Travel Diaries: The Big Island

5/27/2019 02:46:00 PM

If you read my Waikiki Travel Diary, you know that we love the energy of Waikiki. The Big Island is completely different. Slower. Much slower. We didn't think we'd like it, but surprisingly we did. We stayed at the Fairmont Orchid (another fantastic property). They had snorkeling right off the private beach and at night they shine a light into the water near the property and you can see Manta Rays swimming around and feeding. Also, turtles, turtles were all over the resort. It was glorious. My only complaint was that the property was 40 minutes from Kona which meant long drives to and from town if you didn't want resort food. After a week there, we got pretty sick of it (the food, not the resort).

A Category 5 hurricane was expected to hit the islands on the week we were planning to be there (first one in a hundred years), so our vacation plans were up in the air for a while. Luckily, our flights were not canceled so we made it to Kona and this was the weather when we landed.

Unfortunately for our friends, the Hilo side of the island (where they initially intended to get married) got the brunt of the storm and their venue was flooded. It was a scramble to find a different venue, but the wedding was very beautiful regardless of the change and we were grateful we could spend the day celebrating with them.

We were pretty active on this trip (usually we don't do much on our "relaxing" vacations). Besides the wedding, we visited a coffee plantation up in the mountains and made friends with some cats and wild pigs (just kidding, we kept our distance from the pigs). Nick also went scuba diving and did one of the Manta Ray night diving excursions.

We drove up Mauna Kea to the observatory and watched the sunset. There were parts of the drive that were pretty treacherous (especially driving into the sun), so if you're scared of heights and drop-offs, this might not be for you. Also, you definitely need an all-wheel drive vehicle and a coat - a huge was cold and windy at the summit. You aren't allowed to stay much past sunset, so when driving back down, I would recommend finding a nice spot to pull over where it's pitch black. You'll see the most stars you've ever seen and probably will ever see in your life. This was one of the best experiences of my 30+ years on this planet. It'll be hard to top.

I did more snorkeling on this trip than any of our other Hawaii vacations. The hotel has a private cove with abundant fish and wildlife along with free snorkel gear rental, so it was pretty convenient. Also, I learned that you can in fact get motion sick under the water.

Lastly, the Big Island has the best fruit of any of the islands. I can say that now that we've been to Maui (Travel Diary coming soon). If it's Longan/Lychee season, be prepared to be blown away. I know I took a photo of fruit at a Farmer's Market, but haven't been able to find it, so I'll just leave you with a beautiful sunset photo instead.


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