FAQs Big Island Hawaii

When you are planning your vacation to the Hawaiian Islands we are sure you have many questions to ask. 

We have answered the most common questions asked about the Islands of Hawaii.

Tour Map of Kauai Island

Explore Big Island by region: HiloHamakua CoastNorth KohalaKohala CoastKonaPunaKau.

Download Tour Map of Hawaii (Big Island)

Island Highlights

- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Home to Kilauea Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
- Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona): Lively, historic gathering place in the heart of Kona.
- Hilo: Home to botanical gardens, waterfalls and off-the-beaten-path local shops and restaurants.
- Waimea: Experience the cool uplands of paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) country.
- Holualoa: Visit coffee country and taste why 100% Kona coffee is so famous.


Meaning of Hawaii What does Hawaii mean?
Hawaii is the name of the largest of the Hawaiian islands (also known as the Big Island) and is the name of the 50th State in the USA which is a collection of 8 islands – Hawai’i, Maui, Lana’i, Moloka’i, Koho’olawe, O’ahu, Kaua’i, and Ni'ihau. Many believe the name Hawai’i was adapted from the name Hawaiki, the name for a mythical homeland of all Polynesians. Others believe it is a variation of a South Pacific island Raiatea, which was called Havaii at the time of migration.

Time difference in Hawaii What is the time difference from the continental US?
Hawaii follows Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10 hours), which is 5 hours behind Eastern Standard Time and 2 hours behind Pacific Standard Time. Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time so add one extra hour to the time difference during this period (March through November).

Airports in Hawaii Where is the main airport on 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) first and then taking a short, 35-40 minute flight to Hawaii Island.

Hawaii car rental Do I need a car to get around Hawaii Island?
We recommend a rental car for flexibility and ease, and we strongly suggest booking before you arrive. 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.

Hotels and resorts in Hawaii Where are the major hotel and resort areas 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.

Passport requirements Hawaii Do I need my passport to get to Hawaii Island?
Since Hawaii is the 50th state, you won’t need to bring your passport unless you’re visiting from outside the United States or traveling to another country after Hawaii.

Dress for Hawaii What should I pack on my trip to Hawaii Island?
It’s warm on Hawaii Island, so pack your summer attire. Pack a light, waterproof jacket for hiking or exploring the tropical rainforests of Hilo and the Hamakua Coast and warmer clothes if you plan to visit the uplands of Waimea and the higher elevations of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Bring casual dress clothes or resort wear if you plan on experiencing some fine dining. You can buy an Aloha Shirt and flip-flops (or slippers, as the locals call them) when you get here. Suits and ties are rarely worn here.

Travelers checks in Hawaii Must I take traveler's checks?
Traveler’s checks aren’t necessary since credit cards are widely accepted and ATM machines are everywhere. Don’t worry if you forget something. Stores and malls have everything you need, including plenty of sunscreen.

When to visit Hawaii When is a good time to visit Hawaii Island?
Anytime of year is a good time to visit Hawaii Island. At sea level, the average summer temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Trade winds keep things comfortable year-round. Whale watching season runs from December through May, with peak whale watching months between January and early April. Check the Volcano Eruption Update page for the latest news at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Kona Airport distances How far is it from Kona International Airport (KOA) to:
Hapuna Beach Park: 30 minutes
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona): 15 minutes
Keauhou: 25 minutes
Kealakekua Bay: 45 minutes
Waimea: 45 minutes

Hilo airport distances How far is it from Hilo International Airport (ITO) to:
Hapuna Beach Park: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: 45 minutes
Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona): 2 hours, 30 minutes
Waimea: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Hawaii phone area code What is the telephone area code for Hawaii Island?
The area code for the state of Hawaii is (808).


Popular Big Island Activities

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Memberships and Certification

 Hawaii Tourism Authority

Certified Hawaii Tourism Authority 'Destination Expert'.

A member of Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

 Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

Acknowledgements & Credits


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