Hawaii Big Island

We spent 4 days on the Big Island in Hawaii. We split up our trip into two areas of the island: Volcano for 2 days and Kona for 2 days. We did more than the below, but here are our recommendations:

  • Stay
    • Volcano – we stayed in an AirBnb – 11-3807 10th Street – Mauna Loa Estates. It had a really peaceful Japanese vibe and was really close to the park
    • Kona – we stayed at the Fairmont Orchid – family friendly with a nice private beach. We liked it but thought it was a better hotel for families than for couples
  • Eat
    • Acai bowls – we fancy ourselves connoisseurs of acai bowls
      • Under the Bodhi Tree – right by the Fairmont. All the food was great, especially the acai bowls, and we ate there several times
      • SF Coffee Company – surprisingly good acai in the middle of commercial area
      • Honai Wai Cafe – amazing acai bowl, best of the trip
      • Makani’s Magic Pineapple Shack – this place gets lots of hype but we thought the açaí was meh, and wouldn’t go back
    • Meals
      • Umeke’s Fish Market Bar & Grill – amazing poke place near the airport
      • Ken’s House of Pancakes – get macnut pancakes, owned by the Rock’s family!
      • Herbivores – vegan restaurant in a parking lot. It was incredible, especially the jackfruit nachos!
    • Malasadas, aka Big Island donuts
      • Punalu’u Bake Shop – down at the southern tip. Get there early because they sell out. We picked them up on the drive to Volcano from the airport
      • Tex – Well known place. The secret we found was to do the drive-through vs. wait in the line inside. Also get the plain, the filled ones have a lot of filling
  • Do
    • Beaches – you can’t go to Hawaii without going to the beach
      • Punaluʻu Beach – black sand
      • Beaches on the Kona side of the island are great, especially the beach by the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
    • Hikes – there are a lot of great hikes around the island, especially in Volcano National Park
      • Our favorite was Kilauea Iki Trail – Kate actually did this hike twice
      • We also visited Akaka Falls State Park, which was more of a walk than a hike, but takes you to a giant waterfall that’s pretty cool to see 
    • Manta Ray Advocates – this was the best thing we did. You go snorkeling with manta rays. We went on a six person tour that is focused on manta ray conservation (vs. a large tour groups which can disrupt / harm the animals). Definitely do this!
    • Hilo farmer’s market – popular but we felt it is overrated 

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