Trip Recap – Hawaii (the Big Island, Kona)

Our most recent trip recap is below:
Where: Hawaii (the Big Island, Kona)
When: November 2012

Our most recent trip was an idea born out of the desire for a mileage run, a wedding trip to Cape Cod, and a few beers.
In case some of you didn’t know Carrie and I like to travel and after putting in a lot of airline miles the last few years, we have gotten spoiled by the premier line and perks of being a frequent flyer. Unfortunately during 2012 we didn’t fly quite as much as prior years and thus in August, I realized I would be a couple thousand miles short of premier. So in order to remedy this deplorable situation I discussed the two best options with Carrie both of which I will loosely call mileage runs. The first idea was to take a weekend trip to say Los Angeles or Phoenix, and go via Washington D.C. or New York and thus fly the required miles and still get to visit friends or family. The second idea was to fly somewhere farther away for the weekend. Both ideas had their merits but I thought the second idea sounded a little more fun, and thus set fare alerts for locations that would generate the required mileage. These locations included Washington D.C., Chicago, Mexico, and Hawaii.

So with that stage being set, part II of this journey coming together continued with a trip to Cape Cod we took earlier in the year to celebrate the nuptials of our friends. We were in Cape Cod in September and realized the year was coming quickly to an end and thus the mileage run had to be in the next few months. We still had not decided on a place to travel or a weekend to go, especially with how busy work has been for Carrie and me. However, after a few pre-wedding drinks and a timely email fare alert that provided a very good deal for flights to Kona, we had booked flights. At first there was jubilation followed by a couple more drinks and then the realization that we had booked a 4 day trip to Hawaii. Really? Who travels to Hawaii for a weekend?

Following two months of nothing but work and weddings, we arrived in Hawaii with very few plans but for a need to relax. We spent the next three days enjoying the beach, the warm weather and included a few mishaps that turned into good times.

While we spent most of the time just relaxing with fun in the sun, we did have a few notable experiences in order of appearance.

1. The arrival into Kona was uneventful until we couldn’t even get out of the parking lot at Hertz. Our first rental car had the check engine light turn on before we left the parking lot. Which meant we got upgraded to a mustang convertible for the same price. Big Score for us.
2. We did a Manta Ray night dive the first night and had a great time with Jack’s Diving Locker.

Manta Ray Night Diving

3. We scored a great deal at the Sheraton Kona Resort at Keauhou Bay with an upgraded Ocean Front room that allowed us to be lulled to sleep and wake up to the sound of crashing waves and to see Mantas swimming around at night (although from far away).
IMG_1633 4. I read in a guide book about a great snorkeling spot called Pawai Bay, but missed the detailed part about private land, thus we took a very long hot march to the spot only to be reprimanded for trespassing on Queen’s land and we never did get to snorkel that spot.
5. We managed to take in the Kona Coffee Cultural Parade like locals with some great beer and wonderful small town sights.
6. We went to Mauna Kea Beach for some white sand and high class beach time. We also got in some great snorkeling at various places on the Island (but not at Pawai Bay as mentioned above).
7. After asking about reservations at Rays on the Bay Restaurant, which we were told we didn’t need, we showed up to a 45 minute wait. We were pretty unhappy about this but scored a primo table by the bar, which we subsequently got kicked out of due to reservations at that table (even though the hostess said we could sit at the high to table). We then proceeded to another table near the bar and were rewarded with good food and the manager went out of his way to get us a couple free drinks due to the table mishap.
8. We had a HUGE breakfast at the Big Island Grill which was highlighted by Macadamia Nut Pancakes covered in coconut syrup.
9. We felt like kids again after riding down the water slide at our hotel, repeatedly. I think Carrie broke the record for fastest time down the slide.

10. We ended up very relaxed and happy to have a warm weather break before the winter sets in and the holiday chaos starts up.
Things I would recommend:

  • Sheraton Kona Resort at Keauhou Bay
  • Bite Me Restaurant
  • Big Island Grill
  • LuLu’s – for parade watching and cold beers
  • Rays on the Bay – make reservations but the food was pretty good
  • Mauna Kea Beach Club – great food, tasty mai tais and exceptional views.
  • Manta Ray Night Dive and Jack’s Dive Locker

Packing List
Very minimal for this trip which was great.

  • Bathing Suit
  • Flip Flops
  • A few T-shirts
  • One Polo Shirt
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Sunscreen
  • Mask and Snorkel
  • Fins

We also brought shoes to hike in which we did not need as our four day itinerary never took us to Volcanoes National Park for hiking.

Everything was very casual and there was no need for proper dress clothes even at the nice restaurants

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