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Trip Report Big Island and Kauai

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We just returned from a great trip to the Big Island and Kauai. I want to say a BIG thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the advice I got from so many of you! You made this trip awesome for all of us (me and my DH, my sweet mother, and our dear friends)!

We stayed for a few days in Waikiki for some of the group to do Pearl Harbor. We stayed in the Aqua Lotus. It was a perfect hotel for us! We had an upper level room - 11th floor, it was very nicely decorated, very clean and had a great shower area. The lanai faced Diamond Head and that first afternoon we saw a rainbow across the top.:):) I walked into Waikiki for exercise and for amusement and lunch and I did not think it was a bad walk in, but I like to walk. There was a park right next to the hotel with so much going on that it was entertaining to watch as well. The staff was exceptional and were always willing to offer help or advice. We would definitely recommend this hotel.
Food
Hau Tree Lanai - great views, great appetizers and salads, good drinks. Entrees were just so/so.
Morimotos - It had gotten some mixed reviews, but we were very pleased. Great service, great appetizers and the fish was unbelievable! We returned for the lunch box the next day.

Big Island. We stayed in Hilo and traveled around from there. We stayed at http://www.vrbo.com/6024 this place was even better than the website! The pictures really don't do it justice. I would highly recommend this place to anyone who wants an exception house and to live a little while in a "rainforest". :):)
Day Trips:
1st day was downtown Hilo, Puna, Kehena beach, the lava fields at Kaimu Beach, Isaac Hale Beach Park where we saw our first turtle! yeah
2nd day -Hilo's Farmers market - neat mix of vegetables and crafts, Honoli'i Beach Park where a surf competition was going on, Akaka Falls, KoleKole Beach Park, Laupahoehoe Point where a great little band was playing and some kind of festival was going on, and finally to the Waipi'o Valley lookout. This was just an unbelievable day of beauty. We all kept saying that this was remarkable.
3rd day - Volcano national park and a look at the steam vents, on to Punalu'u to the black sand beach where we saw several turtles and a gorgeous beach.
4th day - we decided to take it a little easy today and just enjoy t he house and the town of Hilo.
Food: Ken's House of Pancakes (thanks to the person who recommended this place) was very good. We went for breakfast and the boys had loco mocos. The girls had egg dishes and all was good. Cafe Pesto in Hilo was very good and had great drinks.
The rest was meals at the house with my husband indulging in his pastime of cooking.

Kauai. We stayed at http://www.vrbo.com/318748 I was suspicious that the beach wouldn't be very "private" but I swear to you it was! Most days it was just our little group on the beach. This house was very nice, but it had no hope in comparison to the Hilo house. It was a typical beach house with a phenomenal view from the windows all along the back - even a view out of the shower in the 3rd bedroom. hahaha We would stay here again. It was about 15 minutes north of Kapa'a and we loved the location.

We rented snorkel gear from Snorkel Bob's and it was quality gear. We were able to have a great snorkeling experience right off the beach from our house. My sweet mother (age 72) has never snorkeled before and she was able to do this here - I wish you could have seen her smiling face.

We did the helicopter trip (Blue Hawaiian) and it was terrifying and awesome at the same time. We took a day trip and spent the day at the beach in Poipou (more turtles). We kayaked from the house (provided), we took a horseback ride (Silver Ranch Farms)and had a fun experience, we took a catamaran tour of the Napali coast (Capt. Sundowner) and had a good "wet" time. All of these were great experiences but I think we all agreed that the helicopter trip was the best.
We had more "down time" here and just really enjoyed our beach and the gorgeous scenery.

Food
We had a really great meal in Kapa'a, but I can't seem to find the name of the restaurant - it was in one of the resorts. Chicken in a Barrel -it was kind of a joke but it was really good chicken! Bubba's Burgers and Duane's Ono Burgers - very very average. Calypso in Hanalei was good food and very good drinks. Again, we got fresh fish and such and my husband and friend cooked great meals at the house.

Overall we had the best trip ever!! Again, thanks to all of you for all of the trip reports and advice that you gave us! This site has always provided me and my family with great help with all of our adventures.

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