As I mentioned in my post ~ Maui, Hawaii… our trip to Hawaii has been one of our favorite beach vacations. We spent 10 days in Hawaii and visited Maui, Oahu and The Big Island.
Today I’ll be talking about our time spent on the beautiful Big Island. Our aim was mainly to chill and relax since this was the last island we were visiting. We had scheduled 2 days for the Big Island, but our time was extended due to the plane crash in San Fran and all the flights being cancelled, we were re-booked the next day, but due to overbooking, had to stay an extra day. 2 extra days in Hawaii, I am not complaining!!
Where to stay: We stayed at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. (http://www.sheratonkona.com/)
How to get around: You definitely have to rent a car!
Things to do (in no particular order):
– Hawaii Volcano National Park: One of a lifetime experience if you ask me! It was super cool to see an active volcano! Namely the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa active volcanoes, it’s a must visit. The Crater Rim Drive passes steam vents and the Jaggar Museum, which features volcanology exhibits and do not miss the viewpoint overlooking Halema’uma’u Crater. There is also the Thurston Lava Tube (Nāhuku), entrance to which is marked by thick ferns. If you are pressed for time, do the Helicopter Tour of the Volcano – this will give you a good view of the craters as well as where the lava meets the ocean and creates steam! See the pix below 🙂
– Waterfalls: The Big Island has many waterfalls to boast of, some of the scenic ones being: Akaka Falls, Rainbow Falls, Waianuenue, Pe’epe’e Falls – Boiling Pots, Hi’ilawe Falls, Umama Falls, World Botanical Gardens – Kamea’ Falls
– Waipio Valley Lookout: You can view the valley from the coastal Waipio Valley Overlook at the end of the Hamakua Heritage Corridor drive, or you can take a guided van tour, hike, or horseback ride to explore more. As the road into the valley is extremely steep and requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle, driving is not recommended and infact many rental car companies will not let you take their vehicle to this lookout, so be prepared.
– Night Diving with Manta Rays (in Kona): A night dive is one of a kind experience, especially when you get to dive or snorkel with Kona’s gentle giants.
– Hamakua Coast: Plan to spend a full day exploring the 40 miles between Hilo and Waipio Valley that make up the Hamakua coast. The spectacular waterfalls and incredible canyons lined by lush rainforest will make you want to stop everywhere!!
The 3 highlights are:
- Pepeeoko scenic drive
- Botanical gardens + waterfalls
- Waipio Valley
– Papakolea Green Sand Beach / Mahana Bay: One of only four green sand beaches in the world, this is a must stop!!
– Punaluu Beach – Black Sand Beach: The beach has black sand which is made of basalt and created by lava flowing into the ocean which explodes as it reaches the ocean and cools. Here you can often see hawksbill and green turtles basking on the black sand.
– Thunder Mountain Coffee Plantation: Kona Coffee, enough said!! A must to visit and tour for a coffee lover, aka the hubby in our case 😉
– Hapuna Beach: A simple, picture perfect, one of few white sand beaches on the west coast of the Big Island.
– Ali’i drive / Palani Street (in Kona): Think of this like a Main street of a city’s downtown. Cutesy shops for souvenir shopping along with restaurants. Definitely spend an evening here to get the beachy laid back vibes of Hawaii 🙂
Aaah! Writing this post brought back so many fond memories from this trip to paradise!! You go ahead and plan a trip to Hawaii while I go and day dream!! 🙂 Happy Weekend!!