You may have heard that the Left Coast Crime Convention next month is in Hawaii. Going is out of the question for me, as much as I would like to do so, unless the Texas Lottery folks manage to select my numbers very soon. They have resisted all my efforts for years so I don’t have much hope of that happening. In the meantime, all I can do is dream and look at the occasional travel book such as this one released by “Lonely Planet.”


Like their other books, this one opens with a short chapter that is basically a “best of” whatever the location is chapter. For this book, it is the “Best Big Island Experiences.” Suggestions for things such as the best scenic drive “Kohala Mountain Road” and the best multipurpose beach “Hapuna Beach” along with the best short hike “Pololu Valley” and numerous other best things and best places are listed. In each case there is a color photo, a very short description and a page number that will take readers to the longer listing and explanation found elsewhere in the book.


“Island Itineraries” begins on page eighteen with suggestions for various mileage lengths or days available for exploration of the big island. Color maps are included and there are references to the additional itineraries at the start of each regional section that are in more depth.


The third chapter is on “Outdoor Activities & Adventures.” It covers where you can do what in alphabetical format. From “at sea” to “yoga” the book has got you covered with locations, types of activities, plenty of information and as always plenty of color photographs.


This leads to a ten page chapter on “Green Big Island.” Environmental issues are important on the islands and this is where readers learn about steps being taken, options available, and what can be done by tourists and others to protect the fragile environment of the islands.


Beginning with page fifty-one, the book is divided into regional sections. “Kailua-Kona” begins this part of the guide book with a brief history on the culture, some maps, and suggested tours and things to do. This same format is used throughout the regional parts which are labeled as “Kona Coast” (page 79), “Kohala & Waimea” (page 103), Mauna Kea & Saddle Road” (page 137) “Hamakua Coast” (page 151) “Puna” (page 191), Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park” (page 205) and Ka’u (page 229). I am very interested in parks and the section in this book is detailed text wise but could have really used more pictures. The pictures used are often rather small and hard to see detail wise.


Short chapters on the “Big Island Myths and Legends” (which was very weak) “History & Culture” of the area, foods, “Festivals & Events” and planning your trip are near the end of the book. A directory of resources and general information along with an eight page index close out the travel guide.


Comprehensive and flashy, this book certainly creates the impression that it is outlining all the usual places and things and not covering real hidden gems that many tourists don’t know about. Additionally, as in other “Lonely Planet” travel guides the type face is extremely small and as such is very hard to read. Both could be addressed simply by expanding the book somewhat. That won’t solve the language issues some reviewers have with these books (a concern I don’t share), but it would make them easier to read.


Despite those points, this is a good book. Written by Luci Yamamoto and Conner Gorry, this travel guide is a colorful and highly informative book sure to help you plan and enjoy your trip. It may not be the only book you want for the trip but it certainly is a strong start.


Hawai’i: The Big Island

by Luci Yamamoto and Conner Gorry

Lonely Planet

September 2008

ISBN# 9781741047158


304 Pages



As a member of the Amazon Vine Program this material was provided to me in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2009


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