Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Backtracking: Honeymoon Adventures on the Big Island!

Okay, it's the last of the honeymoon posts! We finished our amazing trip with 4 days and 4 nights on the Big Island. We were so glad we made this island a part of our trip!

Our first stop was checking into the over the top romantic Volcano Rainforest Retreat, where we stayed in The Sanctuary Cottage. This cottage now rents for 160/per night and breakfast is included. Very advanced reservations required (I booked about 9 months ahead). We LOVED staying in Volcano Village right next to the Volcano National Park. We were wild about the outdoor shower and Japanese soaking tub for two. This place is incredibly private and romantic. We would definitely stay here again! It rains often, and it was so fun to soak in the tub or read while listening to the rain. Staying in the middle of the rainforest was an incredible experience.

That first night, we picked up dinner from Thai Thai Restaurant in Volcano Village and brought it back to our cottage. This is expensive, but honestly, maybe the best Thai food I've ever had. It was so good, we went back for lunch the following day!

We explored the Volcano National Park, and lucky for us, there were active Volcanos (sometimes it will be nothing for a year, as was the case last year, apparently). I won't bother giving you details about how to see the park, because it constantly changes. Sometimes lava literally ruins the park roads and causes closures. The active volcano locations are always changing, so you just have to go, pay your entry, and enjoy! We did do the crater rim drive and some very cool hikes.

There she blows 

Hardened Lava Lake

Lava Tube 
The park plays it a little too safe with how close they let visitors get to lava. Knowing this wouldn't satisfy Brendan's curiosity about the lava, I booked us on a guided hike with LavaLand Tours. For 99 dollars/per person plus tip, we had an incredible guide, Hank, who took us on a 3 person total tour to see what the real lava was about. Hiking in rain and dark on scary lava rocks required, but Hank provided all we needed (snacks, backpacks, flashlights, and binoculars) and had the knowledge to keep us safe. We saw both ocean entry and surface lava flow! Now this is what we had in mind!

This was definitely one of our Big Island highlights!

The next day, we went to Akaka Falls State Park. It was well worth the trip!

Afterwards, we ate homemade ice cream at Woodshop Gallery Cafe...Lapperts be damned, THIS place had the best homemade ice cream of Hawaii! (The ice cream company is called Tropical Dreams).

Up next, we checked into our last hotel. The Waipio Rim Bed and Breakfast.  This is owned by a retired couple, Nancy and Steve. They have one guest house on property, and they are the perfect hosts. It is private and romantic, and Nancy makes an amazing breakfast every morning! Also, this is the view:

This B&B rents for 200/per night, and we thought it was well worth it! You have to make very advanced reservations...we booked 9 months ahead. During our July stay, there weren't any openings until November, so really, book ahead. 

We did not have a jeep, so the next day, we hiked down the steepest road ever to the black sand beach below. We had to cross a stream, which was difficult, but it was all so worth it...the black sand beach was basically ours alone. Be careful swimming here! We didn't go out far. 

The Kings Trail hike brought many rewards: wild horses, puppies, waterfalls, and fresh passionfruit! Brendan made me feel like the best planner ever for finding this place; he kept saying it was the perfect way to end the honeymoon!

Climbing back up that hill was really quite hard, but Nancy had cold smoothies waiting for us, score! Both nights, dinner was at Cafe Il Mondo, an amazing cash only Italian restaurant. It's one of the only restaurants in the nearby town, but luckily, it was seriously amazing. Pizza and pasta were delicious! 

Lastly, we went to see the Puako Petroglyph Preserve...lets just say one of us boarded the flight home limping, and it wasn't Brendan. Wear sneakers. Seriously. 

We definitely loved the Big Island! For more info on island hopping and other Hawaiian Islands, see posts on Maui and Kaua'i. 

Happy Adventuring!

<3 S&B

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