Hey guys! Thanks to those of you that just stumbled upon my blog, and to those who are avid followers 🙂 hope you enjoy the read! In this 2 part series of our Hawaiian vacation breakdown. We spent the remainder of the trip on the Big Island of Hawaii. Tips for vacation:
1. Rent a vehicle, it is way easier to drive yourself around then always having to pay for a taxi, and shop around! don’t just book the first one you find, and especially make sure to book in advance. You get a way better deal booking online ahead of time then you would just showing up and saying hey we need a rental.
2. If your going to stay in the same place for a while its great to look into other options such as shared accommodation, or vacation rentals. A lot more affordable, especially in a place like Hawaii, and you have a lot more freedom! We rented a house in Pahoa for a week and stayed a night in Kona. I found both rental spots on Airbnb, its my new favourite place to find accommodation.
3. Plan, plan, plan! If you are anything like me I like to cram as much stuff into one day as possible. Usually around 3 different activities a day. If you plan to stay for a week my advice is give yourself a down day, where you can just relax, and do whatever.
So those are a few things to remember when planning a road trip or even any trip for that matter.
Here are a bunch of pictures of what we did, where we went, and the recommendations where and what you should defiantly do while on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Captain Cooks Monument that you can either, hike, swim or kayak to. We chose to do the 3km swim there and back! What a great workout
This is Waipio Valley lookout, this place is a must go see! Even though it was a wet rainy day we still had an amazing time. Once we got down to the black sand beach, weather cleared up and the sun came out! A warning to get down to the black sand beach it is a bit of a trek there and back, a very steep incline.
The road is for residents only so be respectful when going up and down. If you choose to drive down you will defiantly want a 4 wheel drive vehicle.You want a 4×4 because of how steep it is and it only has enough room for 1 car to travel up and down at a time , there are pull overs on each side to let traffic take turns.
We chose to walk down, to get a great work out and to just enjoy the experience. Another little hint, even if it has been raining it is still a place worth checking out, the more it rains the more waterfalls will appear. If you go on a perfectly sunny day, you may not get to see all waterfalls at there fullest!
Forest in Volcano National Park
Jeremy looking out at the Volcano
There’s also a pretty sweet Lava tube that you can explore
At the viewing station, looking out at Kilauea during the day, also make sure to stick around till sunset its worth the wait!
The glow of Kilauea, first active Volcano I have ever seen 🙂 You can plan your whole trip around seeing Lava, the flow is always changing.
We booked a helicopter tour with Hawaiian Blue to see if we could see Lava flowing, but we only got to see a little tube spurting away. You can basically plan your entire trip around where and when the lava is flowing. We ended up going at a time that it changed courses, and would take a couple hours to hike to go see. We also ended up getting a free upgrade from A-star to Eco Star which was amazing! We scored this because our tour got cancelled and pushed to another day due to bad weather.
View from the air where lava once took over
Jeremy taking another selfie, this was taken at Mauna Kea Summit
This picture was taken at the Mauna Kea Summit 9,200 ft. We didn’t end up going all the way to the top where the huge telescopes are because we were pretty tired from the days events. So we just hung out around the visitors information station which sits at 9,200 ft. To get to the very top it is about 14,000 ft above sea level and you are advised to take breaks so your body can adjust to the altitude. They also recommend having a 4 wheel drive, due to ruff terrain.
We ended up hanging out to watch the sunset, which was pretty awesome. Having the clouds surround you is a really neat experience. The visitor center sets up a bunch of high powered telescopes for everyone to look at the different stars and planets. We got to see Jupiter and its 3 moons. Also be aware that it does get cold so dress appropriately. I packed my UGGS, a wind breaker, my mittens and of course pants.
A few other things that are worth mentioning are; the farmers markets. They hold one each day at a different location and they have great food, amazing fresh produce, and neat little things to buy for friends and family. I also highly recommended traveling around the whole island, it’s well worth it, and surprising doesn’t take that long to do. Especially if you have a week and a bit to kill.
You also should make it a point to stay in a few different spots like we did. We stayed in Kona and then in Pahoa, they were good home bases.
One of the things in Kona that we did that I absolutely loved was snorkeling with mantra rays. We did this with Jacks Diving Locker, seeing mantas was a big must on my list of things to do. I love snorkeling and have done it all around the world and this was by far a really cool experience. Now, with that being said I really don’t like super touristy things and at first this adventure starts out as one, but was reassured by one of the girls that worked for them, it is well worth it.
What to expect when you book the night snorkel with manta rays.
- There will be a lot of people and I mean A LOT, and a lot of boats, HOWEVER, that being said the divers and snorkelers kind of work as a team to light up the area where the mantas come to eat. They provide you with flashlights to help light up the sort of circle everyone makes.
- You are also asked to stay with your group holding on to these big surfboards so nobody gets lost.
- Once you get in the water you forget all about the other billion people with you if you have an amazing turn out. We saw about 20-30 and they come right up to you. Such an amazing experience that my husband and I will never forget!
Here’s a short video of our night snorkel and what to expect.
Would I go back? Yes, for sure, Hawaii’s Big Island is one of my top fav spots to travel!