From February 18th til March 6th 2017, I had the fortunate chance of discovering two Hawaiian islands: Kauai and Big Island with two of my friends, Karolann and Julie. Before any trip, I've always loved to read itineraries from several websites in order to ensure of making the best route and not miss anything. For those who wish to learn more about the first leg of the trip, I've written an article about my five days spent in Kauai. Now that we're already on the second leg of the trip, we're kicking it off by covering (literally speaking) Big Island in 9 days!
Day 1: Flight from Kona – Towards Punalu’u Beach Park AKA Black Sand Beach
This stunning dark sand beach is a beautiful place to start exploring the island. You can stop by for an afternoon and find a place to stay overnight. We were able to set our tent right in front of the ocean, I have a loss of words trying to explain our mornings waking up overlooking the waves. Truly one of the best places we've camped at hands down.
– Punalu’u Beach Park, 39 minutes by car from Green Sand Beach
Day 2: Volcanoes National Park
A day or 2 might be sufficient, however if you stay longer this will rule out your beach day at the ninth day OR your second day of hiking in the Wapio valley. This volcanoes park offers several long-distance hikes or shorter ones based on the time you've dedicated to this activity. What I'd suggest is to explore caves created by lava and see lava itself towards the end of the day. What an impressive sight. If the hour and a half hike to see lava isn't your thing, just note renting bikes is available. That journey will then only take you about 20 minutes. In order to maximize your experience, I'd suggest to visit the lava site at sunset.
– You can sleep at the site for less than 15 $
Day 3: Drive towards Hilo to see the waterfalls in the morning and Mauna Kea at sunset
Hilo unfortunately wasn't my favourite city but it was on the way. I know some loved it, but it wasn't the case for both my friends and I. However the waterfalls are worth the look and this was our departure point in direction of Mauna Kea to see the sunset; which I shall write an other article on the latter to tell you more about my experience, so stay tuned!
Camping options :
– Kolekole Gulch Park which is only 10 minutes away from Hilo
Day 4 and 5: Going to Waipio + hiking in the Waipio Valley
Waipio valley is simply splendid! It was our highlight during our stay on the island. If you wish to only do hikes, reserve two full days or else you won't have the time to see everything in a day and spend time relaxing by the beach where wild horses live.
– Set your tent at the end of the hiking trail and Spencer Beach Park is located only a mere 50 minutes away by car.
Day 6 and 7 : Diving close to Kona and afternoon spent at a nearby beach
We chose to take a 3-day diving class nearby Kona. It was an amazing experience (I shall write about it in an upcoming article). Whether you like it or not, it's one thing to go diving (you can do this activity without a class) but it's a whole new level once you get to see turtles and sharks living nearby Big Island. After that, Kona's surroundings is filled with beaches… perfect to relax!
– Kohanaiki Beach Park
– Spencer Beach Park
Day 8: Green Sand Beach
What a sight! This beach can be reached after a 50-minute walk by the ocean. Forget about taking the car, it ain't happening. Some would rather pay to hop on someone's car but I'd rather walk. And it's true, the sand is indeed green: worth the look!
– Kohanaiki Beach Park
Day 9: Beach day and fly out of Big Island
Who doesn't love to relax by the beach before hoping on a plane? Thought so. We chose an other beach that was nearby Kona and we were all set!