Kona Journals

Dreams of the Big Island

A November 2002 trip to Kona by bgarver

Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park Photo, Kona, Hawaii More Photos
Quote: This journal details the adventures of two friends who escaped a drab Pennsylvania winter for warm, wonderful Hawaii.
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The accommodations were quite comfortable. It was an older hotel, but clean and inexpensive. The rooms were big enough for two people to stay comfortably. The lobby was open air style, which created a feeling of tropic excitement. The hotel has a luau three times a week. There was a nice pool and a lagoon swimming area, convenient laundry facilities, and parking lots that didn't require you to hike a mile to get to your room. The location was great - easy walking distance to shops and restaurants in Kailua-Kona. The hotel featured the Tropics Cafe and the Windjammer Lounge, for open-air dining and entertainment.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 10, 2003

Royal Kona Resort
75-5852 Alii Drive
Kona, Hawaii
329-7230

Tres Hombres Steak & Seafood

Restaurant | "Tres Hombres"

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Wow! Probably the best Mexican food I've ever had! Reasonable prices, great service, and a nice, casual atmosphere. We had some good Mexican food during our time in Hawaii, but this was the best.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 10, 2003

Tres Hombres Steak & Seafood
75-5864 Walua Road
Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 329-1292

Paniolo's

Restaurant

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Paniolo's is a cowboy-type restaurant frequented by the locals. I had the best hamburger in the world, and Lori raved about the Mexican food she ordered. This is one of those fabulous places that aren't in the tour books, but should be. The menu was huge, the prices were low, the food quality was FABULOUS.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 10, 2003

Paniolo's
Rt. 19
Kona, Hawaii

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I cannot recommend this museum highly enough. From the outside, it looks like someone's house. Inside, it is packed full of Hawaiian artifacts, war relics, natural history artifacts, historical items, cultural goodies, heirlooms from the Hawaiian royal families, everything imaginable. If you go to the Big Island, you must see this museum, and you should allow at least two hours to see everything - if it's even possible to see everything. If you are very lucky, you will be able to talk to Mr. Albert Solomon, Jr., and hear his fascinating stories. Refer to my journal entry dated November 8, 2002, for more details.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 10, 2003

Harriet M. Solomon Kamuela Museum
Highway 19 at Highway 250
Kona, Hawaii

November 2, 2002

Story/Tip

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Let me start with some general words about the Big Island. It is astonishingly beautiful, and almost impossibly diverse. You can drive for miles with nothing but black hardened lava on either side of the road, framed by a gorgeous coastline on one side, and majestic mountains on the other. You can drive through a rainforest, with lush tropical foliage everywhere, and then enter into an almost desert-like environment twenty minutes later. The temperature is typically high 70s to mid-80s along the coast, but as you drive up the mountains, the temperature drops precipitously. The population is sparse, with the biggest population centers probably in Kona and Hilo. We stayed in Kona, but drove all over the...Read More

November 3, 2002

Story/Tip

Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park Photo, Kona, Hawaii
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My friend Lori is rather detail-oriented, to put it mildly. She had developed a complete itinerary for us. This day was labeled "Native Cultural Day" on Lori’s itinerary. We drove to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park, the Napoopoo Beach Park, UCC Hawaii Coffee Factory Outlet, Painted Church, Kealakekua Bay, and Keahou Bay. Lori’s luggage was found and delivered to the hotel. The Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park was interesting. It means "Place of Refuge" in Hawaiian. Any time an ancient Hawaiian committed a crime or offended a king, all he had to do was arrive at the Place of Refuge, and he was automatically forgiven. No one could touch him. Kind of an interesting concept. You could probabl...Read More

November 4, 2002

Story/Tip

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Photo, Kona, Hawaii
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Lori had labeled this day as Volcanoes Day. We drove to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and completely refined the Drive-by concept. First we went on a guided tour through a rain forest area to the Volcano House, a restaurant/inn that has been around since the early 1900’s, and saw the Kilauea Iki crater, which is basically a huge pit in the earth, several miles in diameter. I cannot adequately describe the magnitude of it, except to say that Lori thought she saw a duck walking across it, and a woman standing next to us said that, no, it was her husband hiking across the bottom of it! This particular crater had last erupted in 1959, and there was still steam coming up from different place...Read More

November 5, 2002 - Election Day

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Pu’ukohola Heiau Historic Site Photo, Kona, Hawaii
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In Hawaii, the state’s first female governor was elected. Also in Hawaii, Lori and I began our version of Kamehameha Day. After first stopping at the airport and discovering we couldn’t get an early morning flight to Maui on Friday for our planned little junket, we visited the Pu’ukohola Heiau Historic Site. A heiau (pronounced HAY-ow, I believe) is basically a fortress made of stone. This particular one was built at the direction of King Kamehameha the Great, and it was dedicated with human sacrifices in 1791. Kamehameha had received a prophecy that if he built a heiau at this particular location, he would rule all the Hawaiian islands. The prophecy was evidently accurate. After Pu...Read More

November 6, 2002

Best Of IgoUgo

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World Botanical Gardens and Umauma Falls Photo, Kona, Hawaii
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We christened this day Waterfalls Day. We drove to Hilo, on the other side of the island, stopping first at the Laupahoehoe (pronounced low (like cow) pa HOY hoy) Beach Park. This place had been hit hard by the 1946 tsunami, wiping out a school, and killing 24 students and teachers within minutes. There was a monument to them, and their ages ranged from 36 years to three months. The park itself was beautiful, or as accurately described by the Hidden Hawaii book, "hauntingly beautiful." After the park, we stopped at the Laupahoehoe Train Museum. It was a tiny little place, staffed by a very talkative volunteer named Diana and her dog Hoku ("Hoku" means "star" in Hawaiian, and the name is shared b...Read More

November 7, 2002

Story/Tip

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Lori dubbed this day Resort and Relaxation Day. We ate breakfast at the Keakou Resort just a few miles from our hotel. It was a nice resort, with an open-air restaurant where little birds flew in to eat crumbs off the floor. Afterwards, we found a car wash and washed all the Kamehameha mud off the poor Lincoln. We drove about 40 miles to the Hilton Waikaloa Village. This was the only part of the trip that I didn’t absolutely love, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to explain why. As I said before, you can drive for miles and see nothing but black hardened lava on either side of the road. Well, not far from the village of Waikaloa, there is a 62-acre green patch amidst all the lava that is a Hilton...Read More

November 8, 2002

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

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We originally planned to take a morning flight to Maui on this day, but when we tried to get tickets earlier in the week, we couldn’t. It was a three-day weekend (Veteran’s Day), and apparently everyone on the Big Island was going to Maui. So, we changed the name of the day to Clean-Up Day, and tried to see everything that we had missed earlier in the week. This was the day that Lori and I switched personalities. The resort aliens had gotten to Lori the day before, and she was more interested in beach time than anything else. I took over her role as Nazi tour guide and we headed out towards Hilo again. Our first stop was the Kaumana Caves outside of Hilo on Saddle Road. The caves were in all the tour ...Read More