Big Island – Arrival in Hilo & Akaka Falls State Park (USA)

Categories: Travel reports, North America, USA, Hawaii

Today we went to the second island of our Hawaii holiday. We were looking forward to Big Island, because on the largest Hawaiian island we had already planned some great activities. The official name of Big Island is ‘Hawai’i’, as is the name of the entire state and archipelago. But not to confuse the two, most people just talk about Big Island.


Hawaiin Airlines flight from Oahu to Big Island

As with our last Hawaii vacation, we chose Hawaiian Airlines for interisland flights. The connection between the islands always fits perfectly from the times and the airline makes a safe, serious impression. We had already booked and bought our tickets online. The price per ticket from Oahu (Honolulu) to Big Island (Hilo) cost us about 85 euros. Unfortunately, the baggage is not included in the fare and would normally cost US 25 US dollars per person per bag. Quite a lot. On our trip around the world we had already won a Hawaiian Airlines Membercard (“HawaiianMiles”) because even if you don’t fly often with the airline, you can save a lot from the first booking. For example, with the luggage: If you are a member, you pay only 15 US dollars in baggage fees instead of the 25 US dollars. A whopping saving of 40.

After about 45 minutes we landed safely on Big Island and had our luggage in our hands super fast. Now all we were missing was our rental car. The airport in Hilo is really not big, so within a few minutes you can stand at the car rental desks, which are located directly opposite the entrance/exit hall. We had already booked our car online in advance via with the provider ALAMO. Since our complete data was already in the system, it was also very fast that we had our keys. Quickly load the luggage into the car, search the route and off we went to the hotel.

Our room at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

For the next three nights we stayed at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, which is located right on the coast. It takes just 7 to 8 minutes from the airport. The central location of the hotel was very important to us, because the routes on Big Island can be very long. But since we also wanted to have a few supermarkets, malls and restaurants around us, the choice quickly fell on the town of Hilo.

The Hilo Hawaiian Hotel has 286 rooms and is located on beautiful Banyan Drive, which is lined with countless Banyan trees. For a double room we paid just 104 euros – that was already relatively cheap for Big Island around this time. But if you compare a lot and use a discount coupon from time to time, you can save really well at hotels. Parking is free on the hotel grounds and if there aren’t any celebrations taking place in the hotel (was like this with us in one day), you can easily find a parking space here. The lobby is very open and generous. Even though we were already here around 11 o’clock, we got our room directly, so we had the opportunity to move again before we grabbed our cameras and went on an island discovery tour.

Our double room was also very generously designed. There was nothing missing – we even had a small balcony (which we didn’t use). The internet here is free of charge and has worked quite well. Only the air conditioning was a bit noisy and disturbed. Otherwise we liked the hotel and we can recommend it without hesitation.

Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls State Park is located only about 27 kilometers north of the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel and can be reached by car in about 30 minutes by car via Highway 19.

If you drive towards the gates of the park, you can park right and left right in front for free. As soon as you are in the park, there is also a parking space, but you pay 5 US dollars for it. You can save yourself that easily. If you park outside, you still have to pay the entrance fee of 1 US dollar per person. So if you come here with several people, you can also park quietly in it, because the entrance fees are already included in the 5 US dollar parking fee and it doesn’t make much difference where you park.

From the car park, the hiking trail goes directly to the two waterfalls – Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls. The trail is a 700-metre-long circular trail,which we first followed straight ahead. The path is fixed and in some places it is necessary to take several stairs. But the surroundings are really great – a real jungle to walk through here. And if you look closely, you will also see some inhabitants and beautiful plants.

First you passed a lookout point where you should actually see the 30 meter high Kahuna Falls. Unfortunately we haven’t seen anything here – but we’ve heard it 😉 A short walk further you will come to Akaka Falls.

The 135-metre-high Akaka waterfall

Already from a distance we were able to break the Akaka Falls, which from a height of 135 meters into the depth. This looks breathtaking when you stand at the top of the railing and look at the opposite waterfall. At the vantage point there are still some information boards and seating. If you follow the circular route, you will arrive at the starting point after a short time.

Akaka Falls State Park, Waterfall, Big Island, Attractions, Hawaii, USA, Photo Spot, TravelReport

The Akaka Falls on Big Island in Hawaii

All travelogues from Hawaii

We had already visited the islands of Hawaii during our trip around the world on the way from North America to Australia. Here we were on O'ahu, Kaua'i, Maui and Big Island. Because we were so enthusiastic about the different islands and the diversified nature, we were able to make up for all the things we had not been able to do last time or which were partly not even possible. In 2015, for example, you couldn't see flowing lava on Big Island, because it didn't flow towards the sea as usual, but towards an inhabited village. And this was closed for access for the safety of all. But since 2016 the lava of Kilauea is flowing towards the ocean again and so we could finally realize one of our biggest wishes: To stand very close to flowing lava. We also wanted to snorkel on O'ahu in Hanauma Bay, climb Koko Head Crater, see a hula show, marvel at the fireworks of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, enjoy the sunrise on the 3,055 meter high Haleakala and watch the turtles on the beach along the Road to Hana. So many things we didn't know about last time or didn't manage to do last time.

Travel Reports Hawaii » Hawaii: Things to know, Photo spots & Travel Guide for a holiday
» O‘ahu: Waikiki – The neighborhood of Honolulu with Waikiki Beach
» O‘ahu: Honolulu – Things to do & the most beautiful photo spots
» O‘ahu: Honolulu – Hike to Manoa Falls & Tantalus Lookout
» O‘ahu: An Island Tour & & the most beautiful photo spots
» O‘ahu: Koko Crater – A hike on the old railway tracks in Oahu
» O‘ahu: Hanauma Bay – One of the most beautiful snorkelspots on Oahu
» O‘ahu: Diamond Head Crater – Stunning view over Honolulu
» Big Island: Arrival in Hilo & Akaka Falls State Park
» Big Island: Lava Hike on Big Island – Get close to flowing lava & feel the heat
» Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes NP – The Lava Viewing Area at Ocean Entry
» Big Island: Lava Boat Tour – A boat trip to Ocean Entry on Big Island
» Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Things to do & Photo spots
» Big Island: Hike to Papakolea Green Sand Beach
» Maui: Lahaina, Nakalele Blowhole & the west coast of the island
» Maui: Sunrise from the top of Haleakala Volcano
» Maui: The panoramic Road to Hana & the Piilani Highway