The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the most picturesque and unique islands in the Hawaiian Island chain. Because it is so
big, however, many visitors take guided tours of the island in order to see as much of its fantastic sites as possible. It
could easily become a trip you’ll take over and over again.
Begin your trip in Kailua-Kona on the western side of the island. In fact, many guided tours will have you stay the whole
time there and use day excursions to allow you to see the rest of the island. Kona itself is a quaint little village in
which you can enjoy a luau, fine dining, a picnic on the grass by the ocean and many small shops located along Ali’i Drive
in downtown Kona.
Adventurous guided tours of the Big Island will take you on saddle road, preferably in a four-wheel drive vehicle. It’s a
desolate road with many twists and turns; the volcanoes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa will flank you on either side. Your
first stop, if you’re feeling brave, is Mauna Kea itself.
Most guided tours of the Big Island will discourage you from taking the trip up Mauna Kea alone as rental cars often can’t
handle it. Instead, let them use their own vehicle to take up, back and forth along switch back roads for nearly an hour,
until you arrive at a small museum at about 9,000 feet that will give you information about the observatories on the volcano.
Many guided tours of Mauna Kea won’t stop there, however. You’ll continue up until you reach approximately 13,000 feet.
In the winter, there may be snow on the ground and driving can be tricky. At the top, however, is a breathtaking view of
the entire island and you’ll find that the clouds are below you. The telescopes and observatories stand out like shining
globes on the otherwise desolate landscape.