Geo: 19.4308, -155.238
I spent two full days in the shadow of Pele. I have to say I loved Volcanoes National Park. There is so much to see and so many hikes to take. You definitely need one full day, but two would be great if you want to add on some of the longer hikes along the crater floor and spend more time just looking at things. Expect rain since the park is in a rainforest and don't let it ruin your time there. My room at Chalet Kilauea was wonderful. The Africa Room is the least expensive, and smallest, room at the Chalet. It states that right on their website. The room was perfect for me as a single traveler. There was a double bed, flat screen TV, closet with storage space, large bathroom and private lanai with mini kitchen. I don't know if I would recommend this room for more than one person. Obviously you could make it work for a couple, but there would not be much room for privacy other than escaping to the lanai or O'hana room. The walls are a little thin and I was woken up one night by some noisy people checking in.
The room did not have air conditioning, but I discovered this was not a problem as it's very cool in the rainforest at night and the window in the door to the lanai opens and provides enough air. Breakfast can be had for $6.25 downstairs. The menu in the room guide boasts a wide variety of cereal, fresh fruit, assorted pastries and sweet bread. The variety of cereal was Raisin Bran and Corn Flakes so not a large selection. But there were 2 kinds of bagels, English muffins, bread, 3 kinds of sweet bread, pineapple, orange slices and papaya. Coffee, hot water for tea and a tropical fruit juice blend are also provided. When I checked out I reminded the lady that I had breakfast all 3 mornings. She said "Breakfast? You hardly ate anything so I will only charge you for one." I guess my taking a small plate and going back for seconds wasn't enough for her! So that was a treat. The town of Volcano is small and does not offer many food options. There is a Thai restaurant, local family dinner, a café and some lodge. It looked like most places closed early and the next closest food is back in Hilo so don't go expecting anything gourmet or late.
I found Hilo to be a bit grungy looking along the waterfront and did not really stop to do any eating or sightseeing. Maybe there are better options by the resort areas. It is also a 30 minute minimum trip to the national park so Volcano is your best option if you want to concentrate on that area. It's easy to get around as there are only a few main highways and all have something different to see. Keep your camera out and be ready to snap as you drive!
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