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Finding the perfect vacation rental on the Big Island can be overwhelming…I mean, it’s a BIG island with a TON of condo-tels and rentals. While it’s still possible to find houses or apartments to rent, I tend to recommend condos over them as it puts less of a burden on local housing demands. But there are so many condos!! How do you pick a good one?
In this post, I’m recommending a bunch of condo complexes (also called condo-tels or condo resorts) by area on the Big Island that I think are good places to stay. I’ve also got descriptions of each area so you can figure out what part of the island is most appealing to you.
Before you start looking around for specific condos or rentals, it’s best to have a general idea of where you want to stay. If you’re not very familiar with the Big Island, you should read this post to get the lay of the is(land) and decide which area you’d most like to stay.
I think the best place to find (and book) Big Island vacation rentals is Vrbo. They’ve been around forever and are probably the most reputable booking platform online (with owners and vacationers alike), which means that you’ll find more quality properties listed on Vrbo than anywhere else online. I used to book more often with Airbnb, but I’ve begun to find that they often don’t have what I’m looking for (especially when I want to book a condo/unit within a resort property). So all of the condo complexes I will be linking to are bookable within Vrbo.
Vrbo has an enormous amount of traditional vacation rental listings (condos in resort areas), but they also have so many options that are more “off the beaten path” in local areas. But overall, you’re going to find properties listed by owners who take their rental business very seriously and are committed to providing you the best accommodations possible.
How does it work? By doing a simple search by island (or specific area), you’ll be able to find a wide (price and type) range of accommodation. You can refine your search to fit certain criteria (part of the island, price, style, etc.) before you start weeding through specific properties.
The number of search results you’ll find by island can be extremely overwhelming, so I would suggest putting as many filters as possible (especially price and number of bedrooms) and then viewing the results on a map so you can get an idea for where everything is located.
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list of every condo complex on the Big Island. There are soooooo many, and there likely are some that aren’t on this list that are perfectly good places to stay at. I’ve compiled this list largely based on location, ratings and reviews, and an overall vibe of what I’m looking for in a place to stay.
Kona Vacation Rentals
While the entire western side of the island is often called “Kona side,” Kona town is where the airport and the majority of the stores are (Costco, Target, Walmart, etc.). There are some pretty beaches around Kona and the downtown area is pretty hopping as it’s a cruise ship port. To the north of Kona stretches the Kohala Coast (where the majority of the large beach resorts on the island are located) and the coast to the south is pretty lush.
These are some nice options in the Kona area (* are favorites!):
*Banyan Tree: Find specific condo units here.
*Hale Kona Kai: Find specific condo units here.
*Kona Bali Kai: Find specific condo units here.
Kona Isle: Find specific condo units here. OCEANFRONT!
These are some great options just south of Kona in the Keauhou area:
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Kohala & Waikoloa Vacation Rentals
This stretch of coast (often called the Gold Coast) stretches out north of Kona and is home to the island’s best resorts. This is where you’ll find the best beaches on the Big Island. Because it’s one long stretch of resorts and condos, you’ll also find a lot of shops and restaurants. While this area is known for luxury, it’s still possible to find good deals on condos…mostly because there are so many. It has the same type of landscape you’ll find all across the Kona side of the island (lava fields) but you’ll be a little bit closer to spots on the north shore including the Kohala Forest, Waipo Valley, and Hamakua.
These are some of my favorite condos in the Waikoloa Resort area (*are favorites!):
Vista Waikoloa: Find specific condo units here.
These are some of my favorite condos in the Mauna Lani area (*are favorites!):
Mauna Lani Terrace: Find specific condo units here.
Palm Villas: Find specific condo units here. GORGEOUS POOL AND VILLAS!
Tips for Booking a Big Island Vacation Rental
Consider what you need. What’s important to you? Are you looking for a specific location near a certain beach or resort area? Do you need a full kitchen? Reliable Wi-Fi? A full house or just studio? Be clear about what you want before you start searching.
Read reviews. Before you even consider staying at a property, you should read up on what people who have stayed there have to say. Remember, you’ll only hear the good points from the host but reviews usually give a much more honest story. And when I’m weeding through listings, I also put a lot of weight into the photographs provided. If the photos look professional, it probably means that the owner runs their vacation rental in a professional manner and that is a indication that it’s a good place to stay.
Ask plenty of questions. When you’re seriously considering staying at a specific property, you should correspond with the owner and ask them any questions you may have.
Count the extra costs. Be sure to factor in any security deposits, cleaning fees, and booking fees.
Know the cancellation policy. Each property and owner may have different terms so know what they are before you commit.
Big Island Condos Under $100/Night
I know what people are looking for specifically varies greatly, but I often get asked for the best (i.e. cheapest) beachfront condos, so I’ve rounded up a few specific properties that I like the looks of:
Compared to the other islands, you can find a TON of rentals on the Big Island under $100/night. If you’re looking on the Kona side of the island, you’ll find the best deals in Kailua-Kona and south (prices on the Kohala Coast are more), but other than that it’s possible to find budget friendly properties all over the island.
These rates are also STARTING rates, meaning that’s the cheapest rate you’ll find during the slow season (usually late August through September and end of January through February) so if you’re putting in dates for high season (holidays and summer months), the rates may be higher.
Also, I feel like I should mention that if you can up your budget to the $180/night range you will find a LOT more options for condos and vacation rentals (and some may even be two bedrooms so if you’re traveling with others and splitting the cost you may still come out around $100/night).
All photos in this post are from Vrbo.com listings.
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