Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash

Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash

Which Big Island Tour is Right for You?

Shaka Guide

The Big Island is, you guessed it, the largest Hawaiian Island! From the scenic beaches along the Kona Coast to the lava-rock terrain along island's eastern coast. Check out our tour comparison to learn which tour is best for you!

  South Island Epic Coastal Journey North Island Jungle Adventure Loop Kona Big Kahuna Tour Kohala Coast Backcountry Tour Volcanoes National Park Tour
Summary You'll nearly travel around the entire island on this expansive tour! Visit the Kona Coast, South Point, and a black sand beach. Big Island's Northern Coast is a a jungle paradise. Go on a scenic hike, visit a historic ranching town, and check out a scenic overlook at Waipio Valley.  The Kona Coast is dotted with beautiful beaches and snorkel spots! We'll take you there on our Kona Big Kahuna Loop.  The Kohala Coast is a historic portion of the island with ties to King Kamehameha. We'll guide you to an ancient Hawaiian fishing village, a heiau, and a scenic hike! Volcanoes National Park is truly a natural wonder. On this tour, you'll visit scenic overlooks, go on hikes through lava fields and learn about the park's history. 
Number of Stops 30 26 20 11 18
Approx. Time to Complete 8-12 hours, full day 8-10 hours, full day 4-6 hours, half day  4-6 hours, half day 4-6 hours, half day
Tour Starting Point(s) Waikoloa, Kona, and Hilo Waikoloa, Kona, and Hilo Waikoloa Waikoloa Park Entrance
Tour End Point(s) Where you began Where you began Kona Waimea Where you began
Tour Direction Clockwise and counterclockwise Clockwise and Counterclockwise Counterclockwise Clockwise There and Back

Now that you know the basics, we’ve looked at each tour to determine which would be the best for your trip, based on your interests. Check out our recommendations below! 

If you like… 


Kona Big Kahuna Tour 

Big Island’s Kona Coast is known for its sunny days and beautiful beaches. If you love to beach hop, this is the best Big Island tour for you! This tour visits a total of six beaches! Some of our favorites are Kua Bay Beach, Kiholo Bay and Two Step Beach. 

Second Place: South Island Epic Coastal Journey 

The South Island Epic Coastal Journey incorporates all the same stops as the Kona Big Kahuna Tour and more. This is our second-place choice if you love beaches because it has all the beaches from the Big Kahuna tour, plus the option to visit a green sand and black sand beach! 


South Island Jungle Adventure Loop

Foodies will love our South Island Epic Coastal Journey. This tour nearly circumnavigates the island and along the way, you’ll visit some local foodie gems! Stop at Big Island Bees to try some local honey in a variety of flavors; visit Paradise Meadows, a small orchid and bee farm with honey, coffee, and chocolate-covered treats; and check out Punalu’u Bakery, the southernmost bakery in the United States that’s makes delicious sweet bread! 

History and Culture 

All! But Kohala Coast Backcountry Tour 

No matter which Shaka Guide tour you choose you’ll hear loads of stories about the Big Island, but if you’re looking for a bite-sized history lesson we recommend the Kohala Coast Backcountry Tour. This tour takes about 4-6 hours to complete making it one of the shorter tours on the island, but it certainly packs in the content. You’ll learn about King Kamehameha the Great and visit an ancient heiau (temple) he built as he prophesied to unite the Hawaiian Islands. Not only that, you can visit Lapakahi State Historical Park to see an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. And, the tour will take you to Waimea Town where you’ll learn about the history of ranching in Hawaii. 


Volcanoes National Park 

Volcanoes National Park is a truly unique place. During your visit you’ll seen terrain that’s been destroyed from volcanic eruptions, landscapes in a period of rebirth and steam vents the exude mist from the ground. The hiking in Volcanoes National Park is unlike anywhere else in Hawaii, and that’s why it’s our top pick if you love to hike. Whether you prefer leisurely treks of long journeys, Volcanoes has a hike for you. On our tour, we’ll guide you to 


All! But, Volcanoes National Park

If you love scenery you can have your pick of Shaka Guide’s Big Island driving tours! But, if we had to choose one, we’d pick the Volcanoes National Park Tour. Why, you ask? Well, the scenery is unlike anything else in the islands. And, there are loads of scenic lookouts along the tour route which means you don’t have to hike or travel far to see some spectacular views. 


Kona Big Kahuna Loop 

Snorkeling in Hawaii is truly a dream come true. The water is crystal clear, the reefs are vibrant, and the marine life is plentiful. On Big Island, we recommend the Kona Big Kahuna Loop if you’re looking to check out some sea animals up close. There are two great snorkel spots on this tour - Two Steps Beach and Kealakekua Bay, a marine life conservation district. 

If you’re staying in … 


If you’re staying in Hilo you can start the North Island Jungle Adventure Loop and South Island Epic Coastal Journey right in the city. We also recommend our Volcanoes National Park tour as it’s more accessible to this side of the island. 

Kona or Waikoloa 

If you’re staying on the island’s west coast in the popular resort areas of Kona or Waikoloa you have a variety of options to choose from. Both our Kona Big Kahuna and Kohala Coast Backcountry tours start in Waikoloa. In addition, you can start the North Island Jungle Adventure Loop and South Island Epic Coastal Journey in both Kona or Waikoloa - take you pick! 



1. Can I do multiple tours in one day? 

Yes! If you're looking to combine multiple tours we recommend the South Island Epic Coastal Journey and the Volcanoes National Park Tour - it will be a long day, but it's definitely possible, you just need to plan in advance. You could also combine the Kona Big Kahuna Loop and Kohala Coast Backcountry Tours. 

2. What should I pack? 

Great question. You’ve probably seen that our tours have a bit of everything - hiking, beaches, attractions. That can make packing tricky. Check out our packing list here, and remember, you choose what you want to do along the tour route! 

3. Where do the tours go? 

Check out our itineraries below: 

South Island Epic Coastal Journey

North Island Jungle Adventure Loop

Kona Big Kahuna Tour

Kohala Coast Backcountry Tour

Volcanoes National Park Tour

4. I have questions about the app. 

No problem! Check out our app FAQ’s here. And, if you still have questions don’t hesitate to email us at aloha@shakaguide.com.

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