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A week on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii


Jan 21st, 2010, 10:37 PM
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A week on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii

We spent the first week of the year staying at a beautiful ocean-front rental home, “Ocean House,” on the east side of the Big Island, in Hawaiian Beaches (near Pahoa), south of Hilo. We went with a friend who is in a wheelchair. The home, which can be seen at https://hawaiianoceanhouse.com/Home_Page.html, had four stories and an elevator, was well equipped, and was reasonably priced. Wonderful ocean views (including many whale sightings) from all floors and excellent stargazing from the top floor! Master bedroom was wonderful, with a patio and terrific views. The house was close to sights such as Lava Tree State Monument, Isaac Hale Beach, the Ahalanui Hot Pond, and Kalapana and Kaimu, and was about a 30-minute drive to Hilo. Volcanoes National Park was about 45 minutes away.

There is not nearly as much activity on the east side of the island as on the west side. For example, I found only one place that rented kayaks -- kayakhilokona (877-800-3800) -- and we had to pick them up in downtown Hilo and load them on our car. (They did help us do that.) We kayaked for 3 hours in Hilo Bay, launching at Reeds Bay, and it was very nice.

Leleiwi and Richardson Beach Parks in Hilo looked very nice for swimming and snorkeling, but we did not have a chance to do anything more than look at them.

Hilo has an excellent farmers market and associated craft market. There is a market near Pahoa on Sundays.

We very much enjoyed our visit to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hilo. Golf carts are available to transport people who cannot walk the steep path (and their wheelchairs). The gardens are on the four-mile Scenic Route, which is very pretty.

Lava Tree State Monument is definitely worth a visit, not so much for the lava trees but for the beautiful forest in which they are situated.

The Akatsuka Orchid Gardens is on the way to/from the national park and makes a nice stop.

My husband and a friend played golf three times on the trip. They especially enjoyed playing at Mauna Kea and were able to get a bit of a discount by booking on a discount site online, but it was still expensive ($175 each). The views from the course are gorgeous. They also played at the Volcano course, which they enjoyed but didn’t find terribly challenging. They were going to play at SeaMountain, but felt that it had fallen into disrepair. While they played at Mauna Kea, my friend and I went to Hawi, which has some nice shopping. We had a fabulous lunch at Sushi Rock. The edamame was especially good. Even though I didn’t personally try it, my friend has encouraged me to mention that in Hawi there is the fabulous Tropical Dreams Ice Cream, which is homemade style ice cream with natural ingredients and flavors. (Hawi is the home location of Tropical Dreams, though now you can buy it in other locations on the island.) She also recommends the restaurant Bamboo, which is Asian/fusion with a touch of Hawaii.

Other restaurants: We had two meals at Café Pesto in Hilo and enjoyed them both very much. Our dinner at Kaleo’s Bar and Grill in Pahoa was excellent. There was a nice little food stand at Kaimu Beach, at the end of Hwy. 137.
judilie is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2010, 02:22 AM
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Thanks for your report!
lcuy is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:55 AM
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Wow! Spectacular views. How was the weather while you were there?
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Jan 22nd, 2010, 10:27 PM
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We were extemely lucky with the weather, on what's typically the rainy side of the island. We were there an entire week, and it didn't rain once.
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