Hawaii (Big Island) Journals

Big Island Hawaii--Spirit of Aloha

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An April 2002 trip to Hawaii (Big Island) by indogirl

Quote: The Big Island of Hawaii is full of surprises: beach encounters with endangered green turtles, sightings of humpback whales, snow on Mauna Kea and hot lava courtesy of Kilauea, the ultimate hula celebration and the ever-present Aloha spirit. And, oh, the flowers!!

Big Island Hawaii--Spirit of Aloha

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Overview

Quote:
In my past travels Hawaii meant luxury hotels and gourmet dinners. This time I wanted to travel alone and on a shoestring budget in order to see the "real" Hawaii. This turned out to be difficult as expenses were often higher than those on the US mainland. Renting a car was a necessity to see out-of-the-way places. Low-budget lodging was more expensive than any mainland Motel 6. And eating out became a budget buster. Nevertheless, traveling on the Big Island is a relaxing experience. Locals are laid back, genuinely friendly and very helpful. I chose two sides of the island as my home base: Captain Cook on the Kona (and sunny) side, and Hilo, where it rains 130 inches a year. On the Kona ...Read More

Arnott's Lodge

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Hotel

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Arnott's Lodge is a budget travelers' hostel, with dorm rooms with bunks and communal kitchen at $17/night. They also have semi-private rooms (shared bath and kitchen) for $37-47 and private "deluxe" rooms for $57. Modest, but comfortable and clean. 98 Apapane Road, Hilo. (808)969-7097. The lodge is located half a block from the water, and about 2 miles from Richardson's Beach, a local snorkeling beach with life guards. The advantage of staying at Arnott's is their adventures, which are offered at a reduced rate for guests. They have their own shuttles and guides to the lava flow/hike, the Mauna Kea observatories, and the north coast waterfalls. They will also lend clunker bikes for runs t...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 12, 2002

Arnott's Lodge
98 Apapane Road
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii
(808) 969-7097

Manago Hotel

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Hotel

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Manago Hotel is a family-owned hotel located in the small town of Captain Cook, right on Highway 11, with an old and a newer section. The hotel is simple and clean. If you expect luxury, go to Kona. No telephone or television in the rooms, but the room I had--in the newer section on the third floor--had a balcony with view of the Kona coast. The sunsets were beautiful, and the vegetable gardens below provided food for some colorful feathered visitors. Rates for rooms run between $42 and $47 for a single to $45 and $50 for double occupancy. They also have weekly and monthly rates. The hotel has a restaurant that offers home-style breakfast, lunch and dinner (except Mondays) at a reasonable price....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 12, 2002

Manago Hotel
P.O.Box 145
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii
(808) 323-2642

St. Benedict's Painted Church

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Attraction

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A lovely little spot that is definitely worth a visit is the "Painted Church," a Catholic church located near Captain Cook. One sunny weekday morning I found myself the only visitor to this tiny and quaint church, which is one of several "painted churches" on the Big Island. Its claim to fame are the trompe l'oeil wall paintings inside that give an illusion that you are in a huge cathedral. A Belgian priest, John Berchman Velghe, painted the wall scenes during the time he was stationed here (ca. 1899). This tiny church is a haven of peace and tranquility in a world that seems to have become more and more polarized in its religious fanaticism. The grounds are also worth a visit. The landscaping ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 24, 2002

St. Benedict's Painted Church
84-5140 Painted Church Road
Captain Cook, Hawaii 96704
808-328-2227

Quote:
A small but interesting museum that should not be missed in Hilo is the Pacific Tsunami museum. Located in the Bishop National Bank, one of the few bay area buildings left standing after the deadly 1946 tsunami, the museum has a great collection of photos taken during the 1946 tsunami as well as the one in 1960. There are exhibits and interactive displays, seismographs and scientific information on tsunamis. Volunteer docents will be quick to tell you that tsunamis are not tidal waves. A tsunami is a giant wave that is formed in the aftermath of an earthquake, while tidal waves are caused by the tides and storms. Be sure to watch the half-hour documentary in the bank building's old va...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 13, 2002

Pacific Tsunami Museum/Of Tsunamis and Tidal Waves
130 Kamehameha Avenue
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

Hilo and the Merrie Monarch Festival

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Story/Tip

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The Merry Monarch Festival, held annually in Hilo, brings together hula aficionados from the Hawaiian Islands and internationally. Dancers compete in ancient and contemporary hula, and Hilo puts its best foot forward with fairs, foods, and a parade. I had never heard of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival until I drove into Hilo, and had no idea I would be witnessing the biggest social event of the year. The ultimate hula celebration in the Hawaiian Islands--named after 19th century king David Kalakaua--took place this year from March 31 through April 6. A tradition dating back to 1964, the festival featured ancient (Kahiko) and contemporary (Auana) hula, and men and women competed for...Read More

Lava Hike--Not for Sissies

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Poking at 2000 degrees F. hot lava with a metal pole had never been one of my goals in life. It was, however, an amazing experience, and I now have even more respect for glassblowers, pizza makers, and others who must deal with this type of intense heat on a daily basis. Arnott's Lodge in Hilo has special excursions to the lava beds, and guarantee that you will see flowing lava up close and personal. This is one of their most popular adventures, although definitely not for sissies. Most people take a quick tour of Volcanoes National Park and drive to the spot where the road abruptly ends courtesy of Madame Pele, goddess of fire. They then walk a few feet, look through telescopes to ta...Read More