Hey everybody!! I am so sorry it’s been so long since I last blogged. Life just got away from me with work, school, family life, etc. I know it’s been a while, but I hope to come at you with regular posts from here on out!!
So we just got back from HAWAII. Adam and I were lucky enough to get away for an entire WEEK thanks to my parents and our friends who graciously helped with Marshall and Beau. Adam and I never really took a honeymoon, I mean we did get away for a bit after our wedding, but we didn’t get to go on an extravagant trip (because we were “broke as a joke”) or get away for too long because “the Army called.” Hahaha. So four years and one baby later, this was WELL overdue.
Adam and I have both always wanted to go to Hawaii. It’s been a bucket list item of ours for a while. But last October we really started talking about it. Although, as soon as the planning phase began, we both felt a little lost. Which island do we go to? How can we get the best airfare? Where should we stay? Insert our travel planner-now friend Kelley. I’m going to post more about her and her amazing business later, but she definitely made this trip a breeze! So ultimately, we decided on Big Island! We had some friends that had been to Big Island before and we were told if we wanted the “true Hawaii experience” that Big Island was the way to go. After talking to a lot of locals during our trip, they all said the same thing. Basically, that if you wanted to experience Hawaii, go to Big Island. If you wanted just a super nice tropical vacation, go to any of the other islands. We knew ultimately that we didn’t want to go to Oahu and Honolulu because we did not want to be part of the tourist scene, so we took a leap of faith on Big Island and it turned out to be PERFECT. I’ll recap our trip here! I also shared a bunch of pictures on my Facebook! Hope you enjoy!
Our flight into San Francisco from Austin was a little bit crazy in that we circled the San Francisco airport in the air for about an hour and half due to some nasty weather in SanFran. We then got delayed another three hours in our flight from SanFran to Kona. We were originally supposed to get to Hawaii at 2pm, but we didn’t get there till around 6pm. But the good news was we got there safe and sound! The airport in Kona is crazy cool. It consists of about 10 tikihut type buildings, all outdoors and open to air. When you get off the plane, there’s no connecter walkway to the airport, you legitimately step off the airplane onto some stairs, and then on to the tarmac. We rented an awesome Jeep Wrangler for the week, so once we got our bags and our rental car, we were off to the resort!
Big Island was not AT ALL what I was expecting. I knew it would be rocky and volcanic, but I was not expecting what I saw. The road from the airport to the hotel was literally in the middle of huge rocks. On both sides of the road, there were rocks and boulders that were created from past lava flow on the island! It was so crazy to experience that—and you could really see how the lava flowed and how it dried on the land. Past the rocks, on one side of the island was the ocean and on the other side was a mountain. Talk about a crazy view. Once we got to our resort, it was more of a tropical feel! Our resort had a lagoon that opened up into the ocean, but it was a nice white sand beach where you could kick back and relax. The lagoon also had some amazing snorkeling! We were within arm’s reach of sea turtles and all kinds of tropical fish. Most of the beaches on big island are rocky and hard to access, so it was nice that our hotel had this option where we could enjoy the Pacific Ocean with easy access.
We went to a couple different beach access spots. Hapuna Beach state park is ranked as one of the world’s most gorgeous beaches and there’s good reason for it. The sand is perfectly white and almost soft under your feet. The ocean is crystal clear blue, and the views surrounding the beach are amazing. We also went to Punalu’u Beach that is a black sand beach. The sand is still soft and fine, but its black. Also, at that beach, we saw a sea turtle just lying on the sand!! We also went to some more rocky beach areas. It was so cool to see all the different landscapes that Hawaii had to offer.
Prior to leaving, we had booked some excursions through our travel agent, but when we got to Hawaii, it was raining, and it continued to do so for the first three days we were there, so some of our excursions were either canceled or rescheduled to the end of the week. So, with the beginning of our week now free, and rain on our side of the island, we packed up and headed out for a day trip to the other side of Big Island, known for being the “tropical side of the island.” We stopped at Waipio Lookout, Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park, and ‘Akaka Falls. These three places were recommended to us by the sweetest old man who owned a tiny little café that we happened to stop into. Thankfully we met him, and thankfully he recommended these places to us because we would have been lost without his guidance. During our little road trip on the other side of the island were able to see the most beautiful, lush, tropical scenery. Everything was so green and covered in color due to the large number of flowers that grow on the trees. Also, while we were over there, we came across the cutest little fruit stand that was run by some locals and we got to try native papaya, pineapple, and this crazy new (to me) fruit called ranbutan. It is basically like a hard-shelled seeded grape, but it was AMAZING and I’m so desperately hoping I can find some here.
On our third day out there, the sun finally came up! We were able to do all kinds of swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing at the resort! That night we also watched the sunset from our resort and it was seriously one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Because the sun came up for the rest of our trip, we were able to do our previously planned excursions. We got to go out in the ocean on a boat and go snorkeling and got to go kayaking in some sea caves! We also attended a luau at our resort and got a seaside massage! During our snorkeling excursion we were able to see dolphins (that literally came right up to the boat), some hammerhead sharks, and even a humpback whale!! Apparently, it is super rare to see those three things on one outing, especially at this time of year! We felt really blessed to see and experience that! The kayaking was so fun as well! Neither one of us had ever kayaked in the open ocean, but our guide said we were pros and even offered us a job on the spot when we saw that we could get in-and-out of a kayak, in the ocean waves, without tipping it. HA! During our kayak adventure we got to kayak into a sea cave, which is basically a cave formed out of the rock that the ocean has begun to flow into. It goes about two miles back, but we only kayaked in and kayaked out due to strong currents. Our luau was so fun! We got to experience a true Hawaiian buffet and a couple hours worth of dancing and entertainment that took us thru all the different “legends of Hawaii!” We also got massages and the massage was one of the best massages I have EVER had, and it was right on the ocean, so we got to listen to the waves crash for 75 minutes of pure bliss. Easily could have been my favorite part.
The food during our trip ranged from mediocre to amazing. The food options at the resort were limited and expensive, so it kind of forced us to go out of the resort to eat, but that actually turned out to be a blessing because we got to experience some amazing local dishes. What we learned was that the portion sizes in Hawaii are insane, they make amazing hash browns and French toast for breakfast, they have incredible malasadas (a Hawaiian donut), and the fruit is superior to anything I’ve ever had from the mainland. We even passed a man on the side of the road selling boiled peanuts (something my Texas friends just don’t understand, but my Florida friends will definitely appreciate), a tamale stand, and we had some of the best Mexican food from a stand in the middle of a closed food court. We branched out and tried poke while we were there and it actually turned out to be really good! We wanted to make sure we tried local things while we had the chance!!
Overall our trip was amazing! It was better than we expected it to be! We can’t wait to plan another trip in a few years!!