Trip Report – Big Island of Hawaii – October 7, 2017 to November 6, 2017
Aloha. My husband and I were fortunate enough to spend a month on the Big Island. We were joined by our two daughters for two weeks during this time. We visited all 4 sides of the island and some 2 or 3 times. I have to say when we arrived and drove from the airport to Vista Waikoloa we were a little shocked by all the black lava rock. It wasn't the green Hawaii we always think of. The first couple days we really doubted our choice of the Big Island. However, like Hawaii always does, it soon stole our hearts. By the time our month was up we didn't want to leave. The night we got back home (Canada) the temperature was minus 14 F. Quite the welcome home!
WHERE WE STAYED:
Vista Waikoloa – We stayed in unit C103. The carpet, furniture and appliances were dated but the place was clean. This did not deter us from enjoying our time there. The grounds were beautiful and the pool was close by. There was only one day where there was a bit of noise from the pool. Otherwise, it was birds chirping and palm trees swaying in the breeze. The walking trails around there were just beautiful.
Volcano Inn – We stayed here one night so that we could have two days exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Don't expect big city hotel conveniences or amenities here. The inn is basic and simple but charming. They serve papaya boats for breakfast along with homemade banana bread – both were delicious.
WHERE WE ATE:
We found both groceries and eating out very expensive on the Big Island. Two times we have been to Maui and to Kauai and we found the prices much higher on the Big Island. However, that is likely a sign of the times and it has been two years since we were last in Hawaii.
• Lava Java (Waikoloa Village) – We ate breakfast here 3 times. Good food and service each time. My husband loved their pancakes.
• Lava Lava Beach Club (A Bay) – We had lunch and dinner here and our daughters had pupus while spending time on the beach. The food was okay but nothing spectacular considering the prices are very high. You pay for the privilege of being on A Bay.
• Macaroni Grill (Queen's Marketplace) – We ate dinner here twice. Both times the food
• was very good. Service was great the first time but a little slow the second time.
• Daylight Mind (Queen's Marketplace) – We ate breakfast here twice. Both times the food was great. First time slow service, second time good service.
• Pueo's Osteria (Waikoloa Village) – We celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary here. The food was excellent and so was the service. I asked for two things that were not on their menu and they accommodated both of my requests.
• Koa (King's Shops) – Excellent ribs. The service was good and the setting is nice.
• Thai Thai (Volcano) – Excellent service and food. It was my favorite meal on the island.
• Splasher's (Kona) – We ate breakfast here once and had lunch twice. Both times the lunches were very good but the breakfast was just average. Service was always good.
• Bubba Gump's (Kona) – The food was basic, the service was okay but we were sitting ocean side so the view was awesome.
• Merriman's (Waimea) – Found this place a bit “snooty” but the food was good. Service was slow and prices were high.
• Uncle George's (Volcano House in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park) Good service and food. Excellent views.
• What's Shakin' (Hawaii Botanical Tropical Garden) Good smoothies and snacks. Service was pretty slow but the surroundings are pleasant.
• KTA (Waikoloa Village) – We found this store okay for basics but their fresh veggies and fruit were terrible.
• Island Gourmet (Queen’s Marketplace) – Very nice store but the prices were crazy! My husband paid $13.00 for 16 hamburger buns.
• Costco (Kona) – What can I say? Costco is always a good deal.
• Safeway (Kona) – This was our favorite. We found the prices more in line with what we are used to. They also carry brands that we are used to. The parking lot has a gorgeous view of the ocean – really? Only in Hawaii…loved it.
PLACES WE VISITED and THINGS WE DID:
• Iron Man – My husband spent all day watching the bikers. He really enjoyed the experience.
• Waipi'o Valley – What a beautiful spot!
• Lili’uokalani Park and Coconut Island in Kona. We stopped in Kona for a break before going to Volcano and just happened across this park. It is so pretty there. We took some awesome family photos while there.
• Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – We took the Saddle Road over to Kona and spent two days in and around the park. What an experience – one we will never forget! We went back at night to the Jaggar Museum and got an excellent view of the Halema'uma'u Crater burning. It was so cold and windy that night and the next day it rained some but it did not deter us from enjoying this wonder of nature.
• Akaka Falls and Hawaii Botanical Tropical Garden – The falls were beautiful. The walk down to the falls was so lush and beautiful. I love flowers and greenery of any kind so I was in heaven when we got inside the botanical gardens. So many beautiful and rare plants in a setting that is stunning. The views to the ocean were gorgeous as well. It was so hot and humid this day so a stop at What’s Shakin’ for smoothies was well deserved.
• Painted Church – The drive up to this church is so pretty. We really admired all the work that had gone in to painting the inside of this church. The grounds were beautiful as well. I decided if there was a place to choose, to be buried, this would be pretty much perfect.
• Pu’uhonau O Honaunau (Place of Refuge) – First time we visited here most of the park was closed due to a storm the night before. We were disappointed. However, we were able to go back and visit when it was sunny and hot. What a serene, beautiful place considering the history behind it. I’m not sure what to call the carved wooden ‘statues’ that are there but I had read somewhere that they were anatomically correct – if you know what I mean! I was surprised to see loin cloths had been put on all of them. I presume this is not the way it was originally.
• Kealakekua Bay – We stopped here twice to watch the waves. We could see the Captain Cook monument across the bay. I thought the area needed some TLC.
• Anaeho’omalu Bay or A Bay – What a beautiful beach. Our daughters spent so much time here and loved it. We saw turtles pretty much every time we went. There were also kite and wind surfers on the water and my favorite – the sunsets. Gorgeous!
• Hilton Waikoloa Village – I know it’s a hotel but the grounds are so beautiful. It’s well worth a walk through there. My husband and daughters went through the grounds several times.
In closing, I would like to say what an enjoyable stay we had on the Big Island despite the fact we were rather ‘iffy’ when we first arrived. There is beauty in everything – you just need to look for it – even in the black lava rock. Thanks so much to all on this forum that helped and answered questions for me. It was much appreciated. I don’t know when we will visit Hawaii again but I hope it is not a long wait. Mahalo!