Definitely the biggest island of Hawaii. Two and a half hours seperate the east and west coasts of this island, which is enough for them to be totally different.
We flew Mokulele Airlines one more time and landed in Kona. We picked up our car and drove all the way to Hilo.
Exhausted from the driving and hiking we had done in the last few days, once in Hilo, we made our way to the beach.
It was July 4th, the Independence Day of the United States. The beach parks were busy with families set up to spend the day (and night!) at the beach. Hawaiians are all very nice and polite and it was great seeing all these families out at the beach and taking advantage of the beautiful outdoor spaces they are lucky to have.
This side of the island is mostly made of lava rocks. Therefore, you won’t find a lot of sandy beaches. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any nice beaches, they’re just very different then what you would expect.
The Carlsmith Beach Park is an amazing set of crystal clear lagoons. It offers a great swim and a large green park, perfect for a picnic.
Further east, the Richardson Ocean Park has a nice black sand beach with lots of corals, Honu and colourful fishes.
After a relaxing day at the beach, we went to Downtown Hilo for dinner.
Hilo is a cute waterfront town, which looks like it’s been frozen in time. The old and colourful building facades are charming.
During the day, a market sets up in the centre of downtown, and, I swear, for a moment I thought I was back in Thailand. Fruit stands, ready-to-eat pad Thai bags and spring rolls, bracelets and necklaces, soaps and candles are just a few of the things you will find here.
In the afternoon, we went back to the beach.
Onekahakaha Beach Park has big boulders blocking the tide which creates a nice big pool (that was invaded by kids). We went beyond the big blocks and set out in the sun.
The water is crystal clear and the view is beautiful, but you need shoes to walk on the rocks.
For dinner we went to Pond’s restaurant.
While in Hilo, we didn’t have the chance to go up to Mauna Kea for sunset as we had planned to, because of the locals are protesting against the new telescope that’s supposed to be built. Although we had gone to Hilo especially for Mauna Kea, we enjoyed the laid back vibe of this town, the lack of tourists and the beautiful lagoons.
Our next stop was Volcano.
The Volcano National Park (summit area) offers multiple hiking trails.
We walked through the Sulfur Banks, and we’re surrounded with volcanic fumes.
Then, we headed up to the summit at the visitor center to take a look at the fuming volcano.
We had a beautiful view of the volcano on our way to the lava tubes.
Then we walked down into the crater. It felt like we were on another planet.
We ended the day by driving all the way to the Holei sea Arch, passing by multiple craters on the way there.
After dark, we headed back up to the Volcano Park to stargaze and watch the lava glow.
The sky full of stars is absolutely breathtaking (but my iPhone nor my gopro could capture it)
The next morning, we drove to Kona, stopping by The Coffee Shack for delicious breakfast with a view!
Our afternoon was spent at Hapuna Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand and a great spot to watch Honu swim by.
We had dinner at the Big Island Grill, a popular restaurant amongst locals and a great place to enjoy Hawaiian food.
After a good night sleep, I went out for my long awaited Surf Lesson at Kahalu’u Bay.
There’s also some great snorkeling at Kahaluu Bay.
After lunch, my really bad sunburn I got while surfing started hurting and I wasn’t feeling well. We were trying to go to Two Step which is apparently great for snorkeling when my nausea kicked in. So we headed back to the hotel for a nap.
Feeling better, we took a walk in the late afternoon in the Kona Village, buying last minute souvenirs. At sunset, we went for dinner at the Java Lava Café.
On our last day, we were flying out late in the evening. We took advantage of our last few hours on the island to try to find Makalawena Beach, which is apparently a beautiful secret Beach (turns out it’s a pretty well kept secret because we didn’t find it)
Instead, we enjoyed the Manini’owali beach at the Kekaha Kai Park for a last swim in the beautiful turquoise water of Hawaii before our long trip back to Montreal.
I’m always nostalgic when I finish typing up the last post of a trip. But this time, I already have another trip lined up and I’m excited to go soon and share this new adventure with you guys!
See you soon 🙂
ps: I’m also hoping to share my first Go Pro video soon; featuring lots of hikes, honu and volcanoes!