Is it expensive to island hop in Hawaii? In a word: YES.

Q: Is it expensive to island hop? My fiance and I are coming to the big island for a work trip for 3 days and are looking to extend our trip a couple days. Is it expensive to fly from the big island to Maui? ~ Katie C., Huntington Beach, CA

A: Yes Katie, it is expensive to island hop in Hawaii.

Consider not only the cost in money (airfare, bag fees, transfers, tips, etc.), but in time. Inter-Island travel time is short, but you’ll lose a day at the airport, getting a rental car and checking in to a new hotel.

There’s so much to do on the The Big Island Hawaii:

Watch the sunrise/sunset from the top of Mauna Kea. You can go skiing if there’s snow (and then head for the beach afterwards).

Spend a whole day at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park! Visit the Kīlauea Volcano. Try a tasting at the Volcano Winery, buy a bottle of wine and drive through the lava fields to where the molten lava spills into the ocean. Have dinner at Hawaii Volcano House Hotel and/or stay overnight with a view of the crater.

 Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park - Big Island Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park – Big Island Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Drive around the island and visit the green sand beaches at South Point in Kalae, the southern most point in the United States. There are lots of places to stop, eat and shop along the way.

Hike Akaka Falls State Park home of two majestic waterfalls and lush tropical gardens. Visit Rainbow Falls and see historic Hilo.

Rainbow Falls - Hilo, Hawaii (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow Falls – Hilo, Hawaii (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Snorkel Keauhou Bay and and other spots along the Kona coast, you might get to swim with endangered sea turtles.

Visit the Waipio Valley and “cowboy country”. Have a steak dinner. Go horseback riding. There are lots of places to visit, eat, shop, etc.

Snorkel Honaunau Bay and visit Pu’uhonua O Honaunau Park.

Take a snorkel cruise to the Captain Cook Monument or go whale/dolphin/manta ray watching. Go to a Luau w/dinner & entertainment.

A beautiful Waikoloa sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii (copyright 2010 Joshua Weisel)

A beautiful Waikoloa sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Visit some of the other amazing Resort Hotels! Hilton Waikoloa Village, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu, etc. See Petroglyphs, tropical gardens, art, etc. for free.

These are just a few suggestions, there is so much to do and see on the Big Island Hawaii (you wouldn’t be able to do it all in three days if you weren’t working) that isn’t on this list. And of course, take time to just relax and DO NOTHING. Lay on the beach or by the pool and sip umbrella drinks, that’s an essential part of the Hawaiian experience.

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NOTE: You can also spend a week on Maui and not see everything, so consider visiting another island on a return trip.

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