German passport holders do require an ESTA, which is a US Travel Authorization. It costs 14 US dollars and lasts for 2 years, or until passport expiration. Application should be done via the applicable embassy website and at least 72 hours before departure.
US Dollars and credit card are possible.
English & Hawaiian.
Right-hand side. Very relaxed driving style on Big Island Hawaii.
Maximum 55 miles per hour on the highway. Honolulu is a big city, so expect to encounter traffic.
Taxis are expensive. For instance a ride between the airport in Kona and Kona town centre is about 35-38 US dollars.
UBER is also available, but not cheap either.
An option is to pre-book a transfer with Speedishuttle. To us it worked out perfectely fine. Was a bit cheaper than taking a taxi.
On Big Island public transport is not possible between the airport and Kona.
There is a bus from Honolulu airport to Honolulu centre and Waikiki at 2.25 US Dollars per person and ride. However, you might not be allowed to get on the bus with big luggage. We were lucky, but were told that we were just lucky with the driver who was helpful!
15 to 18% of the bill is common.
Wifi available in most places.
We felt safe in any way. We experienced the Hawaiians as the friendliest culture we met so far anywhere, especially on big island Hawaii. It feels as if there is love kind of everywhere. It touched us. Just going into a shop in Kona, or even in a big city like Waikiki and you will be welcomed with an honest and kind smile. If you leave without buying anything they will still wish you a lovely day. If you feel like having a chat, you will definately meet someone to chat with.
Maybe this has to do with the Hawaiian cultural value of Aloha - Love and Friendliness.
However, like we always mention, as we do not want someone to get hurt, or be in danger: like in any country be safe and act responsibly. Aloha 😊
There are mosquitos, but no malaria and the like. Some mosquitos are active at day time. Use insect repellent if you prefer not to get bitten.
Mainly a mix of American Fast Food, Japanese and fresh fish. Shave ice, Moco Loco, Spam Masubi and Poke are only few Hawaiian dishes we encountered.
Hawaii Big Island
The Fish Hopper in Kona
Not cheap, but very fresh, yummy food and nice service with sea view! Mainly fish, meat, some pasta and burgers and vegetables, rice, fries or mashed potatoe on the side.
Sushi Shiono in Kona
Yummy Japanese food in Kona Town Centre. Sushi and other Japanese rice and noodle dishes. Big serve.
Sam Choy's Cay Lanai next to Keauhou Shopping Center
American-Japanese influenced food. Fresh and yummy with a nice view. Big serves.
Keoki's Ono Fish n Chips in Captain Cook
Yummy Fast Food in a simple garden setting. Pizza, Burger, Sandwhiches, Tacos and Fish n Chips.
Ray's on the Bay in Kona
This bar is in the Shearton Kona Resort open to public with nice and freshly prepared food. At night manta rays can be observed from the restaurant. Vegetarian meals available.
Heavenly in Waikiki
Loved this organic and local food place with an asian touch. Highly recommendable and in the centre of Waikiki!
Joe's Seafood and Grill in Haleiwa
Yummy Fast Food place at the Haleiwa Harbour.
Honolulu Cookie Company in Waikiki
These are cookie shops spread everywhere around Waikiki. Go in and try some samples. You might end up buying some ;) So yummy!
Big Island Hawaii
Kona Islander Inn (Kona)
We rented a AirBnB in the Kona Islander Inn, which is a simple place in town centre, 1 minute walk from the waterfront.
Laundry and pool available. Staff is not very organized though. No breakfast available.
Dragonfly Range (Captain Cook)
For those who want to stay in nature, but do not want to camp the Dragonfly Range is an option.
You will live in rooms without proper doors and windows, but mosquito nets instead. Showers are outside. Animals like dogs, cats and chicken are around. Breakfast is mainly organic and costs 10 US dollars per person per day.
It is an alternative place and you will need to be fine with occasional insects visiting your room. It is cleaned daily though.
Kitchen available to cook. Laundry service also available.
At night you might want to sleep with ear plugs due to the sound of frogs and other animals.
It is about 1 hour walking distance to the beach in the middle of a forest.
Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
Located by the sea in Kona Town. Decent, big and clean rooms. Restaurant, bar, sport activities, fitness studio and everything else usually offered in big hotels available.
Note: In most hotels you will have to pay resort fees and additional tax. Keep an eye on this when you book a hotel in Waikiki to prevent unexpected costs at arrival.
Hilton Waikiki Beach
Nice and somewhat luxerious hotel just one block from Waikiki Beach.
Everything in walking distance. No breakfast included (at own expense), but there is a Starbucks and other eatery places around.
Smaller hotel for a cheaper budget right in the centre of Waikiki and about 15 minitues walking distance to Waikiki beach. Continental breakfast included.
ABC stores are around kind of everywhere in Kona and Waikiki. These are small supermarkets and souvenir shops in one.
KTA supermarket and Choicemart are proper supermarkets on Big Island Hawaii catering everything needed. Try the Sushi and summer rolls that can be purchased over there! So yummy and fresh.
Things to do
Big Island Hawaii
Going for a walk at the Kona Inn Shopping Village
Touristy, but sweet shopping place in the open with lots of souvenirs. On some evenings live music was played over there by Bosco The Amazing One Man Band from 7pm to 9pm, which we enjoyed a lot.
Swim with dolphines
For more information refer to Lisa Biritz: www.lisarainbow.com.
Lisa is great, speaks English and German and offers swimming with dolphins a few times a year on Big Island Hawaii, or privately organised. Interrested in shamanism? Lisa is also the best contact to find out more.
We spent 2 weeks with her and got the chance to swim with wild dolphines two times. It was magical! Highly recommendable!
Her knowledge about shamanism is highly valued by us after having learned so much from her in those two weeks.
If you want to get to know a bit more about Lisa, shamanism and dolphines, as well as whales, we can recommend her books, also available on Amazon:
- Spirit im Gepäck
- Seelenmedizin/Soul Medicine
- Spirit der Delfine und Wale/The Opening
- Visionen der Seele
- Schamanisches Fasten
Swim with Manta Rays at night, or have a drink at Ray's Bar at Sheraton Hotel in Kona to see these animals while having a drink.
Visit the Great Hawaiian Botenical Gardens close to Hilo.
Visit the Hawaii Volcano National Park and get close to the recently errupted Kilauea Crater.
Visit Mauna Kea (White Mountain) and go for a hike to the summit, or watch the stars at night from the observatories. Make sure to bring warm cloths. It's peak is at 4207m and it can get really cold up there! 😉
Well helcopter rides are fairly expensive, but surely an impressive experience to fly over the volcano landscape.
Oahu can be explored via rental car in 3 days we would say. Driving distances are close and you can stay in your Waikiki, or Honolulu hotel and take off from there every day. Its South and East Coast has stunning scenery along the coast. So it is nice to just go for a car ride and observe the scenery and get out at some beaches.
Diamond Head Hike in Waikiki
This hike takes you up to a lookout from which you have a beautiful view over Waikiki and the surroundings. It is a nice 60 to 90 minute round trip and very scenic and enjoyable for people who like to hike. The Diamond Head is a non active volcano crater just outside of Waikiki.
Shark Cage Diving North Shore
We did Shark Cage Diving with a company called North Shore Adventures, as this company does not feed the sharks to attract them. They rather drive to the location where the fisher boats are. Sharks are attracted by the fisher boat engines knowing that some fish or crab leftovers will be thrown into the water. So naturally they hear the North Shore Adventures boat engines and get curious.
This experience was absolutely amazing, as the sharks get very close to the cage in which you will snorkel with max 7 other people. They got as close as 30 to 50 centimeters. There were about 10 of them. It was a great 20 minutes well invested. We also learned a few things about sharks when we talked to the crew, which changed our view about these really beautiful animals. To us highly recommendable, especially as the sharks are naturally attracted and not harmed.
The Yokohama Beach we found really beautiful. It is on the North-West Coast and very quiet and non-touristy.
Walk through Waikiki
Just walking around Waikiki, shopping and eating will fill a day, or night.
Ala Moana Shopping Mall Waikiki
This shopping mall outside of the Waikiki beach area is huge and nicely designed. Most hotels offer a transfer service to this mall. For food we suggest the Japanese food court Shirokiya. It is yummy and huge.
There are many more activities that one can do when in Oahu such as helicopter rides, a traditional Hawaiian evening called Luau, a visit of a macadamia nut, or coffee farm and there are also some adventure activities such as horseback riding, quat biking, zip-lining and some hiking options. You will not get bored. Parts of the movie Jurrasic Park were filmed on Oahu.
Hawaii Big Island
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