The Big Island: Trip 6

In September, our friends Andy and Anna got married on The Big Island! My immediate family all came so we spent some quality time exploring new parts of the island along with celebrating our friends!

We arrived to Kona early on Thursday. We stopped at Daylight Minds for some coffee before heading to Da Poke Shack for some delicious poke. We checked in to our hotel and relaxed for a bit. Then headed to the coffee farm where they were getting married for a BBQ.

The next day, we got up early to hike to Papakōlea Beach (also known as Green Sand Beach). This had been on our list for years and we were so excited to finally get to see it! The hike was beautiful and even though it was completely exposed to the sun, it was such a windy day that it was pretty comfortable. The downside is that we were totally covered in dust/sand from head to toe because of the wind.

After we hiked back, we were all very ready for lunch. We stopped at Punalu’u Bake Shop for lunch and some malasadas (which were amazing). We then continued on to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park since Linda and Tom had never been there. We saw the steam vents and the caldera (but couldn’t see the green lake that’s forming).

We arrived back at the hotel and took much needed showers. We then decided to go to dinner and enjoy the sunset along the coast at the Four Seasons. We were all really excited to go back as we were fortunate enough to have dinner there two years earlier. Such a beautiful sunset!

On Saturday, we decided to relax at the hotel before the big celebration that night! We arrived at the coffee farm in time for cocktails with a side of misty rain and a beautiful sunset. The weather cleared up and we had an AMAZING time! So much fun eating, drinking, and dancing!

On Sunday, we spent some time enjoying the lovely view before heading to the airport to part ways. Such a fun, packed weekend! ❤

Cruise: Honolulu, Hilo, & Days at Sea

Josh and I spent the first two and a half weeks of November on the most phenomenal vacation of our lives. We took a cruise that left from Honolulu and stopped in various places in French Polynesia ending in Tahiti.

We started in Honolulu on November 1st with a beautiful sunset and champagne followed by a steak dinner and cruising through the first night to Hilo.

We woke up on Friday to a gorgeous sunrise from our balcony. We enjoyed some delicious coffee and the view of The Big Island as we made our way to Hilo. We spent the day wandering Hilo with our friends who happened to be in Hilo for the weekend.

After leaving Hilo, we spent the next four days at sea heading toward the Marquesas Islands. Our days were filled with the gym, lots of delicious food and drinks, a fantastic massage, lounging by the pool, and reading. I think it was the most relaxed we’ve been in our lives!

The Big Island: Trip 5

A couple weekends ago, we met our friends Lindsay and Channa on The Big Island for a quick trip. They were visiting from Seattle so we decided to crash their vacation for a couple days.

Saturday was a bit rainy so we slept in and then walked into Kailua for brunch. We ate at Daylight Mind Coffee Company (which was delicious) and then wandered back to our hotel.

After eating plenty of food, we decided to go on a short walk to the End of the Earth. We watched a few people jump off the rocks and enjoyed the spectacular view of the ocean.

After a relaxing day, we walked to dinner and enjoyed the evening!

On Sunday we decided to go snorkeling at Two Step. Great location with tons of fish! Videos below!

After lots of snorkeling, we worked up an appetite. We ate lunch at Da Poke Shack before saying bye and venturing back to Oahu! The poke was DELICIOUS.

 

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 7

Wednesday was our last full day on the island and we spent it relaxing and eating! We started by having breakfast at Daylight Mind Coffee Company.

After breakfast we relaxed and packed in preparation to leave the next day. For dinner that night, we celebrated Linda’s birthday again at ‘Ulu Sushi Lounge at The Four Seasons. The hotel was incredible and we got to enjoy one final sunset!

What a way to end such a special week! ❤

 

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 6

Of all the amazing days we had planned on our trip, I think I was most excited about this day/night because we had our Manta Ray night snorkel. This had been on my bucket list for a few years so I was REALLY looking forward to it!

The snorkel definitely did not disappoint. We went with Wahine Charters and I would highly recommend them to anyone! We took off from the harbor, had a half hour boat ride filled with stars and arrived at the site ready to hop in the water. We held on to these light boards and the manta rays were attracted to the plankton that are attracted to the light. They do somersaults and almost look like they are going to swim straight for you and turn at the last minute. It was so incredible it completely took my breath away.

 

 

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 5

On Monday we kayaked and snorkeled in Kealakekua Bay. Unfortunately, our Go Pro decided to not stay charged so we didn’t get any pictures. Huge bummer as we saw dolphins, tons of fish and an octopus! After a busy morning, we went back to the hotel and crashed before enjoying the sunset at Lava Lava Beach Club again.

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 4

We had a relaxing day planned for Sunday after our big Saturday (thank goodness). It was also Linda’s birthday! We woke up and had coffee on our lanai with our cats and left late morning to drive to Waipio Valley. It was a beautiful day and a great drive there!

After enjoying the view, we drove to Honokaa for lunch. We wandered around a bit and then settled on Grandma’s Kitchen.

After lunch we drove down the coast and back toward Mauna Kea as our plan was to enjoy the sunset and check out the stars. It ended up being too cloudy so we decided to eat at Merriman’s in Waimea. On our way there we saw an owl…which was rather amazing!

Merriman’s was maybe my favorite meal of the trip. The atmosphere was so great and the food was delicious. A great way to celebrate Linda!

 

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 3

Saturday we woke up and had coffee on our lanai before embarking on a long haul to the Hilo side of the island for a packed day. We drove through the middle of the island and stopped at Kaumana caves first.

After exploring the caves, we drove a few minutes down the road to Rainbow Falls. We spent some time enjoying the falls and the banyan trees.

After exploring, we decided it was time for breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes. The goal was to eat enough so we could make it through the day to our late dinner after our hike. We definitely achieved that goal!

After breakfast, we drove through the Puna area and stopped at MacKenzie State Park and to watch some turtles.

We finally pulled ourselves away from the turtles so we could meet up for our lava hike at Kalapana Cultural Tours! Josh and I went with this company before and they are so wonderful. The hike was different than a few years ago (as expected) and we started by riding bikes a couple miles down a gravel road and then hiked the remainder of the way to the surface flow. We lucked out as there were quite a few breakouts. After that, we hiked back to the ocean entry to check that out before hopping on our bikes for the ride back.

After our hike, we were all pretty hungry and ready to relax. We drove back to Hilo and stopped at Pineapples for dinner before driving back to the other side of the island. It was perfect after our long day — good food, good drinks and open air seating!

After dinner, we drove back and completely crashed after much needed hot showers…very excited to sleep in the next day!

 

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 1 & Day 2

In the beginning of September, Josh, my mom, Tom and I all took a much needed vacation to The Big Island for a whole WEEK. This is the first trip to another island that lasted longer than a few days for Josh and I…which was wonderful!

Josh and I met them at the airport and we all flew to Kona together. We checked into our hotel in Waikoloa (which was lovely) and then headed to Lava Lava Beach Club for drinks, dinner and a beautiful sunset.

The next day, we didn’t have a ton planned (on purpose) so we could relax and explore where we were staying. We had coffee on our lanai and then my mom and I went on a walk to explore. It was a gorgeous day and we had the walk along the beach mostly to ourselves. After that, we ran to the grocery, took a nap and then got dressed for dinner at Roy’s. Linda had two restaurants that she wanted to eat at and this was one of them. The food did not disappoint and we lucked out with a corner table surrounded by water!

 

 

The Big Island: Trip 3 – Day 2

Our Sunday began with waking up and (for me) still being shocked. We spent some time calling family and friends and telling them the big news! After that, we checked out of our hotel and headed north to Waipio Valley to spend the day there.

Waipio Valley was the childhood home of King Kamehameha I. There are about 100 residents in the valley now along with taro fields, a ranch, rivers and wild horses. The drive into the valley was incredibly steep at a 25% incline. Luckily for us, we had a jeep and were able to drive all the way down and explore. Our trip to the valley included driving through a river, seeing wild horses and watching the waves at a black sand beach. It was beautiful!