After our trip to Death Valley last year, we had decided that next time we wanted to go somewhere warm during the winter, we would do the real thing and go to Hawai‘i.
And since it was the time of year, we elected to go to the big island for my first taste of Hawai‘i. Yeah, I know, well about time!
Anyhow, we drove all around the Island while experiencing as much as we could.
First, we stayed in Kailua-Kona for 2 nights. This little ocean town is very neat. Good restaurants, a farmer’s market where you can find up to 10 kinds of avocados, and great weather. We went for some great snorkeling, visited one of the famed Kona coffee farm, and drove down South all the way to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (aka a place of refuge) for a mind boggling sunset.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP
On the third day, we left the sun behind and drove down to the Volcanoes National Park. With strong wind coming from the South and a cloudy sky, some of the park was closed. Still, we managed to see most of the cool stuff and went for a 3-hour hike down one of the crater. After all that work, we went to the closest town (Volcano, HI – cool name!) famished and had what turned to be the best meal of our trip at Kiawe Kitchen.
After dinner, we tried to go to see flowing lava. Although we got to the checkpoint before regular closing time (8PM), we had to turn around since the gates were closed since 2PM because of the South wind. How well, next time.
We spent the night in Hilo on the East shore of the island. The town is OK. We enjoyed a stroll along Banyan drive and around Queen Liliuokalani Japanese gardens.
After shopping at the local “Whole Foods” for some bare necessities: bread and cheese, we drove North stopping several times until we reached Akaka Falls. We barely got to the main viewpoint when a fog came down engulfing the falls in a matter of seconds. And then the downpour started… a terrible tropical storm that we thought would never stop.
So we started driving North toward the Kohala Coast for the last stage of our trip: 3 days of dolce farniente.
Though we had read it in the guidebook, as soon as we reached the top of the island, the storm was gone, the sky was completely open and the sun as ferocious as ever. Since it was only 3PM, we went directly to Hapuna beach since it was highly recommended everywhere we looked.
Let me tell you. This is a great beach. White fine sand, gentle gradual entry in the water, not a rock, and the best rolling waves ever. Perfect for sunbathing, boogie boarding, and general frolicking in the water. It was so nice that we came back the day before we left.
The rest of the time was spent watching the dolphins at the hotel, enjoying the hotel pools and jacuzzis, drinking nice cocktails and eating tasty food (though not at the hotel but that is another story).
We will definitely be back again as soon as possible.