Big island of Hawaii…. you have stolen my heart
Whilst sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight to Los Angeles, I’m looking back on the magical month I got to spent on the Big Island of Hawaii. The islands of Hawaii have always been a dream of mine to visit, so when I was finally able to go to one, it was time to pick out the right one for me. Well, I picked right. The Big Island is amazing and not just for one thing in particular but especially for the diversity the island offers.
The State of Hawaii
The state of Hawaii exists out of 8 large islands. Besides the 8 islands there are also atolls and a lot of small islands. Out of all these islands Big Island of Hawaii is by far the biggest. In fact, all the other 7 islands all fit inside the Big Island. You fly to the islands from the West Coast of the United States in approximately 5 hours. In my case, I flew into Hilo from Los Angeles and fly to back to Los Angeles from Kona. It might be worth looking into flying in like this as in my case it saved me several hundred dollars. The sad part about flying into Hilo was though that I ended up having to drive 2,5 hours to Kona, where my holiday home was located, after an exhausting 17-hour journey. Early in the morning, I had set off from New York. Make sure you fly to the right island! There are many airports…..
The Big Island of Hawaii
The reason I picked the Big Island of Hawaii out of all the islands is because from the information I could gather online I learned that the Big Island was definitely the most diverse island. The west-side, where Kona is located was perfect for beach visits, snorkeling and surfing. Besides that, all the quality scuba diving, including the famous Manta Ray night dive, was happening on the Kona side of the island. Here on the Big Island they often speak of the Kona side or the Hilo side. The Kona side is west and the Hilo side is east. In comparison the Hilo side is a lot greener than the Kona side. The reason for that is that Hilo gets a lot more rain. Every time I managed to cruise over to Hilo I got caught in rain storms, that could last for hours. My visit to the beautiful botanical garden in Hilo was a very wet one! This doesn’t mean that it always rains in Hilo though, I think I just got a bit unlucky with the rain. It also depends on when you travel, I was visiting in August.
I’ve driven around the entire island, from Kona to the North, to Hilo, to the Volcanoes National park and right across the island on the Saddle Road. Never have I experienced so many scenery and landscape change as on The Big Island. It’s absolutely breathtaking. White sand, palm trees and sun in Kona to a rain forest in Hilo, to roads covered in lava (literally walking over the (cold!!) lava) to a volcanic crater in the National Volcanoes park. Amazing. Because of all these different landscapes I was able to visit some amazing sights whilst either driving, hiking, swimming of scuba diving. In my posts to follow about Hawaii I’ll get more into all the specifics, so stay tuned!
It can’t be surprise to anyone that with the great Scuba Diving on the West side that I indeed have been staying in Kona. This city is a really beautiful town with a great atmosphere. The beaches in and around Kona all have gorgeous white sand and everywhere you see surfers, snorkelers and people swimming. It’s really a cute beach town WITH a lot of modern facilities and stores such a Walmart, Target, Safeways etc. In the main street in town are lots of cute bars and eateries where you can sit whilst enjoying a view of the ocean. But not just on the main street can you go, there are several shopping areas with local and international eateries around town that are especially by car easier to reach. For example Ultimate Burger , an amazing hamburger restaurant with maybe the hamburgers I’ve ever tasted. The cuisine offered in Hawaii is international, I’ve seen restaurants serving Thai, Chinese, Sushi, Italian, Steak/Ribs, all day breakfast, burgers and so on. Really, so many choices. Though to save on money I barely have been out for food. Mostly I would do shopping at the local supermarkets like KTA and Safeways and just have some easy meals. It really helps when you’re travelling on a budget.
When it comes to real estate on the Big Island I think Kona is the most expensive location. Gorgeous but expensive. I recently learned from the park rangers at the National Volcanoes Park that the volcano that lies just behind Kona is due to erupt again, as it erupts every 200 years and it’s been just a bit over that. The airport where I am sitting right now will most likely get completely eaten by lava when that happens…. In hindsight, it was probably not the best idea to build and invest so much in Kona as has happened due to this… but what’s done is done…. hopefully the volcano will remain asleep huh?
In my upcoming posts I’ll go into a lot more detail about specifics of my trips which will include a lot of Scuba!!! and hiking.