Visiting the Big Island of Hawaii

I planned a 6-day vacation on the Island of Hawaii. The best part? I actually went on said vacation! This was a vacation opportunity that does, and will, not come very often so my boyfriend, Jeff and I decided to splurge. We set a budget and scheduled as many activities as we could.  This was my first time visiting the big island, and Jeff’s first time in Hawaii! We stayed at my grandmother’s time-share which had a full kitchen so we were able to buy groceries to keep food cost down.  Here we go!

Day One

Travel Day! Our plane left at 7am from LAX with an hour and a half layover in Honolulu. We arrived in Kona around 1pm, exhausted from lack of sleep, and so excited to be in Hawaii! We rented a car from Hertz because they offer a discount with AAA.

Magic Sand Beach, Kona

We ate fish tacos at Oceans Sports Bar and Grill and then headed straight to the beach! There aren’t many sandy beaches on the big island but, the one nearest to Kona is called Magic Sand beach. It gets its name because every so often the surf will pull all of the sand off the beach and then bring it back later….Like “magic.”

Day Two

Paradise Helicopters

Awoke early the next morning to take a helicopter tour with Paradise Helicopters. We chose the circle island tour which is a 2-hour flight around the entire island. The highlights of the trip were definitely the volcano and the waterfalls that can only be accessed by air. If I were to do it over, I would have only paid for the volcano and waterfall package.

Black Sand Beach
Halema’uma’u crater

The tour itself was wonderful. Our pilot was knowledgeable and timed the background music perfectly with the views. Unfortunately, I got motion sickness despite the sea bands and ginger candy; haha! It was definitely worth it though. We were able to see incredible views including once-in-a-lifetime lava flow!

We spent the rest of the day walking around Kona visiting the palace and then went to the Voyagers of the Pacific luau. It was right across the street from where we were staying and had an open bar until 7pm. This was not my first luau, and I’ll be honest and say that it wasn’t the best I have seen. However, the fire show was definitely top notch and the sunset view was breathtaking.

Sunset view from Royal Kona Resort

Day Three

Taqueria located in Hilo

For day three, we drove to Hilo which is a 2 hour drive from Kona. We stopped to eat at Lucy’s Taqueria. Pretty standard Mexican cuisine, except Jeff ordered a burrito the size of an infant. (Literally, there were pictures at the resteraunt to prove it. 😉 ) I planned a zip-line tour just north of Hilo, and on our way over found Onomea trails. It was a beautiful drive with a “secret” beach spot. It looks like it could have continued but zip-lining was calling our name.

Our tour was with Skyline Eco-adventures. There were seven zip-lines placed on a private plantation so during our tour we received fresh fruit right off the plants. The zip-lines start off small and gradually get longer and taller until you are soaring over a 250 foot waterfall!


Akaka Waterfall

We attempted to eat at Suisan Fish market back in Hilo.  Fun fact! Everything in Hilo either closes at 3 or doesn’t open at 5. It is not uncommon in Hawaii. Kona’s resteraunts stay open but close around 8 or 9pm.  So…McDonald’s it was! 😉  Also on the itinerary, was Mauna Kea to check out a stargazing event. This is a free event at the visitor center on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Unfortunately, we decided to pass on the event. We still had a 2-hour drive and the time change made us tired by 8pm. -_- It actually turned out to be a good thing, because the fog set in and then it started pouring rain by the time we got back to Kona.

Day Four

Today we decided to go snorkeling. We rented equipment from Snorkel Bob’s and stopped at Holualoa Bay. Its easily accessible by car and a great beginners spot. We saw a bunch of sea turtles and a ton of colorful fish. Ate lunch at Da Poke Shop which offered fresh caught fish with a wide selection of flavors and sides. Next, the 2-hour drive to the volcano.

Lava tube

Honestly, it was kind of a let down, but only because seeing the volcano from a helicopter was so epic. Nonetheless, we ate at the Volcano House, checked out the steam vents, and a lava tube! That was definitely my favorite part. Jeff and I got some great views of the Kilauea Crater and then started the long drive back. This is where we proclaimed no more road trips!

Day Five

Mahi Mahi

Jeff went on a 4-hour fishing charter with the Sea Wife II. I skipped this one since I normally get sick on slow boats. According to Jeff, it wasn’t exactly what he was hoping for. They set 4 poles up, each person draws a number matching a pole, and whenever there was a bite on a pole the person with that number got to reel it in. His disappointment was that he never got to even touch a pole.  Someone did end up catching a good size Mahi Mahi which everyone got a piece of. But fishing is a hit and miss, some boats didn’t catch anything! So we felt lucky to even have that.

When he got back we ate at Bongo Ben’s Islands Cafe which turned out to be my favorite place on the island. Not too expensive and delicious.

During our trip, quite a few people mentioned to us that we should go on a Mantra Ray snorkel tour. So, since we had one more night, we decided to give it a try. We booked our tour Kamanu Charters. Basically, they attach lights to a surfboard to attract the plankton. You hold on while lying flat, and watch the manta rays feast. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a full show, but we did get to see some swim by. If you don’t get a show then the charter will let you come back for free. Since it was our last night we didn’t have that option so…planning tip: schedul this kind of stuff first! haha Lastly, we ate at Foster’s Kitchen in downtown Kona. Fantastic food but a little on the expensive side.

Day Six

Last hours on the island! I had left this day free. We decided to snorkel again.  I was also hoping to see some historic sites in Captain Cook. But! I made a rookie move. 😉 I had initially checked the map to see where it was but failed to look at driving directions. Turns out, it was either a 2 hour hike or a winding road that could have taken just as long. Seeing that it was the last day we decided to go back to Holualoa Bay and Magic Sand Beach. Finally, we ate at Huggo’s On the Rocks where I had the best lava flow drink. The secret? Guava juice! Even the mai thais are made with guava juice and it makes one delicious difference.

All in all, we had a great trip! We took so many adventures that I needed a vacation from my vacation. 🙂 Don’t forget to follow DreamSavePlan on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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