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Hawaii the Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook

4.46  ·  Rating Details ·  1,260 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
The finest guidebook ever written for the Big Island and the only one written by writers who anonymously review the island. They visit every beach, restaurant, activity and trail on the island. The result is this comprehensive, humorous and easy-to-read full color guide that will lead you to more adventures than any other book. A must for travelers.
Published June 1st 2002 by Wizard Publications (first published November 1st 1996)
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Beth Cato
Nov 02, 2016 Beth Cato rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Travel books can sometimes be a tedious read, but there is a reason why this book is the top-rated book on the Big Island on Amazon. Reading this feels like talking with a friend. The tone is personable, with jokes and asides, plus lots of practical knowledge you don't see elsewhere--like when the winds pick up, what side of the plane to sit on when flying into Kona and Hilo, where to eat, how to access remote black beaches, etc. As an author, I need these kinds of details for the novel outline ...more
Marlene M Penner
Nov 09, 2014 Marlene M Penner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I have this booked marked with many sticky notes. I'm heading to Hawaii to celebrate my mom-in-laws 75th birthday later this year. I'm very much looking forward to this trip. It looks like it could be my new "most beautiful place on earth" (overtaking Vancouver, B.C.). I have to remember that this trip is not what I can get out of it, but an opportunity to experience Hawaii with my in-laws. I think we'll be able to find some great activities to do. This book does a great job of outlining areas a ...more
Nov 24, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just left the big island and this book proved to be a awesome guidebook. I'm not a fan of how it's laid out, it's by activity and not by area but the content is spot on. The directions, vibe, timing of your visit, and leaving local hangouts for locals on the weekend was all good info. I'll use this book and others in the series!
Feb 16, 2017 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of course you want an accurate and concise guide about wherever you're traveling. But throw in some humor and searing honesty and you've got an awesome guidebook. This is the book recommended by people who actually live on the Big Island, so you know it's good.
First off, a copy/paste from my previous review on THE ULTIMATE KAUAI GUIDEBOOK by the same author, just replace "THE ULTIMATE KAUAI GUIDEBOOK" with "HAWAII THE BIG ISLAND REVEALED":
This book is clearly geared towards tourists who rely on guidebooks to tell them what to do on their vacation in order to get the most bang for their buck. It certainly beats the other guidebooks of the area, like Lonely Planet or Fodor's, as THE ULTIMATE KAUAI GUIDEBOOK does provide a comprehensive and rather hones
Stephanie Snyder
Apr 10, 2017 Stephanie Snyder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very helpful
Dec 31, 2013 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction, 2013
This is the first time I decided to not use a Lonely Planet guide book for my trip. This book has raving reviews and it is written by someone living on the Big Island so my guess was this would be the best guide book available.

And, in a way, it probably is. Every aspect of the island is discussed. Often with great humor and useful tips. The sometimes brutal honesty of the writer makes it clear that it isn't just trying to "sell" the island but tries to give actual useful information.

My major iss
Jun 20, 2009 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far we have not only gained excellent knowledge of history on the island and have found some awesome beaches. Maps are way more accurate then the one we bought. Shows when you need 4 wheel drive. Important!

Now that I am finished with it I would say overall it was helpful. However some maps were inacurate and the restaurant reviews were bad.
example: We went to an ONO rated fish place called Jackie Rey's Ohana grill. Fish was really good but I wanted the whole serving for the price we payed. ar
Mar 14, 2016 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
This awesome guidebook was indispensable during my five-day visit to the Big Island with my family. It led us to an unforgettable hike in Volcanoes National Park and an almost surrealistic experience at a beautiful and secluded waterfall and swimming hole. Its recommendation for our snorkeling tour was also perfect.

However, I do have an issue with the organization of this book and its relatives (about Oahu and Maui and Kauai). Information about particular activities or attractions seemed spread
Jul 15, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t help but like a guidebook that makes me laugh. It is chockfull of insider tips and thorough in its coverage with candid commentary. Author, Andrew Doughty, has been criticized by locals for putting places into the book that should have remained private, who may shoot first and ask questions later of tourists ignoring posted trespassing signs. However, as an independent traveler, I really enjoyed and appreciate his willingness to take me to places a bit off the beaten path. However, havin ...more
Sue Hurt
According to everybody, including the authors of this book, Hawaii the Big Island Revealed really is the ultimate guidebook. I did enjoy the easy-going attitude of the writing and the extremely frank opinions shared, but after reading the whole book from cover to cover, I think it should be retitled "Hawaii Boot Camp for Jocks, Daredevils, and Twenty-somethings" because even just reading it was physically exhausting. Every other entry was "climb this, jump off that, hike uphill for an hour to se ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I've always liked Doughty's books. I get the latest one whenever I head to Kauai even though I have been there many times. The Big Island book is as good as I would expect based on my experience with the Kauai book.

The only negative comment I have is about the format I bought, I got the kindle version. There are several types of books that just don't work well in electronic format, one is cookbooks because the page layout is often lost and to that I will add travel books. This is because you ca
Feb 21, 2011 Sylvester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the kind of guide book your best friend would write - with her honest opinion (don't go here, it's not worth your time; don't miss this, you'll regret it), a lot of humour, and interesting tidbits of history all thrown together. Without this book we would have missed so many of the little unmarked treasures like Kiholo Beach, with it's sunbathing turtles and Queen's Bath, or Pawai Bay with it's wonderful snorkeling, or the lava pool beside the ocean in Puna which was completely wild and ...more
Feb 21, 2016 TJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am planning a trip to Hawaii with my husband and we heard this line of guide books were great. We purchased a book for each island we hope to visit and I am very glad we did. Lots of inside information and tips. Really covers what there is to do and what is better. You can tell the authors personally tried each activity and each guide company. The author has a fun and humorous writing style that I really appreciate. The author has a really fun and humorous writing style that I enjoyed. A great ...more
Matt Silva
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
anne s.
Jan 27, 2008 anne s. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the best guidebook on the Big Island, hands-down, and the one that pretty much everyone visiting the island seems to be following, even when they're going off the beaten path. Check out this book for a really good, still somewhat secret hike out to the backside of the erupting Pu'u'o'o vent, and thorough information on hiking and camping in the lesser populated areas. Lots of good color photos and maps too. The only drawback is that I didn't really understand the order the book "traveled ...more
Tom Bentley
Jun 29, 2015 Tom Bentley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't feel like a big cheater (and small cheaters are charming, right?), but I didn't read this one word-for-word. However, I did check out every page—and some pages many times—before I spent my recent 5 weeks house-sitting on the Big Island, and during that time. This is a rich resource, a smooth combination of history, updated facts and anecdotal asides.

Every recommendation (and they aren't just for expensive touristy things, but for quirky oddnesses too) was solid. One big plus: the writer
Aug 18, 2009 Christa rated it liked it
This is a super useful and easy-to-read book in terms of figuring out what there is on the Big Island, but I totally messed up and got a 7-year-old edition. I may need to get a newer one because I'm not confident this info is still valid. After all, there are VOLCANOES EXPLODING on the island, which can modify tourism pretty significantly. Anyway, it's a good read, written by people who live in Hawaii, and has a bunch of less-touristy touristy stuff to do in it (locations of lava tubes that aren ...more
Dec 22, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fabulous! I figured I would use it for a reference, but ended up reading it through - tons of information and highlights for a Big Island trip. I did a number of the hikes and appreciated the recommendations for places to stop or points of interest along a drive. Found myself laughing outright at parts (I'm sure the people on the plane thought I was nuts).

It made my trip so much better, and I ran into a number of other vacationers who also thought it was a fantastic must-have!
You will not be the only one toting this book on the Big Island, guaranteed! I do have to add that while we were in Hawaii, the news reported an increase in the rate of visitor deaths over previous years. One of the possible causes cited is people reading about off-the-beaten-path locales and adventures, which this book does include. However, the authors also advise caution throughout the book. You don't have to do everything the book tells you about, so travel wisely and safely!
Jan 17, 2011 katemfs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I re-read the second edition to prepare for my trip (14 working days to go!).

It was like traveling back in time, because I think it was written shortly before I moved there.

Needless to say, if I could read a travel book like this for all places I ever visit, I would be a happy girl.

Only critique is that the photos could be of higher quality... but that's a publisher/printer issue, rather than the writing. Three cheers for this book.
Jan 10, 2016 Kelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the wittiness of Daughty's writing, but dislike the setup of the sections. This book is written as though one is driving through the island. But as just a read for ideas or activities, it is difficult to imagine where each place is located. I was also unimpressed with Daughty's maps as not everything he discussed was labeled. Overall, I enjoyed the humor and real life advice that was in this travel book.
Terry Tracz
Sep 17, 2014 Terry Tracz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent guide to parts of the island you might otherwise miss. Use in conjunction with the Moon book on the Big Island. I found that these books complement each other nicely, and we found both extremely useful as we toured around the island! Examples include the best picnic spots, best scenic drives/alternate routes, best places to eat (gotta have a shave ice or you really missed something!)
Jul 19, 2009 Sasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you go to any island in Hawaii, make sure you take the guide book written by these authors.

Packed full of helpful touristy information, directions, etc., this book is a real gem because it's also got all the history, science, and culture in it, too. The author is very honest in his reviews, and has a terrific sense of humor. It was a great help, but it was also FUN to read.

This really is the ULTIMATE Guidebook.
Sep 08, 2013 Blakely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hawaii Revealed series of books is definitely a must-read for anyone going to Hawaii. Lots of great, detailed information on tourist attractions, hikes, beaches, etc. My only critiques are:

1. I don't like the way the maps are laid out
2. Because most of the activities, beaches, etc. are separated from the rest of the book it can be annoying to try to find beaches and activities when you're in a particular area of Hawaii.
Michele Karmartsang
We used this for everything while on the Big Island. The maps are helpful, although we did buy a road map over there for the detailed "big picture" as the whole island map in the book was too small to realistically show the roads we needed. Everything was as described. We statyed 8 days and that's not enough time to check out everything that sounds interesting, or even all of the "real gems" listed in even one region, but the ones that we did were as described and each a gem in it's own way!
Apr 24, 2008 Shannan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An honest, informal review of the Big Island. I used it extensively to plan our honeymoon, most of which was on this island. It is written by locals and is dead on. This book lists a lot of hidden hikes, beaches and the like that were great. In particular, the $10 lava cave tour was fanstastic and none of the locals had even heard of it. HIGHLY reccomended if you're going to Hawaii (the Oahu book was great, too)
Jun 06, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read several books for our upcoming trip to Hawaii, and this one was definitely more in-depth and useful. There is excellent web content as well. The other books discuss all of the islands, so if you are only visiting one, then only a small portion of those books applies. This one is for only the big island, so it goes into much greater depth and provides very useful information, like the cheapest places to rent snorkel equipment, restaurant recommendations for each area, etc.
Sep 06, 2008 Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is traveling to hawaii
Recommended to Perry by: friends who own a condo in hawaii
If you plan on traveling to hawaii, this book is a must. There is one for all the islands and the information is fantastic. I have recommended it to most of my friends and they all say it is the best travel book for Hawaii. This one focuses on the big island. Of course, I didn't agree with everything they recommended but almost everything was dead on. The book is very well written and is easy to read. There are wonderful maps and tips for beaches and snorkeling are great.

Nelson Minar
Mar 08, 2013 Nelson Minar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent guidebook. Full of detail and humor and good information. It's an unusual guide, written by a real local and not some giant company like Fodor or Frommer. But it's also totally professional and complete. Definitely recommend for any visit to the Big Island, and I imagine their other Hawai'ian guides are just as good.
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