Hawai’i consists of 8 major islands, but today I am going to be focusing on the island of Hawai’i, also known as the “Big Island”. Hawai’i is rich in culture and good vibes. It is unique in its geography, history, and economy. There is something in Hawaii for everyone! Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation or an exotic excursion, Hawai’i should definitely make your bucket list.
The purpose of my trip was educational- specifically learning about the culture and geography located in Hawai’i. Personally, I would not have wanted it any other way. I was able to explore through museums, coral reefs, beaches, lava tubes, and more.
Day 1…Arrive in Kona
We arrived in the Kona International Airport and went straight to Kona Seaside Hotel. This is a lovely hotel located right near the water, which has a small beach. You can swim, relax, rent kayaks, rent bikes, and more. It is also connected to a strip of restaurants and shops including the amazing Splasher’s Grill.
Day 2…Kona to Volcanoes National Park
We took a chartered bus to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. We made several stops on the way including Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park (Kiilae Village Walk), Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, and Thurston Lava Tube.
Our accommodation in the National Park was Kilauea Military Camp. This is your traditional camp style set up with bunkbeds and a food hall. There is an evening viewing of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater in Volcanoes National Park.
Day 3…Volcanoes National Park
Today, we started with the Crater Rim Trail through the natural steam vents then did a 13-mile hike through the floor of the Keanakāko’i Crater. There are several hikes you can do beginning at the Hawai’i Volcanoes Visitor Center. We also completed the summit walk to Kilauea lookout.
Day 4…Volcanoes National Park to Kona
On the drive back to Kona, we stopped at Green Sand Beach, which is a half mile walk. This is a lovely walk with the most amazing views. You can also drive right up to the beach, but either way it is a steep walk down to the beach. We stayed at Kona Seaside Hotel again.
Today, we toured the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i Authority (NELHA). They have several very interesting projects going on that incorporate water desalination and hydro-energy. Just around the corner was a place to try fresh abalone– a local delicacy.
We also walked from our hotel to the Hulihee Palace, which is a museum that commemorates the local history.
We went to Keauhau and kayaked using the company, Ocean Safari Kayaks. We were able to scuba dive. Unfortunately, the water did not allow us to do any cliff jumping or kayaking through caves but that is an option weather permitting.
For the evening, we watched the sunset and stargazed on Mauna Kea. This is by far the best place I have ever been to see the stars. You are above the clouds and there is no light pollution. I was speechless, and it was also very informative.