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Big Island Vacation Rentals

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  • $1,250 - $1,500/night
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  • $1,250 - $1,500/night
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  • $1,600 - $1,900/night
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  • $445 - $495/night
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  • $445 - $495/night
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  • $3,000 - $6,200/night
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  • $3,000 - $6,200/night
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  • $700 - $750/night
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  • $700 - $750/night
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  • $3,395 - $4,200/night
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  • $3,395 - $4,200/night
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  • $3,000 - $6,975/night
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  • $3,000 - $6,975/night

The Big Island in Hawaii refers to the largest island of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also known as Hawaii - the island that gives its name to the entire State. The wide Pacific is home to a number of island groups that make up Polynesia. These include New Zealand, Tonga, Easter Island and, of course, Hawaii.

The term Polynesia refers to a very large area of the Pacific Ocean that has common links in terms of language, cultural and traditional practices. Although Hawaii joined the United States as the 50th State in 1959, it retains its unique Polynesian vibe – never more so than on The Big Island.

The culture of the islands, the colorful floral leis, the hula dancers, luaus – all of these have become woven into the ideal of any Hawaiian vacation. Sometimes, there’s a sense that maybe they’ve become a tourist-driven requirement, allowing 21st century travelers to slip back into a bygone era of Polynesian travel. On The Big Island you’ll find a lot less of that tourist imprint. It wears its history with a more authentic flourish.

Beach on Big Island

It’s probably something to do with its size. The Big Island has over 60% of the landmass of the Hawaiian State but with only 13% of the population. This ensures there are wide open spaces just waiting to be explored. At 93 miles long at its widest point, the terrain is typical of a country created by volcanic activity.

There are five peaks dotted around the island made up of dormant and extinct volcanoes. These create a really attractive look for the island. Mountains and valleys have allowed the natural environment to flourish. You will find miles of tropical rain forests, lava fields, pastureland all here, waiting to be discovered.

The exotic flora and fauna of The Big Island is a legacy of a country that has evolved naturally over the centuries. The imprint of mankind is really not seen or felt in many parts of this unspoiled corner of Hawaii.

Before you choose any of the spectacular Big Island villas under the Exceptional Villa umbrella, let’s look at the special and unique qualities of this island, examining what it is that continues to keep this destination at the top of the list as one of the most desirable places to visit on the planet.


Districts

The Big Island is made up of 6 main districts: Hilo, Puna, Kau, Kona, Kohala and Hamakua Coast.

Kohala

A short drive north of Kona International Airport will put you in the Kohala district. Famous for its exceptionally low rainfall, this sunny and sheltered corner of The Big Island is the coastline that is home to some of the most luxurious and private Big Island Hawaii villas. Fabulous properties sit sympathetically within dramatic coastal and verdant locations. With access to nearby fine dining and world-class golf, it’s easy to see why it’s become one of the most desirable go-to places in the Pacific. A short drive inland from the spectacular coastline and you can enjoy horseback riding, hiking and jeep exploration.

The award-winning Hapuna Beach is a calm oasis for swimming and snorkeling. It's one of the white sandy beaches to be found on The Big Island and is fringed by enough amenities to make it a really pleasurable destination for the whole family. You can enjoy a fun day at the beach, hanging out with locals and fellow tourists.

If you’re looking for a bit of history, one of the most sacred sites in Hawaii is the Puukohola Heiau. This is probably the very last temple to be built before the influence of outside nations. It dates from 1790 and was built by King Kamehameha I, who famously united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810.

One of the pretty villages to see in Kahala is Hawi. Located at the northern end of Kohala, it is famous as the turnaround point in the biking part of the Ironman competition. It’s a small community made up of old plantation buildings left over from the now-defunct sugar industry and are home to art galleries, pretty boutiques and cafes.

Mauna Lani Resort

For another introduction to the very early history of Hawaii, check out the Lapakahi State Historical Park. This is a partially restored fishing village where you can complete a self-guided tour. It will take you past traditional Polynesian houses that date back over 500 years. The Park covers an area of just under 300 acres and the tour gives an entertaining insight into the story of Hawaii’s distant past.

One of the pretty places to stay in Kohala is the Mauna Kea Resort. A fully-loaded resort with access to water sports, spa facilities, golf, and so much more. For a luxurious stand-alone property, the Kohala Coast Waterfront Home is a modern villa with an unimpeded view over the Pacific. Divine.

The Pacific Ocean is always a key element in any Hawaiian vacation. The western coast is one of the best places to enjoy boat trips. Whale and dolphin watching, swimming with manta rays, or green sea turtles are truly memorable additions to any vacation. Why not let our Exceptional Villa concierge team build some wonderful expeditions into your vacation. If you are a keen angler, there is some of the best deep-sea fishing to be had right on your doorstep too.

Kona

It is more than just the coffee capital of Hawaii. Yes, you’ll find plantations in the foothills of the mountains that make up the hinterland of this beautiful district. Kona occupies the westerly side of The Big Island. Like Kohala, it’s sheltered and with access to some nice beaches. It’s also where you’ll find most of the commercial tourist development on The Big Island, including hotels, restaurants and nightlife.

Kailua Kona, the town at the heart of the Kona coast, is home to the ancient royal residence Hulihee Palace. Built in 1838, the Palace is an example of Western-inspired architecture adapted to its environment. Wide sweeping open verandas created cool spaces where the Hawaiian royal family could entertain foreign dignitaries. This Palace is now a museum and certainly worth visiting if you are staying at any of the beautiful villas Big Island Hawaii has to offer along this coastline.

If you visit the National Park nearby, you can examine numerous lava rock carvings dating back hundreds of years. These petroglyphs are a mysterious link with Hawaii’s ancient past, and, unlike the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt, their meaning has not yet been unravelled.

Hamakua Coast

This district on the North of The Big Island is home to the Hamakua Heritage Corridor. This is a drive that weaves through this and the Hilo district taking in the famous Waipio Valley Lookout. Visit the Tropical Botanical and World Botanical Gardens along this drive. The Umauma Falls, with its three tiers, is unforgettable, as well as the 400 foot Akaka Falls. The drive concludes at the breath-taking lookout of Waipio Valley. A must-see for anyone staying on The Big Island.

Big Island Coastline

Hilo

Located on the North-eastern side of the island and home to one of its two international airports, Hilo refers to the rural area that surrounds the town of the same name. The town owes its establishment to the sugar cane industry that was a feature of the agricultural economy of the islands. It’s a great place to visit if you want to explore galleries and pretty shops. A visit to the Lyman Museum will set out some of the history of Hawaii. The beautiful Liliuokalani Gardens are simply gorgeous – covering an area of 30 acres, you’ll find pagodas, Japanese-inspired bridges and ponds interwoven with tropical flowers and huge trees.

If you enjoy pottering around an open-air market, then the Hilo Farmer’s Market – taking place each Wednesday and Saturday – is a gathering of over 200 vendors. Farm fresh produce can be purchased for you to take back to one of the luxury vacation rentals on the Big Island. Everything you’ll need to host a barbecue or dinner can be bought directly from the producers. It’s as fresh as food can get. As well as luscious fruit and vegetables, you’ll find some lovely craft work – jewellery, pottery and much more. Nowhere better to pick up some gifts or souvenirs of your Hawaiian vacation.

Check out the world-famous Rainbow Falls – the 80-foot tall Waianuenue – within this district. Just one of many spectacular waterfalls that are dotted all over the Hawaiian islands.

Puna

The main town in this district is Pahoa. It’s an old Victorian town that has attracted artists and musicians. It has a very laid back vibe with pretty shops and cafes that line the picturesque boardwalk. The beaches nearby are generally made up of dramatic black sand, a legacy of the lava flows over the centuries being pounded to dust by the vibrant Pacific Ocean.

Kau

This district is a world away from the more commercial aspects of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s home to native Hawaiians who grow macadamia and run small farmsteads that raise cattle or grow coffee. The space and tranquillity of this area lure those who wish to live a quiet life of contemplation within beautiful Hawaii.

One of the most famous beaches on The Big Island is Punaluu. It is a jet black sand beach located between the towns of Pahala and Naalehu. A wonderful destination for a picnic on a day of island exploration. It is a location that promises a dramatic backdrop to some great photographs.


Things to do

In addition to the many charms of the districts outlined above, there are aspects to a visit to The Big Island that not only make it memorable but are pretty unique too. Here are some top picks.

Peak Perfection

If you like to add an intriguing challenge or two to your personal bucket list, why not climb the tallest mountain in the world. You might be somewhat surprised to read that Mauna Kea, in the heart of the Big Island, is technically taller than Everest.

Admittedly, only a fraction of the mountain sits above the waterline of the turquoise Pacific, but from its actual base, deep beneath the waves, it is one whole mile higher than Everest. As a hike, it’s not beyond the capabilities of a reasonably fit person. There’s a glorious view from the top. If you aren’t interested in the hike but have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you can make the journey from the Visitors’ Centre right to the summit.

South Point

Kalae is at the most southerly point of The Big Island in the Kau district. It is also the most southerly point of the USA. It’s a remote and unspoiled destination, far removed from the more commercial centres of Hawaii. When you get to Kalae, look out into the Pacific. If you were to sail in a straight line from that point, the next land you would meet would be Antarctica! Pretty amazing.

Out of this World

For something truly ‘out of this world’, there’s a new astronomy centre that’s been built in the Hilo district. The Imiloa Astronomy Centre, housed in three space-age, titanium peaked buildings include a 120 seat planetarium. The unpolluted nature of the skies in Hawaii makes it one of the best places on the globe to establish space observatories.

Cowboys

Not all cowboys are found in mainland USA. The Paniolos are Hawaiian cowboys with as much skill in the saddle as any of their western counterparts. Why not sample the experience and get on a horse and explore The Big Island at a gallop?

Where Blue meets Green

The Pacific changes in colour and energy each hour. Prevailing winds and currents keep the views across the wide blue interesting and mesmerising. The beaches – featuring black, white and in some places red sand, look incredible against this aqua backdrop. On one beach, in particular, it looks even more astonishing.

The green sandy beach of Papakolea near South Point in the Kau district is made up of pulverised green crystal called olivines. Over many years, these crystals have formed a light green powdered sand. The beach can only be accessed on foot along a rough, unfinished trail. Experienced hikers should be able to manage it, and it’s certainly worth the effort.


Where to Stay

At Exceptional Villas we’ve been introducing clients to glorious destinations for decades. With access to some of the most luxurious vacation rentals on The Big Island, we can match you with a property that will offer you the best amenities and location for you and your group’s needs. Whether it’s a large multi-generational family vacation or an intimate honeymoon, we will be delighted to advise you on exactly where you should base yourself.

Mauna Lani Resort Beach View

Private swimming pool, access to a beach, golf, fishing, hiking – you name it, we have the ideal home-from-home waiting for you where you can base yourselves as you enjoy every facet of this Polynesia paradise. Exceptional Villas also have an excellent array of Kauai villas and villas in Maui.

Exceptional Villas has earned 5 star accreditations from Trust Pilot for the standard of service provided by our sales and concierge teams. We are delighted to offer the best in luxury villas Hawaii Big Island has available.

In between all of the adventures and activities The Big Island has to offer, there’s that incredible deep sense of peace and relaxation that you can instantly tap into as you lounge on your terrace listening to the sounds of nature.

From the first rays of dawn to the last golden sweep of a Hawaiian sunset, there’s something elemental and mystical about life in this small outpost in the heart of the Pacific. You will feel closer to the rhythms of life on The Big Island. It’s where the heart of Polynesia is still beating.

Aloha.

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