Big Island!

Our flight from Maui to Big Island was on a tiny 9 seater plane and as we got closer to the ground we could see the empty black lava fields that stretched for miles, a byproduct of two of the world’s most active volcanoes.  It has been several years since fresh lava has flowed to this particular area and in its absence Kona has become a very popular tourist destination and “busy” city of Big Island.  The area is known for its long stretches of beaches, world class micro brews and delicious blends of coffee. 

Beautiful views!

They don’t call it Big Island for nothing so we rented a car to allow for absolute mobility.  Normally this is something we wouldn’t do but the public transportation, although free, doesn’t allow large bags on board and only services a few main areas on the island.  We spent our first day exploring the far reaches of the island, starting on the west side near Kona and driving all the way up to the north west point, through the mountains and down to the east end in Hilo. 

We had been told, and read that Hilo was a slice of the preserved Hawaiian lifestyle, sheltered from mass tourism and blessed with natural beauty.  I’m not qualified to judge on the first rumor about Hilo, but the second one was spot on.  Lush rainforest and vibrant greens lacing the sheer cliffs that spit out waterfalls!

Rainbow Falls

Our couchsurfers lived 20 minutes south of Hilo in a beautiful hidden paradise with more fruit trees that you could ever imagine! George and Bobbie were incredibly gracious and inspiring and such a great experience to stay with! We had lovely meals together everyday and they offered us amazing advice on where to go and what to see!

Fairytale Garden at George and Bobbies!

We checked out a few waterfalls as typical tourists, so they didn’t quite measure up to our Maui experience…although they were massive and of course still beautiful! George has told us about some tide pools and hot springs which was cool and different to see.

Akaka Falls!

The most memorable thing of course though was the volcano! The night before, we walked down to the black beach because we heard the lava had started to flow…and we saw it!! It was exciting but we were SOOO far away. After about 15 minutes of attempting to get closer and carefully walking over old lava fields, we turned around and thought we would try our luck next time!

Old Lava

On our last day we headed for the National Park which is where both volcanoes are located.  As I’m sure is the case most days, half the Volcanoes National Park was closed down due to toxic sulfurs in the air, but we were still able to check out the MASSIVE lava tube that ran through the park. It was crazy to think the lava had carved out this tunnel through the way it flowed….very cool!

Lava Tube

We waited around until it was dark to see the glow of the lava underneath the crater…The color was like no other either of us had seen before, a neon orange glow diffused by the plumes of steam that floated out of the crater.   Apparently only 2 weeks later lava was crazy flowing down the water, creating new additions to the island!


Big Island is so large that you could spend weeks exploring the many great places or waiting for lava to take over.  But, since we were limited in time we did our best and feel confident that we made the most of our stay.  Thanks to George and Bobbie for making our stay there awesome! 

This entry was posted in CouchSurfing, Hawaii, USA, Volcano, Waterfall and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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