Hilo offers an abundance of wildly exotic beauty. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park contains two of the world’s most active volcanoes and dramatic lava landscapes that has transformed the island for 70 million years. Waipi’o Valley is a gorgeous green valley that was a meeting place of Hawaiian Kings and a legendary “portal” to the spirit world. Mauna Kea summit rises 14,000 feet and is the only spot in the Hawaiian Islands that ever sees snow. At the 9,000 ft. mark you can see the stars from the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy. The Tropical Botanical Gardens, Kealakekua Bay and Lava Tree State Park are all popular tourist destinations. It’s a great place for healthy tourism and hiking, caving, snorkeling and kayaking are great ways to explore the island’s beauty.
After a strenuous two hours of kayaking and a hike, we’d built up quite an appetite. Ponds Restaurant was a brilliant spot for lunch. We enjoyed ltraditional Hawaiian fare while overlooking a beautiful lake full of turtles, koi fish and ducks. The native beer is Kona. We enjoyed a sampler flight too along with our fresh fish dishes. Afterwards we sipped Kona Coffee grown on the west end of the island. Kona is regarded by many as the finest coffee on the planet and we brought plenty home for Mom and the family to enjoy! We enjoyed a two mile stroll from Ponds back to the port of Hilo. Along the way we did some sightseeing at Kuhio Kalaniana’ole Park – it was gorgeous. We wish we had more time to spend on the Island – it’s so vast and you need about a week to see it all. Hopefully we’ll make it back for round two someday. Aloha, Hawaii!