• Tony

Kohala Coast, Big Island of Hawaii - 2018



November 2018 - On our way to spend a few days over Thanksgiving with our friends AM & Manny. Our first day turned out to be a botched travel day as the first leg of our flight from SB to SF was delayed/cancelled due to smoke from the Nor Cal fires. After a number of posted delays our flight was finally cancelled. with no other options to get to Kona today.


Rescheduled a morning flight from SB to LAX then on to Kona. Years of travel have taught us great patience and the virtue of flexibility. You never know what obstacles you will encounter, it’s important to understand that most are out of your control. Understand your options and roll with the changes.


Day 1

Fairly low key travel day, the flight is long and tedious.


Arrived just after noon local time at the Mauna Kea Resort. This is one of our favorite resorts on the islands due to its location, low key old Hawaii feel, open corridors and public spaces and easy access to the pool and beach. The beach is gorgeous and huge, plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas for all.



We spent the afternoon at the beach with AM & Manny, stopped at the bar for cocktails the retired for a nap before dinner


Dinner and a little shopping @ Tommy Bahama at the shops at Mauna Lani Resort


Day 2

After a 20 hour day yesterday we woke up later than expected but still early here due to the time difference. The morning light on the islands is spectacular and perfect for photos. Did an abbreviated work out in the hotel gym then we headed to the beach for a day of RnR with our friends.


Plenty of relaxing beach time, lunch at the beach bar, more beach time followed by cocktails at the beach bar. Almost a perfect day!


Dinner at Manta @ the Mauna Kea tonight, it’s Thanksgiving. AM & Manny chose the traditional thanksgiving menu, Mary and I picked seafood from the menu. They were also serving a buffet style thanksgiving dinner on the grass near the beach, but we opted not to feed from the trough. Food and beverages were good as you would expect from the major resorts, prices were high also as expected at the resorts. Highly recommend getting away from the resort/tourist offerings as much as you can to experience what the locals eat.


Day 3

Today is our 3rd or 28th anniversary however you choose to look at it. Either way I couldn’t have asked for a better life partner to spend those years with and the many more to come. Love you Mary!


Woke up early and took a walk on the Ala Kahakai beach trail over to the Hapuna resort (former prince now Westin). A bit rough along the lava/sand/beach trail but spectacular. Took the easier golf course route on the way back.



We spent late morning/afternoon at Waialea Beach (Beach 69) near Puako. Beautiful stretch of beach with big shade trees and plenty of reef for snorkeling, feels more like a local’s beach. watch out for the unexploded ordinance 😮😲



Late lunch at Da Fish house in Kawaihae Harbor. Literally a large walk in refrigerator on one side and a small office/counter on the other. Crazy fresh Poke, amazing Poke nachos, fresh fish, smoked scallops and seaweed salad



Dinner at Napua in the Mauna Lani Beach Club


Day 4

Boat trip… Saturday tour on the Pacific with Capt. Mike of Sea Quest, AM, Manny, and Mary. Plenty of blue skies, crystal clear water, caves, lava tubes, flipping Dolphins and snorkeling with amazing tropical fish. We boarded in Kona and motored south along the coast with stops along the way for a swim in the tropical waters and a chance to see some of the beautiful underwater life.



Lunch in Kona at Foster’s Kitchen overlooking the busy street activity along Kona’s main tourist strip and the Kona bay. Food was casual and well prepared.

Back to the Hotel for a rest before dinner


Dinner at Merriman’s in Waimea. It’s the last night on the island for AM and Manny and a great meal to celebrate time spent with great friends in Hawaii. Dinner is pricey here but well worth the experience. Fresh local ingredients that are well prepared and presented.



Day 5

Aloha AM & Manny! I drove them to the airport for their trip home while Mary stayed behind and packed up our belongings for the move to the Fairmont Orchid for the rest of the week


Lunch poolside at the Fairmont. Found a shady beach spot on the edge of the resort for the rest of the afternoon


Cocktails and Pupu’s for dinner at Tommy Bahama


Day 6

Road trip to Hawi, Pololu look out and Waimea



A little "Hog Heaven" in Waimea for lunch today. Stopped in to the Fish and the Hog for lunch. A casual locals BBQ joint with some of the best BBQ I have found on the big island



Day 7

Laid back morning at the resort and a little shopping at the Queen shops in Waikoloa

Lunch at Lava Lava Beach Club restaurant. Great toes in the sand restaurant with crashing waves, plenty of sand, good food and great drinks. Walked down the beach after lunch checking out the tide pools and turtles resting in the warm sand.



Stopped by the Hot Malasadas Food Truck near Puako turnoff. Fresh Hot Malasadas and ice-cold coconut water roadside in paradise.



Back to Lava Lava for sunset on a recommend from the hotel valet. Get there early, its very popular for sunset! May be our top GO TO restaurant/cocktail spot on this side of the island



Day 8

Morning walk along the beach, north this time through the park and local surf spots



Road trip to Kona this morning to check out the Kona Farmers Market downtown and Ho’oulu Community Farmers and Artisan fair near the Sheraton.



Lunch @ Mi Italian in Kona overlooking the bay. Average experience at best


A little beach time and snorkeling at the resort. The small swimming bay leads out to the open waters and some great snorkeling along the rocks.


At the Fairmont for the evening. Took some of the accumulated leftover foods from or fridge down to the beach for a fun picnic dinner



Wish we would have stayed at the Mauna Kea for the entire trip. The Fairmont is nice but felt more like a rigid tourist hotel than a relaxing Hawaii experience. Public space maintenance was poor, food was mediocre, no where to escape the throngs of screaming kids due to the layout of the pool/beach areas.


Day 9

Morning at Beach 69 again. Relaxing last day under the shade trees and snorkeling in the bay. On the way back we finally snapped some photos of the wild goats on the island. They live mostly between the airport and the resorts. You can often spot them on the top of the lava rock along the highway.



Lunch at browns beach house at the Fairmont followed by some beach time under the shade trees


Dinner at Lava Lava, our last opportunity to enjoy the food, drinks and setting here


Day 10

Aloha and Mahalo Hawaii, we’ll see you soon!

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