Moving on to the Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii – the Big Isle

11/22/08

We left Kauai today, FYI if traveling to several islands make Kauai the last to visit. The reason for this is there are no direct flights you have to go to Honolulu and change planes. I am surprised at how full the flights are on each leg. We arrived early at the airport in Kauai. The Hawaii Visitors Bureau is providing entertainment for the departing visitors. How nice to sit and listen to music while waiting for your flight. In Honolulu people everywhere many were going to outer islands for the holiday.

When we arrived in Hawaii there was vog. Not fog, but vog from the volcano. We are staying at the Kona by the Sea. An intimate oceanfront resort, secluded yet convenient to a variety of shopping, dining and activities. All the condominium units have full all-electric kitchens, washer/dryer, and spacious private lanais. The one bedroom units have 2 bathrooms. A nice feature. There is a pool, hydro-spa and outdoor gas BBQ’s.

We have stayed here several times and always have had a warm welcome and a great time. I have sent many clients here among them was my sister and her family. All have enjoyed their stay.

On the way in we stopped at CostCo. Did you know that all CostCo food courts have the same prices? Cheapest lunch we have had in the islands. This CostCo also sells gas, 30 cents less than on the street.

After we checked in we went for a walk around town. Kona is a great little town. We walked around the shoreline. We ended up at the Big Island Grill for a burger for dinner. You should have seen the Hawaii Mud Pie — you will be proud to hear we did not get one. We watched a table of 4 try to finish one. Maybe we will go back just for dessert.

11/23

Well still getting up early, but did use the time to answer emails. We went to church this am. Afterwards we took our rental car back to Dollar. The car we had sounded as if on its last leg. I remember my old VW bug sounded better. They nicely gave us another car – what a difference. By the time we finished all this the only spot we found for breakfast was Denny’s – now don’t laugh it was rather good. We went back to the condo and sat on the beach, and then I took a nap. Bob missed the Red Skin game but was happy they won. We decided to walk around town and ended up at Bubba Gump’s for dinner. We ate outside and the surf sometimes splashed up on us.

There are two snorkel trips I recommend one out of Kona and the other out of Keauhou. The one in Kona is the Body Glove and the one out of Keauhou is the Fair Wind. The Fair Wind takes you to Kealukekua Bay to the Captain Cook monument. This one was calmer waters and I liked it better. Both were safe, had great crews and good food. They both are recommended for families. They have boogie boards with windows for those that do not want to snorkel, for non swimmers they have life vest, noodles, and boogie boards.

If snorkeling not your style try the Atlantis Submarine. You go down 100 feet and see and learn about the undersea world. You see an ancient lava flow that is one of the most magnificent coral reefs found anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands.

11/24

Wow – the sun has come out. We walked along Alii Drive, this follows the shoreline. Lovely Banyan trees and lined with shops and restaurants. We saw the oldest Christian church in Hawaii built in 1820. Kona is known for world  class sport fishing, and just about every water activity imaginable. There is a International Market with outdoor shopping with indoor comfort. Located in Kona’s Old Industrial Area, minutes from Kona. There are 70 unique stores and an international food court. something for the entire family.

11/25

Well the rain followed us to Hilo. We took rte 11   which takes you around the Volcano National Park. We started out in the sun, but ended up in rain. We stopped in Kainaliu for breakfast. We stopped at the Aloha Theater Cafe. This isn’t far from Keauhou, which by the way we took photos of the cutest and smallest church. When I figure out how to get my photos on the blog you will see lots of our trip. In this town we stopped at the Blue Ginger Gallery, featuring one of a kind crafts and local artisans. Bob got a great Aloha shirt really jazzy.

As we drove along we passed coffee farms, sugar cane and beautiful flowers. We even passed a farm with a Zebra! We were at one point 4,024 feet, my ears were popping. If you need a clean restroom the Orchid Farm is great. The road follows the coast, lots of curves. At one point we were in the middle of nowhere and there was a fellow in his flip flops walking his dog on a lead. We could not see where he could have come from or where he was going – it really made us laugh. We passed many a stand of trees, they actually block the wind.

Hilo is more like a city than the Kona area. Hilo is the commercial center of the east side of the Big Island. It is reknown for its flowers. There are many gardens to stroll. Another nice event each year is the Merrie Monarch Festival. Three beautiful nights of lovely hula.

We arrived at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel – did not get lost even though MapQuest gave us the wrong directions. The Hilo Hawaiian is located on the shores of Hilo Bay, and close to Volcanoes National Park, this hotel offers a breathtaking view of the ocean, Coconut Island, and the mountain peak of Mauna Kea. It has a large freshwater swimming pool, sundeck, golf and tennis nearby, and a restaurant/lounge. The resort offers daily maid service, a/c, parking, laundry facilities, restaurant and TV.

Our room is on the 7th floor with a great view of the Bay and ocean. We received a nice note of welcome and a lovely gift of candy. We went out to find the Big Island Candies but no luck. A must see, great samples and wonderful chocolates. We ended up going to all the beach parks. Very different, very nice with black sand and water so clear. We saw a school science class in the water looking at marine life. I never had a field trip like that, what fun.

I was able to meet with Linda Nako, the director of sales for the hotel. She was able to give me some insight on the area and the hotel.

We were next to the beautiful Liliuokalani Gardens and Coconut Island. What a lovely walk and a great place to picnic. Notice I am not mentioning the Volcano Park. Well it was pouring, the lava tubes were closed and since we had been there before we passed right on by. Another reason to return.

When we got up today we could see Mauna Kea, what a view! The clouds hadn’t moved in so the mountain was in full view. We wanted to walk but down came the rain, then stopped then started again.


So off we go to the Waikoloa area – the Kohala coast.

This time we drove around rte 19. This rte follows the coast, we saw rainbows, cattle ranches, the terrain is now more like a desert. We stopped in Honoloa a really nice town with some great shops. We also went to Waiipi’o lookout. This was 10 miles off rte 19  on rte 240 but worth the drive. From the lookout you can see a black sand beach, towering cliffs, waterfalls and lush green fields. The sun is out and the view is even more lovely. We passed through the town of Kukulhaele, another town with some great shops.

Waimea is a big little town. The town is 2500 ft above sea level. Home to native Hawaiians and the famous Parker Ranch. Home of the Paniolo’s, Hawaiian cowboys. They have a great General Store – website is http://www.parkergeneralstore.com As we continue to the Kohala coast we pass Hawaii graffitti. People take the white dried coral and lay it on the black lava and spell out messages.

We will be at the Shores of Waikoloa for the next three days. This is an exclusive AAA 3-Diamond condominium resort on the prestigious Kohala Coast, fronting the beautiful fairways of the Waikoloa Golf Club’s renowned Beach Course. An upscale golfer’s paradise with fairway views everywhere. Luxuriously appointed 1 and 2 bedroom suites with gourmet kitchens and wet bar. Amenities: private lanai, 2 remote control color TV’s, central air, recreation deck w/kitchen and BBQ facilities, pool, jet spa, 2 tennis courts, great sunrise and sunset.

I was surprised that this is a small resort. Really very nice, a gated property,quiet with nice facilities. If you want to play tennis the office has racquets and tennis balls for you to use. Our unit is a 2 bedroom 2 bath, really great. It is in the Banyan building unit #125, a ground floor unit with a great wrap around lanai. The master bath has a hugh shower, one end has the rain shower head, the other end has the hand held with lots of pulsating sprays- wow. The 2nd bath has a jacuzzi tub. It is so peaceful here, we really love this property and unit. We overlook the pool.

We went for a walk along the beach, just a short walk away. For Thanksgiving we went to the Waikoloa Village to the grocery store. We found at the deli a great meal to take home with all the trimmings. No struggle with the  gravy!

We went over to the Marriott and the Hilton to see them. The Hilton has a monorail, a boat that looks like the African Queen. At the Marriott I wanted Bob to see the beach and wow they had bulldozed a 6 foot berm to protect it from the winter storms.

On our walk today we went through the Queens Market Place and the Kings Court shopping centers. The Queens is geared for families and a better value. They have a great food court, entertainment nightly and movies outdoors. Although I had to laugh the movie was in Japanese with English subtitles. We had a nice dinner at Ruths Chris Steak House. They have on all the islands an early bird special.

We really enjoyed the Shores of Waikola, a great spot. We met a nice gentleman at the pool. He is a local that owns 5 ranches and was verry vocal on how to fix our economy. Must be the only Republican in Hawaii. We really hate to leave this condo and property it has been so relaxing. We also hate to leave this island. But since we couldn’t do the observatories on Mauna Kea, Kayaking, and the Volcano again we will just have to come back.

This is a wonderful island and one you do not want to miss – and all of the properties we experienced are great and highly recommended.

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