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Hawaii 3 island tour mid-April to mid-May

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Hawaii 3 island tour mid-April to mid-May

Looking at biking Hawaii mid-April to mid-May on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai. I plan to start at Kona Airport and spend almost two weeks going around the Big Island, then fly to Maui for a week, then finish in Kauai for a little over a week. Disassembling and reassembling the bike to fly between the islands will be a bit of a pain but hey I'm spending time in Hawaii. Some of the roads I've heard can be a bit sketchy with blind corners, little room, and aggressive drivers. Additionally Hawaii can have a good amount of climbing being that the islands are pretty much mountains sticking out of the ocean.  My plan is to start the ride on April 19th and finish on May 16th, this time of year being less busy and less expensive, also hopefully less rainy.

I have a Crazyguy journal here that goes into detail on the trip plans. There will be almost as much hiking as cycling for this tour. Camping most of the time, a few times free/stealth camping. Hawaii no doubt isn't the cheapest place to tour but I'm hoping to keep costs reasonable.  I've figured costs for inter-island flights, accommodations and hiking fees to be around $700 total(about $120 of this is for campsites that can accommodate more than 1 person at no extra cost). Cost may be lower if able to get a WShower or CSurf host a few different spots. The other main costs would be fly to and from Hawaii (unless you are lucky enough to be there already) and of course food.

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We went to Hawaii for a month

We went to Hawaii for a month in 2014. I thought a lot about cycling there, but we left the bikes at home because we didn't want to deal with the cost and hassle of all the interisland flights: Kauai -> Molokai -> Maui -> BI -> Oahu. We flew on the tiny local airline, so I'm not even sure they could have taken bikes anyway. We did rent some crappy bikes and ride around Molokai a bit, which was great because nobody is on Molokai. I thought a lot about how riding would be on the other islands and here's what I got for ya: 

BI should be fine. It's quite large and there are a lot of good places to ride. it's all spread out and there are many big, wide and straight roads and even some great back roads. If you ask around you can probably find plenty of free camping. We only paid one night on BI. 

Maui is much more populated and there will be a lot of traffic, but it's also a reasonably large island, so there should be some decent spots to ride. Be very careful if you ride the Road to Hana. It's pretty, but it is super narrow and curvy and packed with tourists not paying attention to the road. You could go super early to beat the tourists, but then you'll have the uncles doing the same thing and they drive like absolute nuts. That might be worse than the tourists. If you still want to go to Hana, but don't want to deal with that road, you could do an out and back on the road that goes around the volcano the other way and comes into Hana from the southeast. It's unpaved and almost nobody uses it. You could then send your bike back on a truck and hike up into the volcano, maybe even have someone bring the bike to the top of the volcano to meet you so you can ride down. Another ride that should be super beautiful and is probably much more pleasant for traffic would be to go around the other volcano on the west side of the island. There will be tons of traffic on the SW side, but it'll be a wider road and the traffic should die down quite a bit around the north. 

Kauai is really beautiful, but I'd probably really hate to bike there. There is quite literally one road around that island, and it doesn't even go all the way around. There is tons of traffic, but now that I'm thinking more about it, it's probably not too horrible. I just realized that I biked to South America since I've been there and my tolerance of traffic is probably much better. Anyway, it's not a huge island, but you could easily spend a week just hiking into the Kalalau Valley on the north side. Another option would be to skip Kauai and save on the airfare and just take a ferry from Maui to Molokai and spend a few days riding around there. 

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Hi Lewis thanks for the info.

Hi Lewis thanks for the info.  Agree with your assesment of the Big Island being probably the most relaxed for riding, thats what I've gathered as well.  Good to know on the free camping there, I plan to do that at least two times.  On Maui I think everywhere you mention on riding I'm planning on doing already, I'm going towards Hana for instance on the southeast road and leaving the next morning on the actual "Road to Hana"(hoping traffic will be safer then).  Kauai yeah won't be all great as yep, just one road (with small bits of options like a short bike trail north of Lihue).  The main draw for Kauai is yes the hiking, I'll be spending a day and a half hiking in Koke'e and also 3 days in Kalalau that you mentioned.

Hawaiian Airlines flights are about $100 between the islands, it's only $35 to bring the bike on as luggage.  The hassle of taking the bike and gear apart and putting it back together 3 times in a 4 week trip is annoying but worth it to me, plus it's cheaper than renting a car for that many days.  I definitely would have gone to Molokai as well but the ferry suspended service about a year ago I think.

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That's not a bad bike fee. We

That's not a bad bike fee. We actually flew Hawaiian when we moved to New Zealand last year and their baggage policy for international flights was pretty sweet. We had two bikes and 5 massive suitcases. We mostly flew Mokulele interisland, which was pretty much just a school bus with wings, so bikes might have grounded the flight haha. That's too bad about the ferry, but I'm not surprised. We didn't use it because it would have been the same price as a flight, but taken hours and left us in the middle of nowhere on the end of Maui. I'll send you a PM with some more detailed camping info so that's not just all over the web.

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Big Island

I have cycled the Big Island 3 times.  It is a great week long trip.  Here's my video of the last trip: https://youtu.be/Z59mJyU10Do

Starting in Kona, ride to Captain Cook/Ho'okena Beach, then to Punalu'u, up and over Volcanos to Hilo (took a day off there), then on to Luapahoe'oe, over to Hakuna Beach, and then back to Kona.  Great trip!