This post is approximately three weeks over due but… This winter break my family and I went to the Hawaiian islands, a set of tropical islands floating in the Pacific Ocean, about a five-hour flight away from SF, California! Because of its proximity to the equator and being surrounded by the ocean, Hawaii is a beautiful, warm paradise. I’m going to share my week on this beautiful island, documenting my amazing adventures, from clear blue waters, to tropical jungle, to live flowing lava, this was such a productive and fun trip to Hawaii’s big island!
we arrive in Hawaii (the island of Hawaii-or Big Island) at the Kona Airport. after picking up our rental car, we see that the island isn’t very lush or green, filled with lava rock barren landscapes. Unfazed by the extra terrestrial like landscape, we set out on our one week adventure with hope and happiness.
we stop for some Poke, a raw fish salad usually with rice and other sides served as an appetizer or main dish in Hawaiian cuisine.
We drive up the northern tip of the island seeing it get greener as we drive up, finally we reach the beautiful Waipio Valley. The view from the outlook is stunning.
finally we check into our bed and breakfast hotel on the east coast of Hawaii, a cozy place to stay that also provided homemade breakfast and a nice pool right in front of the ocean.
started the morning off by visiting the beautiful Akaka Falls. After a short, lush hike filled with exotic plants and mini waterfalls, we reach our destination, the grand Akaka falls!
Next, we stopped by to the Hawaii Tropical Gardens, full of blooming orchids and stunning ferns, perfect in structure.
Afterwards we drove up the shaky road to Mauna Kea, the highest mountain from base to peak in the world to see, I’m not kidding, a mountain of snow, and a gorgeous sunset view. Now I can say that I’ve seen snow, in Hawaii.
After being SHOOK from the snow, we had to turn back from the mountain because our engine gave out from our rental Jeep and we returned a little bit lower and watched the sunset. It was gorgeous.
A nice relaxing morning, spent at a local farmers market filled with fresh fruit like flavorful apple bananas, fresh and vibrant rambutan, and delicious Hawaiian street food.
In the late afternoon the real adventure began, a forty minute bike ride and hour hike to see live flowing lava. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but all I could say was my expectations were fulfilled and exceeded. One the way their, lava rocks like these were beneath our feet, swirly and outer space like
Finally, heat began to seep underneath our feet and the glow of lava became visible in the distance. Even though we were tired from the long bike ride and intense walk, we hiked up more lava rocks and eventually reached the beautiful lava, flowing right underneath our feet. This was definitely a highlight of this trip and a once in a lifetime experience.
We spent the day in Hawaii Volcanoes National park. To be honest, not much of a national park gal, and was not looking forward to this part of the trip, but was actually an interesting experience. I definitely preferred the lava flow hike than this park, but it was pretty cool to hike to the bottom of a crater, walk through a tunnel made by lava, and drive to the free ocean.
Then, we drove to the west side of the island, the Kona-Kailua side filled with resorts and beaches!
We woke up bright and early in the beautiful city of Kona, bustling with tourists and activities, we drove out of the city and down to the southern most point of the USA, south point, and the beautiful green sand beach. Yes Green Sand. Hawaii island is home to one of the only four green sand beaches in the world. After the hot windy hike (yes it was long, boring), we reached the most beautiful beach, with blue blue waters and green sand!
On the way back, it was getting hot so we hitched a ride with the many locals driving trucks to and from. It was definitely a bumpy ride but also a fun experience, the beautiful scenery on both sides of us as we rumbled along the nonexistent road.
Coming back home, we watched the sunset (and accidentally stepped on spiking sea urchins) at Kahul’ulu Beach. PSA: it hurts when you step on sea urchins! wear water shoes when exploring tide pools!
On day 6, we visited some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. First, we took a snorkel tour where we went on a boat and then sailed to a big reef. We water slid off the boat and began swimming. Fun fact: I am scared of fish which sounds dumb but its a real fear! I just am afraid of their slimy fins and little mouths. However, the fish were far away from me, more deep down in the reef, so I admired them from a distance. Another fun fact: my parents do not know how to swim, so even with three pool noodles, a snorkel, and a life jacket each, they struggled in the water, and even being in the ocean for ten minutes, got scared and had to swim back.
We then went back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit. Then, we drove up the coast and stopped by Manini’owali beach (Kua Bay) which I have to say was the most gorgeous beach I’ve ever seen. Clear waters, soft soft sand, rocky parts too made perfect for adventuring and exploring. The only thing was, this beach was pretty crowded.
Next we drove to Hapuna beach, a bigger and very popular beach, similar to Manini’owali, but, in my opinion, not as good. Still absolutely gorgeous and so fun to run into the clear waves. We kept driving up the coast and made a beautiful little valley right before the sky got dark, stopping for creamy macadamia nut ice cream on the way there, and seafood on the way back.
It was our last night in Hawaii.
This day was more relaxing, we spent the morning paddleboarding at our hotel’s beach, ate a delicious poke lunch and got ready to say bye to the big island.
First we made a stop at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park oh the way back from the airport, and were greeted at the beach by sea turtles basking in the sun and swimming in the waters!
This was so cool since I LOVE SEA TURTLES THEY ARE SOSOSO CUTE, and I could see them up close (but not too up close, since law prevents people from going more than 10 feet from them.
Finally, it was time to leave, and now, reflecting on the memories, I wish I could stay there for another week or even longer, as there is just so much to do on the big island, and so many adventures still waiting for me, and such a positive vibe that I haven’t found anywhere else yet.
thank you so much for taking time to read my travel diary! If you have any questions, leave them down in the comments!
I hope you have a spectacular day!