Winter 2021 Big Island Travel Guide

Couple in a hot tub with a view of the ocean

When it comes to traveling in the age of COVID-19, there is still a lot of uncertainty. Winter is a beautiful time in Hawaii, and typically the most popular time of year for visitors from the mainland. But because of the ongoing health risks and travel restrictions, you might be thinking twice before making travel plans. In order to make things just a little easier on you, we decided to put together a Big Island travel guide for Winter 2021. We’ll give you some expert insight on travel guidelines and what the situation is like on the island.



Hawaii is still allowing visitors to bypass a 14-day quarantine with proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours prior to departing for the islands. While Kauai has recently opted out of the Hawaii Safe Travels program and re-instituted a mandatory quarantine, Big Island mayor Mitch Roth has indicated that he has no intention to follow suit. He has also said that he will advocate for an extension of the pre-travel testing program to 96 hours before flying. With that in mind, you should feel confident in your ability to make travel plans for the winter without worrying about a change in travel restrictions. Please review this chart for more detailed information and familiarize yourself with all of the current guidelines before finalizing plans.

Staying at the Inn

Common area seating room

It is and always has been of the utmost importance to us that you feel at home when you stay at the Holualoa Inn. Guests will find that there is plenty of room for private space, with just six guestrooms in the main house and 30 acres of gardens and orchards to wander about. We also have a standalone studio and a cottage for guests seeking even more privacy. We have updated our housekeeping procedures and adjusted our breakfast service to ensure the safety of our guests and staff. Read more about our Stay Small, Stay Safe practices here.


Boat off the coast of the Big Island

Most recreational activities and excursions are once again available with enhanced safety procedures and capacity limitations. Island activities from our trusted partners Paradise Helicopters, Hawaii Forest and Trail, and Into the Blue can be booked at the time you make your reservation with us. You can learn more about the procedures they are employing to keep you safe here and here. Paradise Helicopters offers a doors-off flight, and Into the Blue operates an open-air catamaran that holds a maximum of six people. Both of these are great options if you want to limit your activities to the outdoors. All of these tour operators also offer the option to buy out the helicopter, van, or boat so that your party will be the only one on board. For something a little more low-key and social-distancing friendly, Kona Boys offers kayak tours on Kealakekua Bay and paddleboard rentals in Kona. All State and County beach parks are currently open, as are most hiking trails within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Whether you decide to take a guided tour or go out on your own there are plenty of activities available to keep you busy during your stay.

Breakfast and Dining Out

Breakfast quiche

As part of our Stay Small, Stay Safe practices, we have adjusted our dining room to meet social distancing guidelines. Our kitchen staff can also provide to-go lunches upon request, and we have a guest kitchenette available if you would prefer to stay in and make dinner. If you decide to dine out, know that many of the restaurants around Kona have outdoor seating or covered open-air seating available. This includes some our favorites like Island Lava Java, Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill, and Magics Beach Grill. Social distancing is still in effect, and masks are required, but you can still enjoy pleasant dining experiences during your stay.

Visit with Aloha

Path through Holualoa Gardens with lush trees and greenery surrounding Big Island estate

We have received some questions recently about how island residents feel about incoming visitors. While it is not our place to speak for the residents of the Big Island, we can tell you that you will probably not find attitudes to be much different than usual. That is, if you show respect and share aloha, you will receive it in return. No matter where you are visiting from, remember that you are visiting our home and you should respect the rules and guidelines our health department has put in place. Wear your mask at all times when in public and maintain social distancing. Stay in if you feel unwell and get tested immediately if you start displaying symptoms of COVID-19. By doing these things, you will help keep Hawaii a safe place for all of us.


Coffee Beans in a Burlap Sack


— P.S. —

Even with this information in hand, you may not feel comfortable traveling at this time. We totally get it. If you can’t come stay with us this winter, you can still savor some of our fresh-roasted coffee in your own home. Check out our website for online ordering, and consider joining our Fresh Brew Club to receive fresh-roasted coffee every month.


— A hui hou! —