I’m back from the dead! For the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been sick with the flu/bronchitis, and man has it been ROUGH. I’ve never had bronchitis before, and it really knocks you down. I’m happy to say that I’m feeling much better, and ready to get my life back on track. Finally, here’s my Hawaii recap! I have so many fun photos to share from the trip. I was going to break it up into multiple posts, but I figured why not just make one big post. It’s a bit photo heavy, so bear with me!
We originally rented a regular sedan, but after waiting in a long line at the car rental place, the lady let us pick whatever car we wanted. So, naturally we got a Jeep! I think the Jeep was one of the highlights of the entire trip…but more on that later. After settling in at our Airbnb and catching up with Dave’s family, we headed into town for some happy hour mai-tais at the Kona Inn with the whole family.
We spent most of the day snorkeling at the City of Refuge, or “Two Steps.” It was some of the best snorkeling of the trip! I personally loved this spot because there’s a perfect little step in the lava rock that allows for easy access into the water. We saw tons of fish and a sea turtle! After snorkeling all day, Dave and I went off on our own for dinner and drinks in town at Huggo’s.
This was a big day! The whole family piled into three cars and set off for Hilo and Akaka Falls. The falls had been on my list of things I wanted to see, so I was really excited! Since it was my fourth time on the Big Island, I felt like I’d done a ton, but the falls were one thing I hadn’t done. The falls were SO beautiful, and it was a really nice, easy walk to see them. Totally recommend if you’re on the Big Island! Dave got some incredible drone footage and I hope he puts it together in a video soon so I can share. After the falls, we stopped for lunch at a local spot in Hilo. I got classic Hawaiian bbq–teriyaki chicken, rice, and mac salad. So good! The rest of Dave’s family went on to the volcanoes that day, but Dave and I opted to head back since we had a long drive ahead. We ended up finding a perfect off-roading spot on the way back and took the Jeep for a little off-roading adventure! I was basically freaking out but it was SO FUN. We ended the day with Kona Brewing beers on the beach, watching the sunset, and my favorite poke at Umekes!
69 Beach is one of my favorites, so we all headed up for a beach day. It’s so secluded and relaxing, and I love how much shade there is. We all spent the day just lounging, snorkeling, and hanging out. Dave, his sister, her husband and I popped over to the Mauna Kea for a quick mai-tai in the afternoon which was a fun little treat.
After a long few days, we took it easy and had a slow morning. Dave and I both really wanted to do a Kona coffee plantation tour, so we went to Mountain Thunder Coffee based on a recommendation by my parents. Thanks, mom and dad! It was so cool learning all about coffee, and we loved the tour. They even had the sweetest kitty there that we spent way too much time petting. The tour and tasting is free, which was really nice! We left feeling crazy jittery because we had so many coffee samples, haha. On the way home, we took the long road and stopped at the Keahou Store, which is somewhere I was excited to show Dave. It’s a small little shop that has local goods and lunch, and tons of vintage merchandise on the inside. It’s such a unique little spot, and Dave loved it too! That night, we went to a luau with Dave’s family and had so much fun (and way too many mai-tais).
I took Dave to one of my other favorite beaches, Mahai’ula Beach at Kekaha Kai State Park. It’s seriously the dreamiest beach ever. It’s not really known for its snorkeling, but we gave it a shot anyway and ended up swimming with a HUGE sea turtle for half an hour! He was super close to the shore and just hanging out and eating. It was one of the coolest experiences of the trip. Then we got the best sushi of our lives at You Make the Roll. If you’re ever in Kona, please go and thank me later. It’s the best sushi I’ve ever had!! We ordered way too much and were basically full for the rest of the day.
Even though I was hoping for a more leisurely day, we ended up getting up bright and early for an adventure. We started off at one of my all time favorite spots in Kona, Lava Java (I know I’ve been saying everything is my favorite–sorry about that. I have a lot of favorites, okay?!). Their macadamia nut, banana pancakes with coconut syrup are really just out of this world. Everything on their menu is amazing, though! After breakfast we drove all the way up to the Polulu Valley lookout. We stopped and did a ton of offroading on the Kohala Coast on the way up, which was a blast. There were so many dirt roads right off the main highway that were just perfect for offroading! We went in the mud, and even found a private beach. Off-roading was seriously one of the best things we did! Well, the farther north we drove, the rainier it got. By the time we got to Polulu, it was basically pouring. It stopped when we parked, so we decided to give the short hike down to the beach a whirl. Surprise, surprise, when we were almost to the beach it started POURING again. We got so soaked!! We ran onto the beach, snapped some photos in the rain, and hiked the rest of the way back up in the rain. It was one of the funniest and best moments of the trip.
Our last full day was a more chill one. We grabbed breakfast at the Coffee Shack, which is the coolest place ever right on the road near Captain Cook. It has the most incredible views, and seriously amazing food. We hung out there for a while, taking in the views and snapping photos of the cute geckos. They put out little tins of jelly for them so they hang out on the railings! After that, we just poked around to some beaches near the Airbnb and hung out with Dave’s family and ate dinner at the house.
We had such an amazing trip, I already can’t wait to go back to Hawaii! If you have any questions about other things to see or do, let me know!