Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hawaii Day One - Journey to the Big Island

Last January, in the dead of winter, my hubby and I decided we wanted to vacation somewhere new and exotic.  Although we've visited most of the western US states, one has eluded us - the farthest west of them all - Hawaii.

Our resort from the airplane

Due to my fascination with volcanoes, I'd always wanted to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and witness lava flowing from Kilauea's crater.  So I got on Costco's travel website and snagged a great package deal for the big island in early May.  We were told late spring is a great time to visit - crowds are smaller and prices a tiny bit lower.

Lovely tropical flower

Here in Oregon, our cold rainy spring continued into the month of May.  As a matter of fact, I was skiing on Mt Bachelor the weekend before our departure.  Totally not acclimated, I began to get nervous about the sun and heat.  I'm such a winter gal, why did I choose to vacation in a tropical climate?  What was I thinking? 

Lagoon in our resort

It's a long flight to the Hawaiian islands - 5 1/2 hours from the West coast.  I'd never paid attention to Hawaii's exact location before (It's normally placed below Texas on the weather map so you don't realize how far away it really is).  Hawaii is way out west in the middle of the Pacific, and as far south as Mexico.

Celebrating our arrival

After a long, uneventful flight, it was exciting to see the big island's green coastline come into view.  I even spotted our resort as the plane passed over.  After landing in Kona, and ditching my sweatshirt (boy was it hot!) we claimed luggage, got our rental car, and headed north to Waikoloa.

Dolphin pond at our resort

My hubby and I are not fancy people.  Normally our idea of a vacation is camping at a national park, so we were in for a real shock when we pulled into the resort we'd chosen.  It was plush and huge - three tall hotel towers, several pools, a saltwater lagoon, numerous bars and restaurants, and a tram to whisk visitors between buildings.  The place was beautifully landscaped, and even had a pond full of dolphins for guests to swim with (for a princely sum!)

Feeding the dolphins

First order of business - change into shorts.  Second - sunscreen for my pasty white Oregon skin.  Third - to the bar!  Time to celebrate our arrival with some tropical drinks.  I decided right away that Mai Tais were my new favorite cocktail.

Sea turtle

My hubby and I sat in the resort's outdoor bar and grill, sipped our drinks, and entertained ourselves watching a flock of birds terrorize the ladies at an adjacent table.  The little birds perched on empty chairs, the napkin holder, and even the tabletop itself, hoping to snag some french fries.  They kept returning, despite being shooed away multiple times.

Cool palm fronds

First Hawaii lesson - food and drink are expensive at a fancy resort.  So we quit after one cocktail, and decided to explore the lovely hotel grounds.  I admired the many bright colored flowers, but the highlight was spotting our first sea turtle in the lagoon.

The Lava Lava Beach Club

A couple of friends had raved about the nearby Lava Lava Beach Club.  Not wanting to blow all our budget on hotel food, we decided to check it out.

Check the weather!

We found a wonderful beachfront restaurant set right on 'Aneho'omalu Bay (don't ask me how to pronounce it!)  Seeing this tongue and cheek weather station outside the door, I knew right away Lava Lava was our kinda place.

Enjoying a "Lava Lava Flow"

Oh what an amazing happy hour they had!  Drinks were way cheaper.  And their food - delicious!  After trying their signature drink, a concoction called the "Lava Lava Flow," I decided Mai Tais were now my second favorite tropical toddy.

Gorgeous nearby beach

After a very happy couple of hours at the Lava Lava Club, my hubby and I wandered the nearby beach.  Oh so lovely!

The palm trees captivated me

So this is what paradise looks like....

Walk on the beach

We watched a dozen outrigger canoes paddle out into the sea, return to the beach, and head out for another lap.

Lots of outrigger canoes in the bay

Then I noticed the sun beginning to sink towards the horizon.

My first Hawaiian sunset

I'd always heard Hawaii was known for it's fabulous sunsets.  Time to find out for myself.


Oh yeah - the rumor was definitely true!  As the sun slipped below the sea, everyone on the beach stopped what they were doing and stared at the sky.

I've found paradise

A perfect way to end my first day in Hawaii!  And the fun was just getting started.  Tomorrow we planned to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Coming up in my next post......


  1. Look forward to the rest of the story, fascinated by all things volcanic and always wanted to visit Hawaii

  2. Que maravilha de fotografias e gostei de ver a satisfação dos meus amigos.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa

  3. Sounds like a great start to you vacation!

  4. ...wonderful, I haven't been to the Big Island for 30 years, a lot has changed.

  5. Hello, looks like a great start to your Hawaii vacation. The drinks look delicious. LOve the beach and the pretty sunset. Great photos. Enjoy your Thursday!

  6. Think you have gone to a place I would love to go and visit. Totting up the time it would take 6hrs to get to the US, and other 4 or 5 to get across it and onto 5 to 6 getting to Hawaii. long old trip for me then. Like how you wandered to the beach, think I'd have been staggering after the drink if it was alcoholic. Looks an idyllic place to visit

  7. Beautiful place, Linda, and so lovely to see your big smile! I hope you had a great week. :)

  8. Oh, how wonderful, Linda! Dolphins and tropical drinks and lovely sunsets and palm trees and kind of place. Looking forward to reading more!

  9. We love the Big Island! Spent two weeks there staying in three different parts of the island a few years much fun and beauty! I adore snorkeling in HI. Looking forward to your next post!

  10. Wish it wasn't so far away I would love to visit. The sunset looked amazing.

  11. I've always wanted to go to the Big Island.

  12. Always something magical about tropical beaches and palm trees. That hanging coconut- stone- tennis ball- golf ball- weather station idea has travelled the world now. A couple in Scotland that I know about.
    Heard it's really special in Hawaii.

  13. Such beautiful photos of a wonderful place. I have fond memories of my visits to Hawaii.

  14. Now this sounds like quite the adventure!

  15. Hi! Nice trip for you. You look very fun. The sunset`s photos are very beautiful. Our haney moon trip was Hawaii islands. I climbed Mt.Mauna Kea 7 years ago.

  16. I see you are having a whale of a time in this beautiful place and lots of adventures. Have a wonderful weekend.

  17. Sounds like you're having a great time on your first visit to Hawaii... we finally got there in 2015, and also chose the Big Island for our maiden trip. Look forward to seeing and hearing more about your trip!

  18. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. I can't wait to hear more about your trip.

  19. How hot is hot? and do they have humidity. it does look beautiful.

  20. Beautiful shots. I also love the mai tai's there. have never been able to re create those. You have some lovely sunset shots, and know this must have been a very special trip. Hawaii is so beautiful, but I have to say, maybe not as beautiful as where you live and hike all of the time!

  21. How exciting that you are in Hawaii! You are probably already realizing there is something special about that place! ENJOY every second!

  22. Lucky you! Looks like a perfect vacation! The sunset is beautiful! :)

  23. You confirmed my suspicion that Hawaii is hot! You also confirmed my desire to visit one day and indulge in a fun drink and enjoy the scenery. We also like to use Costco for travel--they offer some great deals!

  24. Wow, I can see I missed a lot this month, scrolling to find the first post :) I'm definitely going to vicariously enjoy your trip as I read and take in the photos. The weather station made me laugh.

  25. I am finally finding time to read a couple of your Hawaii posts. I've been busy but needed to see what you did on your trip over there. looks good so far and the weather report sign is funny!


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