Posts Tagged With: Hawaii

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.



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,

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

Beaches of Kauai

Once again, I am reposting a blog that I did on my other account some time ago. I wanted my blogs altogether in one place so I apologize if you were one of the few who saw this post.

Beaches of Kauai

The Island of Kauai is known for many beaches. Since it is the oldest of the Hawaiian Island it has more sand beaches per mile of shoreline than any other island. I am going to highlight a few of these beaches. Please keep in mind, since Hawaii is located in the open ocean, Hawaii’s beaches are more dangerous than most of the beaches in the Caribbean. Rip tides and rouge waves can form without warning so be careful if you are going to swim while you are on your Hawaiian vacation.

  1. Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay, located near the north shore town of Hanalei, consists of four beaches. They are Waikoko Beach, Wai”oli Beach Park, Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park, and Black Pot Beach. Hanalei Bay is not a great swimming destination but it is great to look at.  Hanalei Beach Pavilion Park offers facilities and a lifeguard, as well as a pier to walk out on to.

Photos of Hanalei Bay, Kauai
This photo of Hanalei Bay is courtesy of TripAdvisor

  1. Moloa’a Bay

Moloa’a Bay is off the main road and can be accessed by taking Moloa’a Rd. of Ko’olua Rd. This beach is a beach not to well known so it shouldn’t be crowed. Parking is limited here, but it is worth the extra walk to get there. The better part of this beach is on the south east side. There is also a lot of shade here.

Moloa'a Bay

Moloa’a Bay

  1. Donkey Beach

Donkey Beach can be accessed from a parking area between the 11 and 12 mile marker on the main rd. From there it is about a 10 min walk down to the beach. It will seem a lot farther on the way back since it is uphill. A sidewalk that goes most of the way down to the beach makes it a little easier though. Donkey Beach has been known to be a nudist’s beach but new multi-million dollar houses here have put a stop to that (not saying that you still won’t see some nudity. Swimming is not great here, because of the current, and shade is limited.

Donkey Beach

Donkey Beach

  1. Lydgate State Park

Probably the best place to swim and snorkel, Lydgate State Park, is located just south of the Wailua River.  Protected from the surf and the facilities located here, makes this park popular with families and also makes it crowded sometimes. OK, most of the time. Still I highly recommend checking this park out, maybe for a little picnic.

Lydgate Beach Park, Kauai - Picture of Anini Beach, Kauai
This photo of Anini Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

  1. Kalapaki Beach

Popular with both visitors and locals, this beach is a great place to learn to surf and boogie board. With a shopping center and restaurants (Dukes Canoe Club is one of my favorite) nearby, there is something always going on at Kalapaki Beach. You can also check out the Cruise ships coming into Nawiliwili Harbor here.

Photo courtesy of Duke's Kauai

Photo courtesy of Duke’s Kauai

  1. Glass Beach

Glass beach is located behind an industrial area in Ele’ele; this beach is made up of broken glass washed up from an old dump nearby. As you may expect, this is not a good beach to swim at or even walk barefoot on. It is however very colorful.

Hawaiian Monk Seal on Glass Sands beach

Hawaiian Monk Seal on Glass Sands beach

Categories: Beaches, Hawaii, Kauai, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Became A Travel Agent

I get asked often, how did you become to be a travel agent? The first few times I was asked this, I probably looked like that deer you see in your headlights when you are driving home. Why would someone ask this question is what I thought? Then one day I was talking to doctor and I asked him, “How did you decide to become a doctor?” Half way through that question I paused for a second and realized I need to make sure I have my answer ready for when I’m asked why I became a travel agent.

First, a little about my background, I grew up on a farm in a small Wisconsin town not too far from Madison. We grow vegetables and flowers to sell at the farmer’s markets in and around Madison during the summer.  How does a rural farm boy become interested in travel? I’m not real sure but as I think about it more reasons come to mind.rjl_1943_#1_0

I LOVE to travel!

Being a Wisconsin farm boy and working all summer long, I love to get away in the winter. My preferred destination is anywhere warm and near water. Hawaii is one of my favorite places because of the tropical weather and the laid back atmosphere. What is a better way to escape a Wisconsin February than to fly to Hawaii?Picture 033

I LOVE to research trips.

I love to sit down and start learning about a destination. It doesn’t mater if I’m going there or not; I want to learn more about it.

Google Brain

Your big online agencies are not always the best

Yes, I am talking about those sites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity. Going back to the part of me researching my trips, I often found that these sites were not the cheapest way to book a trip. They often do not provide you with all the flights that are available and if you have a question…well, I hope you can give up a half a day to sit on hold when you call them.

bad-customer-service 2

I LOVE helping others make memories

Last but certainly not the least, I LOVE helping others plan a vacation they will remember for years. I strive to make their vacation planning easy so they can sit back and relax leading up to their vacation. I am there to help if problems arise during their travels. Finally, I love to hear about their vacation when they get back. Nothing makes me happier than to hear about an awesome time clients had on their vacation.

Categories: blogs, family, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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: 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

Traveling With Friends

How many of you have travel with friend or family before? It can be great sharing a vacation with other people. It can help just having other people to be around and talk to when there isn’t as much going on. Another couple people to play games with when the sun goes down, if you’re staying in a place with not much nightlife. Yes traveling with friends and family is fun and rewarding. Even good things, however, can cave some downfalls.

life-quotes- , how to live , meaning of life

On a recent trip, my wife and I traveled with another couple to Hawaii. We had a great vacation and were happy to share “Paradise” with other people.  There were a few things we did learn about traveling with friends though. These are not what I would call huge issues but more like small things that would make a difference in how well you enjoy your vacation.


  1. Spend the money for a second car.  There will be times when you want to do something different from the other couple.  Maybe you will want to take your significant other out for a romantic dinner or maybe you want to spend a day at the beach while the other couple wants to go hiking. Those are great times to have a second car.
  2. If you plan on sitting around at the pool the whole day, make sure you communicate that to the others and that they are on board with it. If you let them know this, they can make plans to do other stuff while you sit at the pool
  3. Make sure you let the others know what to expect when they get there. Everything from climate to how much everything will cost. You don’t want to spend a week with someone who has just freaked out about how expensive everything is and wants to save money on everything.
  4. Have a good time and keep an open head about things. Don’t get frustrated by all the little things. You are going on vacation to relax and have a good time, don’t let the small things ruin your vacation.

While we did have those times that the little annoyances got to us, we loved traveling with another couple. You don’t realize how nice it is to have another set of people to talk to or run ideas by.  The trip we took was to the Big Island of Hawaii, a place known to be in bed soon after the sunsets, so it was great being able to share a place we love with friends. Is there anything you have learned about traveling with friends or family? Please share what you learned in the comments to this post.

This July we will be traveling with friends again. This time we will be cruising, which is a perfect way to travel with friends. With so much to do aboard the ship, you can do as much or as little with them as you want. We will be taking part in the Cruise Family Reunion, a cruise organized by the cruise family, a group of cruise experts and writers that met on twitter.  The cruise family would love for you to join them on this exciting and sure to be the social cruise of the year. Visit the Cruise Family Reunion website for more details.


Categories: Air Travel, Cruise, Hawaii, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Liebster Award

Woohoo! Marian, from The Travel Shop Girl blog, nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. This is a blogger’s way of saying “You’re one of my favorites! Good job!” (Liebster is German for “favorite”). Thank you Marian.


Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you!
  • Make sure the blogs you choose have 200 or less followers.
  • Include a link to the person who nominated you & let them know about your post

Here are the 11 facts about me. I hope these don’t bore you too much, since I am not the most interesting person in the world.

  1. I am a farm boy. I grew up on a family farm and still work on the farm. We grow vegetables to sell at the farmer’s markets in the Madison, WI area.
  2. I am married to a wonderful woman and have one daughter. As I am writing this, I literally have the phone next to me because my wife is due any day now with my second daughter.
  3. Even though I live in Wisconsin, I HATE cold weather!
  4. I love anything that has to do with the outdoors! I am not happy when I am trapped inside. This could be why I hate winter (refer to #3).
  5. I am really hard on cell phones! I used to have a tendency to run cell phones through the washing machine. I found out that a clean cell phone doesn’t work as well as it did before I washed it. Also if you refer to #1, I work in an environment that isn’t good for cell phones.
  6. I am a cheapskate! I am always looking for ways to save money. I like to call it being frugal.
  7. I am a “people watcher”. I like to sit back and watch the crazy things people do.
  8. I love to play poker. I have always loved math that I can do in my head and making my mind work in everyday life. Some of this may have to do with fact #7 as well.
  9. If you follow me on Twitter, you may know I tweet a lot about rum. While I do like rum, I rarely drink anymore. When I was younger, drinking got me into a little bit of trouble and I realized that the trouble wasn’t worth the fun.

10. I am captivated by the water.  From the ocean to the smaller lakes around here, I love anything that has to do with the water.

11. I like to figure out how things work. If I can, I like to tear things apart just to see what makes them work.

The 11 questions asked of me by Marian

1. Favorite mode of transportation: Airplane, train, ship, boat, car, or something else?

This is a hard one. While I hate the whole logistics of air travel, the places I like to travel to, are accessed the easiest by flying.
2. If you could pick anywhere in the world to live for the next few years, where would it be and why?

This one is really easy for me. Those who know me know I am absolutely in love with Hawaii.

The smaller Kahuna Falls
3. What big trip do you have planned for 2013?

The one thing that I am really looking forward to is the Cruise Family Reunion.  We are cruising with a group of cruise experts/bloggers on the Norwegian Sky this July. We would love all of you who are reading this to come along with us on this fun-filled trip. Visit for more details on this event of the year.

4. What’s your favorite travel app?

The one app that you HAVE to have on your phone if you like to cruise is ShipMateApp. This app has everything you want to know about cruising.

5. Do you prefer snowy destinations or warm weather destinations and why?

Warm weather destination is my choice. Refer to the #3 fact about me above.

6. How many languages can you speak?

Only English.

7. Would you rather fly Business or First class and spend less on your hotel or resort or fly Economy class and spend more on your hotel or resort?

Save the money on economy and spend it on the resort. You spend more time at the resort so why not splurge on it.

8. Do you generally pack your bags for a trip well in advance or right before you leave?

Right before I leave. I am a procrastinator like that!

9. Best cruise advice for your readers?

Just go and have fun! You are going on vacation to relax so go and have a good time.

10. Have you ever traveled somewhere that thought felt like “home” more than home did?

Yes, in Hawaii. I feel so at ease in Hawaii and would love to make that home.
11. Are you an early riser or do you prefer to stay up late?

I am an early riser. With a kid I like to get up early and get stuff done before it gets hectic when everyone wakes up.

Now the questions for my nominees:

  1. When did the travel bug bite you?
  2. What destination have you travel to that you could travel to over and over again?
  3. What activity have you done on your travels that what out of your comfort zone?
  4. Name one thing that you hate about traveling. Why?
  5. What tops your travel bucket list? Why?
  6. What have you learned about yourself because of your travels?
  7. What foods have you ate during your travels that you never would have eaten at home?
  8. What advise would you give to others who want to become travel writers?
  9. What destination do you have no desire to travel to?
  10. What is the one thing you cannot travel without?
  11. If you could take a “travel newbie” with you, where would you take them?

Once again I would like to thank Marian for nominating me. It was a ton of fun! Now, here are my nominees. I hope you all take this on and have as much fun as me.

Allison (@GirlFriTravel)

Pola  (@jettingaround)

Colleen (@TheTrvlPrincess)

David (@BrooksCruiseSvc)

Scott (@ScottLara1961)

Shannon (@CajunMama)

Cathy (@Addict2Cruises)

I am going to break the rules on the next few. They have more than 200 followers but I really like these blogs.

Leah (@L_e_a_h)

Lola (@LolaDiMarco)

Ana (@mrsoaroundworld)

Categories: Air Travel, blogs, Cruise, Hawaii, travel, Uncategorized, vacation, waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting to Know Spa Travel Gal

As I continue to feature blog in my newsletter, I bring to you someone who loves to be pampered while traveling. Spa Travel Gal writes about her travels and her spa experiences at different locations. If you love to be pampered read the interview I was privileged to get with her. You can then check her out on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Who is the Spa Travel Gal?

Ava Roxanne Stritt is a travel writer with a passion for resort spas. Fox News, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Spa Week and the Atlanta Journal Constitution have recently quoted her concerning spa, travel, fashion, the environment, and various other topics. As a travel writer and the editor of Spa Travel Gal, her articles have appeared with Spa Week, H Magazine, Destinations Travel Magazine, CBS News, Upscale Living Magazine, Healthy Living Magazine, Examiner and various other media outlets.  Ava Roxanne is a writer, a financial analyst, and a wife and mother from Atlanta. For her writings on the joys of travel, spas, skincare, and ways to refresh your life follow her at Also Ava Roxanne is a Curator for

Where do you live and where are you from?

I live in Atlanta, but I live in a spa in my mind!

How long have you ben writing about travel and spas?

I have been actively writing about travel and spas for 3 years, but wrote a lot of poetry in high school and articles for my college newspaper.

Have you traveled anywhere recently that has become your favorite? Why?

My most recent favorite destination is St. Kitts.St. Kitts Marriott poolWhile staying at the St. Kitts Marriott I was able to hike through the rainforest by day and still dine at a fine dining restaurant called Blu at night. St. Kitts is an undiscovered paradise that I feel blessed to have been able to see at this time. Click here to visit the St. Kitts website.

St. Kitts Marriott Spa

But then again for shopping you can’t beat Chelsea’s King’s Road in London!

Where is the next place you REALLY want to go?

Hawaii to see active volcanos and lava!

How did you become so interested in travel and writing about it?

It’s in my blood!

What kind of content will people be able to expect from your blog?

Spa Travel Gal believes that spa, travel and skincare experiences are not a luxury, but essential to a healthy body and mind. Travel is the collection of experiences and I believe everyone needs travel in their life.

Any thing else you want other people to know about you and your blog?

Please come by and comment to let me know about your own experiences or those travel experiences you dream about taking one day!

Categories: Air Travel, blogs, Hawaii, travel, Uncategorized | 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,

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

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