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Sunny Travels: Finding Paradise on Hawaii’s Big Island

by kelly / March, 2 2016 01:30
Hawaii Big Island Kona beach

I definitely found paradise and it's called the Big Island. This year our annual 'get out of the cold' family trip was filled with friendly dolphins, delicious papaya, spectacular beaches and lots of sunshine and sunscreen. Here's a snippet of our trip...

We flew into Kona Airport. I only mention this because it was really cool - the airport is almost entirely outdoors! Guess that's what happens when it's sunny almost everyday.

Hawaii Big Island beach at sunset

On our first official day in Hawaii we visited downtown Kona. Here we found cute shops and cafes serving Kona coffee and ice cream. I will say the coffee ice cream is amazing on the island or maybe paradise just makes everything taste better? In downtown Kona we also checked out Hulihee Palace, the former vacation home of Hawaiian royalty - a guidebook we read said it is one of only three palaces in the US.

Hiking was the name of the game for our second day of vacation. We hiked to the bottom of the Pololu Valley. At the top of the valley is a lookout which offers some of the most spectacular panoramic views I've ever seen - straight out of a postcard. The hike to the bottom takes about 15-20 minutes and it can be a little rocky and steep but it is well worth the trip down (and sweaty uphill climb). We encountered an awesome black sand beach and beautiful valley.

Hawaii Big Island Pololu Valley Lookout

The highlight of our trip was on our last full day when we swam with close to a hundred Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins in the ocean. Swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me. The dolphins don't seem to mind people being around them. Our guide said that dolphins can even feel and feed off our energy. While I didn't get up close and personal with any dolphin (I was mostly about 10-15 feet away), the dolphins came within two feet of Will's sister and she even made eye contact with one! I definitely regret not having a waterproof camera - so unfortunately no dolphin selfies here.

Yes in between all of our tours, hikes and swims we also found plenty of time to relax by the hotel pool and partake in some tropical drinks! I was very sad to leave this slice of heaven but I hope to be back again sometime soon. For more fun travel stories, check out our Sunny Travels series.

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