Hawaii, the Big Island
After spending five days in the shadow of high-rises on the sands of Waikiki, I wanted to spend time on the more rugged island of Hawaii. The high-rises were replaced by volcanoes and my no frills accommodation replaced by a massive resort. I wanted a more relaxing vacation, no more 17 mile hikes and long road trips. I wanted to lay in a hammock and eat good food.
I chose to stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. It’s a sprawling complex with multiple pools, including the dolphin experience where you can interact and touch dolphins, for a fee of course. Besides the hammock, the main reason I wanted to stay here was the lagoon. This is a lagoon that is open to the ocean and fish and turtles had access to the lagoon. I had read about people swimming with turtles and I assumed it was a fairly low chance of seeing them because of the number of visitors here. I woke up early on my first day and visited the lagoon, assuming that this time of day was the best chance to see them.
I didn’t have to wait long as I was quickly swimming with the turtles. I was in heaven. Not only did I see turtles, I was swimming in waters with a sting ray, eels, and multiple aquarium quality fish. And, oh yes, there were multiple hammocks. I found out that the turtles practically live here, they rarely leave the safe waters of the lagoon. I made my way to the lagoon just about every morning I was here. The resort also had a beautiful pool complete with a grotto and waterfall that included a hot tub inside it.
This would be my afternoon spot where I lounged and rested after my morning swim with the turtles.
With all the activities within the resort, I didn’t need to rent a car here either. I had everything I needed within the village. But, that didn’t stop me from seeing the rest of the island. I did a day tour covering the big island. We drove through the near by town of Kona and then made our way south. The next stop would be your typical touristy stop at a coffee farm.
We moved on to a black sand beach, Punalu’u Beach. The beach isn’t the only attraction here, it is also known for turtles. This was only a short stop so I quickly made my way to the other end of the beach where I saw a small group of people standing in the tide pools. This is a good sign that a turtle is near and I was right. They were looking at turtle being pulled back into the ocean by the tide.
We moved on to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where we ate lunch. Kilauea Volcano had become active just days before I arrived on the big island and I was eager to see lava flow. After we filled our bellies, we made our way to the crater. We made several stops but we couldn’t see any lava flow. The crater was just too deep to see the bottom. Before leaving the park, we mad our way to the Thurston Lava Tube. It’s a short hike to and then through the lava tube and it’s an impressive look at what lava can do.
We moved on to the city of Hilo on the wet and rainy side of the island. With all this water, it means the area is home to multiple waterfalls and that’s what we were after. The first stop was at Rainbow Falls. Hiking isn’t required here, you just park and view.
The second stop was at Akaka Falls which does require a short hike through a dense rainforest to the falls. The waterfall is taller than Niagara Falls but it’s a little allusive. It’s hard to get a complete look at the falls. You have to raise your camera above your head to get the top of the falls and the plunge pool below. It was now time to make our way back to the hotel near Kona.
It was now time to make our way back to the hotel near Kona. We had one more stop at the breath-taking Waipio Valley lookout and it didn’t disappoint. Then, the sky would open up after the lookout but we were blessed throughout the tour. It didn’t rain at any of our stops. The tour guide was amazed as it normally rains at least at one of the stops on the tour.
Also, I left the village one other time as the hotel is just a mile away from Waikoloa Beach. I spent a morning at this beautiful beach and highly recommend a visit when your in the area. I had two options, I could either take a trail along the coast or I could take the street to the beach. I chose to walk along the street, thinking it would be easier without the sand and rocky coast and it was. It’s known for it’s snorkeling along with its beautiful sandy shore. Unfortunately, it was too windy and created murky waters as it turned up the ocean like a washing machine.
So, I explored the the beautiful shore and I was rewarded by more beautiful turtles. I spotted three in the tide pools feeding on the reef. As I walked further, a turtled walked on shore to rest from the tide. I had now seen a turtle on each day of my stay on the big island.
Tired from swimming and walking along the shore, I decided to have lunch at Lava Lava Beach Club. Not only did it have great food but a world class view as well.
Hawaii is definitely heaven on earth and it was a vacation I needed. Let’s face it, I’ll never totally have a completely relaxing holiday, it’s just not in my nature. But, it was a more relaxing vacation for me. I only had two hotels to check into, not five or six in two weeks. And, oh yeah, the amazing views and the incredible food. As I said before, I’m blessed to have the option to visit such a beautiful place during the pandemic. A time were people are condemned to their countries.
I usually have an idea of where I’ll be traveling to next but with all the different restrictions, my future travel plans are a tossup. I would definitely love to travel internationally again as soon as restrictions ease. I do have the advantage of traveling within such a diverse and beautiful country. I’ll definitely continue to travel but my process of picking a destination has clearly changed. I know more great experiences await for me.
Where are you traveling to next?
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We’re traveling to England for Christmas. If it weren’t for a death in the family, I wouldn’t even be considering it. England’s COVID situation is not good and Europe’s is getting worse. We can’t get a direct flight to London like we always could before, and Delta has changed our flights three times so far. I’ve racked up 4.5 hours on hold with Delta and I’m expecting more. Thank goodness we have places like Hawaii to visit because traveling abroad is too much of a pain right now. Beautiful trip, by the way.
Sorry for your loss and sorry for all the flight issues. I hope Europe’s covid issues get better, I had a couple of trips planned before the pandemic and would love to visit Europe again.
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