When one needs to escape the north… one looks for the sun. The summer of 2010 was no exception – and Hawaii was the destination. Our journey began on the Big Island of Hawaii (otherwise officially known as the Island of Hawai’i)… It is the island that can fit all the other Hawaiian Islands (Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Maui) inside of it and still have room to spare. Why BIG ISLAND? Well namely because it offers a larger variety of sites to explore and experiences to be had including an active volcano, awesome snorkeling and some amazing (Mama’s 100%) Kona coffee.
We stayed at the Coconut Cottage Bed and Breakfast (see photo below) in Pahoa on the East-side of the island. The service was great, the hosts were super nice and the location was perfect for launching into some local jungle hiking adventures, waterfall excursions and volcano viewing (i.e. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park). I posted a review of the B&B on Trip Advisor too. TIP: if you want to get up close to the lava flow you will need to (a) go on a lava flow boat tour or (b) there is a group of locals that take people on renegade after-dark lava tours (when the park is closed).
The atmosphere on the Big Island was seriously chilled out – even subdued. In addition, the economic meltdown that began in 2008 had hit the islands hard, which has affected the number of tourists coming from the mainland of the United States. Yet, everyone we met, especially the native Hawaiian’s, were very friendly, helpful and talkative – which was kind of refreshing. And because of that, there was really no need for a travel guide because we got all of our best tips from the locals. TIP: But if you want a travel guide the best one to get is BIG ISLAND REVEALED.
The best way to see Big Island is to rent a vehicle and drive around. Just drive and sightsee – you do not need a plan because there is always something just up the highway (that circumnavigates the island) from the last thing you did. FYI, Hertz has the best rental deals and GPS systems in their vehicles. Just make sure you pay attention to the fine print. I would recommend that you get yourself a light raincoat and umbrella if you visit the East-Side (Hilo side) of the island because it is the rainiest place in the United States (hence all the beautiful jungle). Check out my photos below.