KONA OCEANFRONT PENTHOUSE CONDO - AMAZING SUNSETS

Dual loungers on the teak and ironwood lanai with the ocean crashing belowFully equipped kitchen with granite countertops, tile and stainless appliancesLiving room with fan, pune, bamboo hardwood floor, big screen TV & door to lanaiCarved wood table, chairs and wall sculpture with open beam ceilingOceanfront master bedroom with fan, sliding door to the lanai and ocean breezesMaster bath and walk-in shower with choice of shower headsThe sun sets every night between the palm trees. Relax and enjoy the beauty!Second bedroom with twin beds, bamboo hardwood floors, fan and TVSecond bathroom with tile floors and tub/shower comboLava tide pools are home to many green sea turtles and brightly colored fishWell-appointed kitchen with ceiling fan &  many amenities makes you feel at homeLiving room with sliding doors that separate it from the master bedroomOceanfront barbecue - watch the turtles and whales while you cook dinnerCoral reef in front of the lanai with turtles and brightly colored tropical fishRelax on the lawn just above the beach with a good book or take a nap
76-6246 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Overview

Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Sleeps: 6
Type: Condo
Per night: $165 - $299
Per week: $1,155 - $2,093
Pets allowed: No
Internet: Yes
Description of the Kailua-Kona vacation condo rental
This desirable oceanfront penthouse unit (with elevator) features spacious open beam ceilings and is only 30 feet from the gentle surf lapping directly below the lanai, where surfers launch into the spectacular blue waves of Banyans Beach, one of Kona’s most popular surfing spots. This beautifully remodeled and furnished condo features an oceanfront living room and master bedroom with unparalleled 180 degree ocean views and access to spectacular Kona sea life and sunsets. Your cares dissolve away as warm sun and soothing surf caress your mind and body on the unique ironwood-framed teak lanai in your comfortable teak steamer chairs. Enjoy the brilliant blue skies, colorful Hawaiian reef fish, green sea turtles, Humpback whales, spinner dolphins and surfers right from your lanai. In the quiet evening, relax on your lanai and experience the amazing reds and oranges of a spectacular Kona sunset as the huge orb descends into the sea through the softly waving palm fronds. Luxuriate in the newly remodeled master bathroom and shower with multiple shower heads, double sinks and contemporary tile work. The beautiful bamboo hardwood floors throughout, well stocked kitchen with granite countertops and contemporary cabinets and upscale Hawaiian-themed furnishings will make you wish you never had to leave. During the day, slide the 12’-wide doors between the master bedroom and living room into the wall pocket to enjoy an unrestricted panoramic ocean view from throughout the living area. At night, leave the lanai doors open in the oceanfront master bedroom and living room and be lulled to sleep by the ceaseless caress of the waves on the worn lava rocks below. Gentle ocean breezes keep you cool day and night whether snoozing on the lanai, entertaining friends in your oceanfront paradise or sleeping soundly in your king-size bed .

Unit amenities for your use include full size washer and dryer, large and small ice chests, frozen ice packs, beach chairs, beach towels, beach mats, boogie boards, snorkel gear, children’s beach toys, two pack ‘n plays, popular board and table games, puzzles, in-unit password protected WiFi and internet access, BluRay DVD player, 3 flat screen TVs, stereo with iPad docking station, iron and ironing board, safe, and wall-mounted hair dryers.

Sleeping arrangements include a king-size bed in the oceanfront master bedroom and twin beds in the second bedroom. The living room pune (Hawaiian sofa/couch) is actually a second pair of twin beds. The unit sleeps four persons privately (two in the master bedroom and two in the second bedroom) or six if you use the pune.

Resort amenities include free parking, elevator, a large swimming pool with deck chairs and tables, hot tub/spa, comfortable lobby with wireless Internet, concierge desk for Big Island activities, oceanfront gas barbecues, oceanfront lounge chairs on the beach, numerous shallow lava tide pools with green sea turtles, Da Poke Shack (a very popular restaurant for poke), Miller’s Surf Shop (surfing, diving and snorkel gear), on-site security, convenience store (with alcohol sales) across the street. The resort does not allow smoking in any public areas and our unit is also non-smoking.

Hawaii General Excise Tax of 4% and Transient Occupancy Tax of 9.25% are charged on all rental nights. In addition, Hawaii General Excise Tax of 4% is charged on the cleaning fee.
Area Information
Kona Bali Kai is perfectly located for whatever activities you enjoy. Whether it’s shopping, active outdoor activities, snorkeling, relaxing on the beach or great restaurants, it’s all nearby.

Within a 5-7 minute radius of our condo

Surfing at Banyans (on-site)
Exploring tide pools and discovering green sea turtles (on site)
Swimming pool, hot tub, lounge chairs on the beach (on site)
Oceanfront barbecues (on site)
Whale watching in season (on site)
Poke Shack (on site) for award-winning poke (seasoned ahi tuna)
Walking, jogging, roller blading, bike riding (on site and all along oceanfront Ali’i Drive
Small white sand pocket beaches ( 2-4 minutes north)
Relaxing on a beautiful and popular white sand beach (Magic Sands/White Sands): (2 minutes south)
Snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach Park (4 minutes south): great snorkeling in a shallow cove with a large covered picnic area.
Ali’I Gardens farmer’s market (1/2 minute north): fresh fruits and vegetables
Farmer’s market in Kailua-Kona old town (5 minutes north): great bargains on mangoes, papayas, avocados, lychee, rambutans, dragon fruit, oranges and other fresh fruits and vegetables and tourist trinkets
Shopping in Kailua-Kona old town (5 minutes north): art galleries, clothing stores, and other treasures
Shopping in the Keahou Shopping Center (5 minutes south)
Restaurants (five minutes north or east or south): numerous restaurants in Kailua-Kona old town, in the Keahou Shopping Center area and on Kuakini Highway
Movie theater (5 minutes south): in the Keahou Shopping Center
Hulihe’e Palace (5 minutes north in old town): nearly 200 year old palace that was the home of vacationing Hawaiian royalty
Mokuaikaua Church (5 minutes north): first Christina Church in the Hawaiian islands
Free public salt water swimming pool (1 minute north): this salt water pool fed by ocean waves is free to the public
Ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs (5 minutes south): visible at low tide, the 400+ year old petroglyphs carved in the lava rocks commemorate a violent war-time event
The “Little Blue Church” (5 minutes south): tiny St. Peter’s Catholic Church is a heavily photographed favorite wedding spot
Ku’emanu heiau (5 minutes south): a good example of an ancient sacred Hawaiian temple
Kona Country Club golf course (7 minutes south): beautifully maintained oceanfront public golf course

Within a 30 minute radius of our condo

Hike to Captain Cook Memorial (20 minutes south to trailhead): hike from 1,300’ elevation down to sea level (two miles) to visit the site of Captain Cook’s death (“discoverer” of the Hawaiian islands) and the most incredible snorkeling on the island
The Painted Church (25 minutes south):
Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park (30 minutes): this ancient Hawaiian City of Refuge is a cultural treasure full of interpretive displays. Turtles are often on the beach here.
Two-Step snorkeling beach (30 minutes): this popular snorkeling beach is directly across tiny Honaunau Bay from the City of Refuge. Called Two-Step because it is only “two-steps” from your parked car to the ocean, the water here is clear and full of fish.
Kealakekua Bay (30 minutes): this incredible bay is home to spinner dolphins and great views of the Captain Cook Memorial (across the bay to the north). Until recently, you could rent kayaks and kayak across the bay and perhaps see the spinner dolphins; but it has recently been closed to kayakers.
Kona coffee plantations (25 minutes south): Try Greenwell or Bayview
Hike the Arch City coastline (30 minutes south to the trailhead near the City of Refuge): hike to more than a dozen sea arches in a mile of shoreline before looping back to your car.
Kekaha Kai State Park (20 minutes north): a beautiful beach after a rough lava road
Makalawena beach (20 minutes north at Kekaha Kai State Park to the trailhead): a short 20 minute walk leads to a powdery white sand beach that is typically nearly deserted; on the north end of the beach is a large fresh water pool in the lava rocks
Kiholo Bay and Queen’s bath (30 minutes north to the trailhead): a five-minute walk from the trailhead brings you to the Queen’s Bath, a collapsed lava tube filled with fresh water that is just across a gravel road from the salty ocean. The lava tube is collapsed in two places, so you can walk under the lava bridge from one opening to the other. Continue along the beach another 20 minutes to Kiholo Bay. This tiny bay typically hosts dozens of green sea turtles either sunning on the lava rocks on the east side of the bay, sunning on the sandy beach on the west side of the bay or simply swimming in the bay. So narrow that you can swim across it in less than a minute in some spots, Kiholo Bay is fed by adjacent fresh water springs (the only running water on the west side of the Big Island) that floats on top of the more dense (and warmer) salt water. This is my favorite spot on the entire Big Island and I hike to it every chance I get; if you see two other people at Kiholo Bay, it’s a crowd.
Dozens of other white and black sand beaches going north from Kailua-Kona.

Availability Calendar

Rates

Begins Ends Week
Night
Weekend
Night
Weekly Monthly Min
Stay
Oct 13 2014 Dec 19 2014 $165 $180 $1,155 $4,650 3 Nights
Dec 19 2014 Jan 04 2015 $275 $275 $1,925 - 1 Week
Jan 04 2015 Apr 19 2015 $225 $225 $1,575 $6,020 1 Week
Apr 19 2015 Oct 10 2015 $165 $180 $1,155 $4,650 3 Nights
Aug 01 2015 Oct 06 2015 $165 $180 $1,155 $4,650 3 Nights
Oct 06 2015 Oct 13 2015 $299 $299 $2,093 - 1 Week
View all periods
Check In: 4 p.m. Check Out: 11 a.m.
Lodging tax: 13.416%
Tax I.D.: W21826366-02
Deposits: $500 at time of booking. Balance due 60 days prior to Check-in Date.
Payment Options: Cashier's Check, Mastercard, Money Order, PayPal, Personal Check, Visa
Other Fees: Cleaning fee per stay is $125 plus 13.416% tax = $141.77.

Amenities

  • Beds

  • 1 King Bed
  • 2 Twin Beds
  • Features

  • Beach Chairs
  • Garage
  • Hot Tub
  • Oceanfront
  • Beach Towels
  • Hardwood Floors
  • Lanai
  • Parking Included
  • Beachfront
  • High Speed Internet
  • Linens Provided
  • Waterfront
  • Full Kitchen
  • Appliances

  • Alarm Clock
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave
  • Stove
  • Blender
  • Gas Grill
  • Oven
  • TV (Cable/Satellite)
  • CD Player
  • Hair Dryer
  • Radio
  • Telephone
  • Ceiling Fan
  • Ice Maker
  • Refrigerator (Full)
  • Toaster
  • Coffee Maker
  • Iron
  • Stereo
  • Washer/Dryer
  • DVD Player
  • Activities

  • Beach
    (onsite)
  • Surfing
    (onsite)
  • Gym/Fitness Center
    (1 mile)
  • Movie Theater
    (3 miles)
  • Ocean
    (onsite)
  • Whale Watching
    (onsite)
  • Snorkeling
    (2 miles)
  • Scuba Diving
    (3 miles)
  • Park
    (onsite)
  • Windsurfing
    (onsite)
  • Bicycling
    (3 miles)
  • Shopping Area
    (3 miles)
  • Pool
    (onsite)
  • Grocery Store
    (<1 mile)
  • Golf
    (3 miles)
  • Boating
    (6 miles)
  • Restaurant
    (onsite)
  • Playground
    (<1 mile)
  • Hiking
    (3 miles)
  • Deep Sea Fishing
    (6 miles)
Other Vacation Rental Amenities
Museums
Churches
Marina
Caves
Cinemas
Sight Seeing
Scenic Drives
Eco Tourism
Medical Services
ATM/bank
Hospital
Laundromat
Roller Blading
Spelunking

Reviews for this vacation condo rental in Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Have you been a guest of this property? Write a review!
Nathan Bass

San Francisco, CA

Wonderful Stay at #405 Kona Bali Kai

Our experience renting apartment 405 Kona Bali Kai was positive from the outset. Dealing with Mike Gaudette, the owner who rented directly to us, was a pleasure. He facilitated the process of the rental with professional efficiency, charm and graciousness, and provided a wealth of truly useful information about the location, activities in the vicinity and the Big Island in general. We spent a few days in Volcano National Park before driving to Kailua Kona and checked in smoothly. The condo was really perfect in terms of its convenient location, central to all the sights and activities we wanted to take in, and being a pleasant, comfortable, charming & relaxing environment to come back to after a day of fun in the sun. We found it to be exactly as described down to the smallest detail. We loved sitting down to breakfast and dinner (we dined in almost every day) on the lanai, watching the surfers, paddlers and birds, watching and listening to the sea - just fabulous; the ocean is right there, as are the storied sunsets. We found the condo to be very comfortable & considerately well equipped to meet all our needs and then some. The kitchen contains all the means for cooking a feast, and the bathrooms were clean, with perfect functionality and even a touch of luxury (two sinks and double-head shower in the master bedroom). We were out every day swimming and hiking (including the notorious walk down and back to the Capt. Cook memorial on Kealakekua Bay). That day, we also indulged in a night snorkel with the giant manta rays. Starting out from the condo on Ali’i Drive, we were within 30 min drive from some of the best snorkeling we have enjoyed on all the islands. We were fortunate to swim with green turtles, spinner dolphins and also took the night trip to view the giant Manta rays. Just astonishing! We slept comfortably every night, lulled by the sound of the waves just below the Lanai, and cooled by the breeze, assisted by the ceiling fans, coming through the condo. This was far preferable to AC which would have required closing the doors, overcooling the space and foregoing the experience of the sounds and scents of the ocean. We loved the Big Island on this, our first visit; we had the best time here and want to return soon. And we will certainly choose 405 Kona Bali Kai as our preferred accommodation. Mahalo, Mike and Nicole, for sharing your lovely home on the Big Island!

Mike Gaudette

Owner's reply:

Thanks so much for your wonderful review. It is our goal that every guest have an incredible experience on the Big Island and we want our condo and the information we share with our guests to make that goal a reality. We hope to see you again soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is the condo located relative to Big Island tourist activities?
A: The Kona Bali Kai condo complex is perfectly situated. It is in the middle of the 6-mile long oceanfront Ali'i Drive - three miles south of old-town Kailua-Kona (boutique shopping, art galleries, farmer's market, restaurants and bars) and three miles north of Keahou (shopping mall, movie theaters, golfing). One mile south is Magic Sands white sand beach, one of the nicest on the Big Island and two miles south is Kahalu'u Beach Park, a very popular snorkeling area that features a nice reef with calm and shallow waters and numerous varieties of fish. This central location is also convenient to all the tourist activities south of Kailua-Kona in the Captain Cook area (ancient Hawaiian City of Refuge, Two-Step snorkeling beach, Kealakekua Bay [home to a pod of dolphins], the Captain Cook memorial and incredible snorkeling, the Painted Church, Kona coffee plantations and macadamia nut factory) within 1/2 hour. It is also convenient to the incredible beaches and attractions within 1/2 hour north of Kailua-Kona (Kiholo Bay with its numerous turtles, the Queen's Bath freshwater pool in a collapsed lava tube adjacent to the beach, Hapuna Beach, Puako and Waikoloa petroglyphs, Makalawena's powdery white sand beach, and the Mauna Kea beach).
Q: What makes our condo different from others?
A: We love our 4th floor unit with open-beam ceilings that create a feeling of spaciousness We love that the 12' doors separating the living room from the master bedroom disappear completely into the wall during the day (no other unit at Kona Bali Kai has this feature) so that there is a panoramic view of the ocean and surfers from anywhere in the unit. We love the way the sun sets every night right between the palm trees off our lanai and how we can sit on the lanai and watch surfers, whales (in season) and turtles. We love that the surfers walk through the seawall right in front of our unit to launch themselves into the ocean and we can watch them from dawn to dusk every day. One of the most unusual features of our unit is the teak lanai framed in Hawaiian ironwood and bamboo hardwood floors throughout the unit.. The newly remodeled master bath and walk-in shower features your choice of an adjustable shower head on the wall or a drenching rain head in the ceiling, dual cabinets and sinks, and an elongated toilet. We love to play games and spend time at the beach in Hawaii with friends and family, so the unit is fully equipped with games and beach accessories, including children's play toys.
Q: Why choose the Big Island and our oceanfront condo at Kona Bali Kai?
A: The Kona Bali Kai condo complex is conveniently located on Ali’i Drive, three miles south of downtown Kailua-Kona. Ali’i Drive is full on both the mauka (mountain) and makai (ocean) sides with hotels, condos and timeshares all the way from downtown. The complex features a swimming pool, hot tub, free parking, picnic tables and barbecues. This location is ideal for exploring the Big Island, shopping or recreation. One of the best white sand beaches on the island is only three miles south on Ali’i Drive at White Sands/Magic Sands Beach Park (La’aloa Beach) and some of the best shallow water snorkeling is only two miles away on Ali’i Drive at Kahalu’u Beach Park. The shore in front of the condo complex is mostly rocky, but there is a small white sand beach area on the south end with sandy access out through the lava rocks to the open ocean.

What is there to do on the Big Island? You can swim in rock pools heated by underground lava, see turtles sunning themselves on Punalu’u black sand beach, snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Kealakekua Bay, enjoy spectacular Aka’ka Falls, watch the Boiling Pots seethe and churn after a rainfall, check out a macadamia nut factory (with warm roasted macadamias) or visit the free zoo in Hilo. You can see dozens of turtles sunning themselves on the secluded beach of Kiholo Bay, drive to the top of Mauna Kea (13,800 feet) and play in the snow, stargaze at the Muana Kea visitor center or rent a mountain bike and coast downhill from Mauna Kea for 36 miles into Hilo. For the adventurous, hike out to the red hot flowing lava of Kileaua, watch the natural fireworks at night as lava oozes into the ocean creating more new land, hike through a tropical rainforest and across the tortured floor of Kileaua Iki crater, explore dozens of lava tubes, hike the arid desert in Volcanoes National Park out to volcanic vents spewing sulfur and steam, careen down the paved (but oooh! so steep) 4-wheel-drive-only road into the Waiapi’o Valley and the 1,450 high Hi’ilawe Falls, hike down to the Captain Cook memorial and incredible snorkeling in crystal clear water (site of Captain Cook’s death), described by natives as “two miles down and four miles up.”

Want more adventure? You can explore numerous sites of ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs, hike or four-wheel out to incredible green sand beaches, jump into a fresh water pool in a collapsed lava tube only feet from the salty ocean, explore a forest filled with lava castings of ancient palm trees destroyed by Pele, take a breath-taking helicopter tour of the island, leap off the sea cliffs into the crystal blue ocean or swim in dozens of lava tidepools.

If you haven’t had your fill of natural wonders yet, you can explore the Golden Pools, black sand beaches, one of the highest lakes in the world, natural steam saunas, tortured fields of tephra lava, impenetrable jungles and hike to incredible vistas. Why not snorkel or scuba dive with colorful fish, turtles and other denizens of the sea at dozens of excellent locations, watch Humpback whales migrating, dive or snorkel with the manta rays at night in a phosphorescent ocean or try your hand at fishing for marlin and other billfish?

More sedate activities include visiting the ancient Hawaiian City of Refuge, the Painted Church, the Tsunami Museum, the Sugar Cane Railroad Museum, driving the old highway near Hilo, exploring Banyan Drive or learning about Hawaiian paniolos (cowboys) at Parker Ranch, the largest cattle ranch in the United States. Or enjoy golfing, sunbathing on hundreds of deserted black, white or green sand beaches, discovering Hawaiian culture, shopping, browsing the farmer’s markets in Hilo and Kailua-Kona, shopping at the International Market in Kona, or just enjoying the slower pace of paradise. No matter what you like to do on your vacation, the Big Island of Hawai’i has something for everyone.

The Big Island earned its name because it’s, well, big. While many sights are within a few minutes of the condo, Hilo and Volcanoes National Park are a two hour drive and a full day should be planned for excursions to that side of the island (that’s also the rainy side!). Consequently, if you plan much sightseeing, you will definitely need to pick up a rental car at the Kailua-Kona airport. You won’t need a Jeep to see most of the island, but it can be fun and useful for some of the more adventurous opportunities (or if you want to work on your tan while driving).

The very best resource for exploring the Big Island is a book called “Hawaii – The Big Island Revealed.” This book by Andrew Doughty is in every store in town and at about $12 at Costco or $16 elsewhere it is the best investment you can make to really discover all there is to do on the Big Island. It has a shiny blue cover and you will see it in the hands of nearly every tourist you run across who is out exploring the island.

While our one bedroom condo is across the street from the beach, you need to be aware that you don’t have an ocean view from the condo because other parts of the condo complex on the ocean side of Ali’i Drive block the view. However, that won’t stop you from enjoying the white sand beach and the beautiful sunsets by just walking across the street and relaxing in a lounge chair on the beach. The two bedroom oceanfront unit has beautiful views and is fully remodeled.
Q: Do I need a car on the Big Island?
A: It depends on the kind of things you like to do. If all you want to do is relax on the beach or lounge on the lanai you won't need a car because you won't be going anywhere. If you like to go out to eat, shop, or do traditional tourist activities that you pay for (snorkeling cruises, luau, helicopter ride, sunset cruises, etc.) and you enjoy walking, you can also get by without a car because you can walk the comfortable three miles into town along oceanfront Ali'i Drive or be picked up at the condo by tour operators. But, if you plan to range farther afield, you should plan on renting a car for the duration of your stay. Reserve early! They can get expensive if you wait until the last minute.
Q: If we want to do our own cooking, where should we shop?
A: The least expensive place to buy groceries on the Big Island is the Costco near the airport (you pass it on the way from the airport into Kailua-Kona). This is the place to buy meat, wine, pizza, rotisserie chickens, dairy products, carbonated beverages and pineapples. In Kailua-Kona, you can shop at the WalMart (not a super store, but still a very large grocery selection) or the adjacent Safeway to top out your grocery list. The water on the Big Island is very hard because it flows through all the iron-bearing lava rock before it makes its way to your tap. If you can't handle the water for drinking, you can buy bottled water by the bottle or gallon at WalMart; you can refill your gallon bottle for 35 cents at the water-filling station in the WalMart parking lot. If you drink a lot of water, we have a five gallon water dispenser that can be refilled for about $1.50 at the same spot. For fresh fruits and vegetables, we like to buy them at the farmers markets in old town Kailua-Kona or Hilo; this is the best place for lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, mangos, papayas, rambutan, lychee, soursop, mangosteens, dragon fruit, passion fruit, guavas and other tropical fruits. Pineapples often cost more here than at Costco. For fresh flowers the farmers market in Hilo can't be beat; beautiful bouquets are usually only $10!
Q: What about parking at your condo?
A: Parking is free at Kona Bali Kai. All guests at Kona Bali Kai are required to display a parking pass. You request a parking pass from the front desk in the lobby of Kona Bali Kai. The front desk is managed by the on-site rental company (Castle Resorts and Hotels); their lease with the Kona Bali Kai Association Of Apartment Owners (AOAO) requires them to distribute parking passes to all owners and guests, regardless of whether they are renting from Castle or individual owners (like you are). They will give you a parking pass for the duration of your stay at KBK. You may have up to two vehicles when staying in our condo. You may park in either the open parking lot adjacent to the elevator or you can park in the covered parking lot on the first floor of the condo complex; however, do not park in any space that is painted “reserved.”
Q: How do I get an affordable rental car on the Big Island?
A: If you plan to see much of the Big Island, you are going to need a rental car. It is not necessary to have a four-wheel drive vehicle unless you plan to drive out to the green sand beach at South Point (rather than hike six miles round trip) or go on some of the more adventurous natural roads through the lava fields (fun, but actually slower than walking because the roads are SOOOO rough). If you do want a four-wheel drive vehicle, don’t reserve a four-wheel drive vehicle in advance unless you are going to be crushed if you don’t get it; wait until you are at the rental counter and they offer you an upgrade, then negotiate the increased daily rate for the upgrade. Be aware that although there are many four-wheel drive SUVs available to rent, only a Jeep will give you the ground clearance that is absolutely necessary for some of the roads you would like to traverse. Also, be aware that some rental car companies are now tracking where you drive their vehicles using GPS. In the past, if you drove on a road that they didn’t want you to, it would “void your rental car contract,” but since you had the car already, what did that really mean? Now, they can know where you’ve been, where the car is parked each night, and they could pick the car up (leaving you stranded) or charge you an outrageous fee for driving in places that they don’t want you to drive. So, it may be prudent to ask if there are places you are not allowed to drive and how they know if you drove there and, based on that, make a decision whether it’s worth the extra money to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle.

To save money on car rentals, reserve well in advance (at least three months, if possible). DO NOT use Orbitz, Expedia, or other travel wholesalers as a rule, except that you should check prices on Discount Hawaii Car Rental. Go online and put in the dates you want and the smallest size car you are willing to accept, and get a quote. The Kona airport has Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Alamo, National, Budget, Enterprise, Honk and AutoEurope). A really good price on the Big Island is $250 per week including taxes and fees for a mid-size car; but you could easily pay $700-$800/week in high season (double that for a mini-van). Remember that a reservation is just that – a reservation. You don’t pay until you actually pick up a vehicle at the airport. You can make a reservation early on to be sure you have one and then continue to shop, looking for a better price; if you find one, cancel the more expensive reservation you made at first. If you still think you are paying too much for a rental car, try to get a car on Hotwire. On Hotwire, you can search on your dates and choose the size of car you want; you can often get a deep discount, especially if you are close to your arrival date and the car rental companies have extra inventory. Be aware that on Hotwire, you pay for the rental at the time of booking, unlike all the others listed here who simply make a reservation that you will pay when you pick up the car.
Q: What should I bring with me to Hawaii?
A: You should bring: 1) sunglasses (a cheap pair is good if you intend to go out into the ocean with them because they could be broken or lost); 2) a hat with a brim (especially if you are bald, this is essential); 3) sunscreen (SPF 30 is adequate, but 50 is better, especially for children). If you are not already deeply tanned, sunscreen is essential to prevent you from ruining your vacation the first few days; the reflection of the sun on the water will burn you beyond any past experiences if you don’t take precautions. Be sure to get the top of your nose, your ears and your feet! 4) a water bottle you can carry on your belt and/or a backpack for hiking and day trips; 5) flip-flops or sandals and tennis shoes (you can do some walking or hikes in flip-flops or sandals, but others are best done in tennis shoes; 6) binoculars (for watching surfers and sea life); 7) swimming suit(s); 8) light shirts or tops and short pants, dresses or skirts; 9) a light jacket (essential if you plan to go to the top of Mauna Kea at 13,800 feet, where it will be 49 degrees cooler than at sea level; that’s literally freezing!); 10) your smart phone or tablet (and the charger!) to keep connected while on vacation; 11) a flashlight (in case you want to explore lava tubes).
Q: What shouldn't I bring to the Big Island?
A: Don’t bring 1) any fresh fruits (you will have to throw them away upon leaving the plane in Hawaii; 2) any animals (they have a mandatory quarantine in Hawaii and our condo complex doesn’t allow them anyway); 3) a lot of fancy clothes or long pants (you can go anywhere on the Big Island in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and sandals and be appropriately dressed).
Q: How do I get my luggage up to your 4th floor condo?
A: There are three very nice luggage carts in the lobby at the Kona Bali Kai (same place where you will pick up your parking pass). When you walk to the lobby, you may see one or two very old luggage carts that are for contractors to use; don’t use them unless you are in a hurry and the others aren’t available. The elevator is adjacent to the lobby; take the cart to the 4th floor and then down to the condo and unload it just outside the door of the unit.
Q: What airport should I fly into?
A: Most people fly into the Kona International Airport (KOA) because it is about 10 minutes from Kailua-Kona. But you can also fly into Hilo Airport on the other side of the Big Island. Why would you want to do that? Well, if you plan to spend any amount of time around the volcano or the Puna area, you might want to fly into Hilo, rent your car there (it’s not as touristy an area as Kailua-Kona) and drive over to Kona for your time in Kona and then back to Hilo for a few days at the volcano before flying out of Hilo. Of course, you could do the reverse by flying into Kona and spending a few days in Hilo before returning to Kona to fly out.
Q: What do I do if I have to check out by 11:00 am and don't have a flight until late that night?
A: If you are on an evening flight and need to kill some time before heading to the airport, here are some ideas. 1) You can hang out at the beach or pool at Kona Bali Kai for some or all of the day; there are bathrooms, coin-operated laundry room and an outside shower at the pool so you can wash off and change your clothes. Remember, however, that you must return your pool key to the lock box on the condo when you are checking out, so take your things down to the pool before fully checking out. The front desk staff can let you into the bathrooms during the day. 2) Go to one of the many beaches north or south of the condo and spend the day getting your last bit of sun, snorkeling, eating the last of your groceries (remember you can’t take most fruits and vegetables out of Hawaii; they will be confiscated at the agricultural check point before boarding the plane for the mainland). Since most public beaches have outside and/or inside showers and restrooms, you can clean up there before changing clothes to head home (remember to keep some zip lock bags in your suitcases to pack wet bathing suits). 3) Do an island activity that you saved for the last afternoon (renting bicycles, helicopter ride, zip line). 4) Go into old-town Kailua-Kona and browse the shops and enjoy the sunset. 5) Go to a movie south of the condo in Keahou (at the end of Ali’i Drive). 6) Go to dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area. 7) LEAVE FOR THE AIRPORT AT LEAST TWO HOURS BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT. It will take at least 20 minutes to drive there from Kailua-Kona. It will take 10 minutes to buy gas (the Tesoro station on the mauka side of the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway after you leave Kailua-Kona is the last place to buy gas before the airport) and 15 minutes to return the rental car (after you drop off your guests and luggage at the terminal and return to the terminal on the rental car shuttle). Assuming you have checked bags, they will have to go through agricultural inspection (curb-side and typically takes only 2-3 minutes) and then you will have to wait in line to check-in. Be aware that there can be long security lines at the airport, especially if there are two flights departing close together. It can take close to a full hour to get through security if the lines are backed up. You will also go through agricultural inspection again for your carry-on bags to enter the boarding area for you flight (usually less than 5 minutes). While you could zip through all of this and be sitting in the waiting area for an hour before boarding, that hasn’t been our experience, so please leave for the airport early.
Q: Can I get a late check-out?
A: Unfortunately, no. We typically have new guests arriving the same day you check-out and the housekeeper needs adequate time to change the beds, do the laundry, clean the unit, restock all the amenities, replace light bulbs and verify inventory.

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Last updated: November 16, 2014

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Owner Profile

Mike Gaudette

Mike Gaudette

541-297-4646

More about the owner
  • School:

    Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon; University of Portland in Portland, Oregon; City University in Bellevue Washington; Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon
  • Work:

    Self-employed higher education consultant; previously worked at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, Oregon and Centralia College in Centralia, Washington
  • About:

    My wife and I began visiting Hawaii about 20 years ago. When we started coming over to the islands two to three times a year we began talking about buying our own place in paradise. We initially bought a one- bedroom condo that was across the street from the beach, but without an ocean view. When we...
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