Post date: Jan 2, 2019 4:33:33 PM
Note: As of the time of writing (2/26/2021) arrivals are still coming through both Kona and Hilo Airports. Both are conducting arrival screenings and providing free second rapid tests necessary to be exempted from mandatory quarantine.
Assuming you are arriving on a major airline carrier, you will be either arriving in Kona or Hilo Airports.
Arriving from Hilo
Arriving from Hilo will present you with the easiest travel time to Volcano and provide easy access to major grocery and supply stores before heading up.
Rental Cars - Hilo Airport has most major rental car services. It's a fairly short walk from the baggage claim to the rental car kiosks. Be aware that the kiosks become full with the rest of your fellow passengers, and there's usually only one or two attendants at each booth (some attendants cover multiple company booths becasue they have the same parent company - e.g. Budget and Avis). If the rental car service you booked through provides a fast check in option (like Budget's FastBreak program), I suggest you apply for that program. It's usually free and often provides you with a separate line to pick up your car quicker. Note: It's very popular to rent 4x4 jeeps or convertable mustangs, but the former is not necessary to access most locations (including our properties), and the latter may be fun for your adventure; however, both do not have the best fuel economy, and gas prices are likely to be significantly higher around the island than you are used to. You do you, though. It's your vacation, right?
Supplies - We'll outline in our instructions provided to you before your arrival some details of items to get, but one thing to kickstart planning is picking up groceries and other supplies. Hilo has many grocery stores, and we suggest that you plan to pickup those items in town before heading up to Volcano. Hilo has a Walmart, Safeway, Target, KTA and other options inclduing it's farmers market, if you arrive in time to pop by there. These stores will all be great options. One thing we've recently been doing and suggesting is to place an online order with Target for non-perishable grocery items as soon as you land. That way, by the time you get to the store, you can pickup cold and perishible items and have the other sutff ready to go (you don't want to waste your first hours in paradise shopping). As of this writing, I dd not believe the Hilo Walmart and Safeway offfer similar options, but it's worth checking to see if that has changed. If you missed something in Hilo, don't worry, there are general stores that sell some convenince items, such as the Kilauea Military Camp Store, in the Park, and the True Value store in the village.
Travel time - The distance from Hilo Airport to Volcano Village is approximately 30 miles. It can take anywhere between 35-40 minutes to drive depending on time of day and traffic. Below is the route you would take from Hilo to Volcano:
Arriving from Kona
Arriving from Kona will present you with a longer travel times but more scenic views on the way to Volcano.
Rental Cars - Kona Airport, like Hilo, has most major rental car services but generally has more options on vehicle types. Rental car services are accessed by taking a designated shuttle bus for your rental car company to their location. As with Hilo, the rental shuttles and locations become full with the rest of your fellow passengers. If you have multiple pieces of luggage, and at least another person traveling with you, we suggest that one person waits at the baggage claim, while the other goes to get the rental car. The person/people getting bags can move to the curbside pickup and wait for the other person picking up the car, which saves a lot of trouble loading baggage onto a shuttle and standing in line to get your vehicle. As mentioned above, If the rental car service you booked through provides a fast check in option, I suggest you apply for that program. It's usually free and often provides you with a separate line to pick up your car quicker.
Supplies - Kailua-Kona has many grocery stores, but depending on which route you take from Kona, you may want to pickup groceries in either Kona or Hilo. The two primary routes to our house from Kona are to take the Saddle Road (Daniel K. Inouye Highway) to Hilo and then Volcano (First image below). The other route invloves taking the south route Hwy 11 down through Kailua-Kona and on around the southern part of the island to Volcano (Second image below). The saddle road route takes approximately 1.5 hours to get to Hilo, where you can shop as described above. From Hilo, there will be an additional 35-45 minute drive to Volcano. Taking the southern route will usually take 2.5 to 3 hours driving straight, but you will want to stop in Kailua-Kona to stop and shop for supplies. As with Hilo, there are store like Walmart, Target and other options. As described above, you can check with the store locations to see if they do online ordering to save time shopping for supplies.
Travel time - The distance from Kona Airport to Volcano Village is approximately 100 miles via the saddle road and close to 2 hours straight drive time. The southern route is approximately 103 miles, but passes through a number of small towns with slower speed limits and traffic congestion depending on the time of day and travel season. Below are the routes described above from Kona Airport to Volcano (the first being the Saddle Road route and the second being the southern route):