Monday, August 17, 2015

We went to Hawaii recently and I'm not quite sure why we came back!!! Booo. I'm moving there ASAP!
Anyway, we visited The Big Island, formerly known as "Hawaii." It's the first and biggest island you hit if flying from California. We flew from San Francisco and it took us about 5 hours. 
We chose the Big Island because of it's versatile nature in different beaches, weather temps, and activities. The Big Island has EIGHT of the thirteen different climate zones on Earth, just on the island itself. How fascinating is that! Literally, we would go from wearing bathing suits to freezing our butts off and putting on jackets. (I thought Houston weather was bipolar!)

We managed to road trip the entire island and I am so excited to tell you all about it! We stayed at the Sheraton Kona Resort which is located on Keauhou Bay. The views and sunsets were spectacular from here. The restaurant is located right off the bay where they do the Manta Ray snorkels, so it was pretty cool to watch and hear all the excitement. And while we're on topic, the manta ray night snorkel is a must do for everyone visiting!!!! It was an absolute, once in a lifetime, breathtaking experience. I can go on and on about it, but I'll save that for another chat.
view from Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton
We started from the Southwest point of the island. The first beach we visited was Hapuna Beach, which is a little more North from Kailua Kona. It was indeed a very pretty beach. We just kinda swam and laid out here. Didn't see much snorkel opportunities or any wild life. There was a food stand up top where they had these BOMB fish tacos with a mean mango salsa...ahhhh I wish I could remember the name of it. 

One of the most beautiful snorkel areas was a place called Pu'uhonua O Honaunau. Seriously y'all, I saw the whole cast of Finding Nemo in these waters! 

If I had to say what my favorite part of the whole trip was, it would be snorkeling in Captain Cook's monument. On our way to the monument, we saw some dolphins and the captain let us jump in and swim with them. It was a heavenly experience. Something I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would get to experience. There were about 20 dolphins that just swam under us while migrating to another part of the ocean. I died. 

The Captain Cook monument itself is so beautiful. It's very well maintained and preserved which is what makes it so beautiful. (Note: you can't swim with dolphins at the actual monument, we saw them right before this area) Only a few people have permission to bring their boats here, so if you look for a snorkel tour, make sure they can come here! There are so many playful dolphins that'll do tricks and show off for you here too. 

The next day we drove to the opposite side of the island- near Honomu. While driving to Honomu, we stopped at KoleKole Beach Park. You drive through a rainforest and you can go jump into a river. There's also a tree swing! This park was really neat because you actually see where the river meets the ocean..and the waves are KNARLY. lol. Unfortunately, it was raining at this point, so we couldn't really enjoy or swim here. After admiring the beauty here, we ate at What's Shakin food shack in Pepeekeo. If I were to go back, there isn't anywhere else I'd eat. The most relish avocado wrap I've ever had. Not to mention the biggest avocados I've ever seen. They were the size of softballs! 
After our bellies were full, it was time for our zipline tour with Skyline Eco Adventures. The last zip in this tour is longer than a minute and goes over a waterfall which is over 300ft long. Here's a pic from our video:
photos don't ever do any justice

Akaka Falls
After zipping through the Northeastern coast of the island, we hiked to Akaka Falls, then hit up Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We were lucky to actually see some volcanic activity! This part of the island is very, very cold. So plan on taking jackets. Especially if want to stay at night to watch the fire! Of course I took the wrong camera lens that day, so this is the best photo I have. :( 

  Needless to say, I was not ready to leave. One of the last beaches I'll talk about is the beach at Mauna Kea Resort. This is perfect if you want a beach with white sand, blue water, and want to feel stranded with no one else around you. This beach only allows 40 people a day. So come early!!! We arrived at 9:45, and were number 39. LOL! It is very well maintained, has clean bathrooms and is great for snorkeling. The hubs came face to face with octopus and eels!

If I had to make a list of my top 10 things to do on The Big Island (which I did, just for you :)) it would look like this:

We definitely want to go back sometime, but probably Oahu next time. Have you been? Share your recommendations and favorites with me!