Hawaii. If you don't know already, Arturo and I are totally obsessed with it! We WILL be moving there (eventually). You think I'm kidding? Nope, I'm definitely 100% serious. When we're there, we see the difference in the sense of family and community, something we absolutely love. Another thing Arturo and I enjoy about the Big Island is that small business is supported BIG TIME over there; you'll see a few big box stores like Target, Macy's, or Costco in Kona, but besides that, it's pretty much local businesses! As soon as we got back from our honeymoon to the Big Island last year, we KNEW we'd be celebrating our first anniversary there. This time around, we brought our friends who had never experienced the beauty of Hawaii before.
We flew into Honolulu two days before our anniversary. After getting off an 11 hour flight from JFK, we were welcomed to Waikiki by a beautiful rainbow just outside our hotel! You’d think that after such a greeting, we would want to enjoy some nightlife, but I think we were both passed out by 8pm—womp womp. We’re such party animals, I know. But to be fair, with the 6 hour time difference, it really felt like 2am for us! And because of that time difference, we were up at 2am, Hawaiian time of course. Because of that, we got to enjoy the beautiful sunrise over Diamond Head! That day, we hopped on a plane to take a short flight to Kona on the Big Island. Jasmine and Pedro arrived that evening, beaming with excitement as they stepped off the plane.
The following day was our anniversary, and naturally, since we were all still on East Coast time, we were up before the crack of dawn, and ready to get some breakfast. We took a drive up into the mountains, past Waimea, to Tex Drive-In in Honakaa. The food was great, but nothing beat their fresh malasadas! For those of you wondering what a malasada is, it’s a Portuguese doughnut, served plain or with your choice of jelly or cream filling. They are SO. FREAKING. DELICIOUS!!! And hey, who doesn’t like a fresh doughnut? Tex isn’t far from Waipio Valley lookout, which of course we HAD to go to! And then drive into! It was raining in the mountains that day, so the valley was muddy and flooded when we got down there. Luckily our Jeep had no issues getting us down or up the rocky and bumpy terrain!
Later that week, we met up with my sister, brother in law, and nieces at one of our favorite little dives, Kohala Burger and Taco. YUM! One of the many things I LOOOOOVE about the Big Island is how fresh all the food is. There are a ton of ranches on the island, so all the good places have support each other in local business (you know we're all about supporting small biz!). Produce is picked fresh and fish caught that day. I don’t eat seafood, but I love me a good burger.
The scenery and plant life is amazing! The water is beautifully blue, the clouds look like giant, puffy cotton balls, and the flowers are rich yellows, pinks and reds. The sunrises and sunsets are like nothing you'll see anywhere else. The color on the Big Island is mind blowing! When you travel to other parts of the island of Hawaii, you’ll find everything from lava fields, to green pastures, to snow at the peak of Mauna Kea, to an active volcano spewing lava into the ocean!
That Friday, we headed toward South Point to find the Green Sand Beach (the sand got it’s olive color caused by eruptions from what was once a volcano). Once again, it was a good thing we had our Jeep to get us there! The bumpy (to say the least) dirt roads were no match for that sucker. At the end of our 25 minute drive along dirt paths, we finally arrived at a beach like nothing any of us had ever seen before! From South Point, we continued our trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where we saw the light of the lava in the crater of Kilauea.
One of my favorite drives on the Big Island is the Saddle Road. It takes you from one side of the island to the other, winding between the two larger volcanoes on Hawaii, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. When you start your ride, you’re at sea level. But when passing through the two volcanoes, you’re at a much higher elevation, and can feel the temperature change too!
On this trip, we saw everything from green sand beaches, to dolphins, and even a baby shark when we were snorkeling! I couldn't have wished for a better trip to celebrate our first wedding anniversary with two of our favorite people in the world! It was quite a way to kick off Year Two. :)