succession. We covered just one of those routes one afternoon for just under 2 hours, seeing 4 different historic covered bridges. For most of your listeners who are not from the Northeast seeing these bridges is probably a new experience as it was for us.


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Travel to the Big Island of Hawaii (Travel Podcast)

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

One Response to “Travel to the Big Island of Hawaii – Episode 629”



Bill wrote:

I listened to your podcast on the Big Island. I would add one caveat. There IS a dangerous situation that is not being reported and possibly being covered up.

Take a look at this and go to the 34 minute mark. He’s wordy, but equates what to is going on with the volcano to the movie, Dante’s Peak.

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