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Hawaiian Islands Tour part 2 – Kona, Kaui, Honolulu

Welcome Back!

And on with our tour . . .

Wednesday: Kona This was our most ‘relaxing day’ on the Hawaiian Islands. We started out with a ride on the Captain Zodiac raft (ok that part was not relaxing) around the Kealakekua Bay — and did some of our best snorkeling near Captain Cook’s monument. But the coolest part about this trip was our 15 minute ride in the middle of a dolphin pod. There were at least 100 dolphins swimming around our boat!! And the captain zodiac is low to the water, I could almost reach out and touch them. We saw babies dolphins learning to jump and spin!

After the tour, we just sort of bummed around Kona. We swam in the area where the Ironman Tri-atheletes do their swim! We ate at the Kona brew pub, and we indulged in some Henna tatoos — which were quite the conversation topic on our ferry back to the ship. Awesome Day!

Thursday: Kaui Our first day in Kaui – the Garden Island – we rented a car. Which was great, but due to construction of one lane of their one lane road it was a bit cumbersome and slow getting to where we wanted to go. We began by heading to the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali coast. I hate to keep saying ‘favorite’ and ‘highlight’ but wow — the views we were treated to were otherworldy. In fact, there is no road on this half of the island, so the only way to see it is to hike it, or boat in. It was very steep, not for young kids or people who don’t feel fit, but worth the time and effort. The trail (for us anyway) ended at a waterfall dumping into a river pouring into the ocean. Exhausted, but happy, we headed toward the southern end of the island (this is where the going was really slow) to find Poipu beach.

On the way we passed Hanalee — you know, it inspired Puff the Magic Dragon! – and had some amazing fresh fruit smoothies. And then we indulged in a Bubba Burger, which I have to say was a let down. I’ve had better burgers at Good Times. Anyway, we did reach Poipu Beach at last, and found the famous blow hole at the tip of the coast. We watched a breathtaking sunset before heading back to our ship for another deep night’s sleep.

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Friday: day 2 in Kaui On our final day we decided to do one last excursion, a river kayak adventure into the 241-acre Huleia National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge not open to the public. It was interesting, and we did see several famous movie filming locations, but I would have been just as happy on the beach. The actual kayak part was short, and then we road shuttle bus into a picnic area. We ended our day by walking from the ship to a nearby beach (always a beach near the port!) for some R&R.

Saturday: 7 am disembark, spend day in Honolulu

We had 10 hours until our flight home, so we rented another car and headed to the Dole Plantation. It was interesting to see the pineapples growing, and we found some fun gifts for our family.IMG_0303

After that we hit the road and found another open beach. This one had a cliff where people were jumping out into the blue water. The drop off from the beach was quick and steep, but swim-able. A turtle approached me and I freaked out a little! He swam away pretty quickly when I squeeled. We did visit the Polynesian cultural center that afternoon, but I wouldn’t recommend that trip unless you had all day and time to eat their dinner or lunch buffet. Finally, we dined at Buzz’s Steakhouse, which was recommended by a friend, and had a great time!

I would love to go back to any and all of the islands — but especially Maui. Haleakala was a truly special place among some of the most beautiful places in the world.

Questions, comments, or help with travel planning?  Contact Amy at Amy@PlanCoolTrips.com

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