Our last stop on our cruise was Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia. We had one full day there and took full advantage of it. We started the day by having a lovely breakfast in our room, wandering around Papeete and visiting the market, then renting a car to drive around part of the island. Once we picked up the car, we headed North to start our trip around Tahiti Nui (we only had time to drive around the larger part of the island).
Lovely view for breakfast.
First visit to the market.
After stopping at a black sand beach and waterfall, we continued our rainy drive by a bright colored church and stopped at a botanical garden. Unfortunately the botanical garden seemed pretty desolate. However, we did see a Galapagos turtle but we were somewhat concerned since no one seemed to be there.
Our final stop on our tour of the island was the Maraa grotto. It was pouring down rain but well worth the stop. We met the cutest kitten and wished we could have taken her home with us!
Such a cool photo of them walking away.
After a decent amount of time at the caves, we drove back to Papeete to return the car and explore more. We walked around the city, visited the market for lunch and souvenirs, and eventually made our way back to the ship to eat dinner and pack our bags for an early morning departure.
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.
Enjoying champagne on the ship!
Enjoying more champagne and an incredible sunset.
Carmel popcorn ice cream…as good as it looks!
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.
Our fancy coffee we had every single morning!
Finally got to try mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen!
Josh trying out the SUP board with peddles.
Double rainbow leaving Hilo.
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!
Forcing Josh to drink a Piña Colada with me.
Dover sole with lemon caper sauce.
Josh’s chorizo scallops.
Fancy apple tart dessert. Just as delicious as it looks!
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.
Exploring the caves.
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.
Such a neat shot.
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.
Walking out through the baby palm trees to the black sand beach.
Such a pretty black sand beach.
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!
This past week Paige came to visit! She was our first visitor since we moved back and we had a great time doing a ton of fun things on the island.
We spent her first whole day on the North Shore. Started with sky diving, enjoyed some shrimp and corn from the food trucks, saw some turtles, and had shave ice. After all of that, we were even able to muster enough energy to head into Waikiki for dinner.
There she is!
She made it!
This guy was huge.
So pretty..and delicious
Sunday, we went on one of our favorite hikes — Kuli’ou’ou Ridge. We’ve hiked this multiple times and this was the first time we ended up covered in mud.
Josh the monkey.
Found this guy on the trail.
Loved how the clouds were hanging over the mountain.
Paige and the stairs.
Made it to the top!
After our hike, we went to spitting caves to see what the waves were doing. They didn’t disappoint!
And now we’ll do a little jig.
During the week, Paige entertained herself with Pearl Harbor, visiting Kauai and some yoga. The next weekend we went on an ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch, which was a BLAST. This was our first time doing this and we can’t wait to do it again! The weather was beautiful and we had a great tour guide.
On Saturday, we drove around the West side of the island and stopped to enjoy the views. We spent awhile at Spitting Caves and saw a few turtles since it was so calm. There were also three people that jumped, so that was awesome! We also discovered that there are multiple peacocks that live in the house near the path to Spitting Caves. As many times as I have been there, I’ve never discovered that!
This past week, I had friends visiting Oahu after the wedding in Maui. On Saturday, we did the tour of the North Shore and on our way stopped at a beach close to Haleiwa to check out all of the sea turtles (Honu). There were probably about 20-30 turtles in the water that we could see and many of them came up on the shore. I hadn’t ever seen anything like it and am so happy I got to see these unique creatures up close while I live here!