U.S.

Hawaii Whirlwind (Part 1: Big Island)

Alex and I want to sincerely thank all our family and friends that made this trip possible via generous wedding gifts on Honeyfund. We are so appreciative for a trip of a lifetime. We had so many great ideas for honeymoon locations but nothing sounded better than exploring the nature and beauty of Hawaii in the middle of January.

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Tropical Botanical Gardens near Hilo

Enjoy this 3 minute video composed of live photos of our entire trip!

Highlights:

Anything denoted with *** is an unforgettable experience we had.

Big Island (5 days):

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Golden Hour at Kona Inn

Kona- Landed in Kona and enjoyed our first dinner at the gorgeous Kona Inn and enjoying the sunset along Alii Drive. The next day had some of the biggest waves the island has seen this year (see video of the surf). We enjoyed an informative coffee tour at Greenwell Coffee farms and the lush farm grounds. We drove to the place of Refuge Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park which was unfortunately closed due to the winds and waves but we got a chance to get some yoga moves in there and had brought a picnic lunch (yay Subway!). We had actually planned a night time manta ray dive with Hawaii Island and Ocean tours but due to the surf, it was canceled. It would have definitely been a highlight and is on our list for when we get a chance to go back. 

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Getting zen at Place of Refuge
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Big surf along Alii Drive in Kona

The perfect honeymoon ornament  and coffee berries at Greenwell Coffee Farms

On the way to Volcano National Park- ***We went snorkeling in the amazing Kealakekua Bay/ Captain Cook monument. This was quite strenuous but worth it, it involved a 1 hour hike down a mountain each way but yielded the most gorgeous (and rather secluded) snorkeling experience ever.

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Hiking down to the bay
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Panoramic of  Kealakekua Bay

Volcano National Park- Worth at least a few days visit. On our way down, we stopped at the Southernmost point in the United States and watched people cliff dive. We enjoyed multiple hikes from easy to more challenging (the Kilauea Iki trail is not to be missed!) during our 2 days at the park. Park rangers were so helpful with trail recommendations. Also loved the Jaggar museum and the Thurston Lava tube.  Also highly recommend dining at Crater Rim restaurant around sunset so you can see the glow of lava from the crater. Stargazing is great here. We also loved the wine and tea tasting experience at Volcano Wineries.

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Golden hour at Crater Rim restaurant
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Awesome landscapes on the Kilauea Iki trail
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Our cabin near the park (cold at night!)

Hilo- Very cool, hippy laid back beach town. We hit Rainbow Falls first. Would have liked to stay more than 1 day. Loved the Banyan trees and the public gardens near the ocean. Fun things to do in town: Two Ladies Kitchen mochi run, Ken’s pancake house, farmer’s market, ride bikes down Banyan Tree Drive. ***We then drove down an old highway (route 130/137) and rented bikes (get bike lights!) to bike the 2 miles to see lava flow into the ocean at sunset. I’ll never forget the starlight as we were biking back in total darkness.

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Gorgeous tree in Hilo gardens
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Worth riding on gravel to catch this gorgeous meeting of lava and ocean

Road Trip to Waipi’o Valley- A gem is Hawaii National Tropical Botanical Garden. Definitely worth it, so much beauty all right next to the coast! Then, Akaka Falls State Park. Then, we took a TINY plane to Maui… stay tuned!

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Tropical Botanical Gardens
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Akaka Falls
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Ready for Maui, but maybe not the rocky/exciting plane ride…

Extra thoughts:

Being vegetarian in Hawaii: While one would expect a lot of lush produce and fruit on these gorgeous islands, we found it difficult to find vegetarian and vegan options to eat especially at restaurants and at smaller grocery stores. It was not a stretch to call certain more rural parts of the islands food desserts (a loaf of generic wheat bread was $8!). To survive, we loaded up on veggie sandwiches whenever we saw a Subway and also got good snacks at bigger chain stores like Wal-mart. I asked for alterations to dishes to leave out seafood and meat.

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Plant powered.

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