rainforest eco cabin hawaii

Livin’ Small on The Big Island of Hawaii

When I was growing up in the UK I dreamed of visiting Hawaii. It was the ultimate paradise destination for me. I would cut out photos of Waikiki Beach from travel brochures I had picked up while walking home from school and stick them all around my room.

Fast forward 15 years and I have just flown out of the Hawaiian Islands for the fifth time in my life… something I’m still not quite sure how I’ve been so lucky to achieve.

This trip was different, though. It was the first time heading there as a “digital nomad”. For the last couple of years I have been living in some beautiful places, but they all have one thing in common — they are cheap, very cheap. We’re talking private hotel rooms for $20 a night, and large plates of food for half the price of a Starbucks Frappe.

While I was happy to pay $200+ a night for a hotel for 2 weeks when I was working full-time and only got 4 weeks off a year, the same does not apply anymore when you can get an AirBnB for $200 a month in some of the places I have been!

About 2 months before the trip I started looking for accommodation. This is when the reality kicked in — there simply aren’t bargains to be had in Hawaii, on any of the islands. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I have a thing for volcanoes, so the Big Island was a must. After hours (literally spanning weeks) of research, I found two beautiful places to stay. Both were very special experiences… if you’re not claustrophobic.

Volcano Eco Cabin

Oh, the Eco Cabin. This place was a dream! While it was a bit of a slow drive to get there down a bumpy track, that only added to its isolated charm.

volcano eco cabin big island hawaii

There are two cabins on the property, and we stayed in the smaller one (the larger one is perfect for families). You have your own private deck and small garden with a hammock. Surrounded by trees and tropical plants growing from beautiful black lava, you feel like you’ve been dropped into a volcanic oasis.

Image: Volcano Eco Cabin

While aesthetically the place is beautiful, practically you are in the middle of nowhere so it’s best you grab supplies when you’re in one of the bigger towns. We were amused (well, initially unamused and disappointed) by the stock available at the local shop (a very slow 10-15 minute drive along the dirt track). We managed to get a tin of tomato sauce and a bag of pasta…

Image: Volcano Eco Cabin

Nonetheless, we felt wonderfully isolated and enjoyed our stay. The cabin had all the basics and the bed was amazingly comfortable! Definitely recommend it if you don’t need to be walking distance (or even driving distance) from too much.

Book here: Volcano Eco Cabin, 11-2678 Ohialani Rd, Pāhoa, HI 96778


I was disappointed that for the first time in a long time there was no flowing lava in Hawaii, due to the eruption of Kilauea a year earlier. However, being based in the Pāhoa region of the Big Island was really spectacular as you could see the devastating aftermath of one of the biggest eruptions in recent history.

The little tiny house I found for us to stay in was right in the heart of the mayhem, just walking distance from some of the best lava formations — and close to where you could previously get up close to live lava flows.

The ‘house’ was booked on AirBnB and actually featured in an episode of “House Hunters” on HGTV, which is kinda cool to watch after you’ve stayed there! The house is made from a container and attached to a larger house.

cheap accommodation hawaii
Image: AirBnB

It had everything you could possibly want, including AC (very important!), and a super cute bathroom and small outdoor area. Saying that, three nights was more than enough in such a small space, but for the price (approx. €93 per night), it was more than adequate.

The only downside is that you 100% need a car — there wasn’t much to speak of within walking distance. But to be honest, in Hawaii — unless you’re staying in Waikiki or another tourist hub — you really do need a car.

Book here: Container Tiny House

What are the tiniest places you have stayed in?

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