Some Kona, Hawaii Lovin’ Tips

It has definitely been such a great week being able to spend it in Kona, Hawaii full of rain, sun, ocean, volcanoes, and horses.

Now, if you didn’t already know (but I hope you do), Hawaii is made up of several different islands. The island that people usually hear about the most is Maui. But you know what? I say, you should take a go at the Big Island. It’s absolutely amazing because you get a little bit of everything: the serene life, the night life, the country life, the ocean life, and the forest life.

If you are planning on going to the Big Island, here are the tours/activities that I did, and maybe that will give you some direction. πŸ™‚

Water Activities
1. Surfing w/ Kona Mike’s
Speaking as aΒ person who has never really swam in the ocean for long periods of time…YOU NEED TO TRY SURFING, especially in Hawaii! The waters are beautiful, warm, and crystal clear. Kona Mike’s is an awesome surf school. Their team of instructors have been surfing for at least 10-15 years so they know what they’re doing! You will feel safe no matter what. Basically, the lesson consists of them timing the waves right and giving you a push for a jump start (because paddling fast is hard for a first timer!). They will give you pointers along the way. SUPER fun! They also have a professional photographer out there to take pictures of you that you can purchase afterwards (prices are not outrageous). My little cousin and I decided that we wanted it to be just us so we signed up for a semi-private lesson.

My instructor: Logan
surfFEB2014

2. Kayaking and Snorkling with the Kona Boys (in the Kealekua Bay)
This is a MUST DO. The Kealekua Bay is one of the best spots to go snorkeling with tons of colorful fish and coral. There are a lot of tours out there that will take you out there via a cruise boat, but why do that when you can go KAYAKING?!! Kayaking is hands down the best way (besides hiking) to get there.

I suggest going with the Kona Boys. I did a lot of research and these guys got awesome reviews. They are all well knowledgeable of the history of Hawaii and are super fun and chill. The tour I decided to do was the Morning Magic Kealekua Bay Kayak and Snorkel Tour.

My uncle and I were lucky enough to be the only ones going out that day and so we had a private tour! Our guide, Jared, was awesome! You could tell that he was passionate about what he does and he loved talking about the unique history of Hawaii. As we paddled out there we were lucky enough to be surrounded by several pods of spinner dolphins playing in the bay. I wish I had my camera to take a picture of it! (My uncle has most of the pictures, so hopefully I will be able to post some soon). We took our time to paddle across the bay (so for those worried about not having the strength, don’t worry!). We got a tour of Captian Cook’s monument, snorkeled for about 2 hours, had lunch, then paddle back. Such a memorable adventure! I would say to ask for Jared, but he’s leaving in May for Australia! 😦

Tour guide: Jared

20140222-102803My uncle and I

Land Activities
1. Hilo – Farmer’s Market / Big Island Candies
If you’re into fresh fruits, there’s a great farmer’s market (certified locally grown, not Costco lol) in the city of Hilo (It’s a small city, so you’ll be able to find it) that you should check out. Also, the factory of Big Island Candies is located in Hilo as well! BIC has the most amazing shortbread cookies around! And if you get the dipped ones, you can be reassured that they are hand dipped to perfection! Once you walk through the doors, they give you a free sample and you can find a bunch of other samples hidden in the shelves too! And here’s a tip: If you want to try a specific flavor, feel free to ask the front desk for some. They would be happy to let you try any flavor you’d like!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

20140220-140857

2. Volcano National Park
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Usually when you picture beauty in nature, you think of lush green trees or colorful flowers, but the Volcano National Park will definitely change your mind on that. We only had 2 hours there so we just saw one of the craters, the lava tube, and the crazy landscape. We wanted to see where the lava was going into the ocean, but it was dark and it was quite a hike over lava rock. With a 9-year-old, we didn’t want to risk it.

My use of words won’t do justice to the beauty of this place, so let me just show you.

DSC_7998

DSC_8004

DSC_7982

20140220-194554

3. Horseback Riding w/ Waipio Ridge Stables
When my uncle said we should go horseback riding in Waipio, my first reaction was “Why would we go horseback riding in Hawaii?” Well, let me tell you, it’s a must as well. I only took the 2.5 hour tour which only led us to the cliff overlooking the waterfall and valley, but if you take the 5 hour tour, you would be able to go to the waterfall and swim (which is what I’m going to do when I return). It’s absolutely gorgeous! You will ride through lush green trees and you can just hear the peacefulness in the air.

Sorry, no pictures yet.

4. Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation
Kona is known for it’s amazing coffee, so you must stop by a plantation! We chose Mountain Thunder and decided to take advantage of their free tour. They took us through what it takes to make a quality bean as well as the different types of plants on the island. A great informative tour about quality coffee making. And it’s absolutely gorgeous up there as well.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I hope that gives you a jumpstart to your Hawaii trip!

Aloha!

Advertisements

How to: Pack for Hawaii

Aloha! πŸ™‚

Try not to be jealous, but I am currently in Hawaii soaking up the cloudy-sunless sky for a week long vacation! Be prepared for pictures of my adventures later on, and reviews of the tours I signed up for.

But before any adventures happen, you have to start with your luggage! As a person who is a last minute packer and with bad memory, an exhaustive list would have been nice to have. Well lucky you, I’m going to share my complete list just in case you decide on taking a trip to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. BTW, I’m writing this after I realized that I completely forgot a number things. So hopefully you won’t make that same mistake.

Packing List for Hawaii for 6 days:
1. Tops:
– 3 Tees/Tanks
– 2 Shirts/Blouses (a little nicer to go into town or out to dinner
-Undergarments

2. Bottoms
– 1 pair of long pants (linen or light fabric would be best)
– 2 pairs of shorts
– 1 maxi skirt
-1 dress

3. Water/Activity Wear
-2 sets of swimwear (another to wear as the other one is drying)
– 1 cover up
-Small backpack (if hiking)
-2 running/water safe shorts
– 1-2 workout tops
-Water bottle

4. Toiletries
– Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Floss
-Razer
-Sunscreen
-Hair Straigtener
-Light natural makeup (plus WATERproof mascara)
-Makeup Remover / Cotton Swabs / Q-tips
-Body Lotion
-Facewash
-Deodorant

5. Accessories
-Hat (only if you’re a hat person)
-Sunglasses
-Headphones
-Small beach bag/tote
-Book for the plane ride and beach
-Phone chargers
-Camera chargers

6. Shoes
– 1 pair of close-toed sneakers/hiking shoes/ etc
– 1 pair of “I don’t care about” flip-flops
– 1 nice pair of sandals

7. Other
-Bandaids (Bring them! I already have a cut on my foot. Ha)

My suggestion is to try to fit everything into a carry-on which is super possible. Then carry a backpack and put all your “Entertainment” stuff in it. My problem during this trip was that I had my big camera bag and so unfortunately they made me check a bag. Oh well!

Here are some snapshots of my trip thus far!

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset3 hour layover in Maui. It was either Burger King or California Pizza Kitchen. Lol

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLotus Flower

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetPanko Crusted Ahi Roll

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetFried Kapalua Belly

IMG_3289
My roommate for the week. πŸ™‚

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetThere was a Luau going on a few feet away from us.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBeach Fun!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetHawaiian Chicken Sandwich

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetGet it? Lol

Follow my trip on Instagram! πŸ™‚