Big Island days 12-15: last chapter in Kona with the girls joining

Our last chapter in Hawaii ended with a bang. For the final days, our group of 2 became 4 as Rachel and Rene joined me and Joe. Our days were filled with lots of relaxing on the beach, outdoorsy activities in Kona, and even some partying. 🙂

Day 12: Beach/pool time + shopping in downtown Kona

We stayed up in Waikoloa Village in North Kona. Waikoloa Village is filled resorts, hotels, and bougie restaurants and shops. It’s definitely not my usual travel vibe, but after staying in yurts/cabins/farm stays, I thought we would treat ourselves to a large comfty condo for our final days as a group. 🙂

Although Waikloa Village is a bit far from downtown Kona (30 minutes), it’s near some great beaches in the north. In the morning, Rachel and I hit up ʻAnaehoʻomalu Beach – a 10 minute walk from our condo. After several small and rocky beaches in Kona, it was nice to be on this large open beach with white sand.

In the afternoon, we drove downtown to grab some lunch and explore. Our condo area was basically a bubble, and we wanted to show the girls more of Kona. First we had a nice long lunch by the waterfront.

Then some shopping – there were a ton of cute stores downtown and we took a leisurely walk while strolling through them.

Impulse purchases 🙂

After shopping, we headed back home and laid out by the pool in the evening. Overall a nice relaxing first day together as the girls were getting over jet lag. The evening ended with a movie together and sleeping early. 🙂

Day 13: Pololū Valley hike + charming town of Hawi

The next morning started with an early pilates class. Rachel found a studio right in the village, and we decided to take a class together. A good workout that reminded me how fun it is to take in-person classes (I’ve been doing all my workout classes over video). Of course, an acai bowl to treat ourselves afterwards. 🙂

In the afternoon, we decided to drive further north to hike Pololū Valley. The drive up was gorgeous as we got away from the village bubble surrounded by volcanic rocks and saw more authentic Hawaiian scenery.

The hike started at the top of the valley and went all the way down to the beach. It was pretty steep and had us navigating through a forrest…

…As well as gorgeous coastal views along the way.

The bottom was a nice black sand beach surrounded by tall cliffs. I’m a big fan of these valley hikes (such as Waipio Valley we visited earlier) as I love being surrounded by such epic rocks and mountains.

There were rope swings at the bottom too. 🙂

After playing around the beach, we hiked all the way back up. On the way back we stopped through a historic, colorful town of Hawi. This was recommended to us by our hosts in Waimea, and it was SUCH a great tip. The town is quaint, peaceful, and full of charming art galleries, boutiques, and cafes. I’m surprised I didn’t see this in any travel blog/website (most people recommend visiting Pohoa in Puna for its small town vibes, but I personally liked Hawi a lot better). We grabbed some lunch at the most colorful L&L Barbecue restaurant and shopped at a local art co-op.

A perfect active day that energized the group in a unique part of the island.

Day 14: Beach time + Coffee Shack + Kealakekua Bay at sunset + Ola Brewery + night out feat a drag show

I’m sure you can tell from the title that this day was pretty packed, and it was honestly my favorite day of this entire chapter.

The morning started off with chilling at the same beach near our condo. The sun was finally up for the first time in the last few days and we were eager to spend as much time as possible outside.

Rene was working west coast hours…”work from home” never looked so good 😉

After sun bathing and lunch, we drove down to South Kona, which was a bit far from our place (1 hour) but so worth it. The drive winded through a beautiful, authentic part of the island filled with local restaurants, diverse greenery, and coastal views.

First up, we hit up Coffee Shack which was recommended to us by Rene’s friend who lives on Big Island. This cafe was a humble shack off the road but inside had the best views of the island. It was a clear day and we could see all the way to the ocean while sipping on our coffee.

The pie at this place was BOMB. I highly recommend Coffee Shack if you’re on the island and want someplace more local!

The views were too amazing so we had a photoshoot, of course 😛

Coffee time was so peaceful and uplifting. Afterwards, we took a short drive over to Kealakekua Bay. Joe and I already went here a few days ago, but we forgot to bring swim suits and I remember regretting that because the water looked so nice! I insisted on going back there this time with the girls too. It was golden hour and the bay was even more gorgeous than last time. There weren’t many people around and it felt like we had this gem all to ourselves. I brought a swimsuit this time and was sure to take a dip 🙂

It was so peaceful sitting on the rocks watching the sunset. This was one of my favorite moments of the entire trip. These times in nature surrounded by beauty are why I love to travel. ❤

Of course, more photoshoots.

For dinner, our crew met up with Rene’s friend who lives on this island as well as his girlfriend. It was nice to meet some locals and chat about our lives. COVID has made the tiniest things seem so special, like meeting new people :). We hung out at Ola Brewery, which had tons of local beers and seemed to be a hot spot in town.

After dinner, the gang had energy and we decided to have a night out! We headed next door to a Korean karaoke bar and kicked back with tequila shots and gin and tonics. It’s been over a year since I’ve been inside a bar so this felt super special. We sang a few songs, hung out and had ourselves a fun night.

Best part of this bar was that we had views to a drag show going on downstairs. We danced and sang along to the drag performers. This really felt special after a year of being cooped up inside!

Day 15: Lazy last day at Hapuna Beach

My last day in Hawaii was unfortunately spent pretty tired from the night out before. We did get out for a lazy beach afternoon at Hapuna Beach, which was hands down my favorite beach on the entire island. Lucky we found it before we left! Joe and I loved swimming in the water and soaking in our last moments of Hawaii. It was nice to end the trip on a relaxing (and slightly hungover) note.

We all flew out the next day, and just like that, our beautiful trip was over! I’m so grateful for me and Joe’s two weeks together in Hawaii and the quality time with the girls at the end. I really needed to get out of the SF bubble and see different things to remind myself that there is so much more out there. I remember in the beginning of the trip, I told Joe that my one goal was to come back “caring less” (I tend to care too much about the tiniest things and stress myself out), and that’s definitely what happened.

It was also the first time Joe and I left California in over a year (except for the holidays), and that in itself was a triumph as there is only so much excitement staying around home could bring us.

As exciting and rejuvenating as these last two weeks were, it’s actually kind of nice to be back in my studio and get back to the routine. I’m coming back with amazing memories and not-caring-anymore attitude that will hopefully last for some time. 🙂

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