Hawaii Big Island
A great opportunity to visit Hawaii as a lone traveller
I have just arrived back (and have gotten over my jet lag enough to write this) from the Hawaii Big Island tour. This was my 2nd Trek America tour (the first being the Southern Sun from LA back in 2011). I booked this tour because I really needed a holiday and wanted to venture to somewhere I had not been before. I was also limited with the time I was able to get off work and so this tour fitted in nicely along with a couple of days either side to relax. If this is your first Trek America, note that tours can be busy with lots of travelling and activities, if you want to relax don't do it (or have extra time before/after the trip to do this)! We started the tour in Kona where I met the rest of the group - only 5 of us and our tour leader (but there could be up to 13 people per group) - we were given a run down of what the 8 days would include along with what to expect. We were told at this point that our itinerary would be slightly different to that on the website due to a couple of the campsites being closed for refurbishment, this meant staying in new campsites for Trek America and we were told to keep our minds open in regards to what they would be like (I think we all feared the worst) but in the end they were not as bad as we had feared - in fact we all recommended them, so maybe you'll be staying there when you go! And so we began our trip anti-clockwise around the island. I don't want to give too much away but here are my positive and negatives of the trip: Trip Positives: - Very little driving - maximum 3/4hrs per day and this was usually separated by stops at various sites. - Lots of different sights to be seen - Hawaii is a very diverse island. You'll be travelling through grasslands, rainforest and lava - its pretty impressive how much the climate changes in a couple of miles! - Lots of included activities - we were able to go snorkeling, go on a 4x4 ride, do some hiking and sunbathing. - Opportunity to do a helicopter flight over the volcano - only myself and another member did this but it was worth every penny (or should I say cent!) - definitely a top highlight of the trip for me. - You need to keep your eyes on the ocean whenever you can - lots of turtles and dolphins to be seen - A great mix of camping and hotels - note that the hotels are not hotels they include cabins in the Volcanoes National Park (it felt like you were in a hotel room) and a Hostel in Hilo. Trip Negatives: - We were not offered as many optional extra activities as I would have liked - Campsites were very basic - cold showers (often which were outside) or none at all (it was not as bad as it sounds - everyone is in the same boat and it really makes you appreciate the shower when you next have one!) - Too much free time towards the end of the trip with little to do around the campsites - the campsites were generally very secluded and so did not have much to do on our free days (note that the campsites we stayed in were different to those intended) - with this being the case we managed to find things to do and there was rarely a dull moment.