"Warning: Geology at Work" Top 5 Page for this destination Hawaii (Big Island) by AKtravelers

Hawaii (Big Island) Travel Guide: 1,936 reviews and 4,873 photos

If your dreams of Hawaii include hot magma and roads blocked by black lava, this is the island you need to visit. Nature's raw fury is on display here, though you'll marvel at its understatement -- no huge blasts, only relentless molten oozings that slowly, nonchalantly devastate everything in their path. When you visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you'll get to hike over now solid flows from 1959, 1974 and even more recent times. Even outside the park, you'll see remants of flows everywhere. And, if you're lucky (it took three visits for me to be) you'll be in position to watch red hot lava glow in the dark. Just don't touch!

Do the Big Island in small portions

If you're used to the other Hawaiian islands, the Big Island can be surprisingly, er, big! My first trip was over a long weekend and we spent almost all of it around Hilo and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park -- and I still didn't see everything in those areas. On my next trip, we drove from Volcano to Kailua-Kona and it took us 2.5 hours (not counting stopping for a road-closing accident -- another hazard in a place that lacks multi-lane highways and detour routes). Of course, big can be beautiful, as anyone who visits the top of Mauna Kea can attest!

The Hawaii Creation Myth -- my tribe's Version!

According to Hawaiians, the island chain they call home was created by the goddess Pele, who lives in the volcanoes and used to emerge every four years to lead Brazil to a World Cup victory. Pele is a vengeful goddess, and will bring bad luck to anyone who takes a lava rock from the island (I'm expirementing on my nephews by letting them possess rocks in New Jersey -- we'll see how it goes!).
However, after observing the lava flows with these soon-to-be-jinxed nephews, we think the Hawaiians got it wrong. We believe the Big Island was created by a giant cow with diarrhea, who is gradually eating and excreting reality television contestants. The lava flows and periodic bursts of fire are the result of attempts to digest particularly heinous reality stars, such as those rude losers on American Idol, who precipitate occasional rounds of rectal pyrotechnics. But normally, the output is just the lumpy ooze of Big Brother, Survivor and like shows*.
Aaahhh! If only our creation myth could be true!
* Note, the bovine diety choses not to eat good Amazing Race contestants.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:The antithesis of Waikiki
  • Last visit to Hawaii (Big Island): May 2009
  • Intro Updated May 31, 2009
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Reviews (45)

Comments (8)

  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2015 at 6:15 AM

    Great tips and information here, I enjoyed reading them as they bring back some memories of my visit. I can't wait to get back and do some more exploring on this island.

  • amandajayne81's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Thanks for the great summary of this amazing place. Very informative.

  • greentea1962's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2009 at 12:16 AM

    Superstitions are just that -- things that aren't true. Don't take lava rocks from National Parks -- that's illegal -- but feel free to take one from elsewhere.

  • Aug 31, 2009 at 10:02 AM

    I don't know if you are superstitious, but it a longtime legend that removing any volcanic rocks/sand/etc home bad luck will follow. I know tourists even mail these things back to the islands after returning home because of misfortune or bad luck.

  • Freebeacher's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2008 at 10:40 PM

    Nudity absent lewd behavior or intnet to offend is not illegal on Hawaii beaches. (HI v. Kalama 2000) Topfree is perfectly legal at any beach including Waikiki but not state park beaches, which ae few in number.

  • Kisses&Co's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2008 at 6:24 PM

    I got the two lovely postcards from beautiful beaches in Hawaii :-) Thank you sooo much, Kevin! :-) Those made me smile :-) Hugs!

  • penumbra's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2007 at 6:14 PM

    Very humbling to be in the presence of the overwhelming power of a volcano.

  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2007 at 9:10 AM

    By all means, drive the 3 hours (and enjoy that ride - it's fab) and acquaint yourself with this amazing island. It's a fave in my book. Incredible and varied topography. Aloha!


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