My first Hawaii vacation.. photos and thoughts

“Turtle Town beach ” near Wailea Beach – Maui

I haven’t done a vacation post in some time (my last one was my Carribean Cruise in late 2013)  so this is my first one on my first Hawaiian vacation. I’m heading to Hawaii for a much needed 2017 vacation . I went to two islands. The Big Island (the Island of Hawaii ) and Maui, after a landing in Honolulu (located on the island of Oahu)  a short 40min plane ride to get to Kona district on the Big Island. I was hear to watch the Ironman world champs and take in some sights..

Ironman World Champs – Race day

First few days we visited Kailua Kona, the small village town was turned into everything Ironman  Triathlon with this being the race week.  This is the big Ironman race and its pretty clear by seeing all the sponsors and Ironman activities at the Ironman village this is the center of the Iroman world. Saturday  was race day , and I wanted to make the most of the experience by getting some exciting photos and catching the action live and in-person. Here’s my Ironman World Champs spectator’s guide and review of the race.

Manini’owali Beach – Big Island

Our Thursday trip to the top of Mauna Kea was cancelled due to bad weather at the mountain top. I was pretty bummed out that our tour of Mauna Kea was cancelled I was hoping this was going to be one of the highlight of our visit to the big island.  But it happens… So we traveled ot Volcanoes national park instead.

Sunday our last full day on the Big Island was to be capped off with a afternoon sail and snorkel..

Sail and Snorkel day in Kona

Then it was a short inter-island flight to Maui. Basically most transportation between the islands is by air, the flights are on smaller aircraft, typically run by either Hawaiian Air,  Island Air (note sadly Island Air is no longer in business after 37 years.. they were a nice airline) or Moukeke Airlines, flights are about $90/each way..

Maui is different than the big island,here are many more beaches along the west shore , and a lot of water related activities to do , from swimming, snorkeling, scuba, paddle board, kayaks, wind surfing, kite boarding,  etc.. you name it. If you are out on the water be ware of the trade winds, unless your specifically looking for strong consistent winds , such as wind surfing of kiteboarding, don’t catch yourself too far offshore during the afternoon as strong trade winds can make it difficult to come back in .

Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach – Maui

We spent some quality time doing the Road to Hana, which is one of the most scenic drives in the US.  The road is a twisty turning, up and down small but nicely paved roadway through some very lush terrain, full of waterfalls, cliff-sides, bridges and beaches. We decided to come back via the backside of the road which is less scenic and partially unpaved with plenty of farmland, and gave us a complete circumnavigation of the island.

Luau at sunset – Maui

A few days later we attended a Luau at the nearby venue, that was pretty nice, very relaxing and wonderful to have the Luau just as the sun the was setting, the Luau told the story of the Polynesian islands the the people who call it home.

Finally the last days were spent being a beach bum and more snorkeling, we visited beaches of on Friday and Saturday..

Snorkeling in Kaanapali – Maui

As for some pocketbook and practical matters of vacationing in Hawaii. If you’re staying for more than a week, consider a condo-style place to stay, with a kitchen and laundry, it will make your vacation a little more affordable (you don’t have to eat out every day) and you can pack lighter and simply wash your clothes, plus it gives you a more at-home feel to your trip.

Also keep in mind Hawaii, it’s an island in the middle of the Pacific so things are more expensive as virtually everything needs to be brought in. Things like gas (around $3.80+/gallon USD), food , clothing, electronics, etc. Be sure to have plenty of reserve in your vacation budget if you plan on shopping. The islands are known for their coffee’s , pineapples and macadamia nuts, which make nice gifts for the folks back home..

halekala downhill ride

If you plan on doing water activities like snorkeling , leave your gear at home, plenty of places available will rent good quality gear cheaply (like $1.50/day for snorkel gear), also there’s plenty for places to rent bikes, mopeds, surfboards etc..

Then Sunday arrived and it was time to head for home, this was the first trip, I genuinely was in no hurry to return back home. The vibe in the Hawaiian islands is so tranquil and the weather so pleasant, its easy to want to stay a bit longer.. So Aloha to Hawaii till my return trip!

Sunset in Kona

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