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Pahoa area / airbnb

Kirkland, Washington
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Pahoa area / airbnb

In a spontaneous moment, wanting to exit a cold, wet climate, I booked a 2 week stay at a home outside Pahoa 'within walking distance of the tide-pools' on Walea Road for the first 2 weeks in Feb. The reviews for the place are excellent and it sounds absolutely charming but now, having read some Pahoa 'blogs', I've begun to fret (my husband says it's my nature). Would snorkeling in the tide-pools be risky? Is it 'safe' to walk around the area after dark? Are the roads between Pahoa, Hilo and the National Park safe to drive? We just want to hike, snorkel, see the park and sit on a warm lanai for awhile.

If someone could just fill me in generally, I'd be most appreciative.

Thanks

luckybe

Edited: 04 January 2017, 05:46
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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
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Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

Better to post the exact link to the rental so other may comment on specific location.

Firstly the tide pools are no where near Pahoa town. If you book this accommodation Pahoa is about a 15 minute drive and in that case Malama Mart just north of town is a good resupply place. Do some research on the tide pools in the area are notorious for being polluted (not safe for swimming) and the Ahalanui hot pool is probably even worse (not treated with a warning sign).

Safety in that area is probably better but when it gets dark getting hit by a car is more probable and then there are roaming dogs to think about as well (bring large umbrella and pepper spray).

The main roads between lower Puna and Volcano are pretty safe and straight but the back roads get narrow in spots. If you encounter any large pickup trucks on your keester ..... carefully just let them go by (kind of applies to the whole island).

Also, depending on the exact weather at the time the South Kohala area will be a better place to warm up as lower Puna will have drastically more rain. In that case a condo with a deck and pool is more likely

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Volcano
Volcano
Island of Hawaii, HI
Big Island, Hawaii
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2. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

Yes, post a link. You won't be in pahoa if you're walking distance to the Wai Opae tidepools.

In general lower Puna is a very poor base for what you want to do and it can be very wet in winter. Many areas are not safe. Others are ok. But regardless, IMO Two weeks there is not a good plan.

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3. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

Good info from TJ and Shea and we do need a link.

Walea is Kapoho Vacationland, about 15-20 min. from Pahoa and maybe 45 min from Hilo and an hour or more from VNP.

There is a pro-active HOA there, but break-ins can happen in the area and you might discuss the home security provisions with your host. It's a community with a lot of vacation rentals, not off the beaten path. Yes there are longstanding pollution concerns but the water tests OK. Stay out if there has been any storm flooding. The area is a few feet BELOW sea level, so high tides and flooding can wash pollutants into the bay.

There are no services, gas, stores, restaurants closer than Pahoa. it's a beautiful drive from Pahoa by day, and a dark and creepy drive after dark, so arrive by day the first time. Kapoho is sunnier than Pahoa, but you will probably see some rain, still the coast is the sunniest part of lower Puna. When you go to VNP and Hilo you can expect a wet drive at times once you get to Hwy 130 and 11.

Pahoa Village is both historic and quirky, and scuzzy. Some of the street people are mentally off, so just avoid and walk away, lock your car always and leave nothing showing. There is a newer shopping area not in the historic Village that is cleaner but has a lot less character. Malama Market, Long's Drugs, good fish and chips.

Paulo's, Kaleo's, Ning's Thai, bakery, in the village for dining.

Edited: 04 January 2017, 07:13
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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kapoho
Kapoho
Island of Hawaii, HI
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4. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

Of everything that we experience in BI last week, the tidal pools were the most disappointing. The day that we were there, the waves were coming over the seaside barriers and the "thermal" pools were pretty cold. As KK wrote, the roads are definitely "creepy" and lonely in this area at night and I would not want to drive there after dusk. This was the only area in BI that we felt that way.

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5. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

Here are a couple of topics on the tidepools that cover people's various experiences and concerns. I used to spend a lot of time in Kapoho - my family still owns a home there - but I stopped snorkeling in the tidepools years ago after witnessing some really gross things, not to mention the periodic massive fish die offs and other weird happenings there that biologists struggle to explain. No thanks.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60603…

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60603…

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Kapoho
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6. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

Re the part about waves coming over into the pools, there is always new water coming in at high tide and the pools get sucked out until low tide. The east side ocean gets super wild in winter, and is not very calm at any time of year. When there is a high surf event, waves are going to sweep into the pools, and there is danger of

getting swept out into the deep ocean that is right there. That ocean is unforgiving. People who end up there are never found after days of searching. There are sharks, not the kind that don't bother you.

The close in pools where the babes in diapers go are too funky. The outer pools are for very strong swimmers. The middle pools are where I snorkeled when I lived there. A small taste was plenty. The wave of humanity that would descend on the pools daily was way worse than the most crowded west side beach, especially on weekends.

I would consider Kapoho to be convenient for exploring lower Puna District, but not a good base for VNP.

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Kapoho
Kapoho
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7. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

PS.

The tidepools are not thermal pools. They are warmer the way shallow water gets warmer from the sun than deep water.

Ahalanui is warmer by volcanic processes underneath. I actually don't find that reassuring. Read about the speed with which the ground opened up in 1955 and 1960 and you'll get why.

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8. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

We stayed in a rental for the month of Feb 2015 in a place right by the coast to the east of Pahoa after we spent a month on the Kona side. I was NOT impressed by the tide pools and dared not snorkel in any of the areas on the East side after reading warnings about the bacteria. But we were obligated and I spent my days chilling and watching for whales. But we did hike ever trail in Volcano NP - which we loved.

I would suggest suggest spending most of your time on the Kona side with a few days on the Hilo side if you have option to change at this time.

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kirkland, Washington
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9. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

Thanks to all who responded here - I'll take your comments into consideration. However, at this stage, we are financially locked in, I think - needing to forfeit a sizable $$ should we cancel. In the future, I'll READ prior to booking...lesson learned.

Edited: 08 January 2017, 02:02
Island of Hawaii...
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10. Re: Pahoa area / airbnb

Well, you said the cottage is charming, and it should provide a warm weather getaway at the least.

You will not find a vacation rental ad of the area that doesn't sell the tide pools. They sell what they have to offer. The area is tranquil after the day visitors go away. I don't know if there is a loose dog problem or not. While it is common in Puna that people can't walk without a stick to fend off aggressive dogs, Vacationland does have an active neighborhood group, which helps to address chronic problems.

Kapoho is a beautiful place, so enjoy.

I would suggest a one or two night double booking so that you can at least see the west side.

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Kapoho
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Island of Hawaii, HI
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