A few days after Christmas, my friend Chloe, hubby, Claire and I all went to the island of Hawaii, which people here just call the “Big Island,” since it is the biggest. I think it’s four times the size of Oahu. It definitely felt larger! We only spent about two and a half days here, so we really packed in the sights.
We flew into Kona on Tuesday, got brunch, and went to Hapauna Beach. This was such a gorgeous beach! I had never felt softer sand anywhere in Hawaii so far. The water was pretty warm and we just hung out in the ocean for about 45 minutes.
It was clearly nap time for this one though.
She rarely just passes out when we’re out, but I guess after waking up early for a flight and a big morning, she needed it. And don’t worry, she was covered the entire time 😉
Then we headed to Mauna Kea. It’s the highest point in Hawaii and one of the tallest mountains in the US. Technically, it’s taller than most peaks since the elevation climb is so drastic, from sea level to almost 14k feet. I definitely felt it on the drive up.
We decided not to go to the actual summit because it was freezing and the rapid elevation gain made us all feel kind of weird. I actually took no pictures when we were up there because I was not feeling good.
at Akaka Falls
After Mauna Kea, we went on a short hike to see a waterfall and then went to Volcano National Park where we stayed for the night.
This day was all about seeing Volcano National Park. What a cool National Park!
There are steam vents all over, with big plumes of steam coming out because the lava below the ground is so hot. We went on a short hike to a lava tube, where a ton of lava flowed at one point. We saw a big crater that had lava in it at day and then again at night and it was all glowing. That was neat.
The crater at night
We also took a big bike ride to see some lava that flows right into the ocean. What’s really crazy is the place we biked to just had a major collapse on New Year’s Eve. It’s been in the news some. I don’t think anyone was hurt thankfully, but I’m so glad nothing like that happened when we were there!
You can just barely see the red/orange glow of the lava through the smoke. The “smoke” being emitted is sulfurous gasses being produced by the lava flow and steam from the hot lava entering the water.
You could also take boat rides to see the lava. We saw two boats that got very close to the lava. Seems like a cool way to see it, but the boats were really small, bobbing up and down a LOT, and it was like $220 a person for the boat ride. So we biked instead!
This was a quick half day for us. We checked out of our hotel and went to a black sand beach real quick just to see it. Hawaii has a bunch of colored sand beaches, so black, green, red, and pink. This one was black because of the volcanic rock. We took some sand home too.
Then we went to a great place to snorkel called Two Step. This was honestly the best snorkeling I’ve ever done. It was about 15 feet above the ocean floor, maybe a little deeper at points with TONS of coral and colorful fish.
Apparently you can see dolphins and turtles here sometimes but we did not. Either way, it was super fun.
Right next to the snorkeling area was another National park about the first Polynesian settlers to Hawaii. There were original Tiki men build hundreds of years ago still standing today. They had a lot of replica artifacts of how the people lived. We didn’t have time to stay too long, but it was very fascinating.
Then we headed back to Kona where our flight was leaving from. We got a quick bite to eat and then walked around Kona for about an hour before we had to go to the airport. I so wish we had had more time in Kona because it seemed like such a cool town.
Although it was quick, it was a great trip. I’m so glad I was able to get off our island and onto experience another one. Hawaii is so different than Oahu, that’s for sure. I would definitely love to go back but am thinking we won’t since we have so many other islands on our list to see!
Questions for You:
- Do you like to try to see everything you can on vacation or just take it slow?
- What’s the last trip you went on?