January Recommendations From the Big Island Visitor Bureau

Happy New Year! We say goodbye to 2011 and welcome the new opportunities and experiences of the coming year. Why not make one of them an adventurous, inspiring trip to Hawai’i, the Big Island? Celebrate the beginning of 2012 with these great specials and events.

ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS

Lava from Kīlauea‘s remote Pu’u ‘Ō’ō vent has again reached the ocean within Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park boundaries, at a location USGS scientists have named the West Ka’ili’ili ocean entry. The arduous hike from the bottom of Chain of Craters Road is about four miles one-way across an uneven flow field. Several streams of lava are pouring into the ocean, providing dramatic views, but conditions can change at any time. For more info, visit www.nps.gov/havo.

Lava touched the sea on December 9, 2011, and now you have the chance to view it up close and personal! Lava Ocean Adventures offers lava boat tours to see, hear and feel the heat. Visit its new website at www.seelava.com or call (808) 966-4200 to find about more about its menu of east Hawai’i Island tours and activities.

Spend the day at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and enjoy its new planetarium offering: Wildest Weather in Our Solar System. This new show takes the audience on a spectacular journey to witness the most beautiful, powerful, and mysterious weather phenomena in the solar system. From a storm the size of a 100-megaton hydrogen bomb, to a 400-year-old hurricane, to a dust tempest that could engulf entire planets, you’ll be glad you live on Earth! Fly through the thick atmosphere of Venus, magnetic storms on the sun, liquid methane showers on Titan, and anticyclones whirling at hundreds of miles per hour on Jupiter. For more information visit www.imiloahawaii.org.

January 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).  Volcano Art Center shares in the celebration by featuring an exhibition titled “Observation/ Inspiration” from January 7 – February 19, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The show features artists who gather inspiration from the volcanic activity at Kīlauea, including Catherine Robbins, Tim Freeman, Alan Fine and Kimberly Dark. The exhibition takes take place at Volcano Art Center Gallery, located in the historic 1877 Volcano House in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.  Park entrance fees apply.  Call (808) 967-7565 or visit www.volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Blue Sea Cruises now offers two ways to experience manta rays – wet or dry! The only Dry Manta Watch is aboard its 70′ Spirit of Kona. High intensity lights illuminate the underwater scene as giant graceful manta rays feed on the plankton forming near the lights of glass bottom wells.  Join the Wet Manta Snorkel aboard the M/V Makai for a cushy, comfortable cruise along the Kona coastline at night.  Large Kona manta rays will swim within inches of your viewing. Bring the whole family! Visit www.blueseacruisesinc.com or call (808) 331-8875 for more information.

Narrated by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary staff from the Pu’ukoholā National Historical Site Visitor’s Center, a free weekly shoreline whale watch takes place Fridays from 9:00-11:00 a.m. until April.  The sanctuary lies just behind the Park’s shores and is where humpback whales gather to give birth, breed and escape the cold winter.  Presented by staff and volunteers who are well versed in whale biology and mo’olelo (legends).  For more information, call (808) 327-3697.

Join the Paniolo Preservation Society (PPS) and delight in its new First Friday Paniolo Kanikapila Jam at Pukalani Stables on Friday, January 6. From 4:00-7:00 p.m., celebrate the pleasures of life in the country when the work is pau (finished) with informal music, mea ‘ai (good food), and bingo. PPS will have non-alcoholic beverages and food available. Donation suggested: $5/adults; $3/Seniors; Free if you bring your own musical instrument.  Dress warmly.  For more information, visit www.paniolopreservation.org or call (808) 854-1541.

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival, a world-class film festival combining 30 wide-ranging films, breakfast talks with film makers and ocean people, receptions, art exhibits and activities will inspire, educate and engage participants in our ocean and island culture as well as celebrate the connections people everywhere share between land and sea. The second annual event will take place in two phases, first in Waimea from January 4-8, then the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai from January 10-13. For more information, visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or call (808) 854-6095.

The Iolani Air Tour Company is ringing in the new year with two new lava specials: 1) Party of Two? Take advantage of the Deluxe Air Tour for Two from Kona. Now, couples aboard can experience the entire Hawai’i Island in the privacy and comfort of the company’s brand new state-of-the-art Skyhawk. It is the only company offering a full circle island air tour exclusively for two people priced at $325 each. 2) $99 Air Tours from Hilo! See the Volcano in its Airvan at a price that cannot be beat. Rainbow Falls included. Visit www.iolaniair.com or call (808) 331-8308 for more information.

Hilton Waikoloa Village’s 62-acre Pacific playground made dreams come true this holiday season by granting a wish for Alexandra S. from the Make-A-Wish foundation. The Dolphin Blessing Ceremony on November 17, 2011 changed the life for Alexandra as she announced the much-anticipated name of the newest dolphin member of Dolphin Quest. Join Dolphin Quest Hawaii as dolphins leap, splash and amaze during its Tuesday afternoon dolphin shows! Stop by on January 17, 24 or 31 at 4:15 p.m. for a 15-minute dolphin show set to music. Bring your family and friends. Dolphin Quest Hawaii is located at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Visit www.dolphinquest.com or call (808) 886-2875 for more information.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The view from my room during my most recent stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village

Splash into the perfect vacation at Hilton Waikoloa Village and book the ultimate outdoor experience, Sail with the Whales for an unmatched family vacation. Starting at $269 per room per night for two adults. Each package includes one Ocean Sports Whale Watch Voucher, fun for guests of any age. A 3-night minimum stay and 3 day minimum advance booking are required. Valid through April 15, 2012. Visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com for more information.

Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel recently made a big splash in its pool and beach area by enhancing its guest experience with brand-new cushions for all lounge chairs, five new cabanas ($50 full day/$30 half-day) as well as all-new beach umbrellas for its award-winning beach. The resort is also adding more beach activities to the line-up with boogie board rentals and snorkel gear at its beach shack. For more information visit, www.princeresortshawaii.com or call (808) 880-1111.

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, a luxury AAA Four Diamond resort located on the Kohala Coast of Hawai’i Island, is pleased to offer a variety of packages for discerning travelers seeking a luxury stay in paradise in 2012.  The resort’s signature Orchid Experience Package includes daily breakfast for two, a $100 Food and Beverage credit, a $50 Spa credit to be enjoyed at the award winning Spa Without Walls, complimentary self parking, in addition to complimentary internet access.  A $609 value, rates for the Orchid Experience Package begin at $369/night in Ocean View categories and above with a five-night minimum stay.   Visit www.fairmont.com/orchid or call (800) 845-9905 for more information.

TASTY TIDBITS

The CanoeHouse at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is the first restaurant on Hawai’i Island to offer a high-tech way for guests to order wine during dinner. Instead of a printed wine list, guests are given an iPad with Tastevin software. Diners can view the restaurant’s wine list and menu pairings along with history of the wines, detailed descriptions, images and history of the vineyards. This new service takes the intimidation out of selecting wines and it’s an enjoyable way for guests to find a wine to suit their personal taste and budget. Visit www.maunalani.com or call (808) 881-7911 for more details.

 

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