We were planning a Hawaii trip since long but somehow we were not able to finalize anything. But one fine day, out of nowhere along with our other friends, we decided to hop on to Hawaii for a week long vacation. Leaves got approved and even the air-fare was fitting in our budget. So now we had no reason to step back and we went ahead and finalized everything.
As you know Hawaii is made up of 8 islands. But due to time constraint, we covered two islands Big Island and Maui ..
I’m sharing my complete itinerary so that you can enjoy as much as I did and also one can get a fair idea about what to do, where to stay and how to enjoy in Hawaii.I would say that one’s real experience gives better idea than reading a book on Hawaii.
We flew on 3rd Sep (Saturday) from San Jose to Kailua-Kona (KOA) – BIG Island. We reached BIG Island at arnd 10 AM.
About Big Island:
Big island is less scenic. As such no activities there. BIG Island has only volcano national park as the main attraction. One can plan to cover the whole of the island in two day.
From airport, Volcano park is 3 hr drive. All luxurious resorts and hotels are near airport. so one needs to decide what is the priority:
- Luxurious stay then stay near airport but drive 3 hrs OR
- Ordinary stay but no commute then stay near volcano park
Activities we did in BIG Island:
- First day, in the evening we went to volcano national park to see glow show. After sunset, the smoke that comes out of crater looks golden. It surely was an amazing sight.
- second day – we again went to volcano park and did some hiking which takes you to the ground where lava has dried up and you actually walk on dead l. Your hiking ends with lava tube (a tunnel kind of thing which has dead lava). The hiking was of arnd 6 Mile total and the most astonishing part bout it was, it was circular hence you dont come back to the point from where you have started the hike via the same route. You start at a different route and come back to thatstarting point via a different route. So no repetition of sights. That was amzing.
- Also visited, black sand beach. Due to active Lava pouring into ocean few decades ago, the ash has turned the ocean sand into black color. Also we saw some huge turtles taking a sun-bath near the shore.
P.S: Volcano National Park has very good visitor center where some volunteers can appropriately guide you as per your timeline, schedule and interests.
Activities we did not do but recommended:
- helicopter ride to volcano (Around $175 per person – a must thing that we did not do )
- If you guys wanna do some real and tiring hike then green sand beach is the best beach out there.
- 1st night we stayed in La’i Aloha House which is near Volcano park to avoid commute..
- 2nd night: After completing our volcano park activities, we drove 3 hrs and stayed in Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa
Other option for stay:
- Aston Shores Waikoloa
- Hilton waikoloa – The most gorgeous but expensive
PS: Big Island is definitely not the island to relax.
Monday 5th September, we flew from Kailuia-Kona(Big Island) to Kahului(OGG), Maui. It was a 9 seater plane just like charter. Flight time was arnd 1 hour. Unfortunately, we had to pay some extra bucks for the luggage. We were not informed about it when we first booked our tickets. So be ready to shell out few pennies if you are doing island hopping by air.
Maui is a definite place to relax and enjoy.Good scenic beauty, good beaches, great waterfalls.
Activities we did in Maui:
- Hana drive - Scenic Drive with beaches, mountains, water falls. Many vista points to cover so before going there, plan which vista points to cover/stop on. A convertible car is a must to enjoy the scenic beauty and the sun of course. It will surely take one full day of your itinerary.
- Snorkeling (fish/turtle watching) – We chose pacific whale foundation as our snorkeling company and we had some awesome time with them. They took us to an island in the middle of the ocean called as Molokini Crater and guided us with all the Snorkeling equipments and procedures. My wifey who is hydro-phobic, they taught/trained her with so much of patience,concern and care that she even came with me deep down and enjoyed watching different colourful fish. That was the first time when she really swam in the water. She had the same kind of experience and feeling that Hritik had after his scuba diving in “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”. I’m really thankful to pacific whale foundation and its crew for making my wife less hydro-phobic.
- Halaekala Mountain/National park: Here, we selected Haleakala Bike Company as our bike company. You have to wake up at 2 in the morning and report it to your bike company at around 3. They will take you to the crater which is like 10,000 feet above the sea-level. Then you see the mind boggling sunrise as you are standing above the clouds and as the sun is coming out, it highlights golden border of clouds. What an amazing sight that was .. It was chilling but then once the sun strted coming out, we all forgot about the cold and we were just enjoying the beautiful sight. After that you get on your cycles and come down from 6000 ft to ground. As it’s a downhill, you dont have to pedal anytime – just the brake and steering. Awesome fun. Midway, you find some restauarants fro breakfast. It was around 27 miles but it took us arnd 3 hours with breakfast break.
- Apart from these activities, we just chilled out at beaches / pools of our resort.
Activities we did not do:
- Submarine ride
- Para sailing
- Lahaina town, Luau(Hawaiian dance) – A must that we missed out
We stayed in Honua Kai Resort ( It was an awesome resort)
Other Options for stay:
Royal Lahaina Resort
Karappalli beach resort
There are hundreds of options to stay in Maui. So any resort with 4 start rating and a good deal would suffice your luxurious stay requirement.
PS: Maui is the place to relax and enjoy your vacation and some good company of your life partner
After completing Maui, We came back to Bay Area while our other friends went to Kauai.
Most scenic island of the three. Less commercialized yet.
Things to do in Kauai:
- Dinner cruise to Napali coast which also included whale and dolphin watching.
- Helicopter ride to Napali Coast.
- There is a beautiful shiv temple you can visit.
- Zip Lining – I can get you the details if you are planning for it.
- There are many look out points, hiking trails, canyons on the way.
- You can do mountain tubing, Kayaking if time permits.
It was a memorable trip for all of us. We enjoyed it thoroughly. I hope you guys too have enjoyed reading my experiences.