It took me a while to figure out a place to stay my first night on The Big Island. My family wasn’t going to arrive until the next day and I knew my first day I wanted to spend doing some snorkeling trips over on the Kona side. The problem is, Kona is like 3 hours from Hilo. I had a few options. I landed in Hilo around 8pm and I could stay in Hilo and just get up at the asscrack of dawn to get to Kona by 8am. Or hire a car immediately after landing and drive 3 hours in the dark to Kona. I debated these options for a long time before one day I was browsing Airbnb and found a nice cheap hostel exactly half way between the two towns in Waipio, on the north part of the island. I immediately emailed the owner and asked about arriving late and he replied immediately and said it was fine so I proceeded with my reservation. A great first experience in using AirBnB as well!
This ended up being a great choice! After great directions and a quick 90 minute drive up from Hilo, I found the house easily, even in the dark. There was another guest staying there at the time, playing with his computer on the outdoor picnic tables that over looked the (dark) ocean and I said hello and thankfully he told me where my room was. There was a note taped to my door and I quickly gave myself the grand tour and made myself at home. I poked my head into the other empty room (and even the room that the other guest had) and decided that I liked my room the best, so that was a good thing! I took a shower in the awesome bathroom with loads of hot water and good water pressure. People have left loads of bathroom stuff, so don’t worry if you forgot yours, there is plenty there, if you don’t care what you use.
The place is super cute with lots of little touches. All the rooms empty out into a living area which has coffee and tea provided with all the utensils included. There was a tv, which I am not sure it worked as for the first time ever, I never turned it on and books about Hawaii and especially The Big Island scattered everywhere. There was a large fridge to store your food and cooking facilities outside which was just in the form of a BBQ as well as sink and all utensils. Bugs and frogs make nose nearly all night long and a bag of disposable ear plugs were on one of the nightstands in my room, in case you need them. Once all the lights were off, it was so dark, I loved it! There was no cell phone reception, but internet, if needed, which I didn’t use. The house is a bit old and once the wind picked up over night, the place rattled a bit, but that is just part of the charm of a place like that.
After I had showered and was reading one of the books lying around before I went to sleep, Steve, the owner came around to welcome me and see if I had any questions and I paid him the taxes requested ahead of time in cash. Since I was really only staying about 9 hours, he recommended that I drive out to the Waipio look out before I left the area in the morning and he gave me the dead simple directions from the hostel on how to get there.
Ohmigod, the view was amazing!!! Fun if you have a whole day, but okay for just getting out early in the morning and snapping a few shots. There is a shelter of picnic tables at the overlook to stay and eat which seemed really fun. Unfortunately, I had to be off! I stopped in the town of Honokaa at one of the few places to eat that seemed to be open, Blane’s Drive Inn, and stopped and got a plate breakfast. It totally cracks me up that an option for starch in Hawaii is rice but I passed on it at the take-away and got hash browns. I was such a tourist, but I love interacting with the locals in Hawaii. I forgot how much being there reminds me of New Zealand on so many levels.
Moral: A terrific welcome to The Big Island! A simple great, family run hostel that I think would be kind of fun to rent the whole place out when looking for a base to discover the north part of The Big Island. Also, to use it how I did as a great way to break up the drive from Kona to Hilo as it’s pretty much a half way point. Not 5 star by any means and not even your normal hostel, more like a cute little home stay. The whole thing is just so rustically Hawaiian, just be prepared for that and you’ll have a great time!