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Hawaii Honeymoon Trip Report Part 2: Big Island

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Hawaii Honeymoon Trip Report Part 2: Big Island

Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 02:05 PM
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Hawaii Honeymoon Trip Report Part 2: Big Island

I posted an earlier report on the first 2 nights of our honeymoon on Waikiki...this is part 2, heading to the Big Island. We LOVED the BI. It was an amazing, diverse landscape and unlike anything either of us had ever seen. The contrast between the black lava and blue Pacific everywhere was striking...

DAY 3: We left Waikiki on Aug. 9 and headed to the Kona Airport. We really felt like we were in Hawaii when we landed here because the entire airport was outdoors. I bought us some fresh flower leis ($7 each) and we took the shuttle to our rental car. We rented from Alamo and got a Saturn for $170 for 4 nights/5 days. This car was great on gas.

We drove along Highway 19 and were amazed by the miles and miles of black lava rock. Because all the resorts on the Kohala Coast are down by the sea, from the road, you see nothing but lava and the ocean. Spectacular, almost eerie, scenery. All along the lava, people had spelled out messages in white coral rock, we got so used to seeing those on our drives to Kailua-Kona.

We got to our hotel, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, and checked in. Again, we were upgraded for being honeymooners (and given champagne) from Terrace View to a Partial Ocean View. They also had chilled papaya juice and cool towels for us. This hotel was beautiful, serene, and tranquil. Elegant in an understated way. The room was very nice, the balcony was large and furnished, and the bathroom was all marble and quite luxurious.

This was quite a change for us after Waikiki, and we were booked here for 4 nights. To make a long story very short, there was a mix-up, (our fault) and we ended up having to leave after 1 night. We were very sad -- the beach here is outstanding, easily in the top 2 we saw in Hawaii, and the pool area was also wonderful.

We grabbed a quick dinner at King's Shops food court, and headed to the Hilton and the Marriott to pick a hotel for our last 3 nights. We ended up picking the Marriott because although the Hilton was very nice but HUGE, so we went with the Marriott.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 02:21 PM
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DAY 4: We hung out by the Hapuna pool until check out at 12, grabbed some breakfast at Cafe Hapuna, good selection of fresh fruits and bagels, muffins, etc...We also took a walk down Hapuna Beach and decided we were extremely sad we only had one night there. I would even say a little depressed!! I had done all my research so well, and was bummed I wasn't going to get to stay there for the full 4 nights.

(SIDE NOTES: 2 negatives about Hapuna: 1.) the location. The Marriott ended up being not nearly as nice as Hapuna, but it had King's Shops right there, and was about 10 minutes closer to Kailua-Kona for dinner, shopping. After Waikiki, the driving was a bit inconvienent at times to get what you needed, but that's also the beauty of the island. 2.) Some people have said Hapuna is very cold, almost sterile, and not "Hawaiian feeling"...I would agree. Although the hotel is gorgeous, there are places where it feels very weird, very dark hallways, for example. And no tiki torches or anything lit at night, which we LOVED at our other hotels. That being said, I definitely want to stay at the Hapuna and experience it more on another trip. The beach, pool, and room/bathroom are great for the price we got $199/night.)

We checked out at 12 and drove the 35 minutes to Kailua-Kona for some lunch and shopping before check-in at the Waikoloa Marriott at 3. Had lunch at Huggo's, which was excellent. I got a cheeseburger with bacon and blue cheese, and my husband got a roast beef sandwich. We had a couple drinks and split a dessert. The service and view were also great. We rented snorkel gear and chairs from Snorkel Bob's for the week ($9 for snorkel gear, $12 per chair), and headed back to Waikoloa to the Marriott.

Now, I want to preface this by saying I did end up liking the Marriott very much, but when we first checked in, we were both very disappointed. The grounds, pool, beach (A-Bay) were wonderful, and very Hawaiian (a lot of kids and families), but the room and bathroom itself were not great. We paid $200/night for an garden view, but got upgraded to Ocean View for being honeymooners and champagne again, which was excellent. We loved the view, but for the price, the room and bathroom were very "cheap" looking and feeling compared to Hapuna and the Outrigger on Waikiki, where we also paid $200/night. The bedspread and sheets particularly were very scratchy. Again, I did like the Marriott very much, though, and I would stay there again.

DAY 5: This was our day to drive to Volcano National Park. We grabbed breakfast at King's Shops at the Big Island Steak House which was very good, although a bit pricey. Huge omelets, made with 6 eggs each!

Along the way, we stopped at the Place of Refuge, which was very interesting and worth a stop. We spent about an hour touring and saw sea turtles swimming the in the surf. We also stopped at the black sand beach on the way to VNP, this was outstanding! What a beautiful place...the sand was so black and crystal like, seemed like sparkly black sugar. And with the blue water and palm trees, it was one of the prettiest places we stopped at. There was also a huge green sea turtle sunning himself on the sand and others playing in the surf, which made for great pictures. We hopped back in the car, and got to VNP around 2:30...
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Just driving around VNP and checking out the various craters and old lava flows was awe-inspiring. My husband especially loved it. The steam vents, and hardened lava made came out great on our digital camera!

We drove down the Chain of Craters, a 20 mile road down to the sea, and this was just amazing. The views were breathtaking, and we really felt like we were seeing some of the most amazing things in the world. The flowing lava wasn't visible really, but we hiked over some of the old lava at the bottom of the road anyways, and that was great, too.

This was definitely one of the top couple highlights of our trip, and I would say it is absolutely worth the drive from the Kohala Coast, even if the lava is not visible. We left VNP around 7:30, and had a late dinner at Bubba Gump's in Kailua-Kona. Food, drinks, service were all pretty good.

DAY 6: We woke up early and headed to Hapuna Beach for some offshore snorkeling. Free parking, which was great. Now, my husband had snorkeled once before, and I had never done it, but we wound up LOVING it, and did it almost every day once we got to Maui. This first time at Hapuna will always be memorable, though, because we got to swim and snorkel with 4 huge green sea turtles! What a treat, especially for our first time out. The fish variety and clarity was good, but seeing the turtles was really such a thrill. The tides and currents started to get a little rougher, so we eventually reluctantly got out, but we felt so lucky that we experienced that. And we were totally alone, no other snorkelers!

We headed back to Marriott, and had lunch at Nalu's by the pool. Expensive ($12 each) sandwiches, but very good. Pulled pork and turkey club. We laid by the pool for a few hours, and headed to Kailua-Kona for dinner. Ate at Durty Joe's, which was awful. It was our one bad meal of the whole two weeks. Seafood was disgusting (and we live on the coast of MA, so we know good seafood!) and the rest of the meal was poorly prepared as well. We ended up heading to Dairy Queen for ice cream to fill us up!

Went back to the Marriott very sad that we were leaving the Big Island the next day. This island really grew on us, sort of seeping into us slowly until we almost didn't want to go to Maui! (which of course, we loved, too!) But there is so much to do on the Big Island, and I didn't get to see so many of the things I wanted to (Waipaio Valley, etc...). A return trip to the BI is definitely in order for us! The raw beauty on this island was just unbforgettable!

Next report -- 7 nights on Maui!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 03:17 PM
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beachgirl86, did you enjoy live music at the outdoor bar in the evening, or eat breakfast at the Waikoloa-Marriott? We enjoyed both those things there........ I do agree with you that the bedrooms at the Marriott are nothing special (but our's was very clean and I felt, average.) I think the location and Hawaiian atmosphere and value there make up for the lack in the bedrooms, though.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
 
Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 03:34 PM
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Hi Bonnie!
Yep, we listened to some of the live music at night there, but did not have breakfast at the resort. Our room was clean, just average like you said. But like you, we felt the location and the grounds helped make up for it. The grounds were especially lovely at sunset, we thought.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 04:05 PM
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Thanks for the nice trip report!!!

Did you happen to snorkel at the Waikola Beach Marriott and if so, how did it compare with Hapuna Beach
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 04:26 PM
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JohnD: We did not get a chance to snorkel at A-Bay, we wanted to but just ran out of time. I can't wait to go back, and our newfound love of snorkeling is part of the reason! Where else would you recommend on the BI or Maui?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 06:44 PM
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beachgirl: Great report, thanks!

The bad meal you had in Kailua, was it Durty Jake's or Joe's? If it was Durty Jake's, I could have warned you. That place has always been a "culinary adventure"..

On your next trip try Jameson's By The Sea, and the Kona Inn. Oodles of Noodles too!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 06:48 PM
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fdecarlo: Thanks for the restaurant recs! We loved the Big Island so much and will definitely be returning. Your comments in particular were helpful on this island before our trip.

Maybe it was Durty Jake's...it was sort of across from Huggo's and below Lulu's. Seafood can be one thing, but when a chicken quesadilla is bad, you know something is bad! It was literally the only bad meal out of 2 weeks in Hawaii. Not too bad, I guess!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 11:59 PM
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Thanks for your comment!

We gave Durty Jake's two tries and both times the food was terrible. Not only that, their live music is usually so loud you can't even talk to someone sitting across the table from you. Truly obnoxious. It's the only restaurant in Kailua that I wish would go out of business. Well, maybe Michaelangelo's too. That's another place to avoid. From what locals have told us they've been closed down by Hawaii's health department more than once.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 02:47 AM
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We snorkeled at A-Bay when I was there in May. The water wasn't crystal clear, but there were SO many nice fish and a turtle to keep us company! The beach was popular with families since it has a long stretch of sand and the shower facilities.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:50 AM
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Reply to beachgirl86,
Appreciate your snorkeling enthusiasm, we have snorkeled at A-Bay previously but it was too wavy the day we visited Hapuna Beach Park to snorkel there. The best snorkeling in Hawaii we have seen is in Kealakekua Bay which has a lava coastline and is most eaily accessed by a Fair Wind II or other snorkel boat trip. To the right of the boat ramp near Place of Refuge (Honaunau Bay) is also great snorkeling though not the easiest to get in/out of the water because of lava.

On Maui, Maui Dive shop gave us a free snorkel guide that listed our favorite spots: Kapalua Bay (great for beginners), Honolua Bay, Ulua Beach.

Did you happen to explore and recall about how far the walk from Hapuna Prince Hotel to Mauna Kea beach was and is there a reasonable trail/walkway in between the two hotels?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 04:45 AM
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Very cool report beachgirl! Mahalo
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:24 AM
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John: It's about a 15 minute trail walk between the Hapuna Beach Prince and Mauna Kea. There's also a free shuttle service (~5 minutes) if you're staying at either property. You can see an overview of the area here:

http://www.planeviewsofhawaii.com/bc...R164-1-edt.jpg

From the bottom of the picture is Hapuna Beach, Hapuna Prince, the point, Mauna Kea Beach and Hotel.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:38 AM
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Wow, much appreciate the info.!!!fdecarlo.
Is that 15 minute trail between the Hapuna and MK rocky, like the trail between Waikoloa Beach Marriott and Hilton, or is it smooth enough for a cooler with wheels?
Mahalo in advance.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:36 PM
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You're welcome, John. Portions of the trail are paved and smooth but there's also some hill trekking on dirt. If you're lugging a large cooler, definitely take the shuttle.

The last few times we were there they didn't even ask for our room number when we got on the shuttle, so you should be able to take it for free even if you're not staying at the MK or HBP. I say should because the policy is probably subject to change.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 04:58 PM
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Really enjoyed reading your report beachgirl, thanks for posting! You almost make me want to try the Big Island. I'm so in love with Kauai I'm afraid to try anything else.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 05:35 PM
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Maggi: I know what you mean! I LOVED the Big Island and Maui, and want to go back there when we return to Hawaii. When you love some place, it makes it hard to want to try anything new (like Kauai for me or the BI for you)!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 05:50 PM
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I'll try the B.I. if you try Kauai (esp. north shore), deal? What part of the B.I. did you like most? It's so large, it's a big daunting.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Maggi -- Sounds like a deal to me!

I have only been to Hawaii this once, but my husband and I agree, it sunk its claws into us! I think I would like to go back next time and do the Big Island and Maui, and then on a third trip, pair up Oahu and Kauai.

The Big Island was just incredible. But you're right, it is VERY big! We mostly stuck to the Kohala Coast/Kailua-Kona area, although we did take one day trip into Volcano National Park. VNP was just astounding. I am hoping next time to visit Hilo and some other parts of the island.

I think the reason we loved it so much was because it is so very different from anything you could imagine Hawaii (or any other place) being. The miles and miles of black lava paired with the blue Pacific and swaying green palms was always a gorgeous sight, and so unusual.

What is it about Kauai you love? What other islands have you visited?
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