Welcome to part 2 of our Hawaii 2016 recap! Click here if you need to read part 1. Last week’s post was about our time spent in Hilo and the surrounding area. This week is about the next half of our trip.
Driving from Hilo to Waimea
We made a ton of stops when we traveled from Hilo to Waimea. Our agenda for the day was as follows:
- Breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo – this was fun, but not superb by any means. The milkshake was great (because… of course you need a milkshake with breakfast – ha!)
- Brief stop at Rainbow falls in Hilo – Don’t just stop at the waterfall – there is a great path off to the side of the waterfall viewing area that takes you to a magical tree-filled area and then further to the swimming holes above the waterfall. Note: there are signs saying it’s dangerous… but we saw people swimming anyways. Okay, I’ll share a picture with you of the forest area – it was just that cool:
- Akaka Falls State Park – This was a fun little hike with a loop trail. It was definitely less than a mile total and all paved paths. If I recall there are some stairs.
- Laupahoehoe Point Park – A wonderful park with some nice views, but not a thing that I’d recommend as a “must-do” when you visit the Big Island.
- Red Water Cafe in Waimea – Once we arrived at our next Air Bnb in Waimea, we decided that we needed to get some dinner and splurge. We went out to Red Water Cafe which was so pricy, but so delicious! There was also live jazz.
The wedding was the next day, and for the sake of not sharing all my friends’ stuff on this blog, I’ll ignore the actual wedding day in this post. Let me just say that it was beautiful, fun and I’m so incredibly happy for the couple!
Kona Coast State Park/Makalawena Ahupua’a
Definitely go to Kona Coast State Park/Makalawena Ahupua’a if you get a chance. You’ll park at a little state beach park and then immediately turning to the right and walking on the dried lava beds over to a beach that you can’t get to unless you hike or have a jeep! Here’s the honey along the hiking path:
The beach you’ll be wanting to get to called Makalawena Ahupua’a and there are plenty of guides online for how to get there. Google it. But, in case you aren’t sold yet…. look at this beauty!
Pristine sand, few people, and beautiful sea and surf.
We met up with the bride and groom and some of their friends the next day to go with Alii Ocean Tours on a snorkel adventure – we even saw dolphins! Somewhere during our time in Waimea we also went to another Baha’i event – this time a Musical Fireside with Red Grammer! He happened to be doing some school workshops and put together a nice fireside at a local Baha’is house.
Scuba Diving with Manta Rays
We went diving with Jack’s Diving Locker and I enjoyed every bit of it. Their staff are professional and funny, charismatic and trustworthy. We did a two-tank dive so we got to dive before the sunset, have dinner, and then dive again after the sun went down to see the manta rays. It was absolutely one of the most incredible and breathtaking experiences of my life!
The mantas are huge. And one swam right over my head… like a foot above me! When you go night diving with mantas what you do is go to the bottom and sit down. We all have flashlights to help us see, but the guides have huge lights to light the area. There is also a huge light floating up top to help bring the plankton so the manta rays come to feed. We are instructed to sit still and not try anything stupid. As I mentioned: manta rays are big. They can hurt you without realizing it! Also, they have this sticky stuff on them as a protective measure. If we touch them, it can ultimately cause them harm from losing the sticky stuff. (At least… I think that’s how it works!)
We had a few days before our flight after scuba diving, so we took it easy and went to a few beaches, including returning to Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park which was where we went snorkeling with the bride and groom a few days earlier. We had previously boated into the cove, but this time we had to hike in! It’s about 2 miles each way from the highway and it’s not paved and there are some ups and downs along the way, especially at the end when you are making your way down to the beach.
In all, it was a fabulous Hawaii trip, albeit a little long… Either way, we had some great adventures. I can’t wait for my next night dive!