This book has lots of good maps and a little bit of everything you need to know for the Big Island. This new Foder's Big Island travel book is going with me on my 2nd trip to the big island and I'm pretty picky about which book goes in my carry on with me. This one foots the bill! It's a perfect size (5"x8") and doesn't take up much space in my bag.
This book is packed full of information and really well-done full-color maps throughout the book (along with a full-sized fold-out map*). The maps in the book are very clear to follow with numbered dots that correspond to a list of the location names that are evaluated along the edge of the map. The text pages then describe each of the numbered locations in detail and orange stars for location that are Foder's Choice and black stars for locations that are highly recommended.
Hotel and Resaurant prices are categorized from a single dollar sign ($) to four dollar signs ($$$$), yet no specific rates are given, so you're on your own to call or check out current rates on the Internet. Also, there's lots of nice full color photos to inspire you, but not too many to take up valuable space for information on the island.
Stats: The book is broken into 9 sections and each sections describes each topic by sections of the island. This is really helpful since it's a "big island" you may not have the time to visit the whole island. Instead, focus on the area where you stay and enjoy this beautiful paradise! I am including a listing below of the percentage of the book devoted to each topic:
Experience the Big Island, 13%
Exploring the Big Island, 25%
Water Activities, 11%
Golf, Hiking, and Outdoor Activities, 8%
Shops and Spas, 7%
Entertainment and Nightlife, 5%
Where to Eat, 14%
Where to Stay, 11%
It's a good balance of topics that covers just about all the basics you need.
There is also lots of helpful "In Focus" pages that highlight things like
"All About Lei" which includes Where to Buy the Best Lei, Lei Etiquette, and pictures, illustrations, and description of each kind (Orchid, Maile, Ilima, Plumeria, Pikake, and Kukui). Other topics include Hula, Luau, Hawaii's Plants 101, Snorkeling in Hawaii, and more. There is also a listing of farmer's markets in the book and 4 blank "Note" pages in the back of the book which is nice.
There is a extra-special place that is not included in the book: Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co.They offer free samples of 7 different flavors of macadamia nuts and open every day 8 am - 5:30 pm. They are located a 61-3251 Maluokalani Street on Hwy 270 between mile marker 4 and 5 in historic Kawaihae. If you get up to the north west coast it's a fun place to stop and pick up local nuts at a good price. People are so nice there too.
*The full-sized fold-out map is made of durable paper (but not tyvek/plastic, so it's not water proof) and double-sided full-color. It includes a simple map of the whole island on one side with various locations labeled with the name for locations mentioned throughout the book. There is not a lot of detail on this map. On the flip side is an enlargement of the west-side including Kailu-Kona north to Kawaihae and an inset of the the Hawaii volcanoes National Park. There is a City Name index and Street Name index that correspond to the map grid squares included along the two edges of both maps. There are a couple flaws on this map. One: There's no map legend! You can figure it out (like the blue dashed line means trails), but cartography 101 (map making) says you should have a map legend to help users understand the symbols and colors used on a map. Two: The detailed/enlarged maps should be outlined on the whole island map showing the location of those enlargements. (Neither of these are deal breakers).
By the way, my favorite take-along maps is Nelles. These maps are a must have on any trip you go on. Nelles has a new one for the Big Island and available on Amazon Hawaii - the Big Island Nelles Map (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German Edition)