The trip begins with the three of us (me, my sister, and our friend) landing at the outdoor airport in Kona (The Big Island) late at night. We stepped off the plane to breathe in the fresh air of this cool (tiny) airport, walk down the steps and right over to the taxi stand. All outside. We clearly aren’t on the main land anymore.
We rented a car because our Big Island journey involves a looping trip around the island. Split three ways, the price of having a rental car is totally worth it. We then drove to the Kona Walmart. This is also a must-do if you are traveling in Hawaii on a budget. We didn’t want to check ny bags (because of the fees) so we bought liquids and beach stuff here. We then stopped at Safeway and bought food for lunches/snacks for the trip. Do this. Food in Hawaii gets really expensive. For example expect to spend $6+ dollars just on your morning coffee. After loading up on food, drinks (for do-it-yourself happy hours), and beach mats/coolers we made the 20 mile (30 minute drive) to The Hilton Waikoloa Village.
We had three nights at this hotel. The first night we got in so late that we just crashed. Plus it gets so dark here that you can’t see more than ten feet from any lights. For example, the drive to the Hilton was all along the ocean but we couldn’t see any of it. This post is dedicated to our time in Waikoloa, which was spent entirely at the resort. This place is Disneyland. When we arrived they gave us a list of classes (some free and some cost extra) for our time at the hotel. We then took the tram to our hotel room. You heard me right, tram. This resort is so large that there are three modes of transportation: tram, boat, or walking.
Every morning I would leave the room at 7a just to explore the grounds while it was peaceful and quiet. It was fun to see the resort wake up, and there’s always something new to see. Here are my pictures from the trip.
There are several pools (with slides!) and the fun of this place is exploring and stumbling upon something new. They have everything from manmade pools to a massive lagoon and bay perfect for snorkeling and seeing wildlife.
They have tons of birds walking around, 2 “talking” birds in their lobby, and flamingos. The lagoon has resident sea turtles you can swim with. Oh yeah, and freakin’ DOLPHINS! DOLPHINS! You can swim with the dolphins for an extra fee, although watching them is free and I did plenty of that.
Each day we indulged in happy hour… which basically made the fancy drinks a normal price. And we figured out a way to hit two happy hours at two of the bars within the resort.
A big thing here, and all over Hawaii, are the sunsets. People flock to the lookout points to see the sunset, although you had a great view from anywhere here. At the resort, a boy blows the conch shell at sunset and runs around lighting all the tiki torches. It’s a really fun event to watch. Plus the torch lighters are pretty handsome.
These are the boys we had for our two sunsets. The second one actually said “How you doin'” to us mid-run.
Lastly, I want to share these photos. The first shows you how grafitti works here. All along the highway there tons of black rocks (from the volcano) which means that with white rocks people can spell messages. All along the main road/highway are these messages. It’s funny the lengths people go to write messages in rocks. The second picture I took while eating dinner at the cantina within the Hilton. This is one of the boat docking stations and we enjoyed watching it from our table.
This isn’t meant to be a Hilton ad, but it was a great “vacationy” way to begin our adventure. This was the only resort part of trip and it was nice to see a variety of places along the journey. This resort offered deals (as it was there off season) and of course the longer you stay the cheaper each night becomes. They also offer food packages that we didn’t get. We ate at the cheaper restaurants within the resort, made our own breakfasts, had leftovers for lunch, and sometimes made our own happy hour drinks. Thats why the first stop at the local Walmart is an important stop. We each splurged on the Hilton coffee ($6-7) every morning because it was so delicious we couldn’t resist.
Next up, we leave the resort and get to see the real Big Island. From Waikoloa to Hilo.