I forgot to post about Hawaii! And you know, if I don’t write about it, I’ll completely forget it ever happened ._. Photos are here!
We spent $4400 on the 8-night trip. $2000 on flights and car rentals, $1100 on activities like tours and ziplining, $575 on food, $80 on shopping (lol I bought a watch), and $620 on housing. This comes to about $270 per day for 2 of us, including housing but not including transportation. Definitely on the pricy side, but we did do a few expensive tours (stargazing, luau, ziplining).
We flew into Hilo and spent 2 nights there and the Grand Naniloa Hotel (Hilton). Then we drove to Kona for 3 nights, staying at an Airbnb. Then we flew to Honolulu for the last 3 nights of our trip, staying at an Airbnb.
A few things differed from our planned itinerary:
1. We couldn’t find the Upper Waiakeia forest reserve, so we basically drove up a mountain and then back. We did see a few other waterfalls instead, and some lava tunnels.
2. We also skipped the Hot ponds, but I don’t remember if we did something else instead.
3. I didn’t realize that the Keaiwa Heiau State Park to see Pearl Harbor was actually like a 5 mile hike. We didn’t have time for that before lunch and other stuff, so we also skipped that.
4. I think we spent an extra half day at Volcanoes National Park, because we did the hike to the lava-ocean, but I don’t remember when or what it’s called…
Generally, I thought it was a pretty good plan. If anything, a bit too packed, but we were flexible to skip things and take naps. I was pretty tired throughout the trip, because of the very loud birds that woke us up at like 4-5am. If we were to go back to Hawaii, I’d definitely skip Honolulu, and would want to spend some time in Kauai. I really liked the lesser-populated parts of the islands, since it was just so tropical and culturally different. Lol, when we walked from our hotel to food in Hilo, there was absolutely nobody on the roads, and barely any sidewalks. We got some weird looks for being pedestrians.
Volcanoes National park was stunning. It’s such a different type of land. Some advice, which we were given but we ignored, is to access the Ocean from outside the park instead of inside. We came from inside the park, which meant we had a 5+ mile walk/hike through gravel and hardened lava rocks. It was not a great view, mostly just rocks for forever, which got old after the first hour. We heard that if you come from the other side, it’s completely paved, and you can rent bikes to take the path instead. Would do that next time absolutely for sure.
Other highlights: Hawaiian food, delicious and cheap poke, and ziplining. Can’t wait to go back!