Watching the sunset through a small airplane window, over the Big Island Hawaii gave me the feeling that I was about to land at the movie set for Jurassic World. Even though the filming process took place in Honolulu, I couldn’t resist feeling like I was about to fly into a different time when dinosaurs lived on earth.
Stepping out of the plane, I found myself at an open-air airport surrounded by tall palm trees, where only a small roof covered the sitting area. Walking through the airport jungle, getting closer to the baggie claim, I could only think about swimming in the ocean.
It didn’t take long for me to love Hawaii – it was everything I dreamed of. A tropical getaway filled with many activities and, best of all, I had an amazing regimen. Renting a house on the side of a cliff next to the beach definitely helped. Waking up each morning at 6 a.m. to the sound of waves and taking a swim, first in the pool than in the ocean, was a great way to start out the day. By noon, I was already exploring a new location on the island or doing a fun activity. Big Island was the only place I had visited that gave me a rejuvenating feeling, and feeling that I had accomplished a lot. With so much to do, explore and conquer on the island, I made sure to visit as many places as possible and do everything I haven’t done before.
First stop was snorkeling. An exciting experience. Diving into the ocean, I found myself above a whole new world. The ocean floor looked busy like Manhattan during rush hours. At the bottom of the ocean, the center of life is the coral reef. There you can spot small and large colorful fish swimming under and above the reef trying to find food, while on the other side of the reef you notice a school of fish passing by a huge sea turtle frozen in one position, eating seaweed. The ocean floor is full of surprises. Big Island, Hawaii has many great spots for snorkeling, but here is the place I fell in love with – Kapoho Tidepools. This was a lovely location for me because the tide pools are protected by a maze of coral reefs and lava rock, from the open ocean (where I would constantly think about sharks). Truly, the only time it can get dangerous is during high waves or the tide (that’s when the current gets strong). However, mostly it’s peaceful and safe to swim in.
In my life, I have never seen an active volcano or lava flow. Thus, visiting the Volcanoes National Park – a home to two active volcanoes – was a must for me. Truly fascinating an existing experience. The drive along, through the park, is picturesque, different climates and the scenery takes your breath away. On the other hand, you have a rich tropical rainforest filled with beautiful wildlife, and on the other – a dry, lifeless desert where volcanoes thrive. Volcanoes are a true force of nature. They live and breathe, spitting out hot lava and steam, creating more Hawaiian land while destroying towns and villages that already existed. Standing high above on a platform and watching a small portion of what an active volcano really does is truly astonishing.
Big Island is also a home to many stunning waterfalls. On my trip, I visited Rainbow Falls located next to Hilo. At this particular waterfall, I had the chance to climb wet rocks and cross over small pools of water to a peaceful and quiet spot. The only sound coming from a distance was that of the water hitting the pond. I’ve also been at the Akaka Falls State Park. There I was able to enjoy a pleasant hike through a tropical rainforest, and a view of two amazing waterfalls. First, I saw the Kahuna Falls surrounded by tropical trees and plants. From there I walked around the curve towards the roaring sound of water, plummeting down and found the towering Akaka Falls. It takes a moment to grasp the surrounding beauty, the power of nature, and life it generates. Hiking and climbing all three waterfalls was, honestly, a great way for me to see the Big Island.
The final stop for me was the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens located in Onomea Bay. The drive there is a breathtaking experience. The garden is located on a four-mile long scenic road; therefore I made frequent stops to take photos of the tropical jungles, peaceful blue sea, coastline cliffs, and stunning waterfalls. With each stop, I got the chance to truly appreciate this picturesque lava land. At the botanical gardens, I found a wide range of exotic plants, interesting trees, colorful flowers, beautiful birds and a bit of history. Taking a walk down the garden path left me in awe.
To sum up, vacationing in Hawaii was by far my best trip. I’ve seen the beautiful botanical gardens filled with plants and trees from a different world. The towering waterfalls left an everlasting impression on me. Snorkeling and visiting the Volcanoes National Park was thrilling and memorable. I will treasure this experience for a long time, with the hope of coming back one day.