Posts Tagged With: Big Island

Options for Seeing Hawaii for the 1st Time

Many of you may know that I love Hawaii. I fell in love with the Aloha spirit when I first visited the Big Island on my honeymoon. After several other visits to the islands, I still can’t wait to go again. Maybe its is the warm weather, the fresh fruits and vegetables, or the laid back friendly attitude of the locals. Or maybe it is the history and the culture that draws me there. Whatever it is, I am always dreaming of returning and relaxing in the sun.IMG00235-20120214-1601.jpg

What is your favorite Island? What are your favorite sights? How do you know what island is right for you? These are all questions I have been asked. Some of these are easy to answer like the Big Island is my favorite and I love seeing the whales playing off sure during the winter. There are others that are harder though like “What island is right for me?”.429 ft. Akaka Falls

Each of the Islands has its own feel and appeals to a different group of people. A call to travel agent specializing in Hawaii can get you the answer to the right island question. You can expect the agent to ask you a few questions about what you like to do, what you like to see, what type of accommodations do you prefer,  and more about your lifestyle. They can then match you to the island that fits you the best.

Kilauea Lighthouse

Kilauea Lighthouse

But what if you want to experience more than one island yourself? You would have to arrange inter-island flights and hotels on each island you want to see. This type of planning becomes much harder making the dates and times all match up but there is another option. You can take a Hawaiian Islands cruise. Most of the major cruise lines offer cruises to Hawaii. Most offer cruises from the west coast during the winter months as they repositions ships to do Alaskan Cruises and other markets. They offer stops at multiple Islands giving you the day to explore and get a feel for each one.

Pride of America along the Napali Coast

Pride of America along the Napali Coast

But what if you don’t want to spend so much time at sea sailing from the west coast all the way to Hawaii and back? Norwegian Cruise Line offers a 7-day round-trip inter-island cruise from Honolulu on the Pride of America year round. This cruise gives you by far the most time on the Islands, after all the reason you’re visiting Hawaii is to experience Hawaii. Two full days in Maui and a day and a half in Kauai as well as two days, at different ports, on the Big Island are included on this itinerary. You will also experience cruising past the Napali Coast line on Kauai. This is a truly great option to see what each island has to offer.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

There are many ways to experience the Aloha Spirit. My suggestion is to take the plunge and do it. You will not regret it.

Author: Nathan Nehmer, nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

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Categories: Cruise, Hawaii, Norwegian Cruise Line, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Whale Tale

Today my wife Amy (@amyn231 on Twitter) takes over the blog to talk about one of her two favorite marine mammals, the humpback whale. We have seen our fare share of whales on our trips to Hawaii. Here she talks about the best experience we had seeing whales.

A Whale Tale

I love the ocean and am enthralled by dolphins and whales, I have been for years, and this is probably one of the reasons I love visiting Hawaii so much.   The only problem with my love of these animals is that I have battled motion sickness my whole life.  I’ve sucked it up and taken different medications for motion sickness and have been on snorkeling, dolphin, and whale watching cruises, but some of the best whale action I’ve seen is from land.

Whales from the Kilauea Light House- Kauai

Whales from the Kilauea Light House- Kauai

I’ve seen whales in Kauai at the Kilauea Lighthouse and from Dukes Canoe Club in Nawiliwili.  However the best I’ve seen is from the pool at the Castle Halii Kai at Waikoloa located in the Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island.  OK so the rules said that you couldn’t reserve seats by the pool, but I’ll admit I broke that rule.  I made sure we were the first to the pool when it opened to get the chairs that we could turn around and look over the cliff at the ocean.

Pool at Castle Halii Kai

Pool at Castle Halii Kai

Within an hour it started…..tour boats started to arrive and the humpback whales started to put on a show with breaching and tail slaps constantly throughout the day.  It seemed as if there were hundreds of them off that cliff, but I’m sure it was just a normal sized pod.  We would stop reading our books and turn off our cell phones and just watch them and take pictures, we didn’t need binocilars, it was truly magical.  The best part was we got to see more whales than anyone on those tour boats, didn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars and I didn’t get sea sick.  Sometimes the best moments on the islands are free.

Whales out from poolMore whales from pool.

Author: Amy Nehmer

For information on Castle Halii Kai at Waikoloa and the Big Island email: nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com. We will be happy to talk to you about our favorite destination.

Categories: Big Island, family, Hawaii, Kauai, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No-Brainer Travel Moment

Today is National No-Brainer day so I am taking this time to think back on my biggest travel “no-brainer” moment. This got me thinking of all my past trips and future ones as well. I would like to say that picking my best one would be hard, but it really wasn’t.

The best “no-brainer” travel moment would be my honeymoon. We decided we would use my wife’s parents timeshare and go to the Big Island of Hawaii. This would prove to be the trip where I fell in love. You would think that, since this is my honeymoon, I would have already been in love. While this is absolutely true, I am talking about another kind of love. The love of a travel destination that still burns strong to this day, Hawaii. It is a love that me and my wife still share. It might not be as strong of a love we have for one another, but it’s still a love that makes me want to move there every winter.429 ft. Akaka Falls

Hawaii is such a magical place! The scenery is beautiful, the weather is great, and the Aloha spirit is something you can not explain in words. it starts with the laid back atmosphere. When they tell you things run on “island time”, they mean it. Don’t go there and try to hurry through things and why would you? Your on vacation in paradise! You can read more about how I feel about Hawaii in an earlier post: I Have a Mistress.IMG00235-20120214-1601.jpg

Do you have a “no-brainer” travel moment? If you do please share it with us in the comments. We all love to travel and hearing about other people’s travels. Who knows you may make your favorite travel destination someone else’s favorite.

Categories: family, Hawaii, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Falling From Heaven

The East side of the Big Island seems like you are on a totally different island compared to the west side. You leave the bare, black lava rocks behind and find yourself driving along dense green vegetation. The slope is much steeper down to the ocean, and you are much higher in elevation. There is not many places along this drive that you can not see the ocean. This is truly a beautifully scenic drive.
If your driving south, before you get to Hilo, you will see a turnoff to go to Akaka Falls. This is a little side trip you won’t want to miss. About 4 or 5 miles into the countryside, be careful there is a one lane bridge on this narrow road, you will come to the Akaka Falls State Park. Since the first time I was there they set up a pay station, the cost is $5 if you park in the parking lot or $1 per/person if you park on the road. Even though it is an automated pay station, they have someone there watching.
This is a short “hike” to see two sets of falls. I put hike in quotations because it is really just a walk on sidewalk with lots of stairs. the path makes a loop and visits Kahuna Falls and the real attraction Akaka Falls.

The smaller Kahuna Falls
When you start out down the steps I suggest to go to Kahuna Falls. This way you are able to save the larger falls for last. Kahuna Falls is around 100 ft. If you think this is amazing go back to the loop and continue on.
As you continue through the dense tropical vegetation you can start to hear the thunder of the falls. Then you get over a slight hill and you catch a glimpse of an amazing sight. Right there in front of you is Akaka Falls, at 492 feet it is really a stunning sight. Just for comparison Niagara Falls is around 175 feet high.

429 ft. Akaka Falls
There is a zip line company that offers a zip line tour that takes you over the falls. I would have loved to do this, but we didn’t. Oh well, there’s always NEXT time.

Categories: Hawaii, waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Have a Mistress

We landed at the Kona airport and disembarked the plane right onto the
tarmac, a sure sign you have just landed someplace tropical. As we sat there
waiting for our checked bags we looked over the attraction brochures and
pamphlets. We are on “Island Time” so the checked bags take a while to get
to us; not a big deal, we have all week.

Hawaiian Sunset

This is the second trip to the Big Island for me and my wife, the other
being our honeymoon. This trip we are traveling with a couple who are
friends of ours. After we get our bags we pick up the car and start heading
for the resort.

Driving north of the airport is like driving on another planet. The lava
rock has very little vegetation growing on it. The black rock continues for
what seems like forever. Palm trees grow along the coast and where the
resort areas where built. To the right you see the mountains where grass
grows, interrupted by black rivers of hardened lava. You could play one of
those maze games in your head and trace the flow of lava down to the flats.
Then you have the Hawaiian graffiti, people use white rock to write messages
on the bare black canvas of the lava. It is truly a unique drive.

Hawaiian Graffiti

As we continue to drive north we see a green oasis among the black moon-like
surface. We make the left turn and head towards the coast and immediately
there is perfectly manicured grass. As well as beautiful palm trees that
sway in the breeze. This will be our home for the next week. We are staying
at the Castle Halii Kai at the Waikoloa Beach resort. I have more on this
amazing resort in a later post.
Suddenly I get the feeling of thankfully we are here, in one of my favorite
vacation destinations. It is now time for a week of rest and relaxation,
ALOHA style. I LOVE HAWAII.

Categories: Hawaii, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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