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The Big Island of Hawai’i - Part 2

Kona and the sunny West Coast

View Round-the-world-trip on samandmarta's travel map.

On our way to the west side of the Big Island, we stopped at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center. There, we visited the macadamia orchard, witnessed the production process and most importantly tried many delicious macadamia nut products. Marta’s favorite one was the honey roasted macadamia nuts, while Sam of course preferred the ones covered in chocolate.

The Western coast turned out to be much drier and sunnier, which was very welcome. Especially Kona, where we stayed for four nights, was a pretty nice tourist resort town at the seaside. Most of our days here, we spent on the beach and in the water. Our favourite snorkeling location was Two Steps in the south of Kona, which had easy access to the water and abundant marine life. Our favourite beaches were Hapuna beach and Mauna Kea beach in the north of Kona, mostly due to the gentle slope and the fine sand. We also discovered a new favourite beach activity, called body boarding or boogie boarding. It’s like surfing, except the board is smaller and you don’t have to stand up on it, which makes it much easier than surfing. We could spend hours riding the waves like this without getting bored.


One day we visited Pololu valley, located on the western end of the rugged valleys that start with Waipio valley we already visited from Hilo. From the slippery and muddy hike to the bottom of the valley, we saw the most stunning scenery we have seen on the island. A black sand beach and the sea on one end and deep green rainforest on the other, framed by steep cliffs to the West and East.


On our last evening in Kona we watched the local Christmas parade, one of the most important annual events in the town. The streets were full with locals and tourists alike. The parade was a great way to see some American culture. It was big, it was bright, it was loud, and most importantly, it was extremely commercial. Each of the many Christmas floats was made by a different local business or organization, who made sure to prominently display their logo. In the meantime, a moderator introduced each float and read some advertising text from the respective business, telling us how awesome this company was and why we should spend our money there.


Even later that same evening, we did the ‘must do’ attraction on the Big Island – snorkeling with giant manta rays. The entire activity happens at night and snorkelers are holding a surfboard with lights mounted underneath, which attracts these animals. Manta rays luckily do not eat people, just plankton. The experience was absolutely splendid. The manta rays were passing literally centimeters before our snorkeling masks. Seeing these 4 meter giants in their natural habitat, joyfully frolicking under the surface was our most memorable moment from the Big Island.

Posted by samandmarta 13:55 Archived in USA

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