Hawaiian Delight trip to three islands

Old Feb 14th, 2014, 12:54 PM
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Hawaiian Delight trip to three islands

We were so happy to escape the cold of Idaho in January to escape to warm Hawaii. Our adventure lasted 3 weeks with good friends who have overcome some serious illnesses. They had not been to anywhere but Maui so we did a crazy one week on each island to show them around. I would have preferred to have stayed longer on each island but we made the most of our travels.
We flew Allegiant airlines since it is the only airlines that flies non stop from Boise to Honolulu plus the price is $300-$400 rt. Are they a zoo of an airline? You bet but knowing details like no food service, fees for choosing your seat, no reclining seats were all fine in exchange for a nonstop flight. Got to Honolulu in 6+ hrs & had a quick connection to the Big Island. Island hops all ran around $85.
First stop was the Big Island. I'd done quite a bit of research & discovered DiscountHawaiiCar Rental was about half the cost of anyone else. We got a nice mid size car for $220wk. We stayed in a 2 Bd (Worldmark Kona) which was very comfy. We were close enough to walk down Alii Drive to the hustle & bustle of the town. Highlights of our trip was the night snorkel trip with manta rays with Neptune Charlie's. It will be there in my top 5 adventures. They took us towards the airport, watched the sunset & then donned wetsuits & snorkels, held on to a surf board with PVC piping around it & canned lights shining down. From the second we put our faces in the water there were manta rays. They counted 25 in all which is pretty phenomenal. I found myself giggling with joy. Absolutely wonderful experience.
A trip to Hawi made us feel at home in Idaho. We have Craters of the Moon lava flow so much of the BI has similar terrain. Enjoyed the rolling green hills around the Parker Ranch & the funky town of Hawi. We ate lunch at Bamboo which was a fun treat & good food.
Spent a full day going to Volcano NP. Definitely will go there sometime & spend at least 2 days. Just too long of a day but worth seeing. After hitting a Farmers Market at Hilo to stock up on some exotic fruit, we headed to Akaka Falls via the scenic bypass. Don't miss it. It's beautiful. We stumbled upon the best little eatery called "What's Shakin". Marvelous food. I had an avocado wrap that was amazing. Akaka Falls was beautiful. Waterfalls are one of my favorite things & this one doesn't disappoint. We got to Volcano NP. It was raining a bit which is pretty common. We headed down the Chain of Crater road & made lots of stops along the way. We got back to the visitors center & walked through the Thurston lava tube. At dusk we went to view the crater which was not active but still the glow in the evening was impressive. Reminded me of Dante's Inferno. Trip was 2 hrs there & 2 hrs back in the dark. The good thing is the reflectors on the road really light up the way.
We took Tradewinds out to Capt Cook memorial & snorkeled. It was very nice with lots of colorful fish & also saw spinner dolphins. Our favorite snorkel site was Kahalu'u beach. The water was clear with an abundance of turtles & colorful fish.
A visit to Greenwell's Coffee Farm is a good stop. Great coffee & fun tour.
We did a stop at Costco to begin our stay & cooked most of our meals except for lunches. We were surprised at how reasonable prices were and might I add Costco has added Beef Brisket sandwiches in their deli. Loved the Big Island & looking forward to returning.
Next stop~ Maui
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Old Feb 14th, 2014, 01:15 PM
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Looking forward to the rest of your report. We are doing a trip in May doing three islands also. I am taking notes from your trip to Big Island. Roll on your Maui report!
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Old Feb 14th, 2014, 02:11 PM
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Enjoying your report. We were last on the Big Island in October 2012 and the weather was terrible. Very hot and humid. I'd never experienced it that way. We timed it right when the Ironman Marathon competitors were practicing which was interesting but I felt sorry for them in that weather.

My DH did the manta ray snorkel dive and then the next night we all went over to the Sheraton and watched the manta rays come to the lights at the hotel. There were at least 3 of them and it was really cool!

We love Maui and usually spend most of our time there. Looking forward to the remainder of your report!
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Old Feb 14th, 2014, 03:19 PM
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We had good weather however the ocean had 40-50ft waves. They were bringing in professional surfers by helicopter. I have lots of pictures but don't have time to post them right now. Our friends did a culinary tour the day we did the night snorkel & they loved it. Will post again tomorrow. Happy Valentines Day to all!
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Old Feb 15th, 2014, 01:12 PM
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A week in Maui
We left the BI on Moleleke air (very little plane with a young female pilot). It was a great adventure. We could see the other islands below. Got to Maui around 5pm. Picked up our car from Thrifty & were delighted with a brand new Nissan Sentra ($240)
We were very pleased to see that Maui was much greener than the last time we were there. On our way to Lahaina we saw the most gorgeous sunset.
Our condo was the Kuleana just off lower Honoapiilani hiway. The condo was nice with an ocean view & beautiful grounds. It was very quiet, nice pool & BBQ area. Not a bad place for BBQing ribs for an afternoon of watching football.
Next morning we went snorkeling at Black Rock. The ocean was a bit rough & visibility wasn't as good because of the waves but still saw turtles & colorful fish. However the most exciting thing was going out to the tip of Black Rock & realizing I could hear the whale songs. There must have been quite a few of them because there were different sounds. Awesome!
A trip to Iao Valley was interesting. It was very lush & green. Interesting history.
The highlight of this trip was going with Capt Steve's on a large zodiac boat out to snorkel near Lanai. They served a quick breakfast & a tasty lunch. The Kona winds were coming our way so a bit of a bouncy ride. On our way we encountered a group of at least 4 whales who put on quite a show for us. The snorkeling wasn't as good as other places but the coral was much larger & interesting to see. Saw turtles & manta rays. There is also a very large ship which reminds you of the Black Pearl that seems to be a permanent fixture.
It rained hard in the night & the next morning the ocean was boiling red.
Felt the need to show our friends the Road to Hana. It really is a beautiful drive but not sure I need to do it again. As we got near Pa'ia we noticed the waves were huge. Helicopters were bringing in professional surfers. We visited Pulanihale gardens & heiau. The wind was blowing so hard that coconuts were falling & fronds blowing down. Very beautiful area. The ocean was violent but gorgeous. A tree blew over so we had to drive out & around it. In fact the entire hiway was littered with branches. Good thing was there was little traffic. Enjoyed Waiananpanapa State Park & walked down to the black sand beach & cave. The blowholes were really spouting. In fact I got drenched with one behind me that I was unaware of. Our last stop was Haleakala NP where we viewed the waterfalls & pools. There was a wonderful waterfall on the way back. This time we didn't make it to Lindberg's grave. It was getting late so headed back-617 turns they say & I think I felt all of them. Made an emergency stop for a bottle of wine to celebrate surviving the Road to Hana. That was after returning to the condo but considered it about half way back.
Last day on Maui we ate at Cheeseburger in Paradise, walked around town & did some quick shopping & finished up with Hula Pie at Kimo's. Gotta try Hula Pie.
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Old Feb 16th, 2014, 02:50 PM
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Good report. Where to next?
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 04:12 PM
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Last hop-Kauai
Caught an early morning flight with Mesa Airlines to Kauai which went smoothly. Picked up our compact rental car from Thrifty ($162 for wk) We had one night to fill in before checking into our condo so booked a great deal ($99) with Kauai Inn. It was the original condo on the island. It's beyond a bit of industrial area just off the cruise ship port but found it to be a very pleasant stay. The gals at the desk were very friendly & let us drop our bags off so we could head up to Hanalei.
It was a beautiful drive. Stopped at Kalypso for lunch & had their special which was fresh fish on nachos. Very good & spicy! Once we got to Hanalei we walked on Ke'e beach but due to big waves, the ocean was closed. Love watching the wildness of waves. Couldn't leave without going to the cave & singing Puff the Magic Dragon. On way back we stopped at Kilauea Lighthouse & viewed the red footed boobies as well as watched whales splashing.
Our condo was Lawaii Beach where we have stayed before. We were pleased to see that they had updated the units to nice solid surface counter tops, tiled showers & nice decor. Our lanai looked over pool & ocean. After a stop at Costco we did a quick tour of Koloa town & then up to the Spouting Horn. The market is still there with lots of the same stuff.
Sunday morning we went to Hanapepe to the Nazarene church. We had friends that knew the pastor. It was a very friendly group & even left with a jar of homemade jam for newcomers.
We visited the Kauai Coffee farm which is over 3100 acres. It was a fun place to taste lots of coffees & have some ice cream. We did a quick stop by Salt Pond beach where we had taken our grandkids years ago. It was their favorite beach. Lots of families were using the beach on the weekend.
One of my favorite things is going to the Sunshine market. We got there on time but it was very crowded. Found all of the things I wanted including rambutan which is a fun furry looking fruit with a sweet grape-like center. Picked up lots of fresh veggies & fruit for the week.
It was windy so decided it was a good sight seeing day. We drove to Wailua Falls & Opaeka Falls both very easy to get to without doing much hiking. They are beautiful waterfalls & made me happy. A stop in Kapaa at their flea market was a fun stop. They had a great selection of things at some of the best prices. Found some cute bikinis & sent a photo to my 17 yr granddaughter who was having a birthday & she loved it so made for a great island gift. That was about all that would fit in my bag. At at Chicken in a Barrel & found it very good & cheap.
Snorkeling was very good at Lawaii Beach. We saw turtles & lots of interesting fish. We pack our own snorkel gear & shortie wet suits & flippers which makes it nice to snorkel whenever you want plus I like a mask that fits & know my snorkel has only been used by me. Takes up space but worth it.
I loved walking around the Hyatt. The grounds are gorgeous with the river, waterfalls, lovely flowers & Tidepool restaurant.
We spent our last night going to Keiko's. Our food was good & love the open air feel. And more hula pie!!
After being on all three islands we discussed which was our favorite. It really is hard since they all have their very own special parts. I really enjoyed the Big Island for all of its diversity & lots of things to do (of course since I loved snorkeling at night with the manta rays it holds a special place). Maui is probably the most fun island with lots to do & beautiful beaches. And I love Kauai for its beauty & being more laid back & the perfect ending to our vacation. I would return to any of them in a heart beat.
To cap off our stay I should share that when we got back to Honolulu our flight with Allegiant ended up being cancelled since some crew member failed to show up. Must give them credit for giving out free soft drinks, then $16 food vouchers & then booked us into a nice hotel & said they would pay our taxi fees. We were put up in a very nice Sheraton near Waikiki. We thought it was a bonus since we are retired & had no definite schedule ahead. It rained most of the time we were on Honolulu but still walked to Waikiki beach which was packed & wandered around town. It left us thankful that Honolulu was not one of our week stays. What a great way to spend 3 weeks escaping the cold.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2014, 08:25 AM
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Enjoyed your report! We were in Hawaii ( Oahu, Maui, Big Island) at Christmas/New Year and are heading back - probably Oahu and Kauai - for Thanksgiving. So I was glad to read more about Kauai here! Sounds like you had a great trip! The manta ray snorkel sounds fabulous!
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