Now that we’re back and i’ve had a little time to reflect back on our trip, here is my trip summary.
What I liked:
I really enjoyed the island over-all. Except for Hilo, the island was not very developed with much of it feeling like countryside. Akaka Falls was incredible. The lushness of the area was so peaceful. It was the first time that I had seen huge bamboo trees growing naturally. The falls itself was such a nice sight in amongst the greenery. I also really enjoyed the sunset sail. Every sunset is a little different and every boat ride is very enjoyable. Put the two together and it makes for a really nice experience. I would do that again if we went back. Driving through the little towns was also very interesting. It was educational to see some of the community centres that had been there for many years and in some cases, were built and used by the first settlers to the area. There is a lot of Japanese history there. We visited this cultural centre in the north part of the island and was asked to sign their guest book. All of the previous signatures were all in Japanese characters. The lady who asked us is also Japanese. Very interesting. I also enjoyed walking on the hardened lava field and seeing the lava flow enter the ocean. The airport was also very interesting as it is not an enclosed airport. It’s all open. Good thing it doesn’t rain in that part of the island very often. 🙂
Things that were a disappointment.
The luau was disappointing. Generally it was a nice show but once I learned that they excluded much of the history of the luau to make it into a hokey pokey tourist show, it became a disappointment. I would not see this again. The show was basically a band playing Hawaiian style music with hoola dancers….and a guy stomping around the stage pretending to be a native jungle hunter. Waste of money. The only other thing disappointing was the lack of signage and information around seeing the lava flow. I would have rather had them be honest and say that because the flow is in a residential area, they are not encouraging people to go.. But instead, they give vague directions that mislead to a location. People then enter the lava field from a distance and travel across to try and get a closer look. Parts of this were dangerous, especially in darkness. But, I certainly would understand the locals complaints.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Big Island of Hawaii. I would really like to go back. I enjoyed visiting the towns, walking into the small town shops, seeing local successful businesses like Mountain Thunder coffee, the volcano and the over-all peacefulness of most of the island. While some of the tourist areas and things were interesting like the Hilton complex, I am generally not that intrigued about the hokey pokey resort shows and things that are commercial and unnatural to the location. The little town shops and cafe’s were definitely more enjoyable than the tourist plaza shops. Fantastic place!! I’d like to return and do the atv ride next time. 🙂
Aloha everyone! We are back now but must share this last experience with everyone. On Saturday, we decided to go try and see the lava enter the ocean. We were given some basic directions to go down route 130 to the end in the town of Kalapana. We did just that and ended up at this parking lot. There was a bus there too for a tour. We were told to get there before sunset and bring a flashlight. We would need to walk out on the lava rocks in the last bit of day light in order to know what we’re dealing with. So, out we went. There were about four guys ahead of us that just took off. I guess they knew to get there by sunset. We got about half way there and it was almost dark. We had walked through bushes after a section of lava rocks. We had just about enough so we snapped a few pictures and turned around. With our handy flashlights, we started to make our way back. It started to rain so we sought shelter under a tree until it let up a bit. We then continued. It sure was difficult with our tiny flashlights. It was so dark and so little lighting, it was really hard to tell which way we should be going. But we kept on doing our best. About half way back our flashlights died and we then turned to Deniz’ iPhone to light the way. It actually did better than the flashlights but was still not ideal. We got to around the area we thought would be the crossing path and met up with a couple of local women out walking on the lava rocks. They assisted us back to the parking lot. As we were making our way back, three guys showed up and asked if this was the path to see the lava flow into the ocean. This is when we learned (as did the guys) that we were not in the correct spot but were certainly not alone in our venture. We were told that we should not turned off the main road but to keep going. There are no signs to guide people. The locals feel that the State does this on purpose to lessen the amount of people actually going near the lava flow. There are homes in the area and the people there do not appreciate the amount of tourists flowing into their neighborhood. So, as the women told us, many end up there and take the tough route that we took. Still though, it was an experience to walk on the lava field and see from a distance, the lava flowing into the ocean. It was a little tense there for a while but we survived it…..and it’s now an experience to share.
Aloha……yesterday was a long day in the car exploring but we saw so many great things and experienced the many different climates here. We started off towards Waimea, a short 40min drive from here to have breakfast at a popular local place. I had pancakes….2 of them that were about 8″ in diameter served with sausage. Then we headed up towards the northern tip to find out more information about the ATVing. Long story short….too expensive for this trip. It would have cost Deniz and I about $300 to go out on a 15mile trail run. Next time perhaps. We hoppedback in the car and headed towards Akaka Falls. Saw huge bamboo trees growing there. It was much different than our area as it was like a rainforest in there. Then it was off towards Hilo where we had some pretty sad tempura at a Japanese/American fusion restaurant. Next was the Macadamian nut farm. We did a quick self tour. We just made it into the visitor center as it was closing.
Last and the highlight of the day was stopping at the National Volcanic Park. There were steaming fields and we got a good look at the crater. It was releasing lots of sulphuric gas so halfthe inside route was closed. We then finished the loop of the island returning back at our hotel.
Today we are once again hitting the road to see things we missed yesterday and to visit the lava flow at dusk.
Aloha! The dinner sail last night was worth every penny. We thought the luau the previous night was fantastic, which it was, but the sunset sail was even better. Having experienced the luau I probably would not sign up again for it but I would do the sunset sail many more times. It consisted of a buffet dinner and open bar. The cre aboard was incredibly friendly and hospitable. The even made their rounds to ensure the chatted with everyone there. As the sun was actually setting, a couple celebrating their 25th anniversary renewed their vows. Was very nice.
Earlier onthe day we visited Mountain Thunder Coffee. We got a free tour of the facility and learned how they make coffee. We were also given a free cup of their freshly brewed coffee. Amazing stuff! No bitterness and no harsh after taste. As much of a Tim’s fan I am…..when you taste coffee like this and also know that there are no chemicals…..it is truly a fantastic coffee.
There are almost no bugs on the island so no pesticides are even required. Also makes it nice to sit out at night and not have to fend off Mosquitos.
Today we are hopping in the car to tour the island, see the volcanos and nice gardens.
As I was posting by previous topic the song “sukiyaki” started to play. For those in my family know it wad one of my dads favorite songs….he used to this song in his young days. Nice to “feel” dads presence with this song 🙂
Aloha. Good morning all. It is just before 9am here. The Luau last night was a fantastic show! And even better, I didn’t get picked to go up. As the dancers were roaming the crowd for victims I was trying to hide :). The ‘volunteers’ though were all good sports. The meal was pretty good but I really enjoyed the show. Thesunset lady night was spectacular as well.
Yesterday we startedour day by taking an ocean side trail to the Hilton complex to see the dolphins. There was no formal show but the trainers were working with them.
When I call the Hilton a complex, it is like a small town on it’s own. There ate multiple buildings amongst some amazing landscaping covering tons of land. To get around there is a boat that travels the river that winds it’s way through the complex as well as a tram that follows the same basic route. Amazing…..no lack of funds on the Hilton family.
In the afternoon we went for a swim at our Marriott garden pools. We alsoreturned for an evening swim after the luau. This is truly an amazing place. There is so much to see and do but the biggest downfall is that EVERYTHING here comes at an incredible price.
We are heading off to the coffee fields today on the southern part of the island. Thentonight we have our sunset sail booked.
It’s Wednesday here at 11:20am…..I believe that is dinner hour back home. It is another sunny hot and very humid day.
We have booked a Luau tonight here at the Marriott. Tomorrow we have a sunset dinner sail. We have visited some shops here and the beach trail. Very nice. We had dinner last night at Imari Japanese restaurant….was ok, but nothing great.
Tomorrow we’re going to try the atv trail ride and Friday drive the island looking for the coffee fields. Be good to see the volcano too since it too is on the other side of the island.
We found some wifi on the dining area.