When my wife and I landed on the Big Island of Hawai'i it was a breath of fresh air. The cell phones were turned off and communication to all our friends and family were gone (in a good way).
From the moment we walked off the plane the air was wonderfully warm and perfect. We could smell the great aromas of Hawai'i. Before I go any further, we had to do this entire vacation on a limited budget due to both of us just being young and married. We had to save for a while to afford this trip. Now, let's begin ...
The trip started off at my favorite store, Costco. We picked up food and beverage items for our entire week. It included Mai Tai Mix, Wine and various snacks. Also, I highly recommend buying any souvenirs such as Macadamia Nut boxes or Kona Coffee here (it's the cheapest on the Island). Also, gas is the cheapest here as well.
We then headed to our condo that we rented for the week at the Kona Hula Girl in Kailua-Kona. My wife found this place online and the reviews were great. We found out why right away. The room was beautiful with a panoramic ocean view with open air windows (We slept with the windows wide open every night). There was a nice kitchen and standard-size refrigerator with a microwave and toaster. We never had to go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner unless we wanted to. Outside the four-roomed house was a huge BBQ area with tables and chairs to use.
After we explored our room we wanted to get started on our trip by visiting the Mountain Thunder Kona Coffee Company (featured on the Show, "Dirty Jobs"). This is where we learned so much about Kona Coffee and how it is made from picking the right cherry to getting the perfect roast. (By the way, did you know that the lighter the roast, the more caffeine? No more dark roast for us!) After we got our Kona Coffee energy boost we headed North to the Waimea Valley and stopped at Waiapo'o Valley (Where parts of Jurassic Park were filmed).
The next day we woke up very early as we were still on pacific time and headed out to the town of Hilo on the other side of the Island. Along the way we stopped at Umaumau Falls and the Garden of Peace. The Garden of Peace is a sacred place where you bury all of your stresses in life whether it is sickness, anger, fear and or many other stressors.
We took a moment to reflect on the past few months as we both faced family members with cancer and some losing their battle as well. After we "buried" our stressors we left feeling uplifted and free of any negativity in our lives. We then proceeded to hike up the mountain to the breath-taking three-tiered falls. It was a scene from a movie.
Afterwards we stopped at Downtown Hilo for lunch at Ocean Sushi. We had to stop at this great spot for lunch that we ate at four years ago when I was visiting my wife on the cruise ship she danced on. Next stop, Volcanoes National Park. We were lucky enough to plan our trip during National Park week so all the National Parks were free! Here we saw a live volcano and even hiked 4.5 miles down into a crater with steam coming up through the cracks of the hardened lava.
On the way back to Kona we stopped off and had some great sweet bread at the Southern most Bakery in the United States and had more Kona Coffee. After the beautiful long day we had, we could not wait to relax. But much to our surprise, we were greeted by a giant spider on the wall. My wife always spots spiders anywhere we go. It could be as small as grain of sand to the size the palm of your hand. I quickly looked up this spider online to make sure it wasn't poisonous. It was a Cane Spider and happened to be a "friendly" spider.
But, my wife did not buy it. There was no way I was going to smash this spider because there would have been a big mess to clean up. So, I had to herd this giant spider out of our room and outside into the hallway. If I didn't, she wasn't able to sleep and I would have to keep guard all night long. Luckily, the spider left the room as I herded it with my pillow and we never saw "Samuel" again (that's what we named him).