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Frequently Asked Questions

We enjoy sharing our knowledge of the Big Island. Feel free to email us any

questions you have by clicking on the Contact Us menu choice on the left.

  • Where are the nearest grocery stores? The nearest store is the General Store on Orchid Land drive (take Maku'u Drive to the main highway, turn right and after about a mile you will pass Paradise Drive shortly after which you will turn left onto Orchid Land Dr – the store is behind the gas station. The next closest is Malama Market. To get there take Maku'u drive to the highway and turn left and after about 4 miles you will come to the turn off for Pahoa. On your right you will see a small mall - the Pahoa Marketplace. At the back of the plaza is the market. They have a good selection of everything. If you continue on into Pahoa you will pass a 7-Eleven and the large Island Naturals Pahoa Market & Deli. The largest most complete supermarket short of driving all tghe way into Hilo is Foodland located in the small shopping mall in downtown Keau'u. To reach Keau'u head back up to Hwy 130, turn right, travel about 6 miles towards Hilo, and turn left at the signs for Keau'u until you reach downtown. There is a small Farmer's Market in downtown Keau'u which is open every day of the week.

  • What should we remember to bring? The house is fully equipped with everything you would expect in a home (for instance all linens, normal kitchen dishes, utensil, appliances, etc.) Our Features page contains more information. All you really need to think about is what you need personally. Depending on the time you arrive you may want to pick up bottled water, ice, and maybe a few food items. At the house you will find spices, teas, a few condiments and other food items left behind by previous renters. There may or may not be any coffee but you should not have to worry about coffee filters - we try to keep those stocked. Certainly come prepared for the sun (bring hats and a light long sleeved shirt for those days when you have had enough sun). Bring sunglasses and reading sunglasses if you have them. Sand (aka swim) shoes for use while in the water is a good idea. Also for hiking on the lava a pair of good tennis or other sturdy shoes is recommended. You may need to buy some sun tan lotion after you arrive unless you plan to check your baggage. Often time previous renters leave behind suntan lotion, other body lotions, hair shampoo and conditioner. We provide sample sized Hawaiian made soaps, lotion and shampoo\conditioner. We also have accumulated a number of beach mats. Finally bring a flashlight for use after dark for entry into the house. While we have lights on the lanai you never know when the bulb may burn out.

  • Where can I swim in the ocean? Hilo has many beaches including a couple safe for children, our favorite is Carlsmith Beach. Other areas to swim include Ahalanui Hot Pond, Kapoho Tide Pools (some areas safe for children), and Isaac Hale (the currents and wave action can be tricky here so check on the conditions before entering).

  • Is there a beach across the street from the house? Across the street are 20 foot lava cliffs with no safe ocean entry and no safe swimming. The cliffs are very interesting and you can walk almost endlessly in either direction. When the whales are around, the cliffs are a good place to see them spouting, flashing their tails, and breaching. However the cliffs can be slippery so if you are near the edge please be careful and do not turn your back on the waves.

  • How far is the house from Hilo? From the Kona airport? The house is 18 miles from Hilo and the Hilo airport (about a 30 minute drive). The Kona airport is a 2.5 to 3 hour drive away.

  • How close is Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park? The national park is an easy one hour drive over excellent roads from the house. See the end of this page for more information on the volcanoes.

  • How close are the Kapoho Tide Pools? Our home is located at the beginning of the Puna district - an area full of interesting areas to visit including the Kapoho Tide Pools. Once you are back out on the main road you are a beautiful 20 minute drive through the countryside to the tide pools.

  • Where can we rent snorkel gear in Hilo? 
    Hilo Ocean Adventures
    1717 Kamehameha Ave
    Hilo, HI 96720
    (808) 934-8344

  • Will I need to rent a car? It is difficult to get around Hawai'i without one. Whenever we rent a car in Hawai'i we use http://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/. They negotiate with all the major rental agencies and consistently have the best price. One of our renters saved $300.00 on his rental fee using this site. If you get a better price elsewhere please let us know.

  • Should we rent a 4 wheel drive? The Big Island has great roads (no freeways) so the usual rental car will take you just about everywhere. However a 4 wheel drive will allow you to drive to the top of Mauna Kea, Waipi’o Valley, Green Sands Beach, and some off the grid roads such as the road that runs from Hawaiian Paradise Park to Hawaiian Beaches through the Maku’u Point area along Government Beach Road. You should keep in mind though that once you are off the grid you cannot assume you will have cell service should you get stuck. The number one reason people rent a 4 wheel drive is to drive all the way up to the summit of Mauna Kea. You can learn more about the summit by visiting Onizuka Visitor Center. We have heard there is a shuttle for people in normal cars that run to the summit but not sure when that runs. If you decide to try a 4 wheel drive you might want to check out this site -> www.harpershawaii.com. It was recommended to me by the rental agency I always use, http://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/.

  • Is the house child safe? - We welcome children in our home but we want you to be aware it is elevated and we do not consider it a toddler safe house. We have both an interior and an exterior stairway that are not blocked off. Also right across the street are 20 foot lava cliffs. We are comfortable with people who have young babies and children that are 7 years old and older. We have plenty of games for you to play with your children - including Konane ("Hawaiian checkers").

  • Do we share the vacation rental with anyone? No. You have the house all to yourself.

  • What amenities do you supply - is there a coffee maker, is there a cooler, and a hair dryer? The house is fully equipped with all the usual appliances including coffee maker, coffee grinder, hair dryer, small cooler, blender, washing machine, dryer, iron, ironing board etc. Linens are also supplied (towels, beach towels, sheets, etc.) Check out the Vacation Rental Features page to learn more. If you can't find the hair dryer search all the drawers and cabinets in the bathrooms.

  • What about food, spices, etc? The house usually has a good supply of spices, teas, coffee filters, etc. My advice is to pick up some bottled water, ice, drinks, a little bit of food, and maybe a few other items on your way to the house but don't buy too much until you see what others have left behind. The refrigerator usually has left over condiments, jelly, and other items such as cooking oil.

  • Does the house have Internet access? Yes we have broadband wireless access and directions on how to hook up are in the house.

  • Any guidebook suggestions? The best guidebook we’ve come across is called “Hawai'i The Big Island Revealed”, 7th edition. It’s quite popular, very detailed, and we have a copy at the house for your use. However you might want to pick a copy up in advance or check with your local library. http://www.wizardpub.com/bigisland/bigisland.html

  • How do I see the lava? Lava has flowed continuously since 1991 but its path changes. The USGS site posts updates daily. One of the best and most popular methods is to take a lava boat tour. They leave conveniently from Isaac Hale Park in Puna. Sometimes there are breakouts on the slopes that can be accessed on foot via guided walking tours. More volcano tips are at the end of this page.

  • Whale watching? Yes! Yes! Yes! Our neighborhood is quite good for whale watching beginning in November and running through April. But in truth there are whales year around just not as many. Bring your binoculars! In April 2011 house guests said they saw a mother and calf come up so close they heard the spouts. In March 2013 we saw a mother and calf breaching together for about 15 minutes. In addition, the bottlenose, spotted, and the amazing spinner dolphins are here year around. You can start by walking across the street to the lava cliffs. If you walk or drive to the left about half a mile the lava cliffs are even higher and afford a somewhat better view of the bay. Additionally we have also spotted spinner dolphins and a number of very large green sea turtles swim by quite close to the cliffs. Whales can also be spotted from the lanai (deck). Link to information on wildlife and whale watching tips.

  • Are there walking\hiking areas near the house? Yes. Walking and hiking begins as soon as you walk out the door. Follow this link to another page on our site that discusses hiking and visiting the volcano. http://anotherhawaii.com/EastHawaii/Hiking.html

  • Where do I find the petroglyph? Across the street from our home is a couple petroglyphs of unknown date. Follow this link to learn more about Maku'u Man. The binder in the house also contains directions to locating the petroglyph.

  • Where can we go Horse Back riding? Our favorite place but also a bit of a drive away is Dahana Ranch. It's on the slopes of Mauna Kea near Waimea. Call (808) 885-0057 or toll free (888) 399-0057 visit http://www.dahanaranch.com. Another place that renters have recommended and is closer is Pa'ani Ranch, off Highway 11 past Keaau, http://www.paaniranch.com/big_island_horseback_rides.html.

  • What does it take to get married in Hawaii? It doesn’t look like it could be much easier. http://health.hawaii.gov/vitalrecords/marriage-licenses/#eligible Here is another link that describes who can perform the ceremony. It looks like anyone affiliated with any religion, even on-line religions such as the Universal Life Church, can perform the ceremony. However Hawaii does require the performer to register with the state which has a fee. So maybe one of your friends could become a minister with the Universal Life Church and register with Hawaii and they could perform the ceremony.http://www.themonastery.org/wedding-laws/hawaii

  • What are the fishing regulations in Hawaii? Can I fish from the cliffs across the street? No license is required for recreational saltwater fishing. More information on fishing regulations in the state of Hawaii can be found here:  http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/

  • Where can we rent bicycles? Here are a couple bicycle rental places I found in Hilo: http://www.bicyclehawaii.com/ and http://www.midpacificwheelsllc.com/MPW/Rentals.html

  • How do we secure our reservation? If you are booking more than 90 days in advance then $200 will secure your reservation. Within 90 days a 50% payment of the total amount is required and within 45 days the entire rental fee is due.

  • How do we make our payment? - Once you are ready to book we will bill you via PayPal - no account or login required. We use PayPal as our preferred payment method because of the superior security. It protects you because we never see your credit card information and it protects us by handling all the usual credit card checks.

  • Do I need trip insurance? Here is a link to good advice on trip insurance from Consumers Reports:  Do you need travel insurance?

  • How is the cell phone coverage? It depends on your provider so you may want to check with yours. As of October 2013 Verizon works well, Sprint coverage is “roaming”, but ATT does not appear to provide coverage. However we do have wireless Internet (WI-FI) and a phone with free long distance within the US at the house so staying in touch with others is not a problem.

  • How can I receive a package at the house? The postal service does not deliver to our house. We have seen the UPS truck making deliveries on our street and we think maybe FedEx as well. It may be better to find out in advance whether it’s better to pick your package up at their facility versus having it delivered to the house. Also you should be able to use General Delivery mailed to the local Post Office. To get mail on the road with General Delivery, have your mail addressed with your first and last name, care of "General Delivery", c/o the post office address. Once it arrives, the postmaster will hold your mail for at least 30 days. In America this service is free, but in other countries fees might be assessed. Here are the addresses for the two closest Post Offices (Pahoa and Keauu).

    First name, Last Name

    Care of General Delivery

    15-2859 PAHOA VILLAGE RD
    PAHOA, HI 96778

    Mon-Fri 10:00am - 4:00pm
    Sat 11:00am - 2:00pm
    Sun Closed

    First name, Last Name

    Care of General Delivery16-578 OLD VOLCANO RD
     KEAAU, HI 96749 

    Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4:00pm
     Sat 10:00am - 12:00pm
     Sun Closed
     

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