DansMeals: Hawaii For The Kosher Traveler. Part 2: The Big Island of Hawaii

DansMeals: Hawaii For The Kosher Traveler:
Part 1: General Info And The Island Of Oahu
Part 2: The Big Island of Hawaii
Part 3: Maui (Upcoming)
Part 4: Kauai (Upcoming)

Related posts:
Which Miles To Use To Fly To Hawaii?
DansMeals: Los Angeles For The Kosher Traveler

Previous trip reports with pictures:
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Oahu (2009)
Hawaii Trip Notes: Kauai (2009)
Traveling To Hawaii…With A 5 Month Old (2011)
The Hawaiian Islands (2011)
And one of these days I really ought to write up a trip report on Maui and The Big Island.

DDF forum threads:
Hawaii Master Thread: General Questions And Which Island To Visit?
Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
-Kauai Master Thread
Maui Master Thread
-Oahu Master Thread

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The 2nd most popular destination that people booked with the Delta glitch was Hawaii. More details can be found via the trip reports above, but this will give a quick overview of the options.

If you’re flying to Hawaii in coach on the Delta glitch with your family you should look into the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express which gets a free checked bag (a $50 round-trip value per person per trip) for up to 9 people on an itinerary with the primary cardholder!

The revealed series of books are absolutely required reading if you are going to Hawaii. They read like a novel and are unlike any other guidebook you’ve seen before. It’ll be the best money you spend on your entire trip:
Oahu Revealed
Big Island of Hawaii Revealed
Maui Revealed
Kauai Revealed

Cars:

On the Big Island you’ll definitely want something with 4WD if possible.

Chabad of Hawaii has passed on a corporate rate for rentals at Enterprise or National in Hawaii that provides better rates, waives underage fees, and waives different location drop-off fees.
The company name is Hawaii Kosher Weddings. The contract number is XZ36016 and the pin is HAW

You can also bid for car rentals on Hotwire or Priceline that can save you a fortune!

Buy gas at Costco where’s it’s cheaper than at most stations on the islands.

Please read part 1 for tips on interisland flights, how much time to spend on an island, bringing kosher food from home, ordering kosher food from Oahu, gear that you’ll want in Hawaii, and whether you may have to keep 2 days of shabbos.

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The Big Island of Hawaii: BIG! All of the other islands can fit inside of it!
The Kohala coast has famous stretches of sunny beaches.  The Hilo east coast is very rainy, but is home to active volcanoes and hot springs.  The Big Island is raw, lava filled, and not touristy like Oahu and Maui.  It may not be quite as lush as the other islands but there is enough to do here to keep anyone occupied for weeks.

There are 2 commercial airports, KOA for the Kona side and ITO for the Hilo side of the island.  They are 2 hours apart via Saddle Road.

IMG_0807a

A sunset on Mauna Kea isn’t something you’ll quickly forget.

Kosher traveler info:

-Chabad of The Big Island is located at 75-5995 Kuakini Hwy #323, in Kailua Kona on the windward (west) coast.
There is no daily minyan but they do get a minyan shabbos night and day roughly 90% of the time. You can join communal meals on Friday night and Shabbos day. The cost for both meals is $54 for adults and $36 for kids and reservations should be made beforehand.

-Chabad of the Big Island sells prepared kosher meals (see menu) made fresh daily and they’re pleased to extend a 10% discount for DansDeals readers for a limited time only with code: DANS10 Once the promo is over you’ll still be able to save 5% with code: DANS5
They can deliver meals to your hotel double wrapped so that you can call in room dining for your food and the hotel staff will bring it up.  The cost for delivery to Kona area hotels is normally $25 and the cost for Waikoloa area hotels is $60.  However if you mentions DansDeals there will be a 20% discount available for delivery as well.
Alternatively you can pickup the food freshly made in Kona for free! Pickup in Honolulu on the island of Oahu is also available for no charge!
Shipping via refrigerated cargo is also available to Maui or Kauai for $75.

You can also find kosher food on the Kona side of the island at Costco, Kmart, Safeway, and Walmart. On the Hilo side you have Safeway and Walmart.

Hotels:

Almost all hotels are located on the sunnier and warmer Kona side, though the very rainy Hilo side has more to do. When we honeymooned in Hawaii we rented a treehouse near the volcano using VRBO…it was awesome and is definitely the way to go if you want to stay on the Hilo/Volcano side as the hotels around Hilo are few and pitiful.

If you have the time it’s definitely ideal to spend some nights on the Kona side and some nights on the Hilo side as it’s quite far to keep driving back and forth.

If you’re traveling with a family in Hawaii it’s definitely worth looking into renting a private home or condo from sites like VRBO , Home Away , or airbnb.

-Chabad is located 0.6 miles away from the Royal Kona Resort You can call Chabad directly for specially discounted rates there at 808-499-4573 or email them at chabadbigisland@gmail.com Chabad can also get discounts at other hotels like the Fairmont Orchid.

-Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is a Marriott category 5 property (25K Chase or Marriott points per night or 20K per night on a 5 night reservation). Chabad is 1.5 miles away.

-The Sheraton Kailua-Kona is an SPG category 4 property (10K Starpoints per night or 8K per night on a 5 night reservation). Chabad is 6 miles away.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express earns 10K bonus Starpoints for spending $1 and 15K bonus Starpoints for $5,000 in 6 months which would give you a total of 30,000 Starpoints.

-The Hilton Waikoloa Village is a mega-resort that costs about 50K Hilton points per night (20K Starpoints transfers into 25K Virgin Atlantic which transfers into 50K Hilton points. 25K AMEX points with the current Hilton transfer bonus or 25K Chase or AMEX points transfers into 25K Virgin Atlantic which transfers into 50K Hilton points) Chabad is 27 miles away.

-Volcano House puts you smack in the middle of Volcanoes National Park. Chabad is 96 miles away.

You can also bid for hotels on Hotwire or Priceline that can save you a fortune!

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 40,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points for spending $3,000 plus 5,000 points for adding a free additional user. It offers 2.14 points per dollar on all travel and dining expenses and has no foreign exchange fees. The Chase Ink Plus and Ink Bold each earn 50,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in 3 months, offer up to 5 points per dollar spent, have no foreign exchange fees, and come with free lounge passes. Chase points can transfer into Hyatt or Marriott points instantly at a 1:1 ratio if you or your spouse holds a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Card card.

Activities:
-See the current eruption. You can do this in the evening on the coast of Kalapana at the end of highway 130. You can also view eruptions at the Jaggar Museum overlook in the Volcanoes national park which are also better at night.
Helicopter tours can show you eruptions from the sky. Or find a bootleg guide to take you on foot to the real eruption sights, but you’ll have to search online or locally to find someone like that 😉
-In the national park you can also walk and crawl through lava tubes and go on incredible hikes like the Kilauea Iki hike. Start at the Kilauea Iki Overlook to go through beautiful forest and then into the crater where lava devastated the lush forest. You can even have a picnic in the crater! Roads like Hilina Pali Road, off of Chain or Craters road in the park, will offer spectacular lookouts.
-Waipio Valley is like stepping into another world. But only a 4WD vehicle can make it down the steep grade to the paradise of lush valleys and waterfalls that meander on forever. Otherwise it will take a brutal walk to get there and back.  You can also hire a tour guide with 4WD from the top of the mountain.  You can also take a horseback tour through the valley though you will be on their schedule and you won’t have time to explore waterfalls and peer into the valley.  Beware that there are homeless people who live in the valley and they’re best left undisturbed.  There’s no cell phone service down in the valley either.
-Hot springs around Hilo are volcanically heated and are awesome. The ones that can be easily accessed, like Ahalanui will be more crowded than ones like Champagne Pond that require a 4WD drive to get to. We had Champagne pond to ourselves!
-Hilo’s farmers market offers exotic fruit and local wares. Wednesday is the big market day here. A beautiful glass blue wave caught my eye and although the listed price was high, just remember that you can definitely bargain here!  The fruit in Hawaii is just amazing, don’t leave without trying locally grown Maui Gold Pineapple, passion fruit, papaya, mango, lychee, mangosteen, rambutan, etc.  They just taste so much better in Hawaii and they’re much cheaper at farmers markets.  Beware that you can’t bring any fruit home with you besides for Pineapple or Coconut.
-Don’t be scared to drive Saddle Road connecting the Kona side with the Hilo side with the road up to Mauna Kea in the middle. It used to be bad but now it’s a fine drive.
-Mauna Kea offers the most stunning sunsets you’ll ever see. The volcano is taller than Everest from its base and you can drive up to the top and watch the sun set on the clouds below you. Bring a sweater, there will be snow at the top!
We did this drive in a convertible but a 4WD would have probably made things easier as the top half past the visitors center isn’t paved. Not for the faint of heart or those with respiratory issues. In fact those with respiratory issues should probably avoid the Big Island altogether.
Stay until after sunset and then watch the star show at the visitors center where you’re sure to see more stars than ever before.
Again, you can do this drive without 4WD, just take it nice and slow and use a low gear going down so that you don’t ride your breaks out.
If you do have a 4WD there are some other cool roads up here that you can drive on-see The Big Island Revealed for maps and details.
Snorkeling by Captain Cook is among the best in the state.  There are tons of other water activities on the Kona side.
Diving options are plentiful, including diving with Manta Rays at night!
-South Island sites like South Point where you can see crazy people (or join them, just be sure to send me the YouTube link!) diving off a 40 foot cliff into waters that don’t hit landmass until Antarctica.  If you have a 4WD you can drive from there to green sand beach or take the road to the sea to a private black sand beach.
-Whale watching boatride.
-Place of Refuge was where you went if you broke the Hawaiian law and were subject to execution. This place was a safe haven and if you made it here your life would be spared. No word on if you were able to leave once the big kahuna passed away…
-Kona Coffee is world famous and there are plantations like Greenwell and Bayview that offer tours and tastings.

And don’t forget to relax too 😉

Have more tips? Hit the comments and share your thoughts!

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19 Responses to “DansMeals: Hawaii For The Kosher Traveler. Part 2: The Big Island of Hawaii”

  1. Barry Says:
    1

    Want to be kosher in Hawaii?

    From an anonymous major anglo posek regarding whether you should go to Hawaii on Shabbos (whenever Shabbos actually is!):

    It’s a machlokes in p’shat in R’ Yehuda Halevi, if we calculate (Shabbos) from opposite Eretz Yisrael or do we start from תחילת הישוב.
    It’s a shaila if one should go there. If one finds themselves there, meikar hadin we are mekil, however one should try to be machmir and keep two days, at least for d’oirasos.

    Ouch folks… BTW – I’m sure Delta would more than happy cancel your tickets for no fee!

    ReplyReply
  2. Hawaii Says:
    2

    Dan literally just left the southern most point, back
    For the second year in a row. The rabbi here is amazing!!! The island is even better! How do I send you pictures to attach to the write up?

    ReplyReply
  3. Dan Says:
    3

    @Barry:
    As I already mentioned in the first post, see there: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/39080

    @Hawaii:
    I have lots of pictures, but you can always email me more.
    The island is awesome though Chabad wasn’t there when I was there.

    The point of these posts is just to lay out the options.
    I post more reviews and pictures in my trip reports.

    ReplyReply
  4. elchonon Says:
    4

    I wish there were others going march 26-31, I dont drive but would happily split the cost of rental, and yes rabbi chazanow is awesome… im still looking for someone flying first to bring a case of good kosher wine for the greater good 🙂

    ReplyReply
  5. eli Says:
    5

    Thunder mountain in kona is the worlds second best coffee. They as well give free tours and espresso samplings- its kosher. Dont try green sand beach without a jeep or pickup truck or something of the sort- you will get stuck! There is a boardwalk with attractions in kona… as well as a “flee market” with fruit, and chatchkes. There are water sports towards the end of the boardwalk. As of a few years ago, the ferry to the other islands stopped running, and the only way to go to other islands was by plane.

    ReplyReply
  6. arid Says:
    6

    when i went the only 3 star hotel in the area of the sheraton was the sheraton. so when i was bidding on priceline i knew i was bidding on the sheraton. its a very nice hotel a few min from the chabad. nice rooms and facilities, amazing view, snorkeling with 12 ft manta rays at night right on shore.

    i ended up getting double room suite with my spg gold status for $71 a night. ppl should look into if this is still the case….. worked like a charm for us…

    ReplyReply
  7. Dan Says:
    7

    @arid:
    Yup, like I said, Priceline can save you a fortune!
    Nicely done!

    ReplyReply
  8. arid Says:
    8

    warning: the road to get to green sand beach is VERY CHALLENGING even with a 4×4. we decided not to risk it and paid 15 bucks a person for someone to drive us there, wait a n hour and drive us back. there were more than enough tourists in jeep wranglers along the way that were stuck or pulled over….

    ReplyReply
  9. arid Says:
    9

    also the hike to get under the waterfall at waipio valley was the highlight of our trip. no question. if you can get someone to do the hour long hike, it will change your life.

    ReplyReply
  10. Oisher Says:
    10

    No mention of Yudi?
    What about the incredible Kosher service and delicious, well priced meals that Chef Yudi Weinbaum provides all over Hawaii? Just ask all the satisfied (repeat) customers from around the world (US, Australia, Europe etc.)!
    Worthwhile checking out http://www.oahukosher.com/

    ReplyReply
  11. Dan Says:
    11

    @Oisher:
    I did mention everything about Yudi in my previous post, Part 1: Hawaii General Info And The Island Of Oahu:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/39080

    I even wrote in this post “Please read part 1 for tips on interisland flights, how much time to spend on an island, bringing kosher food from home, ordering kosher food from Oahu, gear that you’ll want in Hawaii, and whether you may have to keep 2 days of shabbos.”

    I’m not going to repeat everything again in all 4 of these Hawaii posts…

    ReplyReply
  12. Oisher Says:
    12

    Sorry, I stand corrected.

    ReplyReply
  13. sam Says:
    13

    Hi Dan I think you should place a tab for dansmeals on top of the site near trip reports mileage posts.. or maybe just post them under trip reports
    Every time I’m looking for them I need to search for it

    ReplyReply
  14. Mendy Says:
    14

    I am trying to apply fro the Delta Amex card to get free bags.

    It tells me “We identified that you are an existing AMEX card member…” And gives me another offer of only 10K miles.

    I haven’t seen you address that yet. Should we apply incognito, and do they give the full 30K?

    ReplyReply
  15. Eli Says:
    15

    We are going in Feb and big island will be our home from Thursday till Sunday night. the Chabad house and Rab Avramel has been amazing in their help from kosher food to hotels and attractions, looking forward to have a great experience there !!

    ReplyReply
  16. dave Says:
    16

    Eli which shabbos are you going to be there?

    ReplyReply
  17. anonymous Says:
    17

    Im starting to hear that mauna kea may not be pregnant woman friendly. is that a real safety concern or is it just a matter of getting nauseous etc?

    ReplyReply
  18. Larry Says:
    18

    We just picked up dinner from avremal and Rivka at kosherinhawaii.com. The food was amazing. Fresh baked pita and wraps were delicious. Everything was tasty and filling. Don’t bother schlepping food, just order from them.

    ReplyReply
  19. mechayamom Says:
    19

    Under please leave enough time for Interisland flight and for changing terminals in Honololu.

    Best advise please on how much time to leave if flying from LIH to ITO (via HNL). There are flights with 1/2 an hour and flights with over an hour.

    If you book on points and miss the connection, will they put you on the next one?

    ReplyReply

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