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Hawaii Island Travel Tips
Getting to Hawaii Island
Travel to Kona International Airport (KOA) in Kona to the west, or Hilo International Airport (ITO) in Hilo to the east. Most visitors arrive in Kona. There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu first and then taking a short, 35-40 minute flight to Hawaii Island.
Getting to Hawaii Island is easier than ever with daily direct flights into Kona International Airport. Major air carriers from the U.S. and Canada fly directly into Kona. Most of the direct flights are from the U.S. West Coast — Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Porland, Seattle, and Anchorage — plus Denver and Phoenix, and seasonally from Vancouver. Some seasonal carriers also make the trip with charters and there is also a direct flight from Los Angeles into Hilo.
Because the island is so big, consider arriving on one side of the island and departing from the other. For example, you might fly into Kona, exploring that side of the island awhile, then driving to the Hilo side (roughly 2 hrs, 30 min) and exploring for awhile longer before flying out from the Hilo Airport, or vice-versa. (Be sure to ask car rental companies about drop off charges).
Staying on Hawaii Island
Major resort destinations on Hawaii Island include the Kohala Coast, Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) and Keauhou, both in Kona. There are hotels and accommodations in Hilo and Puna on the east side closer to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Throughout the island you’ll also find bed and breakfast accommodations, condominiums, vacation rental homes and cottages, as well as hostels.
Traveling on Hawaii Island
While there is mass transit in the for of the Hele On bus, we recommend a rental car for flexibility and ease. We strongly suggest booking before you arrive as sometimes cars aren’t immediately available when you step up to the counter without a reservation. All the major rental companies are found on Hawaii Island. There are also guided tours of every type from bus tours and taxis to private limos.
Rental car agencies are located at the Kona and Hilo International Airports, as well as some resorts. Rental car companies are located just a short distance from both interisland terminals. Taxis are available curbside.
Useful Phone Numbers and Links:
- The area code for the state of Hawaii is (808).
- Big Island Visitors Bureau: (808) 885-1655
- Agricultural Inspection: (808) 326-1252 (Kona), (808) 933-6930 (Hilo)
- Airport Visitor Information: (808) 329-3423 (Kona), (808) 961-9322 (Hilo)
- Camping Permits: (808) 961-8311 (county), (808) 961-9530 (state), (808) 985-6000 (federal)
- Hawaii County Mass Transit Hele On Bus: (808) 961-8744
- Hospitals: Hilo Medical Center, (808) 974-4700; Kau Hospital, (808) 932-4200; Kona Community Hospital, (808) 322-9311; North Hawaii Community Hospital (Waimea), (808) 885-4444.
- Marriage License: (808) 974-6008
- Volcano Activity: (808) 967-7328
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