Known as the Big Island, the island of Hawaii is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands. However, in comparison to most states, it’s actually quite small. It takes approximately an hour and a half to drive between Kailua-Kona on the west coast and Hilo on the east coast, and about six hours to circle the entire island. Despite its relatively small size, renting a car is the best option for getting around the Big Island if you plan on enjoying many of the beaches and sights.
While the majority of flights arrive in Kailua-Kona, there are car rental companies at both the Kailua-Kona and Hilo airports. All of the major car rental companies provide service in Hawaii. Having your own set of wheels will allow you to see and do all of the things on your itinerary without being dependent on a public transportation schedule.
Getting around the Big Island via Public Transportation
The Big Island’s public bus system is Hele On Hawaii and runs Mondays through Saturdays. It services the majority of the island, including attractions such as Volcanoes National Park. Getting around the Big Island on a bus is best for travelers who have a longer stay planned or who are only aiming to see one or two areas of the island. While more budget-friendly than a car rental, the sparse pickups make waiting times inconvenient for travelers who don’t want to spend their vacation waiting at bus stops.
Taxi companies are available in Hilo and Kona, but you will need to call ahead for their service rather than trying to flag one on the street. Uber and Lyft have also recently made their way to the Big Island.
Many guided tours available on the Big Island offer pickup and drop-off from accommodation locations. Whether you’re hoping to fly by helicopter over the volcano, cruise the magnificent coastline, or snorkel a crystal clear bay, check with your tour company before booking to see if they offer transportation options.
At I Love Hawaii, we have a variety of Big Island houses for rent. Whether you’re enjoying a secluded beach on the tropical northeastern coast, exploring nature at its rawest at Volcanoes National Park, snorkeling the tranquil waters of Kealakekua Bay, or enjoying the bustling towns of Hilo or Kona, we have rentals available near all of the best Big Island attractions. Please contact us at (866) 634-0060 or (808) 445-9126 to make your vacation rental booking and to get started on planning your ideal Hawaiian getaway.