Big Island Travel Diary

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Shop the Post:

I hadn’t planned on having my first trip to the Big Island coincide with one of their biggest volcanic eruptions in recent history, but c’est la vie. Also, thankfully, the west side of the island where we were staying wasn’t impacted.

My first thought upon arrival was that the Big Island didn’t look anything like Oahu or Maui. I’d been picturing lush jungles and palm trees, but instead was greeted by a black volcanic landscape that was beautifully stark and seemed to stretch for miles.

Of course, we were only able to explore a small section of the island – and even within those few miles, we saw a wide range of microclimates and terrains – so it’s possible the rest of the Big Island looks very different.

I did manage to pick up a few tips despite my short time there; below is my quick guide to navigating the Big Island:

  • Rent a car. Cabs are extremely expensive, and Uber is only available in certain parts of the island. Also, you’ll want to check out all the nearby beaches (and be able to pick up supplies, i.e. wine/beer, sunscreen, snacks).
  • Go snorkeling. I’ve been plenty of times in Honolulu, but didn’t see half as many fish and sea turtles (seriously, they were everywhere) as I did at the Fairmont Orchid beach.
  • I hear amazing things about Hapuna Beach as well. We ended up at a black sand beach (photos above), but it was quite a trek in the heat, and I’m not quite sure it was worth it.
  • Check out Napua Restaurant for the sunset view, but skip the cocktails (way too sweet). The food was good but slightly overpriced.
  • Eat at Broke Da Mouth Grindz (insane Kalua pork, tuna mac salad and garlic butter shrimp) and Umeke’s (a local favorite for poke and fried fish). I've also heard great things about Da Poke Shack and Hawaiian Style Café.
  • Go to Anaehoomalu Bay (aka "A" Bay) to watch the sunset. The views are unrivaled! xx