The Big Island of Hawaii offers the kinds of amenities that prospective timeshare owners covet: wide-open spaces, sparse traffic and a natural environment that’s as unique as it is versatile: Twelve distinct climate zones are found on the Big Island, from tropical rain forests and arid deserts to the snow-capped summit of Mauna Kea.
The Big Island is also home to the world’s most active volcano: Kilauea has been spewing molten lava since January 1, 1983, continually adding real estate to the island. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which includes Kilauea volcano, is a 210,000-acre site with superb hiking, camping and sightseeing opportunities.
There are about a thousand timeshare units on the Big Island, most of them in Kailua-Kona and on the Kohala Coast on the island’s west side.
While timeshares are increasingly popular today, it wasn’t that long ago that the trade was considered even less reputable than the used car industry. In the 1970s, visitors in Waikiki were fair game to timeshare salespeople who enticed them with free meals and other perks in exchange for sitting through their high-pressure, promise-the-world sales presentations.
Government regulations and the industry’s own efforts to weed out the shysters did much to fix the problem in the early 1980s. The entry of well-known international hotel operators into the business has cemented timeshare properties as viable and attractive options.
It’s a good time to be a prospective timeshare buyer. More financing options are available, and timeshare programs have become more flexible, allowing owners to reschedule, spit and trade weekly intervals at non-Hawaii destinations. You may not want to stay at one condominium for the rest of your life; instead, you may want to go to Paris one year, Barcelona the next and so on.
When you have a chance to spend a full week on Hawaii’s Big Island, however, why go anywhere else?