Hawaii Big Island FAQs | Go Hawaii



Island of Hawaiʻi FAQs

What is the time difference from the continental US?
Hawaiʻi follows Hawaiʻi Standard Time (GMT-10 hours), which is five hours behind Eastern Standard Time and two hours behind Pacific Standard Time. Hawaiʻi does not observe Daylight Savings Time, so add one extra hour to the time difference during this period (March through November).

Where is the main airport on the island of Hawaiʻi?
Travel to Kona Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport in Kona to the west, or Hilo International Airport (ITO) in Hilo to the east. Most visitors arrive in Kona. There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) first and then taking a short, 35-40 minute flight to the island of Hawaiʻi.

Do I need a car to get around the island of Hawaiʻi?
We recommend a rental car for flexibility and ease, and we strongly suggest booking before you arrive. All the major rental companies are found on the island of Hawaiʻi. There are also guided and custom tours of every type from bus tours and taxis to private limos.

Where are the major hotel and resort areas on the island of Hawaiʻi?
Major resort destinations include the Kohala Coast, Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) and Keauhou. There are hotels and accommodations in Hilo and Puna on the east side closer to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Throughout the island you’ll also find bed and breakfast accommodations, condominiums, vacation rental homes and cottages, as well as hostels.

Do I need my passport to get to the island of Hawaiʻi?
Since Hawaiʻi is the 50th state, you won’t need to bring your passport unless you’re visiting from outside the United States or traveling to another country after Hawaiʻi.

What should I pack on my trip to the island of Hawaiʻi?
It’s warm on the island of Hawaiʻi, so pack your summer attire. Pack a light, waterproof jacket for hiking or exploring the tropical rainforests of Hilo and the Hāmākua Coast and warmer clothes if you plan to visit the uplands of Waimea and the higher elevations of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Bring casual dress clothes or resort wear if you plan on experiencing some fine dining. You can buy an Aloha Shirt and flip-flops (or slippers, as the locals call them) when you get here. Suits and ties are rarely worn here.

Travelers checks aren’t necessary since credit cards are widely accepted and ATM machines are everywhere. Don’t worry if you forget something. Stores and malls have everything you need, including plenty of reef-safe sunscreen.

When is a good time to visit the island of Hawaiʻi?
Anytime of year is a good time to visit the island of Hawaiʻi. At sea level, the average summer temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Trade winds keep things comfortable year round. Whale-watching season runs from December through May, with peak whale-watching months between January and early April. Check the Volcano Eruption Update page for the latest news at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

How far is it from Kona International Airport (KOA) to:
Hāpuna Beach Park: 30 minutes
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona): 15 minutes
Keauhou: 30 minutes
Kealakekua Bay: 50 minutes
Waimea: 50 minutes

How far is it from Hilo International Airport (ITO) to:
Hāpuna Beach Park: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: 45 minutes
Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona): 1 hour, 45 minutes
Waimea: 1 hour, 15 minutes

What is the area code for the island of Hawaiʻi?
The area code for the state of Hawaiʻi is (808).