I never realized how much I wanted to travel until I started doing it. This last spring I explored many things. I love the beauty of nature and being in Hawaii in April was by far one of the more stunning places. It was so amazing to see a young volcanic island with such a diverse array of flora and fauna.
We stayed on the Big Island of Hawaii and explored the volcanoes, had a submarine tour and visited many beaches for snorkeling and surfing. Hawaii is gorgeous and I can't wait to explore other islands in this incredible archipelago.
We flew into Kona, which is on the west coast of the Big Island. We stayed at a timeshare in the Waikoloa Resort, a thirty-minute drive north from Kona airport. This resort, in particular, had it’s own golf courses, shopping centers, and grocery store. Everything you need is on site. We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment. It was very nice and right on the ground level close to the communal barbecue and hot tub for that complex. The only downfall of this particular room and on this particular level is that the residents above us decided every night to throw food down to the feral cats. How Rude!
Anyway, over the next few days, we checked out some snorkeling beaches and signed my nephew up for surfing. He went for two days with Kona Mike's Surf Adventures and had so much fun. I highly recommend this company everyone was very enthusiastic, professional, and safe. Snorkeling was good pretty much everywhere we went. My sister, however, loved Kahalu'u Beach Park. This spot was convenient because the surfers were off to the right practicing and to the left was an easy entry snorkeling area. It was full of beautiful fish and corals. This area was great for snorkelers because of its gradual depth change. Once out of the water there were places to shower off and buy food and refreshments.
I originally came to Hawaii with grandiose dreams of scuba diving, but the universe had other plans. I had a bad sinus infection most of the trip and equalizing was not going to happen. So we did the next best thing and everyone was able to participate! We signed up for the Atlantis Submarine Tour in Kona. This tour was so much fun and so easy for everyone. The submarine had two rows of bench seats facing either side of the submarine. There were many windows, perfect for everyone to get a good view. We went about 100 feet deep and toured around about 25 acres of coral reef and saw all sorts of sea creatures. We also saw a wreck. I would never substitute this for scuba diving. However, if you have a member of your group that doesn't want to dive this is a great alternative.
Now, for those of you who love jewelry beware! Sharing the same office space as Atlantis Submarines was Maui Divers Jewelry. They had beautiful black coral pieces set in gold and silver. They also had you fish for an oyster and find your special pearl. The ladies working the counter were very friendly and very good at their jobs.
The last day of our trip, in retrospect, wasn’t planned very well. The Big Island has five volcanoes two of which are active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. The best way to see the island and its volcanoes are by helicopter. There are many helicopter company locations around the island so you can easily book and leave from close to where you are staying. We missed our chance on the helicopter tour because we decided too late and the bookings were full. Since we couldn’t do the helicopter tour, we took a long scenic drive. Our first stop was in Hilo, which is very green and lush, compared to the Kona side, which is rougher with lots of volcanic rock. We then dipped south toward the Kilauea volcano in Volcanoes National Park. When entering the park you can stop at Kilauea Visitor Center for information and history. They also have a little theatre that shows videos of different eruptions and lava flows throughout the years. After our stop at the visitor center, we rushed to a few observation areas. I loved being able to actually see the crater of the volcano, the layers from the old lava lakes, and even the steam coming out of an active vent. Kilauea volcano is such a different and amazing landscape from other places I’ve been. The Volcanoes National Park is fairly large and definitely a full day or two days trip if you really want to hike and explore all the observation areas and different ecosystems. Our visit was short and sweet as our flight was that night and we had to get back to Kona. With so many things to do and so little time, I was off on another adventure. I can’t wait to come back and explore more.