Hawaii!! One week on the BIG ISLAND! SO much to share!!

Aloha Friends!!
As you may have heard, I just got back from an AMAZING trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.  My awesome family spoiled me with the trip for my big 40th birthday. 

Today I want to share all about my trip with you! To bring you along on my journey, as well as a diary of my trip for my own remembrance, I thought it would be fun to share a day by day summary of the places we went and the things we saw.
If you are planning to travel to the Big Island or if you have Hawaii on your list of places to visit, then I hope that you find today's post insightful.

We spent one week / 7 full days on the Big Island. This does not count the long full days of traveling on airplanes with layovers and delays to get there and back. Traveling was definitely not the fun part of the trip, but it was worth it.

We flew into the Kona Airport sometime during the night, made our way to our airbnb and went straight to bed.

--- Day 1 / SUNDAY ---
My 40th Birthday!!!




As soon as I woke up, I ran to the window to check out our view and it was spectacular!
A neighbor named, Daniel, who watches over the airbnb stopped by to say Hi. He then showed us a map of the island and circled all of the places he suggested we check out.  This was incredibly helpful since this was obviously our first time here. We carried this map around with us and we almost saw everything that Daniel recommended.
*I added a blue star on the map indicating where we stayed.
On this day, we drove back up to Kona and went food shopping at Costco and a grocery store. We loaded up on lots of pre-made meals, expensive Kona Coffee, and of course a large case of Kona Beer.

We came back to the airbnb, swam in the pool, grilled up some steaks, had cheesecake for dessert and then we walked down the street to check out the ocean.
 The lava rock was really fascinating! I've never seen anything like it before.
In all of my 40 years, this was hands down the Best Birthday Ever!

--- Day 2 / MONDAY ---
On day two we headed back up north.  Our first stop was,
-Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park.  
This place was everything you think of when you think of Hawaii. It was so beautiful! It was full of palm trees, lava rock, blue ocean, white sand, and awesome little tiki statues scattered about. I couldn't help myself from taking a ton of pictures. Some of these pictures were taken with my iphone 7 and the rest with my cannon rebel  T3 and truthfully, I cannot tell any difference between the two. Also, my husband, Jake took a lot of these pictures as well. Just so that I give credit where it's deserved :)
This park is a sacred site full of Hawaiian history.
This here is an ancient temple ground.
The whole park is so beautiful and picturesque.
The majority of all of the pictures I took while on our trip were taken here.
We spotted a sea turtle and some tropical fish in the tide pools.
 I told you I took a lot of pictures here. 
Next, we went out to lunch at  -Keoki's Ono for fish n chips. Located in Captain cook. Daniel recommended this place to us and it was so delicious! I would say this this was my favorite meal while on the island.  It has a fun atmosphere as well. You eat outside and the owners have some caged birds to visit with while you wait for your food.
After our bellies were full, we continued driving north and found, what Daniel referred to as, "Sugar Sand Beach" It's really called -Kekaha Kai State Park. It's located about 4 1/2 miles past the Kona airport and across from the VA cemetery. This beach was Amazing!!
This beach has turquoise water, super soft white sand, and the funnest waves to play in.
After the beach we headed back to our airbnb, made tacos for dinner and cuddled on the couch to watch a movie on Netflix.  Every night we picked out a different water-themed family movie to watch, such as; Moana, Finding Dora, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Which was the perfect way to end the day.

--- DAY 3 / TUESDAY ---
Unfortunately, my husband, Jake got sick during the night.  We suspected that it had to have been from the chili sauce he found leftover in the fridge, since except for that, we ate the same exact thing during the day. So to let him rest up, we took it easy this morning. My boys played in the pool and I enjoyed the view.
Once Jake was feeling better, we headed southeast to the famous 
-Punalu'u Hawaiian Bakery. 
This is located in Naalehu
Daniel insisted that we go, and I'm glad he did! Have you ever had a malasada before? OMG! It's basically just a really delicious doughnut.  Here at the Punalu'u bakery they make the malasadas in a variety of tropical fruits. We tried the papaya and the lilikoi.  The lilikoi was my favorite! 
After we satisfied our sweet tooth's, we headed north on the Hilo side of the island.  Our destination was the 
-Punaluu Black Sand Beach.
This black sand beach had been on my bucket list for a very long time and it was the #1 thing I wanted to do in Hawaii. It always looked so spectacular in all of the pictures I've ever seen of it.
So going there with such high expectations, I honestly was a bit surprised when I got there.  One, I had imagined the beach being SO much bigger! Don't get me wrong, it's a good size beach, but for some reason it turned out to be smaller than I thought it would be. And Two, I didn't expect there to be lots of people and a large concession stand there either.  Ha Ha. When you see professional photographs of this beach it always looks so seclusive.  LOL But it was still beautiful nonetheless. 
The black sand is so unique and like nothing I have ever seen before.
Another magical thing about this beach is that you are almost always guaranteed  to see a sea turtle laying on the rocks or on the beach. Can you spot it?
You will also find the sea turtles swimming in the ocean. In this next picture, if you look closely, you will see a turtle poking it's little head up behind  Jake.
On the beach, you have to stay 20 feet away from the turtles, but you can get as close as you want to them in the ocean.  Just don't touch the turtles on the nose or they will bite your fingers off.  At least that's what Daniel warned us.
Then I took some selfies and we headed back to our airbnb.
In the evenings we loved to watched the sun disappear into the sky.  We never saw it set on the ocean. The sun always just disappeared out of nowhere.

--- Day 4 / WEDNESDAY ---
The farmers market is only open on Wednesday, so we headed back to the Hilo side of the island to go check it out. The farmers market is located right next to the Punalu'u bakery.  So conveniently, we stopped back in for some more malasadas..... since we were in the area :)
The farmers market was a lot of fun. We found us a few little souvenirs here. My mother in law, Heidi was eager to try fresh coconut milk and was happy to find it here.

Our next stop was to Kilauea Visitor Center to check out the Volcano!
After the black sand beach, the second biggest thing I wanted to check out was the Volcano. We were all so very excited to see what it looked like.  Again, we may have had too high of hopes because this was it. This was the big volcano.....
Um...Not quit what we had in mind when we went venturing out to see a Volcano! And I would have to say, I think that their brochure is a bit misleading, wouldn't you?
LOL! A gal did comment to me on Instagram that if we were to have stayed until dark then we would have seen some lava rise up.  So FYI if you go to the volcano, go at night.
What was cool though, was the walk you can take far around the volcano.  It had beautiful nature trails with lots of cool plants and wild flowers.
And off to the sides of the trails are steam vents.  Warm stream rises out of these deep holes in the ground creating a beautiful mysterious mist. Now this was pretty cool to see.
 
If you drive up the road a bit, there is a place where you can hike a lava tube.  The boys thought it was  really tubular! :) It's a dark and cold tunnel where once lava flowed through.
After viewing the volcano, we decided to drive up to Hilo since we weren't too far away. Hilo is a lot bigger of a city than Kona. We didn't stay for long so I can't say too much about it, but it seems to me like Hilo is more 'local"whereas Kona feels more touristy.

Before we headed back for home, we just had to stop by the
-Mauna Loa Macadamia nut farm and factory for some Macadamia ice cream.
There was a nature walk on the premises that had the most amazing plants. Here are just a few of them.
 

The black sand beach was on our way back to our airbnb so I had Jake make a quick stop. I just wanted to see it one more time and I'm so glad I did! This time there was hardly no one on the beach! Now I could get that Perfect Picture!! Although, I'm not going to lie, I did have to clone a few people out of my pictures....but just a few.

Also, my Mother-in-law had on better shoes this time and was able to walk around more. So I'm glad she got to experience it better this time around. Isn't she cute!
Okay, now we head back to the airbnb, have some dinner, watch the sun disappear into the sky again, Netflix and bed.

--- Day 5 / THURSDAY ---
Well.....I think this picture says it all:
Jax woke up sick! Poor kid. He just wanted to lay on the couch and watch Ninjago all day.  But I wouldn't say this day was a bust. We ended up really enjoying just having a stay-cation and hanging out at our airbnb all day.  So because we didn't venture out, I don't have much to share this day.  But this will be a great time to show you some pictures of our amazing airbnb that I keep talking about.

It's called the Milolii Whale House. You can find the listing for it HERE.

We spent a lot of time out here on the lanai. 
We also spend a lot of time out by the pool.

Isn't this pineapple chandelier great? It has a dimmer so you could adjust the light. I love it!
Now let's head inside. All of the wood in this home is so beautiful and really makes the home feel warm and cozy. I kinda felt like we were in a big tree house.
Here is the living room.
Across from the living room is the kitchen. The ceiling in this house is all opened  and there are some window screens above to bring in a cool breeze, while ceiling fans help to circulate the air.  It's really quite genius if you ask me.
The main house has two bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths. This is the bedroom my husband and I stayed in.
I fell in love with all of the wallpaper in this house.
I didn't get around to photographing the second bedroom or bath, but like I said, you can view more on line.
Down stairs in a small apartment which you can only access form outside.  This is where my Mother-in-law stayed. It was nice that she could have her own little space.
The wallpaper down here was even more fantastic!
The landscaping around the house was incredible! We're talking Mango trees, tropical plants, and beautiful flowers throughout the yard. 
It's an amazing home, but one thing that was not so ideal is that you pretty much have to drive down a mountain to get to the house, and then back up the mountain to go anywhere.  Although it did feel like "authentic Hawaii". You would not get this type of experience if you were staying at a resort hotel.  
The airbnb is somewhere on the left side in this picture.


--- Day 6 / FRIDAY ---
Since we had so much fun at the "sugar sand beach" that we had gone to on Monday, we decided to go back and spend the whole day there.  This time we brought along some boogie boards. 
Boogie boarding was so much fun! That cute little doggy even went boogie boarding! I wish I had a picture of it :) The boys had a lot of fun playing in the super soft sand too.
Afterwards we went to L&L Hawiian Barbecue for some dinner, and then back to our airbnb.
And then sometime during the night both my son, Liam and I woke up sick!!!
So at this point. since we all had our share of being sick, we decided that it possibly wasn't the flu, it wasn't leftover condiments in the fridge but perhaps something else. The water there is all rainwater that they collect and save in a tank, but we didn't drink the water, we drank from water jugs.  We Did brush our teeth with it though, only because we were told that we could. Hum? Or maybe it had something to do with the swimmingpool, since my mother in law didn't get sick and she never once got in the pool.
Anyway!!
It's a mystery! and TMI I'm sure :)  But even being sick, we never let it keep us from enjoying our trip.
--- Day 7 / SATURDAY ---
Saturday was our last day.  Unfortunately we had to be out of the airbnb by 11:00 but our flight didn't leave until 9:00 at night.  So we had a full day to find things to keep us busy.
We sadly said goodbye to our home away from home and headed up to Kona to do some souvenir shopping.  I made my husband stop at a fabric store that I kept eyeing every time we drove by.  It was full of beautiful Hawaiian prints.  So I bought a couple that I couldn't live without.
From there we headed to the -Kona Inn shopping village and did a little more souvenir shopping and stopped in one of the restaurants there for lunch. Finally snapped a pictures of all of us.
Afterwards we were stuck on what else to do. We seriously just spent hours driving around aimlessly.
Later, we wished that we had stopped by the Greenwell coffee farm for a tour, or spent a little more time shopping at the local shops. But otherwise, we did everything that we wanted to do.
We found another pretty beach to hang out at for a bit, and then my mother in law wanted to walk around the Mormon temple there, and then finally it was time to head to the airport.
It was super sad saying goodbye to Hawaii. We had such an amazing time.
Our flight was an all-nighter.  We woke up in Seattle and had hours to sit and wait until our flight home to Boise.  Again, like I said, Traveling was definitly not the fun part of our trip.

It's good to be back home, but it feels like our trip went by Way too fast!

Hawaii is a BIG Island, so we weren't able to explore it all.  Up higher north on the Hilo side of the island are some waterfalls, and up higher north on the Kona side of the island are some canals that you can explore by rafts. There's also a zip line and 4D adventure ride that we didn't make it to.

Another thing everyone was talking about, including Daniel, was the nighttime snorkeling tour you could take to swim with the manta rays. Apparently, this is an amazing and unforgettable experience.  But by the end of our trip we just didn't have the time.

We did see and do so much. In fact, when we returned our rental car, they told us we put 721 miles on it.... so I'd say we explored quite a lot of the island.

One day I hope to see All of the beautiful islands of Hawaii.  Each one is different and has something new to offer.  For now I can mark Kauai and The big island of Hawaii off my list. I'm so thankful for my loving family who made this trip possible and for all of the wonderful memories we made that I will cherish forever!

Thank you for stopping by and reminiscing about my trip with me.
Please let me know if you have any questions or any comment you would like to add in a comment below


Mahalo!
      Emily

1 comment

  1. Well, I do LOVE the Big Island! You guys really stayed busy!

    ReplyDelete