Thursday, September 18, 2014

Paradise Found

On a recent trip to the Hawaii, we found the beauty and spirit of the islands to be healing and energizing. Traveling through the islands of Oahu, Big Island and Maui, each had its unique features and adventures.

Whether soaking up the sun on the famous Wakiki Beach, eating the best sushi in Honolulu, climbing volcanoes in Volcano National Park, herding cattle by horseback on a ranch or driving along the famous Road to Hana, Hawaii's people, land and unique culture permeates through every experience.



On our first day we land in Honolulu, Oahu and stayed at the hotel Queen Kapiolani on Wakiki Beach, only 2 blocks from the beach. After a dip in the ocean, we sipped delicious margaritas while overlooking the beach. The first night we dined at Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar, which had received rave reviews.

For the second day, we checked out Diamond Head State Park for a little hiking and stunning views. As you enter inside the crater and climb to the top you will view the shoreline of beautiful Honolulu. We also checked out a local festival, the Slack Key Guitar Musical Festival at Kapiolani park across the beach, where we got shaved ice at a local vendor and listened to the magical sounds of Hawaiian music. For dinner, we checked out a local tip at Sushi ii, an insider local spot and got the sashimi platter which was incredible.

Next stop, the Big Island also known as Hawaii Island..

As we arrive in the Big Island, we instantly fell in love with the landscape, as this is the island of volcanoes. The entire island is covered in hundreds of years of lava fields, overgrown with grass and trees which creates a beautiful contrast. The last major eruption only happened recently in the last few weeks!

After picking up our car we drove to our first lodging, the Dragonfly Ranch, which is in the rainforest part of the island and only a short drive to some of the best snorkeling on the island. The Dragonfly is a wonderful, rustic treehouse lodge and we loved our suite with wall to wall windows overlooking the ocean. Our next day we drove to the area of Waimea, which is Hawaiian ranch country to Dahana Ranch, the only Hawaiian owned ranch in Hawaii. The scenery is stunning and you can be a cowboy for a day as you straddle up and herd cattle across the landscape, an amazing experience!

We then drove to Volcano National Park, where it is easy to drive around and hike the well maintained paths. We loved checking out the active volcano at night, under a full night sky of stars and a clear view of the Milky Way. On our final night, we drove to Kona where we booked a night dive with Manta Rays with Big Island Divers, a wonderful and memorable experience. The next morning we were headed to Maui..

Arriving in Maui, it is an island paradise of waterfalls and stunning sunsets. We stayed at the luxurious Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, which had beautiful views and Black cliffs off its shores, a famous place to dive off and amazing snorkeling where you can see colorful fish, turtles and manta rays. 

You can easily spend your time sunbathing and having cocktails, but Maui has so much more to offer. I found some wonderful rings carved from natural shells in a quaint shopping area along a main street not too far from the hotel. I also picked up brazilian style bikinis from Pakaloha, a Hawaiian owned Brazilian made company, which offers tons of beautiful colors and styles. They also ship any where in the world and are famous with surfers on the island.

A highlight of the trip is the famous Road To Hana, a long curvy drive along the coast of Maui where you can spot waterfalls at every bend and more stunning views. This trip takes several hours and cautious driving! We stopped at another small park at the end of the drive, where we found a Bamboo forest, more lovely waterfalls and 7 nature-made pools to soak in. 

Our last day was spend lounging and relaxing as we watched the sunset before we headed back to the mainland. We really loved every moment of this trip and invite you to come and experience the enchantment and magic of Hawaii.

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