Comparison Big Island vs Maui – Both Big Island and Maui offer unique experiences and attractions that make them popular destinations in Hawaii. While Big Island is known for its active volcanoes and outdoor adventures, Maui is famous for its beaches and scenic drives.
In this comparison, we will explore the similarities and differences between Big Island and Maui, covering various aspects such as geography, climate, culture, attractions, and activities. Read here Honolulu vs Kauai and Kauai vs Maui
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Comparing Big Island and Maui
Accommodations – Maui vs Big Island
Both islands offer a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts. While Big Island has more options in terms of vacation rentals, Maui on the other hand has a higher concentration of luxury resorts.
Both Big Island and Maui offer a variety of dining options, including local Hawaiian cuisine and international flavors. Big Island is known for its Kona coffee and fresh seafood, while Maui is famous for its farm-to-table cuisine and pineapple.
Accessibility – Maui vs Big Island
Both islands are easily accessible by air, with major airlines flying to the airports in Kona and Kahului. Big Island has two airports, with the Kona International Airport being the larger of the two, while Maui has one airport, the Kahului Airport.
Big Island is generally considered to be less crowded than Maui. This is partly due to the fact that Big Island has a larger land area and more secluded areas, while Maui has more concentrated tourist areas.
Round-trip airfare from the United States to Kauai or Maui can range from $400 to $1000, depending on the time of year and the location you are flying from.
SIM CARD AT HAWAII AIRPORT – Big Island vs Maui
I wouldn’t recommend you buy a sim card at Hawaii airport. If you wish to stay comfortable you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Hawaii. Read here Unites States sim card for tourist and best sim card for Hawaii
WHERE TO STAY IN HAWAII – Big Island vs Maui
A total of $40-50 USD would be the range of your budget for accommodation in Hawaii. There are hotels mid-budget for $100-150 USD and you can find luxury accommodations starting from $300 USD.
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Big Island vs Maui: Activities
Both the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui offer a wide range of activities for visitors. Here are some comparisons:
Maui is known for its beautiful beaches, including Kaanapali, Wailea, and Makena. The Big Island also has some nice beaches, such as Hapuna Beach and Kua Bay, but they may be more spread out and not as easily accessible.
The Big Island is home to the active Kilauea volcano, which visitors can explore by hiking, biking, or taking a helicopter tour. Maui does not have any active volcanoes, but visitors can explore the dormant Haleakala volcano, which offers stunning views of the island.
Snorkeling and Diving
Both islands have great opportunities for snorkeling and diving. The Big Island has some of the best diving spots in Hawaii, such as Kealakekua Bay and Puako, which are home to a variety of marine life, including sea turtles and manta rays. Maui is known for its beautiful coral reefs and clear waters, and popular spots include Honolua Bay and Molokini Crater.
Maui is home to some beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Road to Hana, which has several waterfalls along the way. The Big Island also has some waterfalls, such as Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls, but they may be more spread out and require more driving. Read here best hiking in Maui
Both islands have great opportunities for hiking. Maui’s famous trails include the Pipiwai Trail, which takes you through bamboo forests and past waterfalls, and the Haleakala Crater trail, which offers stunning views of the island. The Big Island has several great hikes, such as the Pololu Valley hike and the Waipio Valley hike, which offer stunning views of the coastline and valleys.
Big Island vs Maui: Food
Both the Big Island and Maui have a diverse culinary scene with plenty of delicious food options to choose from. Here are some comparisons:
Both islands have their own unique local cuisine. On the Big Island, you can find traditional Hawaiian dishes like poke, laulau, and kalua pig. Maui also has its own specialties, including dishes like taro pancakes and coconut shrimp.
Both islands have access to some of the freshest seafood in Hawaii. On the Big Island, you can enjoy seafood dishes like mahi-mahi and ahi tuna, while Maui is known for its seafood chowder and lobster rolls.
Maui has a reputation for having some of the best fine dining restaurants in Hawaii. You can find Michelin-starred restaurants like The Plantation House and Mamas Fish House, which serve up dishes using locally sourced ingredients. The Big Island also has several fine dining options, including Merriman’s and Brown’s Beach House, which serve up dishes using local ingredients.
Both islands have a strong focus on farm-to-table cuisine. The Big Island has a variety of farm-to-table restaurants, such as the Red Water Cafe and ‘Ulu Ocean Grill, which use locally sourced ingredients in their dishes. Maui also has several farm-to-table restaurants, including Pacific’O and O’o Farm, which offer farm tours and dining experiences.
Both islands have local farmers’ markets where you can find fresh produce, seafood, and other local specialties. On the Big Island, the Hilo Farmers Market is a popular spot, while on Maui, the Upcountry Farmers Market and the Maui Swap Meet are great places to try local foods.
Best Things to Do on the Big Island – Big Island vs Maui
Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit destination on the Big Island. This park is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, and it offers a variety of activities and experiences for visitors. You can hike on the trails that wind through lava fields and forests, take a scenic drive along Crater Rim Drive, and explore the many ranger-led programs and exhibits in the park’s visitor center.
One of the most popular activities is the Kilauea Iki Trail, which takes you across a crater and through a rainforest. You can also witness the incredible power of the volcano by visiting the Jaggar Museum, where you can see the glow of lava from the Halema’uma’u Crater at night.
Snorkeling and diving
The Big Island has some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Hawaii. You can explore colorful coral reefs, encounter sea turtles, and swim with schools of tropical fish. Some popular snorkeling spots include Kealakekua Bay, Honaunau Bay, and Kahaluu Beach Park.
If you want to dive, you can explore underwater lava tubes, caverns, and arches, and see a variety of marine life, including manta rays, dolphins, and sharks. There are many snorkeling and diving tour operators on the island that offer equipment rental and guided tours.
Visit Waipio Valley – Big Island vs Maui
Waipio Valley is a beautiful and secluded valley on the northeast coast of the Big Island. The valley is surrounded by steep cliffs, lush forests, and a black sand beach. You can hike down into the valley or take a guided horseback or ATV tour. Once you reach the valley floor, you can explore the streams, waterfalls, and taro fields. You can also visit the historic Kaluahine Falls, a sacred waterfall that is said to have healing powers.
Take a helicopter tour
One of the best ways to see the Big Island’s stunning landscapes is by taking a helicopter tour. You can fly over active volcanoes, tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and coastlines, and see the island from a new perspective. Some popular helicopter tour companies on the island include Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and Paradise Helicopters.
Visit the Mauna Kea Observatory
The Mauna Kea Observatory is located on the summit of Mauna Kea, the highest mountain on the Big Island. The observatory is home to some of the world’s most advanced telescopes, and it offers guided tours and stargazing programs for visitors. You can see the stars and planets up close and learn about the universe from expert astronomers.
Go to a luau – Maui vs Big Island
A luau is a traditional Hawaiian feast that features music, dance, and food. There are many luaus on the Big Island that offer a variety of cultural experiences, such as hula dancing, fire knife performances, and traditional Hawaiian cuisine. Some popular luaus on the island include the Island Breeze Luau and the Royal Kona Luau.
Explore the beaches
The Big Island has some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. From white sand to black sand and green sand beaches, there is something for everyone. Some popular beaches include Hapuna Beach, Waialea Beach, and Punaluu Beach. You can swim, sunbathe, snorkel, or just relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Best Beaches in Maui
Maui is renowned for its beautiful beaches, each with its unique charm and appeal. Some of the best beaches on the island include:
Kaanapali Beach – Maui vs Big Island
This long, sandy beach is one of the most popular on the island, with opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports.
Known for its calm waters and soft, white sand, Kapalua Beach is an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling.
This beautiful beach is known for its clear waters, gentle waves, and stunning sunsets, making it a popular spot for romantic walks and sunset viewing.
Accommodation in Hawaii
A total of $50 USD would be the range of your budget for accommodation in Hawaii. There are hotels mid-budget for $100-150 USD and you can find luxury accommodations starting from $300 USD.
Best Time to Visit Hawaii – Maui vs Big Island
There are 2 seasons in Hawaii. The best time to visit Hawaii is from the months of March to September because it is the dry season. However, lots of tourists prefer to travel from January to March since it’s not peak season but it can be raining for a few days.
Maui or Big Island, Which is the Better Vacation
Choosing between Maui vs Big Island for your big trip to Hawaii will depend on your preference and the type of experience you want to have. You can’t go wrong either way for sure!
While Maui is the top choice for more parties and nightlife, the Big Island offers more cultural experiences, adventure travel, and activities. It falls down on what you want to do! Good luck and have fun in Hawaii.
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About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.