Insider's Guide to Big Island of Hawaii

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

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  • Location:Kona, Hawaii
  • Duration:3 days (approx.)

Big Island in 3 Days: Snorkeling, Hiking, Camping and Volcanoes National Park

On this 3-day Big Island camping tour, experience many of the island’s best sights and then sleep out under the stars. Snorkel in naturally heated tidepools and hike through a tropical rainforest, where you’ll spelunk through lava tubes and explore Hawaii’s active Kilauea volcano. With the help of your knowledgeable local guide, you’ll establish connections with the land around you and experience real Hawaiian culture. All transport and equipment is included, with periodic shopping trips for food. 

Highlights

  • 3-day Big Island camping adventure
  • Snorkel in Kona and look for tropical fish, sea turtles, stingrays, squid and eels
  • Hike through a lush rainforest and discover lava tubes and steam vents at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Relax with a dip in natural hot pools and tour a Kona coffee farm
  • Camp overnight in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and learn about Hawaii’s history and culture from your knowledgeable guide
  • Camping equipment and transportation included
  • Small-group tour limited to 10 people ensures a more personalized experience

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

Unforgettable experiences abound on this trip. Among them? You get to swim in tidepools facing the sea just before sunset, and fall asleep in your tent to the sound of crashing waves.

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Big Island in 3 Days: Snorkeling, Hiking, Camping and Volcanoes National Park

Lush Tropical Valley

You don't have to wait long to get right into the action. This Big Island camping tour begins when you’re picked up from your Waikoloa or Kona hotel, and it isn’t long before you’re snorkeling the reefs off the Waikoloa coast and hiking past waterfalls.

Afterward, you’ll stop in Hilo to view the Naha Stone—an important Hawaiian relic—where King Kamehameha had to prove himself by lifting the stone from the Earth. At night, after swimming in tidepools facing the sea in the hours just before sunset, you can hear the crash of the waves from your tent before waking to a brilliant sunrise.

And that's only the first day. Read the Itinerary section below for a detailed schedule of activities.


Itinerary

Day 1: Kona or Waikoloa – Hilo Kapoho
After pickup in the morning from your Kona or Waikoloa hotel, head north and stop at a pristine beach for some snorkeling. Put on your provided gear and explore the underwater world in search of local marine life such as sea turtles and even dolphins!

Continue driving around the northern tip of the island until you enter a lush rainforest filled with waterfalls, where you’ll gear up for a hike with your guide. Tune in to the sights and sounds of your tropical surroundings and watch for native species. You may even see a wild pig! Stop at a serene part in the forest to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Next, stop in Hilo to visit the famous Naha Stone, considered one of the greatest historical relics of the Hawaiian Islands. Hear the legend of how King Kamehameha had to prove himself as king by lifting the massive stone.

Hop back in the car and make your way to a large natural infinity pool at the end of a single-lane road. Here, get out and see beautiful waterfalls, orchids and banyan trees. Grab your snorkel gear and head out to the nearby beach to observe life under the water’s surface.

Your base camp at Isaac Hale Beach Park in Kapoho is just around the corner. After setting up the tents and eating dinner at a local restaurant (your expense), head to a naturally heated pool for a relaxing dip.

Settle in for the night as you watch the sky fill with stars.

Overnight: Campsite in Hilo

Day 2: Kapoho – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Wake up to a gorgeous sunrise and a breakfast buffet. Explore the nearby tide pools before hopping in the car and heading to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. When you arrive, explore the active volcano with your guide.

On a moderate hike, discover pitch-black lava tubes, visit steam vents and explore sulphur banks. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade and then continue hiking across dried lava flows and around craters. Your guide will point out cinder cones and fascinating Hawaiian petroglyphs!

Head to your campsite in the park and eat dinner at a local restaurant (your expense) before setting up your tents and settling in under a canopy of stars.

Overnight: Campsite in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Day 3: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Punalu'u Black Sand Beach – Honaunau Kona or Waikoloa
Have breakfast at your campsite and then continue your journey south to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, where you’ll visit a Hawaiian temple and see sea turtles lounging on the black sand.

Loop around South Point and head north along the western coast to Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, where you’ll see the Captain Cook Monument and the Place of Refuge. See the tall white spire rising against the rugged ground and lush vegetation and learn how the real Captain Cook had this monument named after him. Enjoy lunch on a secluded beach here.

Continue back to the Kona area for more snorkeling. At a great snorkel spot chosen by your guide, spot starfish, squid, snapper, moray eels and stingrays hovering near the reef.

You’ll then visit a Kona coffee farm in Kealakekua for a tour and a gourmet Kona coffee tasting. You’ll return to your Kona or Waikoloa hotel between 5-6pm after your tour.

Customer Reviews

Claudia C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2014

This was a wonderful tour. Very well organized! I had a great time snorkeling, camping, hiking and touring the Big Island. The tour definitely exceeded my expectation, I would recommend it highly!

Barbara S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2014

This tour was amazing! We had a great tour guide who took such a good care of us. We have seen all important things on the island on this tour. We had good food, nice company, good weather, great things to see and our tour guide had a big knowledge about the whole island. Thank you so much Katie for the great time!

carol R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2013

This camping adventure on the Big Island was the highlight of our two weeks in Hawaii.I wish there were similar opportunities on Maui and Oahu, we would have done the same there. Our guide katie was amazing. Her knowlege of the island history as well as geology and native [and non-native] plants was in deptha nd of great interest to us. She paced the trip well and bercause of her guidance we were then able to take advantage of out of the way state parks or beach access on the other islands. Katie was special!

Graham B

4 star rating: Recommended June 2014

We enjoyed this tour very much. This island is so different, every 1/2 hour the scenery and climate changes and there is so much to see. Our guide was casual and fun to get to know. The shower was a little rustic on the second night, but it is a camping trip after all. Enjoyed the first nights camping better, but went to a great restaurant in Hilo on the second night as per our guides recommendation. Take an extra sweater for the Volcano National Park evening as well as your wind jacket as it was very cold that night.

From USD $ 415.62

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Tour code: 56752NIGHT

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