Thanks to some good business relationships and my hunny’s hard work, we’ve had the opportunity to travel to some pretty incredible places… Like the Hawaiian Islands. In the four years Mark and I have been together, I’ve been able to travel to Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and now the Big Island.
If I had to rank them in favorites, Maui still takes the cake. Followed by the Big Island, Oahu, and Kauai. I honestly loved Maui and we had the best of everything while we were there: weather, food, accommodations, outings. Oahu is great, a lot of it is city but Pearl Harbor is worth the trip without a doubt! Kauai is beautiful and a much slower pace, but super rainy. It is not your typical beach vacation, but more of a rainforest type trip.
The Big Island was fascinating to me, talk about a variety of landscapes. We saw everything from rainforest-like vegetation, to moon style volcanic rock where nothing is growing, to black beaches, to mountain peaks and hills, and finally grassy plains where they graze cattle. I absolutely loved getting out and experiencing the many different areas of the Island of Hawaii.
For the first couple days, we rented (via VRBO our first time using it) a vacation home up the hill with an incredible infinity pool that overlooked the ocean down the hill. It was so nice to relax and enjoy the day outside of a resort and lounge around with friends. Plus I loved cooking with all the great seafood at my disposal. This was one of the favorite parts of the trip and will be something we do next trip to the Islands. We had a great VRBO experience and will look towards utilizing it again for future trips!
For the conference part of our trip, we stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa It is a massive, massive resort which accommodated the extremely large conference we were attending. While the resort was beautiful, clean, and accommodating… the food was okay at best which was a disappointment to me. Just gave us another reason to get out and explore!
As usual, the hubby and I rented a Harley for a few days. We love to explore the Hawaiian Islands on two wheels, there’s no better way.
My top good food eats for the Island, in no particular order:
- Hawaiian Style Cafe – this place had an incredible breakfast! Go early to avoid a huge crowd. And beware, the portions are HUGE! Pancakes as big as your plate. My omelet was gigantic and Mark had the famous Loco Moco.
- Hana Hou Restaurant – this little diner was like stepping into a time machine. It claims the title of the Southern Most Restaurant in the United States. Lots of options, I had a plate lunch of shredded pork, famous Hawaiian potato macaroni salad, and brown rice. Mark had a burger and soup which was also delicious. Their pie looked incredible, it is what they are famous for.
- Roy’s Waikoloa – Roy’s has a long standing history in Hawaii and on several different islands. We’ve eaten at several of them, they always produce an incredible meal! It is on the pricier side, but totally worth the price. I enjoyed their braised short ribs and scalloped potatoes with a side of butter fish. Mark had a ribeye, which was dynamite.
- Pineapples – We needed a good place to stop for lunch while on the Harley in Hilo. We stopped and enjoyed lunch at Pineapples, super cute corner space with lots of open air tables. The menu is extensive, it was hard to choose. I had their fish tacos with this incredible pineapple salsa. Everyone we were with enjoyed their meal here!
- Kona Brewing Company Brew Pub – We took the quick brewery tour (they’re building a new building!), enjoyed some beer tasting, and had lunch here (twice). We love the Kona beers, we regularly have Big Wave in our fridge so this was a no-brainer visit for us. Their lunch is awesome, fantastic homemade pizza and killer salads! A must stop while on the Island.
- Tommy Bahama’s – I am typically not much for chain style restaurants but Tommy Bahamas is my exception. Honestly, some of the best food we ate on the Island was from our meal here. I enjoyed a grapefruit basil martini (which I had to make at home too, so good!) along with macadamian nut crusted red snapper and some crab bisque soup to start. It was divine! Mark had a filet topped with a blue cheese sauce.
I would have to say that probably my favorite ride of the Island took us up north to two INCREDIBLE valleys with picture perfect views.
The largest of the valleys of Kohala Mountain is Waipi’o Valley. Meaning curved water in the Hawaiian language, Waipi’o is a place of great historical significance to the Hawaiian people. The valley was inhabited for hundreds of years by Hawaiians growing taro and other crops, however most of the history of the valley was wiped out completely in 1946 by a powerful tsunami. Since then, a small community of people who generally want to avoid society live here, some permanently and some seasonally. This valley is closed to the public, however, you can check out the incredible views from up top.
The second valley, the Pololu Valley is at the head of the Kohala Coast. It is apparently the oldest part of the island with deeply in-cut valleys. Pololū means long spear, and carves a long cleave on the northern side of Kohala Mountain. There are several different trails to hike in this valley, but also a lookout up top for those not wanting to brave the elements.
I didn’t take as many photos with my “big camera” as I should have on this trip. I was enjoying the sunshine, good company, and spending time with my lovely husband. But I did manage to get quite a few Instagram worthy iPhone photos for your viewing pleasure!
The great part about Islands like the Big Island is there is literally so much to see and do all over the Island! I got recommendations for even more things to see and do when we visit again someday!
Have you ever visited? What was your favorite part?