2.5.21

Aloha Hawaii: The Big Island.

 

A quick guide for a weekend trip to the Big Island, Hawaii.
This was our first time to the Big Island of Hawaii and let me tell you the name of it lives up to it. The island is not only the biggest island EVER lol it also has all four seasons of weather. Even though it may be sunny where you are, it is raining, snowing etc. on the other sides of the island. It is truly amazing that you can experience it all by visiting one place but keep in mind everything is extremely far from each other and in order to visit the entire island you might need to spend an entire week there. 
Due to our work schedule we were only able to go to Hawaii Thursday AM   and coming back on the red eye flight Saturday night which was plenty of time to see the volcano, check out a few different beaches and visit local towns on one side of the island.


TRAVEL TIPS | COVID INFO
Even though Hawaii is just another state in USA if you plan on going to the Big Island you will be required to show a negative covid test taken 72 hrs before take off. Not only does it have to be negative it also has to be taken at one of the few places that are the partners of Hawaii. Some of those places include Wallgreens & CVS but it must be booked through the specific link that is linked on Hawaii tourism website. ( https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/covid-test-options ) 
Once you land you will be required to take another Covid test that is a rapid provided by the County in Hawaii. If it comes back positive you will have to quarantine for 10 days immediately. However, only this specific island has this requirement while other islands only request that you show a 72hr negative covid test. 
Now that you have your negative test, checked in for your flight and packed it's not all. Hawaii also requires that you fill out health questionnaire prior to coming to airport ( 24 hrs before flight). It includes PDF file of your negative result, flight and trip info. Once you come to the airport to go on your flight they will call your name and provide you with a wristband that is proof that they are aware of your negative result due to the form you have filled out online. ( https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/welcome ) 
Overall I wish we knew all of this prior to going because the process was absolutely insane and I was not sure if we will even make it there as there were so many websites and moving parts of the trip just to make sure you complete all the requirements. I almost felt like we were going out of country and we were just going to a different state.



S T A Y

Unfortunately due to the size of the island the place you should stay at depends on how many days you plan on being there for. We stayed in a city called Kona at airbnb for 3 nights and we were only able to explore different parts of that side of the island within 2 hours of it as everything else was simply too far. If you would like to see each side of the island and explore different parts you will have to stay at each airbnb for at least 2 nights as everything is 1 hour + each way. Hotels in my opinion were pretty pricey and we are all about supporting local tourism so Airbnb was the best way to go. A fellow blogger is based in Hawaii and her blog provides a lot of information on Big Island as she had much more time to explore it than me : https://elanaloo.com/ , I highly recommend checking it out for some tips ! 

S E E 

Manini’owali beach. Hands down one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever stepped on. Clear, turquoise waters surrounded by beautiful lava rocks at a beach that is tucked away from more popular parts of the island. We got there around 9 AM and as you can see from the drone image on top of the blog you can tell there was quite a few people already there. By the time we left around 11 AM the beach barely had space to lay out a towel as it was getting super crowded due to the small area of the sand to lay out on. 

The volcanoes. As soon as you google " Big Island " you will come across many images of volcanoes which is a must-see when visiting the island. The drive to the National park where the volcanoes and lava are located was over 2 hours from the town we stayed at. Keep in mind the road isn't a straight shot down and you may get car sick (I was one of those people who had to make a stop due to my sickness an hour into the ride). Even though this was one of the most popular spots to see for tourists we just had to go check it out ourselves and even though it was a pretty cool thing to see you cannot get close to it and you drive around the entire park checking out different parts of volcanos, lava spills etc. which takes a few hours. Overall visiting this park and seeing the volcanoes will take up an entire day and I personally would not recommend doing this unless you absolutely are amazed by volcanoes and have an entire day to waste. 

Hapuna Beach State Park. This beach was a complete opposite from the Manini’owali beach I mentioned above. It is located close to a very very large hotel (not sure of the name) and I believe due to that it was extremely busy. The parking lot itself holds over hundred cars so you can only guess how many people were there. The water was also not as blue as at the Manini’owali beach and the nature around it wasn't as breathtaking. If you don't have much time to spare and you are looking to visit just one white sand beach I highly recommend going with Manini’owali beach.  Trust me, it will not disappoint. 

Black sand beaches. You can spot these beaches as you drive through different parts of the island as these seemed to be the most common beaches. The lava/sand/rocky texture of these beaches is more rough and isn't as pleasant to lay out on and spend a day on. However it's an absolute must-see on the island as these are hard to come across to anywhere else in the world! 

E A T 
Because of covid making reservations for dinner anywhere is highly recommended due to the seating arrangements and 6ft apart rules. 

Sam Choy's Kai Lanai restaurant - smart casual restaurant with an amazing view of sunset. This used to be a higher end restaurant but unfortunately due to Covid they have changed their menu to more of a bar-friendly menu with limited items. They have also eliminated waiters so you go up and order, pick up food yourself while the only waiter that is available is the one serving drinks.

Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill - one of island's favorite spots. It serves a great variety of seafood, steaks etc. It gets busy fast and you will have to make a reservation at least a day or so before. 

The Fish Hopper Seafood & steaks - restaurant located in a heart of a small town that offers a wide variety of items. If you want to grab a quick dinner and take a stroll through town to check out a few spots this is a great spot to eat at. The only thing that I must mention is that to me personally this was a bit disturbing as the restaurant is very close to the ocean so everything smells a bit fishy as their windows are all open. I have recently watched Seaspiracy and I have completely cut out fish out of my diet, the only items from the waters that I eat are crab cakes etc. so for that specific reason it just felt wrong for me to sit there and smell fish while eating a salad. 

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