Before visiting this island I have to say that Kauai already topped my list of favorites. But after spending 5 incredible days exploring Big Island with Four Seasons Hualalai, this changed completely since this was the island that really won a very special place in my heart.
I made this trip with my friend, a photographer-writer from Mexico who I had not seen for 4 years: Alfredo Manzur AKA @anotherwriter. He writes the most fascinating stories on his page. If you are a lover of storytelling I recommend you visit his Instagram page.
About Big Island
Hawaii Island (Big Island) is the largest island in the United States and has 13 climatic zones, making it the most diverse island I have visited. I swear that as I was exploring different parts of the island I felt that I was in different destinations from Iceland, to an island in the Caribbean with turquoise water. Each landscape and place you visit is so different and more diverse than the previous one.
This island offers a wide variety of options for nature lovers from beaches of white and green sand, as well as the famous black beach. I was dazzled by vivid emerald cliffs, majestic volcanic mountains, the hard lava desert, grasslands and misty valleys. Not to mention that this island is famous for its two active volcanic mountains:
- Kilauea: located on the east side, it is the most active volcano in the world, throwing molten lava continuously since 1983.
- Mauna Kea with a height of 33,000 feet when measured from the bottom of the ocean is the highest mountain in the world.
How to get there?
The best way to get to this island is by local plane with Hawaiian Airlines that offer many daily flight options.
The approximate cost of a round trip flight is from $150-$180 per person.
As for how to get around the best way to explore the island is by car, so I recommend 100% renting one. The distances are long and a taxi can be a bit expensive.
Insights from the locals: When I was on the island, many people told us about an app that I have not used yet, but many locals recommended it. This is called Turo and basically it’s like an Airbnb for cars. Here you can choose the model that you like and rent them for the days you are looking for. It is cheaper than any rental car company.
Where to stay?
I stayed at the legendary and iconic Four Seasons Hualalai the best hotel on the island.
This property has been active for 23 years on the island and has a great location since it is located on the coast of Kona Koala, surrounded by white sand beaches and black lava landscapes, all just 10 minutes from the airport.
The Four Seasons Hualalai property faces the ocean, providing a lush, tropical experience that truly captures the essence of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Four Seasons Hualalai offers 7 stunning swimming pools, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, professional tennis courts, fully equipped gym and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean in the front row, with a white sand beach and a landscape of black lava.
The hotel offers villas, suites and rooms located in 2 crescent-shaped rows each with its own personality. The spacious rooms and suites are designed to feel like warm and comfortable Hawaiian private homes. The rooms and suites on the ground floor have easy access on foot to the pools and the incredible outdoor lava showers, while the rooms and suites on the second floor offer an unparalleled view of the ocean.
Four Seasons Hualalai, apart from offering in-room dining also offers 6 different restaurant options so you can pamper your palate to the fullest during your stay in this beautiful property:
- Beach Treet: open for lunch and dinner that offers the feeling of a beach house in Hawaii. You will have the option of eating in the sand or in the open-air dining room while savoring Californian cuisine with an Italian touch.
- Ulu ocena grill: open for breakfast and dinner. I had the opportunity to try both options and I really liked it a lot. 75 percent of the food comes from the ocean and from local farms.
- Hualalai grille: this restaurant overlooking the 18th course of the Hualalai golf course is only open for dinner. Specializing in meat, it offers an intimate club-like atmosphere and a menu of choice, grass meats.
- Ulu sushi lounge: open for dinner where you can enjoy good sushi and artisanal cocktails overlooking the sea.
- Beach tree and lounge: open for lunch and dinner just steps from the water, this casual beach bar offers cocktails with spectacular sunset views, as well as snacks throughout the day.
- Hualalau trading Company: probably one of my favorites since it is the coffee shop of the property that provides a social space throughout the day to eat snacks and make purchases, to have a morning coffee or an ice cream after the Beach.
I personally enjoy spending time at the resort as there are many things to do. The resort is so big that simply getting lost in it is inevitable but at the same time photogenic as it takes you to amazing places. Some of my favorite activities were:
- Paddle boarding: Four Seasons Hualalaia has its own sports center where they offer a wide variety of water sports for you to do.
- Spa: to make my experience more peaceful I took an hour long massage in the hotel spa and I really felt renewed. The spa has a traditional wooden structures opening onto lush tropical gardens that makes it even more relaxing.
- Sunset watch: undoubtedly my best memories of the sunsets were around this property as it offers movie-like scenarios that you will always remember!
- Visit Kings Pond pool: this was my favorite pool since I could observe all the life of this natural pool. It has 4,000 fish of 98 species including a manta-ray that inhabit it. Here is where fresh water mixes with the ocean which are combined through underground channels to fill this natural pool that moves along with the tide.
- Lunch in private cabana: Manzur and I had the opportunity to stay in our own private cabana near the pool where we could sunbath , had a delicious lunch and chill for the rest of the afternoon.
What to do on the Big Island?
- Papakolea Beach: this was without doubt my favorite beach. It was my first time visiting a green sand beach and it was fascinating. I recommend a 4×4 car to go. But personally the walk, despite it being long, is very beautiful. I did it and I really enjoyed it. Just make sure to take lots of water, and sunscreen.
- Swim with dolphins: one of my highlights of my trip since it was my first time swimming with dolphins. I had the opportunity to see thousands of these beautiful creatures underwater along with Manta Ray Dive of Hawaii. During our tour we also had the opportunity to see some whales and take this opportunity to fly my drone and capture them. Even if I don’t show photos of dolphins here I have tons of videos on my Hawaii Instagram stories highlights.
- Visitar Mauna Kea: the highest mountain from base to tip. Without a doubt, something that you should not miss. I recommend going before sunset so you can see the sunset from the peak, that is truly magical. For this toy will also need a 4×4 car. I recommend wearing a sweater as it gets super cold up there.
- Punalu’u, Black Sand Beach: you cannot visit Big Island and not see its iconic black beach. This was not my first time visiting a black sand beach because in Costa Rica we have many but it is something worth doing.
- South point Cliff dive: this spot is super famous because here is where you can do cliff- jumping. I personally did not did it but I dare my friend Manzur and he actually did it several times.
I hope you enjoyed this little guide of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Special thanks Four Seasons Hualalai and Allison for making my first visit to this island so memorable.
White cover up dress: Bequia Beach Bums
White swimsuit: Sonia Vigand Swimwear
Colorful print coverup: Shore Line Hotel boutique
White long sleeve kimono: Seaside Hualalai , Four Seasons Hualalai Boutique
Pink dress: Forever 21
Yellow swimsuit: Indah Clothing
White short sleeve dress: Bikinis & More Panama
Gray maxi dress: Show me your mumu
Pink maxi dress estampado rosado: Seaside Hualalai , Four Seasons Hualalai Boutique