The last time we were in Hawaii, we took a whirlwind trip to Hilo, we saw it briefly as we drove by it. This time, we decided to take it slow and spend the night on the other side of the island.
We headed northeast early Monday morning and drove up to Waipio Valley. We had been there before but you cannot just dry by without stopping. The view is absolutely breathless.
Apparently, only the crazy and the hippies live down in the valley where there’s barely electricity and running water. I do want to live in paradise but I’m not about to sacrifice my hygiene for it. While there, we were fortunate enough to see a group of children from the local school chanting, giving thanks to the valley and gods. It was very hypnotic and moving.
Next, we stopped at Waiakea, a town that was wiped out by a tsunami back in the 1950s. We walked around the park and watched the waves crash on the jagged rocks. With Bob’s new SLR, he was able to capture the crashes through a series of photos, very cool.
Of course, when you are on the Hilo side, you have to stop by one of the many waterfalls in the area. We are a big fan of Akaka Falls. Sure, it’s a bit of a hike down (don’t worry, it’s all paved), but the view is worth it:
I actually enjoyed the walk down because you are surrounded by such lush greenery, the humidity is thick, you are engulfed by the tropics. When I think of Hawaii, I think of tropical landscapes such as this.
After being in the car all day, we decided to check in at our B&B, The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls, an absolutely breathtaking inn, next to a waterfall!!! We had found this inn on the Internet and from the photos, it looked amazing and it lived up to the advertisement. Now, the only problem with this place is that it is definitely in the middle of nowhere and it was a bit of an adventure getting there. Part of the time, it felt like you were driving in the middle of someone’s orchard, through their pastures. We saw street signs that led to nowhere:
But at the end of the “road,” we knew we were in the right place when this appeared before us:
This place was on the expensive side but I decided for it because it served breakfast in the morning and I wanted something other than a cheap motel in town. I wanted the Hawaiian experience. Unfortunately, when we checked in, we were placed in the wrong room. Fortunately, we were compensated by only having to pay half the rate. Fine, no view of the waterfall from our balcony but only having to pay $80 for a room here, perfectly acceptable.
The next morning, we woke up to view the Hawaii sunrise and I do have to say, it was brilliant. Judge for yourself:
After a simple, yet delicious, fare of omelets, fruits, waffles, bread and Kona coffee, we took a tour of the property and hiked down to the waterfall. This time, it was an actual hike, no paved stairs available. We could not pass up the chance for this:
You are actually allowed to swim in there but Bob and I checked in late and didn’t have time the next morning either. Next time, I promise, we will swim in the pool.
After saying goodbye to our hosts, we continued on our adventures, taking in the sights of the southeast side of the Island. We stopped and checked out the hot pools:
And saw the lava fields:
We even saw where the current lava flow was going (so we saw the steam of the lava flow, but that counts, right?):
It’s a crazy experience, being in such a desolate, barren, dead part of the land. You felt like you were on an alien planet and no one is around except the wind.
It was a pretty fantastic voyage. I did enjoy myself road-tripping it with my husband but I do have to say, I recommend Kona over Hilo any day. If you want to see tropical landscape, take a day or two over on the Hilo side but enjoy your vacation on the Kona side.
This is so funny – my good friend grew up in Hilo and always talks about how his parents are hippies and electricity is rare. They are definitely from the valley. :)