You can find the Travel Vlog of my Trip on YouTube!
August 22-24, 2019
A Week of Aloha - Part 2: Big Island, Hawaii
To hear about an adventure consisting of: island time, black sand beaches, unpredictable weather patterns, volcanic trails, malasadas, kona coffee and brews, and a big green sea turtle -- keep on reading!
After spending the last four days on Oahu (to read Part 1 click here!), my family jetted off to the Big Island, HI for three more days. It was our first time on the Big Island!
The Big Island welcomed us with sunshine and VERY hot/humid weather. It wasn’t as breezy during our trip, but we enjoyed the sunny weather regardless. We flew in around noon as the clouds were rolling in but the sun was still peeking through.
After picking up our rental car, we made our way towards Kona Town in search for lunch. We wanted to grab a bite to eat before Joe and Clarice went to their parasailing excursion that afternoon. We decided to eat at a restaurant called, Splashers Grill that was ocean-front and right next to UFO Parasail.
I went with the Ahi Tuna, while the rest of my family went with burgers. We happily ate our food while watching the boats take out the other parasailers. When Clarice asked me prior to our trip if I wanted to go parasailing with her, I debated on whether or not I wanted to go. However, since I’ve gone before and Joe hadn’t yet, I encouraged them to do the two-person reservation together instead.
When it became close to 3pm, we dropped off Joe and Clarice to enjoy their adventure while my parents and I went to go check-in to the hotel (Kona Coast Resort). We discovered quickly that the weather patterns on the Big Island were very unpredictable. It could be sunny and warm in one location, then after driving 10 minutes, it could be pounding down with heavy rain.
We ran into our hotel with all of our bags clutched to escape the rain until Joe and Clarice finished their ride. Luckily, it only sprinkled for them while on the boat and despite being a tad bit sea sick, they enjoyed themselves immensely!
On our way back to the hotel, we made a stop at Kahalu’u Beach Park (the closest black sand beach to our hotel) in search for turtles! This beach is typically known for green sea turtle sightings (we were told that they preferred black sand beaches over white to sunbathe in!); however, we unfortunately weren’t able to find any that evening.
We returned to the hotel to rest and relax. Other than our TV not working at first, we were quite impressed with our living space. I retired early that evening after a take-out dinner of fish tacos and macadamia nut chocolate boxes for dessert.
The second day on the Big Island had the most activities planned. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was pretty much the main event of our Big Island trip. Because Kona was about two hours away from the park, we woke up bright and early to begin our drive to the other side of the island.
We witnessed what we discovered yesterday -- that the weather can really change every 10 miles. We experienced sun, rain, and fog as we ventured over to the National Park, but before we knew it - we arrived in some sunshine. After stopping at the Visitor Center to collect my usual stamp, stickers, and postcards, my family decided to take a short hike through the Sulphur Banks Trail (1.3 miles, 82 ft. elevation gain) to the Kilauea Caldera Overlook. Because it was a shorter, paved, and relatively flat hike, my mom even decided to tag along with us. I was really proud of her because she’s not quite the hiker.
Walking through the sulphur banks and steam vents was such a unique and educational experience. Visiting the volcanoes really puts it into perspective how amazing and resilient our world is! We made it to the Kilauea Caldera Overlook just in time to catch part of the ranger’s presentation. He spoke about the recent volcanic eruption that occurred in 2018 and its effects on the land and the Hawaiian people.
We learned that many areas of the park were closed due to the recent eruption so a lot of the trails we wanted to go on were closed due to damage or restoration. We were recommended to try the Devastation Trail (1.0 miles) right along Crater Rim Drive. The elevation gain was minimal and the entire trail was paved; however, my mom decided to sit this one out.
It was definitely a unique site and a nice, quick hike. Again, walking around this land really forces you to realize how resilient our land/earth can be.
We worked up an appetite walking around, so we decided to head back to Punalu’u for some lunch. We stopped by Punalu’u Black Sand Beach (another common beach to spot turtles) and were able to successfully see a big green sea turtle resting on the beach. Clarice had never seen a wild sea turtle before so we were very excited that we finally found one during our trip!
It started to sprinkle so although we wanted to spend more time at the beach, we seeked shelter from the rain at Punalu’u Bake Shop for their very popular and well-known malasadas. They didn’t disappoint! We ended up buying sandwiches for lunch and malasadas for dessert, with extra malasadas for breakfast the next day.
With stomachs full and the rain picking up more, we made the road trip back to our hotel in Kona where we freshened up and relaxed a bit. We wanted to try to find the Green Sand Beach (Papakolea Beach), but decided to save that sight for next time. For dinner, we decided to try Kona Brewing Company! My dad and I were the only two out of the five of us that drink beer so we shared a tasting flight - Hanalei IPA, Kanaha Blonde, Mac Nut Vanilla Imperial Lager, and Wailua Wheat. Out of the four, I couldn’t pick a favorite! The rest of my family ordered pizza and we concluded our day with warm vibes and good conversations.
The Kona Coast Resort provided complimentary Kona Coffee during our stay, so it went so perfectly with our malasadas for breakfast. We didn’t have too much planned for our last day on the Big Island so we took our time waking up, having breakfast and getting our bags packed for the airport.
We made a stop at the ABC store for more souvenirs and macadamia nut chocolates, and by the time we checked out, we were hungry so we picked a Filipino-Hawaiian restaurant to try for lunch. A cousin who recently vacationed in Hawaii recommended Broke Da Mouth Grindz to us, so we thought we’d try it too!
I ordered the Hawaiian “Animal Style” Cheeseburger (it had spam, bacon, eggs, teriyaki and aioli sauces!) served with Sweet Potato Salad, and my family all ordered their famous Garlic Furikake Chicken. It was the dish that was featured on Food Network’s “Triple D” with Guy Fiery! All of it was SO good and we were all happily satisfied with lunch.
With a couple of hours to kill before our flight that late afternoon, we made our way to Hapuna Beach Park. We were told it was one of the nicest white sand beaches on the Big Island (at least closest to Kona!). We didn’t have the time to swim and stay awhile, but we chose to drive out there regardless since we had time to kill. It was definitely a beautiful and wide white sand beach!
As our Hawaiian adventure came to a close, we spent our last hour on the Big Island eating shave ice at the Kona International Airport.
Annnd that's a wrap!
That concludes Part 2 of our Hawaiian adventure on the Big Island! I especially appreciated our time at the Big Island because it definitely felt more like a true vacation than Oahu. Although Oahu was filled with fun adventures, we planned for the Big Island to have more down time. So blessed to have had the opportunity to vacation with my family for a week of Aloha!
Cheers to island time!
Storytelling by Gen
Travel diaries from explorations and adventures.