Hawaii's Island Travel Information
Getting to Hawaii’s Big Island
Travel to Kona International Airport (KOA) in Kona to the west, or Hilo International Airport (ITO) in Hilo to the east. Most visitors arrive in Kona. There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu first and then taking a short, 35-40 minute flight to Hawaii’s Big Island.
Getting to Hawaii’s Big Island is easier than ever with daily direct flights into Kona International Airport. Major air carriers from Canada, the U.S. and Japan fly directly into Kona. Most of the direct flights are from the U.S. West Coast — mostly Los Angeles and San Francisco — plus Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Chicago, and internationally from Vancouver and Tokyo. Some seasonal carriers also make the trip with charters.
Staying on Hawaii’s Big Island
Major resort destinations on Hawaii’s Big Island include the Kohala Coast, Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) and Keauhou, both in Kona. There are hotels and accommodations in Hilo and Puna on the east side closer to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Throughout the island you’ll also find bed and breakfast accommodations, condominiums, vacation rental homes and cottages, as well as hostels.
Traveling on Hawaii’s Big Island
We recommend a rental car for flexibility and ease, and we strongly suggest booking before you arrive. All the major rental companies are found on the Big Island. There are also guided tours of every type from bus tours and taxis to shuttle services and private limos. Rental car agencies are located at the Kona and Hilo International Airports as well as some resorts. Rental car companies are located just a short distance from both inter-island terminals. Taxis and other ground transportation are available curbside.
Hawaii County also offers free mass transit via the Hele On (Let’s go) Bus. There are stops all around Hawaii’s Big Island, with service between Kona and Hilo offered Monday through Saturday. For schedules, go to www.co.hawaii.hi.us.
Because the island is so big, consider arriving on one side of the island and departing from the other. For example, you might fly into Kona, exploring that side of the island awhile, then driving to the Hilo side (roughly 2 hrs, 30 min) and exploring for a while longer before flying out from the Hilo Airport, or vice-versa. (Be sure to ask car rental companies about drop off charges.)
Travel times from Kona International Airport (KOA) to:
Hapuna Beach Park: 30 min
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: 3 hours, 15 min
Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona): 15 min
Keauhou: 25 min
Kealakekua Bay: 45 minutes
Waimea: 45 min
Travel times from Hilo International Airport (ITO) to:
Hapuna Beach Park: 1 hour, 45 min
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: 45 min
Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona): 2 hours, 30 min
Waimea: 1 hour, 30 min
Useful phone numbers:
The area code for the state of Hawaii is (808)
Airport Visitor Information: (808) 329-3432 (Kona), (808) 934-5838 (Hilo)
Volcano Activity (808) 985-6000
Agricultural Inspection: (808) 326-1252 (Kona), (808) 933-6930 (Hilo)