Hawaii (Big Island) Journals

Big Island 1--Kailua-Kona

A November 2006 trip to Hawaii (Big Island) by rubylu

Os Bistro Photo, Kona, Hawaii More Photos
Quote: I had over two weeks to spend on the island, and visited old favorite and new places. This is the first of four journals.

Big Island 1--Kailua-Kona

Overview

Ferns at night Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
The Big Island is one of the most primal places on earth - ocean, active volcano, and lush tropical splendor. The Kona area gives a good introduction to the island, and you can branch out from there, with day or overnight trips to other areas. Some of our Kona highlights were:- Snorkeling at Kahalu'u Beach.- Sunsets at Old Airport Beach, at the coastline right in town, and at our hotel, the Kona Tiki.- Watching the manta rays at night from the terrace at the Keauhou Sheraton.- Feeding the eels outside the Kona Tiki Hotel, where we stayed.- And, of course, shopping.Quick Tips: You can book a room at a good hotel if you want, but it's ...Read More

Kona Tiki

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Hotel

Kona Tiki Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
The Kona Tiki is a gem of a place to stay. It has almost a cult following who come back year after year. It is a small hotel and tends to fill up well in advance. We were visiting off-season, and were lucky enough to get rooms for a 4-day and 3-night stays. When we returned for the later stay, it was like coming home.Our kitchenette rooms, $98 a night including taxes (over 11% in Hawaii), each had a double and a single bed and a full kitchen. Rooms without the kitchen cost less. No tub, but a big shower. Our first floor room had a nice lanai opening up right on the shore. The third floor room had a superb ocean view from the lanai. Both rooms were in good shape, though there were not many elec...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 10, 2006

Kona Tiki
75-5968 Alii Drive
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii
(808) 329-1425

Island Java Lava

Restaurant | "Lava Java"

Quote:
Lava Java is right on the tourist strip, so we walked past it many times. It has coffee drinks and pastries and wireless Internet for customers, so people are always sitting at the outdoor tables sipping coffee. It also has a full menu. We got iced-coffee there one day. It was very good and the barista was extra nice. Another night we had dinner there, or rather my friend did and I just had tea. She had the Ahi steak and said it was great. It came with asparagus and a big mound of the local purple sweet potatoes, mashed. They were dry (they always are) but tasty. The rest of the menu looks good too. The butternut squash lasagna sounded good to me, and another friend was tempted by the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 10, 2006

Island Java Lava
75-5799 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 327-2161

O's Bistro

Restaurant

O's Bistro Photo, Kona, Hawaii
Quote:
I first went to this place years ago when it was called Oodles of Noodles. It still seems to have the wide variety of noodle dishes (Japanese, Italian, Thai, etc.) at reasonable prices for the area (under $20), and has added several higher-end entrées. Since I'm vegetarian, I appreciate the large vegetarian section of the menu.On this visit, I had the vegan saimin ($12). This is something you never find anywhere. It was delicious, a giant bowl of tasty broth with lots of veggies and tofu. I could barely finish half of it, and was satisfied. My friend had a kalamata olive linguine. It was excellently done, but too rich for the moment; she wished she'd gotten something lighter, like t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 10, 2006

O's Bistro
75-1027 Henry Street Siute 102
Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 327-6565

Royal Thai Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
Royal Thai Cafe is located in Keauhou Mall. We went there for dinner one night.

The place is decorated nicely and the atmosphere was very pleasant. It was almost full, and everybody appeared to be having a good time. The menu had all the usual Thai items, with plenty of choices for vegetarians. We were not very hungry, so we had only had a salad and a vegetable tofu curry. Both were very good.

Service was friendly and good, considering how full the place was. I would definitely go there again.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 10, 2006

Royal Thai Cafe
Keauhou Shopping Center
Kailua Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 322-8424

Kahaluu Beach Park

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Attraction | "Kahalu'u Beach Park"

Kahaluu Beach Park Photo, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Quote:
Kahalu'u Beach is the most accessible beach in the Kona area for swimming and, mostly, snorkeling. I went there several times this trip. Our first morning, we got to the beach at 9am, which is probably the best time. The water was clear, with that beautiful green color. We saw an amazing number of fishes, many different types. We saw our first turtle right at the edge of the water before even stepping in. It was munching away--they eat seaweed from the rocks--without any cares about all the people. I also had good views of several others out further in the water.Later in the trip, I took another friend there for her first ever snorkeling. It's perfect place for the beginning snorkeler,...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 10, 2006

Kahaluu Beach Park
78 6699 Alii Drive at Mile Marker 5
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
(808) 961-8311

A Short and Barely-Informed History

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Story/Tip

Quote:
When you travel to other places, it’s a good thing to learn about the history and culture, before you go and/or while you’re there. Here are two of the many reasons:1. It expands your mind, broadens your horizons. Learning things you didn’t know exercises your brain—it’s good for you.People tend to be insular. We are familiar with our region and, to a lesser extent, the rest of our country. We know the history, how the area was settled, how our own family got there. We know the customs, how to act, and how to expect other people to act in various contexts and circumstances. We know how the government works in theory and how it’s different in practice. We know, to some extent, the weath...Read More

Big Island Wi-Fi and Rant

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The first afternoon in Hawaii, we drove to the Captain Cook area. We wanted to find a place we could get wireless Internet. We stopped at a natural food store and café to buy a snack. I asked the counter guy if he knew where we could get wireless. He said he didn’t know of anything closer than Borders, all the way back in Kona. Then we walked out on the café patio, and there was a guy working away on his laptop, connected through the cafe's own wireless! I said to the counter guy, "You have wireless here." He mumbled something about how it wasn’t a service that they provide. We took our laptops, got some food from the café, sat down on the patio, and checked our email. There was not only their...Read More

Exploring Kona

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Story/Tip

Gecko Photo,
Quote:
The town of Kailua-Kona is a good jumping-off place for island exploring. Most flights land at the airport here, and a variety of accommodations are available. It's the most touristy town and area, which gives it advantages and disadvantages. I spent almost half of my 16-day island stay in the Kona area. I was traveling with two different friends at different times, and got to visit with a few others as well. This review covers the things we did around town that didn't get separate reviews.The main drag, Ali’i Drive, goes along the ocean for several miles. A half-mile stretch of it has most of the shops and restaurants, and the rest of it has all kinds of vacation rentals and hotels....Read More

Wawaloli Beach

Story/Tip

Lava Rock at Wawaloli Beach Photo,
Quote:
One afternoon, we followed the guidebook's directions to Wawaloli Beach. To get there, you head north from Kona, and turn off Route 19 before the airport at the Natural Energy Lab entrance. Then you just follow the road to the ocean.The beach has parking lot, restrooms, and picnic facilites. Not many people were there, just a few local families. There's some sandy area but not all that much beach; the shoreline is mostly lava rock, with many small tidepools. A couple of them were big enough for people to get in the water, and looked very safe, with a few small kids playing in them. We walked around on the lava looking at the sea life in the tidepools—sea urchins and small fish, very be...Read More