For many visitors to Hawaii, the Big Island provides a unique variety of experiences that you simply cannot get on the other islands. Here you can view fresh lava flows from the worlds most active volcano, take a drive through Kona Coffee Country, and even take part in ocean activities such as fishing, diving, and snorkeling.
While the “traditional” way to visit the islands used to be to stop in Honolulu, Oahu and then on to Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island, it is becoming more and more common to find people island-hopping or sometimes bypassing Oahu altogether now that there are more direct flights to the outer islands.
Getting from Maui to the Big Island by Air
There are no ferries between Maui and the Big Island, so your only real option is to fly.
The largest interisland carrier is Hawaiian Airlines, which connects Hilo and Kona to Honolulu and a variety of other cities around the state. Flights are also available on go! Mokulele which connects Hilo with Honolulu, Maui, Kauai or Molokai and Kona with Honolulu, Maui, and Kauai. They use smaller turboprop jet planes between the islands. Island Air is another smaller carrier, which provides an additional connection between Kona and Maui.
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Airports on the Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island has two major airports. Kona International Airport (KOA) is located in Keahole on the western side of the island. Hilo International Airport (ITO) is located on the eastern side of the island and serves only interisland or domestic flights. For international connections, visitors must arrive via Kona. Find more information on Kona International’s official website or Hilo International’s official website.
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Getting around on the Big Island
The best way to get around the Big Island (since it is, ahem, quite big!) is to rent a car instead of relying on public bus service, especially if you plan on taking day trips. There may also be tour options available, especially if you are staying in Kona, which tends to be a little more tourist-oriented than the laid back town of Hilo. Some will even opt to fly in to one airport and out the other, in order to maximize their time on the island and to avoid back tracking on the long drive between the major towns.