Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The island of Hawaii comprises over half of the area of the state of Hawaii in the United States of America. It is almost universally called the Big Island partly to avoid confusion. It is home to the most active volcano in the world, located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as the largest mountain in the world in volume (Mauna Loa) and the tallest mountain in the world as measured from its base on the sea floor to its peak (Mauna Kea).
There are two major airports if you are flying into the Big Island, Kona International Airport and Hilo International Airport. There are some direct flights from the mainland, mostly from California, but it is more common to arrive via Honolulu or Kahului. You should try to get a flight direct from the mainland to Kona to save time waiting (and walking) around the Honolulu airport.
Although several cruise ship lines operate in Hawaii, there is currently no dedicated inter-island boat service. Hawaii Superferry, a private company supported by the Hawaii state government, proposes to implement high-capacity catamaran ferry services.
Renting a car is really the only way to see the island. Getting around by local bus, bikes, or on foot work well if you’re staying in one area. Many budget travelers are unpleasantly surprised by the lack of public transport on the Big Island. Although there are limited bus services from Hilo to destinations like Volcano or the Kona side, they require reservations, and travel on a minimal set schedule.
By their very nature islands are often unforgettable. Some were forged by volcanic eruptions, others thrust up by tremendous forces deep in the earth, cut off by floods or erosions, or torn from the nearest continent by the inexorable movement of the earth tectonic plates. Their stark beauty and peaceful solitude bear witness to the drama of their creation. In their isolation, they may have developed species, ecologies and even weather pattern of their own. Their inhabitants, too, are often unique: cut off from some degree from cultures.