There has rarely been a better time to visit Hawaii's Big Island than right now. The island's hotels, resorts and condominiums are offering great deals to lure you.
The island's activity providers are offering many new and exciting tours and activities. Ecotourism has found a happy home on the Big Island whether it's exploring some of the island's majestic valleys and waterfalls or trekking to see nature at it's finest at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2009 named Hawai'i's Big Island one of the Top 10 Regions of 2009. Chosen by Lonely Planet's staff and authors, this annual book names the best places to visit in the upcoming year.
The Big Island was chosen for the diversity of its environment, from wintry Maunakea to rainforest-shrouded waterfalls to multi-hued beaches. Hilo's Merrie Monarch Festival where one can experience serious hula competitions, the regional cuisine, and Puna's eccentric vibe are also highlighted as essential Big Island experiences.
Here are just a few of the exciting things happening on the Big Island at the start of 2009.
Adventures, Activities & EventsHail to the Chief!
On Jan. 20, Kona Joe Coffee unveils its new "Barack O Blend" to honor Hawai'i-born President-Elect Barack Obama as he steps into the White House. The Barack O Blend, a combination of Hawaiian, Kenyan and Indonesian beans, honors Obama's roots via a rich, smooth cup of joe. The inaugural java can be purchased online, or by visiting the 20-acre award-winning plantation above Kealakekua Bay. For info, call (808) 322-2100.
Ocean Sports celebrates the return of the humpback whales. Now until mid-April, learn about whale behaviors from Ocean Sports' expert marine naturalists, listen to whale songs using hydrophones, and experience the thrill of a breach and the beauty of a slow-motion tail lob. Whale watches off the Kohala Coast offered daily for only $88/person. Call (808) 886-6666 ext. 103 or visit their website.
Get Up Close to Dolphins
Add An Hour at Kona Honu Divers. The popular Dolphin Snorkel Trip now includes an extra hour to spend with Hawai'i Island's most beloved annual visitors, the humpback whales, for the same price of $99. Swim with dolphins, snorkel on Kona's best reefs, and enjoy spectacular encounters with majestic humpbacks. Visit their website or call (888) 333-4668.
Saddle Up at Parker Ranch Saddle up, Start your Engines, or Shop 'til you Drop! This year, discover Parker Ranch, one of the largest and most historic ranches in the United States, on open-range horseback tours, all-terrain vehicles, or at the Parker Ranch Store where the perfect gifts are found. Mark your calendars: Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival Feb. 7 and Parker Ranch Rodeo and Horse Races July 4. Call (808) 885-7655 or visit their website.
Want more? Visit bigisland.org for detailed information about Hawai'i Island events.
AccommodationsOcean Explorer Family Escape
The Hilton Waikoloa Village Ocean Explorer Family Escape package provides everything for an underwater adventure in Hawai'i: keiki backpack including an underwater camera and ocean fish guide, daily Palm Terrace breakfast buffet for 2 adults/2 children, glass-bottom boat cruise for 2 adults/ 2 children. Starting at $294, four-night minimum stay, and 14-day minimum advance booking required. Package code: P9. Available Jan. 1 - Dec. 20, 2009. Call 1(800) HILTONS or (808) 886-1234. Visit their website.
Get a Seventh Night Free at Bears' Place Guest House in Kailua-Kona. These new, spacious studios accommodate up to four guests and are equipped with a kitchenette, an ocean view lanai, private bath, and cable TV. Guests save even more with FREE wireless Internet, parking and beach gear. Centrally located. Rates from $75. Valid through May 31, 2009. Wir sprechen Deutsch. Visit their website or call (808) 325-7563 or (808) 990-1383.
Hula Girl Getaway
Just for the girls, this new package at The Fairmont Orchid includes accommodations and daily breakfast with your girlfriends for your entire stay, daily "Hula Hands" oceanfront massages, yoga under the coconut trees, hula lessons (reservations required), stand-up paddle boarding and "talk story" time with the Beach Boys. Prices from $979/night including taxes for two rooms. Valid through Dec. 20, 2009. Call (800) 845-9905 or visit their website.
Free Daily Breakfast for All
Keauhou Beach Resort offers visitors in 2009 a spectacular value for with a complimentary daily buffet breakfast for all hotel guests. Rates start at $130 for a partial ocean view room. Valid Jan. 5 - Dec. 21, 2009. Call (866) 326-6803 or visit their website.
The Better Tomorrows package from Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa guarantees that for every night at regular rate, guests receive the next night for 50 percent off. Rates begin at $205 (mountain view) meaning the average rate for a two-night stay could be as little as $153.75 per night. Request rate code: BTBAR6 and let your Better Tomorrow begin today. Visit their website.
The Dragonfly Ranch, a treehouse-like getaway on the sunny Kona Coast near Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, invites adventurous travelers wishing to contribute an hour a day to the national park or the Dragonfly's organic garden to stay for a 10 percent discount. Call (808) 328-2159 or visit their website.
Royal Kona Resort, an oceanfront property overlooking beautiful Kailua Bay, is offering Aloha Special Value Rates. Bay Tower Standard View rooms from $115/night. Valid now through Jun. 7, 2009. Rates based on double occupancy and exclude tax. Call 1(800) 22-ALOHA, or (800) 222-5642 or visit their website.