Today was one of the best days I’ve experienced in a long time, possibly ever! The Green Sand Beach was…
Well, let me first tell you what we’ve been up to. Assuming you don’t know already what the Island of Hawai’i (a.k.a. The Big Island) looks like (I sure didn’t up until about a week ago!), here are a couple of maps that should give you an idea:
We arrived in Kailua-Kona on Wednesday, where 90 degree Fahrenheit (32C) weather received us with open arms. From there, we quickly grabbed our rental car to head over to the other side of the island. There are three main ways to do that: around the top, around the bottom, or through the middle. We opted to go around the top as there were a few stops we wanted to make up there.
We made our way up through Waimea on Highway 19. Interestingly enough, we encountered some 3 types of weather during our drive. Going from 90F (32C) at the airport, we went down to about 71F (22C) through the mountains, back up to the mid-eighties all in under an hour. Not only that, but we hit rain followed by sunshine twice!
First stop: Waipi’o Valley
Our first stop was in Waipi’o Valley, just to the east of where you see Upolo Point up at the top of the island.
It was a little out of the way, but the view was absolutely worth it! Apparently, this was once the home of Hawaiian Royalty. This makes sense as it was one of the most calm and serene places I have ever seen. From top to bottom, the land was a fertile green, teeming with life.
The picture above was taken from the top of the hill on the eastern side. Unfortunately, getting down into the valley requires that you request permission and that you have the time and energy for that kind of trek as it is somewhere around a 2,000 foot decent (600 meters).
Instead, we opted for a quick break and a few pictures, before getting back on the road.
Second stop: Akaka Falls
Our second stop was at Akaka Falls, about half way between Waipi’o Valley and Hilo. We drove from Waipi’o Valley for about an hour where, again, we encountered constantly-fluctuating temperatures, and rain and sunshine.
Along the way, we were in awe at the beauty of the Big Island. It’s such an incredibly green place! So many trees, palms, ferns, waterfalls, rivers… We stopped a few times to take in all the beauty before continuing to our next destination.
After a little over an hour, we arrived at Akaka Falls. It was a quick 5 minute walk from our car. The paved trail was very pleasant as it led from the parking lot, past a few smaller waterfalls, culminating with the amazing 442-foot falls.
We took in the beautiful scenery before continuing down the coast until we reached the city of Hilo on the east coast of the island. We drove for about 20 more minutes, making our way to our Airbnb host’s home.
There, we were greeted at our first Airbnb experience. The pictures had shown a house with an outdoor kitchen and outdoor showers (optional), something that neither of us had seen before. It was definitely a cool experience! A colorful gecko said aloha while sitting next to our breakfast the next morning. But more about the second day in our next post!
In any case, that was one of the perks of having an open kitchen!
We dropped off our bags, changed our clothes, and headed down to Kalapana (near the east corner of the island south of Hilo) to what is referred to as “Uncle Robert’s,” which was the scene of an almost tragic ending back in the 90’s. Now, all the locals come out on Wednesday nights to eat, drink, shop local, and hang out with their fellow Big Islanders.
Ceci and I enjoyed some Hawaiian nachos, avocado spring rolls, and lychee lemonade. Yum!!
Up next: Ceci and Ever explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Green Sand Beach, and the Mauna Kea Observatory