I wish vacations were longer!
I could snorkel here for hours.
Off to the left there, I actually did, I have the sunburn to prove it.
This was our third time to Hawaii. First, we explored Kauai in 2013, then Maui last year. This year we decided on the Big Island and stayed in Kailua-Kona. No sons, just me and my man, and my brother and sister-in-law.
Hotels are nice, but noisy, and food can be expensive if you are buying every meal out. We have learned condos are the way to go.
Monday morning we had to stop at the famous Punalu’u Bake Shop and have fresh Hawaiian malasadas (donuts) on our way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The malasadas were warm and wonderful. Go early if you are ever in the area; on our way back home we stopped in again, and that case was empty.
Volcano National Park was a full day trip. Worth it?
You can even walk on a volcano.
It was amazing to walk down into and across the crater of Kilauea iki.
The rest of the week included powdery white sand beaches.
Hawaiian shave ice.
A visit to downtown Hilo, and the Farmer’s Market – papayas 3 for $1. I think I could survive on just strawberry and rainbow papayas alone.
Another stop, well worth it in Hilo was Hawaiian Crown Chocolate (160 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, HI 96720). We had a wonderful conversation with the owner, Tom, who promptly cut open a cacao bean and let us try a piece.
How cool is that! (That’s actually Tom’s daughter giving us a sample.)
I still can’t wrap my head around how something that tastes like a tropical fruit can morph into what we know as our beloved chocolate. Hawaiian Crown Chocolate, though a little shop, had a delicious variety of chocolates.
Green Sand Beach in southern Hawaii, gets its green color from the mineral olivine in the sand. Though it was quite a trek, it was well worth the time spent.
No trip to the Big Island is complete without at least one stop to a Kona Coffee Plantation. We passed Greenwell Farms multiple times before I was able to convince our small group to stop in and check it out. They offer tours, tasting and have a small array of coffees at various prices.
We attempted to explore as much of the island of Hawaii as we could. Though we did visit every section of the island, 7 days is far to short to fit it all in. This much will have to suffice for now. If I can offer any advice, it would be to enjoy the time to relax, don’t be afraid to try out snorkeling, and try some of the local favorites.
Oven Roasted Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes
These were nice small potatoes that were great for quick oven roasting. Just a quick scrub, cut in half, toss with oil and season (we had Grillmates Mesquite on hand), and roast cut sides down 20 minutes on an oiled cookie sheet at 425F.
Dinner Hawaiian style.