Visited the Big Island for the first time, which by the way is known as “Hawaii” by the locals. We’ve now visited each of the major Hawaiian Islands.
Suggest that you get this book first -> Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook by Andrew Doughty. Below, I’ll try to add a few details to that book, specifically around the Kona area.
Flew into Kona. The whole area is very desolate with lava everywhere. Along Route 19 every 5-10 mins you may see turn-offs toward the ocean with a pocket of palm trees and “greenery”. Next, nothing but lava for the next 5-10 mins.
South of Kona was the Keauhou Beach Resort (Outrigger). Nice, fair price and next to the best snorkeling I’ve seen on any of the major Hawaiian islands. That spot was Kahalu’u Beach Park.
Kahalu’u Beach Park
The Kahalu’u “Beach” Park wasn’t much of a beach. It was small, no real sand but what it lacks in beach it makes up for in marine life.
There’s a long, relatively flat stretch of lava that is thinly covered during low tide. We saw several turtles just walking around on that lava eating algae, like the guys below.
To snorkel don’t be a typical tourist and walk over that lava to get to the deeper water, you’ll look like a fool! Just watch a few people in their reef shoes and you’ll see what I mean. Instead, go near the lifeguard tower and follow the narrow stretch of sand that bends towards the open, deeper water.
Once in the water, if it feels like Disneyland with all the floaters bobbing around you then head to the right (for some reason everyone goes left). Below is a picture of a small school of Yellow Tang I saw with almost no one around me.
Tell me the following isn’t the clearest, most beautiful ocean water you’ve ever seen. BTW, I didn’t adjust the photo other than to make a low resolution version not worth copying.
We spent alot of time at this beach. It has restrooms, showers, there was a truck selling hot dogs, cool drinks, etc. However, if you want a better meal walk to the Outrigger next door and visit their restaurant just beyond the pool.
Waialea Beach (69 Beach)
This beach was wonderful! I believe it’s a stereotypical beach. It has great sand, great for kids, there are lots of low growing trees, on windy days it’s sheltered and the snorkeling is excellent. It also has restrooms and a shower. Just a beautiful beach overall!
Hiked south of Kiholo Bay. Nice, but demanding hike through the barren woods. Bring water and food like any other day hike. You’ll probably see a bunch of goats along the way.
Saw the Bali House and Yellow “house”. I use quotes around “house” since it looks more like a resort.
Lastly visited Queens Bath before trekking out of there.
Take a moment to see the petroglyphs in the area.
At the end of the Puako\Malama Petroglyph Trail (15-20 min walk) you’ll see thousands of petroglyphs carved into the flat lava.
Of course, we saw and did alot more than I described here. I’m too lazy to enter everything…