Archive for the ‘Sites to See’ Category

Trip to the Volcano from Waikoloa Beach Resort

October 7th, 2011

If there is one thing Hawaii is known for, it is the volcanos throughout the state and more specifically the Big Island of Hawaii. Some lie dormant but others like Kilauea, do not.

Some days, onlookers can physically view lava while other days, only the steam vents can be seen. Typically, it is more impressive to watch volcanic activity during the early evening hours, as the red lava color can be seen in the darkness.

The eruption of Kilauea Volcano began in 1983 and continues today. Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. According to Hawaiian mythology, the goddess Pele calls Kilauea her home. It is said, that she controls the volcanic activity. It is also a popular belief that bad luck befalls anyone who removes lava rock from where it was found on the island.

Travelers can expect the drive from Waikoloa Beach to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to take about least two and a half hours via Highway 190 without stopping along the way. Traveling distance is just over one hundred miles. In preparation for this adventure, it is important to call the Visitors Information Line for updates. With the most recent eruption in April, 2008 and the continuous emission of sulfur dioxide, hazards can include respiratory problems and road or park closures. There are different color-coded levels for sulfur dioxide conditions.

There are organized tours available if preferable to the group. Guests of Waikoloa Vacation Rentals may contact (808) 333-1910 or email concierge@waikoloavacationrentals.com for assistance.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (808) 985-6000
Volcano Eruption Update http://volcano.wr.usgs.gov/kilaueastatus.php

Sulfur Dioxide Conditions
http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/webcams/parks/havoso2alert/havoalert.cfm

ROUTE #1

Waikoloa Vacation Rentals recommends leaving at about 8am. There are some great sites and good food along the way. With no stops, it will take about two and a half hours to reach Volcano National Park.

From the resort, take a left on the main highway. Take a right on Waikoloa Rd (at the helicopter pad). Take that all the way up to HIGHWAY 190 toward Waimea, just past Waimea, the road turns into HIGHWAY 19, Breakfast and lunch are available at Tex Drive-in. This is a great local breakfast location with hot Malasadas there as well (It’s a kind of doughnut) Another restaurant Waikoloa Vacation Rentals recommends is Hokulani Steakhouse. They offer all day dining and a family friendly environment.

Along the way, Waipio Valley lookout, has a beautiful coastline view of the surrounding area. You can then stop at Akaka Falls, a 420 foot waterfall, with plenty of hiking nearby. To get a good viewing and enjoy, it should take about thirty to fourty-five minutes. Take that all the way around the island until you get to HIGHWAY 11 to the Volcano National Park.

To return to Waikoloa Beach Resort, going back the same way is an option. Another option is to take HIGHWAY 11 towards Kona and arrive from the south via HIGHWAY 19.

ROUTE #2– Saddle Road

This route is considered a bit faster but also a little bit more dangerous in terms of the terrain. Out of the resort, take a left on the main highway. Take a Right on Waikoloa Rd just as the directions state above. Take that toward Waimea. Take a left on 190 again, toward Waimea. Here is when the directions differ from above, take a right on HIGHWAY 200 (Saddle Road), this will later connect to HIGHWAY 19. Take a right on HIGHWAY 11 to Volcano National Park.

Waikoloa Beach Resort is reachable from the south. HIGHWAY 11 goes all the way around to Kona. Take Highway 19 North to the resort. The backside of the island is all black lava. Sunset is at about 7pm and it may be getting dark, depending on how much time was taken for the excursion.

If the lava is flowing and visible, we recommend getting to the hiking trail two hours prior to sunset to view it properly.

Once in the park, there will be a small fee. It is $10 per car unless there are more than fifteen people. It will be $5 per person.

There are some organized land and boat tours available for a cost, that show a different perspective. The crater can be seen by helicopter as well.

Anna’s Ranch Waimea

September 30th, 2011

As far as weddings go, there are quite a few options on the Big Island of Hawaii for both ceremony and reception sites. One such unique location is Anna Ranch Heritage Center, Waimea, Hawaii. Dating back to 1847, Anna Ranch showcases the history of ranching on the island and captures the past, bringing it to present day island life. Anyone who appreciates history will truly enjoy this venue, looking to the past, the present, and as weddings demand, the future.

Located just a half mile from downtown Waimea, Anna Ranch Heritage Center offers just under fourteen hundred square feet of indoor space, several acres of outdoor options, and beautiful well-manicured gardens to accommodate almost any size party. Anna Ranch has ample resources to create a fabulous experience. With a professional and attentive staff, capable preferred vendors, and a fine history of event planning, the ceremony and reception are certain to be well organized.

Anna Ranch Heritage Center has tried to create the total experience offering an onsite blacksmith and saddle maker. These, along with other children’s activities, are certain to create special memories for adults and children alike. Programs for children are available for private events, and souvenirs will accompany those who take part in the programs.

If in search of local history, private space, or something out of the ordinary, the nonprofit Anna Ranch Heritage Center will satisfy any event requests. Their phone number is (808) 885-4426 or guests of Waikoloa Vacation Rentals may call (808) 333-1910 or email concierge@waikoloavacationrentals.com for assistance.

Events at Kahua Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii

September 25th, 2011

If one is in search of a wedding venue with history, rustic beauty, and the beautiful Big Island as the backdrop, Kahua Ranch may be the perfect place. It is not on the water, it does not have sand, but what it does have is over eight thousand acres of working active ranch land and three thousand two hundred feet of elevation offering a change of scenery with great views of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Located about an hour from Waikoloa Beach, this amazing property has the space for up to two hundred guests on its main deck, with plenty of room for larger parties outside along with beautiful locations to hold the ceremony.

Kahua Ranch does work with a few local caterers to make the event even better; however, they welcome anyone hired by private parties or wedding coordinators to organize the event as well.
With competitive prices, a beautiful property, and friendly staff, Kahua Ranch could be the location for any bride and groom looking for something less traditional, yet still wanting to be immersed in paniolo (Hawaiian for cowboy) culture dating back to 1928.

The ranch also offers a program through an independent planner titled ‘An Evening at the Ranch’. It is an educational, unique, and fun experience for the entire family. Amazing sunsets, food, live music, and much more can be found on the ranch.

For ranch information, call (808) 882-4646 and for information regarding ‘An Evening at the Ranch’ call (808) 882-7954.

Guests of Waikoloa Vacation Rentals may contact (808) 333-1910 or email concierge@waikoloavacationrentals.com for assistance.

Pearl Harbor Tours from the Big Island

September 16th, 2011

Pearl Harbor is one of the most popular attractions the Hawaiian Islands has to offer. There are two ways to make this day trip from the Big Island, either take a package tour from the Big Island or schedule the day at the convenience of the group with guided tours available on Oahu.

There is a particular tour company that offers the trip as an all-inclusive package. Their fees include airfare, transportation, and a fully guided tour. This is the simplest way to complete the tour without having to worry about the details. Everything is handled for the group by the tour organizers. It does make for a long day as the tour flight departs Kona at roughly 5 am and returns at about 9 pm, however if Pearl Harbor is a must see, it is completely worth it. The tour includes a quick visit to other parts of Honolulu as well.

The other option is to schedule the trip without booking through an all-inclusive guide service. Pearl Harbor is only about a ten minutes’ drive from the Honolulu airport. Taxi service and car rentals are both available for transportation. There are also quite a few tours once on Oahu to choose. This includes self-guided tours with an iPod or guided tours of the Missouri. Pearl Harbor does sell a limited number of tickets daily so utilizing an organized tour does increase the chances of viewing the Arizona Memorial.

Guests of Waikoloa Vacation Rentals may contact (808) 333-1910 or email concierge@waikoloavacationrentals.com for assistance.

Mauna Kea Tours and Information

September 12th, 2011

Majestically standing at an elevation of 13,796 feet is Mauna Kea, which means “White Mountain”. Its name comes from its snow-capped summit in the winter. It is the tallest mountain in the world at 33,000 feet, when measured from its base at the sea floor. Mauna Kea is home to the Hawaiian goddess Poliahu. The last eruption was 3,500 years ago.

The summit is the home to some of the world’s leading astronomical observatories such as Keck, Gemini, Canada-France-Hawaii, Cal-tech and the University of Hawaii, where the view is clear 300 nights a year.

Waikoloa Vacation Rentals does recommend arriving at the visitors’ center toward late afternoon into the early evening. As the elevation is so dramatic, the night sky is one of Mauna Kea’s most impressive features.

There are two options to visit this historical site. The First would be to drive with your loved ones, family, and friends to the visitor center at Mauna Kea. There are great views and some activities at the 9,000 feet elevation. A four-wheel drive vehicle or commercial tour must be utilized to gain access to the summit, as ordinary vehicles are not capable of handling this road. The second would be a guided tour, allowing access to the higher elevation, observatory, and more.

To reach Mauna Kea, take Highway 190 north towards Waimea. The Saddle Road (named because it runs between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa) is located on the right, just before the 6-mile marker. After the 28-mile marker, turn left onto the Mauna Kea Access road. The Visitors Information Station is about 6 miles up the road, on the right. They are open from 9 AM to 10 PM daily. This trip takes about an hour and a half to two hours from Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Effects of high altitude and weather conditions are two factors that should be known prior to embarking. Be sure to check updated conditions, pack appropriately and take the recommended precautionary measures.

Guests of Waikoloa Vacation Rentals may contact (808) 987-4519 or email concierge@waikoloavacationrentals.com for assistance.

To see what Waikoloa Vacation Rentals has to offer for luxury vacation rentals, please visit us at waikoloavacationrentals.com.

Visitor Information Station (808) 961-2180
http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis

Weather and Road Conditions (808) 935-6268
http://mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/forecast/mko/index.cgi
http://mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/current/road-conditions

My Trip to Volcano National Park

November 27th, 2009

When friends or family come to visit me on the Big Island of Hawaii I always take the time to be a tourist with them and enjoy all the things the Big Island has to offer.

Just recently one of my friends came and was eager to do everything and especially see the volcano.  We left Waikoloa Beach Resort at about 10 am and went along the north part of the island.  We stopped at Akaka Falls to enjoy the waterfalls there.  We got to Volcano National Part at about 2 pm and hiked around for a while.  I had been there before so it was not anything special to me.  Around 4 pm we left Volcano National Park and headed to the area where you can walk in and see the lava flowing into the ocean.  We took about a hour hike in across lava rocks and reached an area where it was roped off and a lot of people were watching the lava flow into the ocean from the distance.  We decided we would take our chances and hike in down by the ocean.  Once we hiked about 15 minutes further and got down by the water I was pleasently surprised to see a beautiful black sand beach down there.  We were probably about 25 feet from the lava and the ocean water was a warm.  As we decided to come out we found dozens of people coming to see the beautiful site.

Since then they have predicted that some of the land around their may break off soon so I would not recommend getting too far in or reasearch it first.  I would also recommend taking water, pants, hiking boots, and a flash light.

Pololu Valley

September 5th, 2009

Pololu Valley is my favorite of all the valleys on the north coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.  As you reach the outlook you will see a beautiful black sand beach down below and a stretch of dense tropical sea cliffs.  Although you can get some great pictures from the outlook, I would recommend hiking down into the valley to get the full experience.

There is a rocky trail that winds down the side of one of the cliffs that takes about 15 minutes to get down into the valley.  Taking a couple of bottles of water would not be a bad idea.  While walking down the trail you will come across a couple of spots that some of the most beautiful pictures of Pololu Valley are taken at.

Once you reach Pololu Valley, there is a beautiful black sand beach and a stream that runs back into the valley.  The left side of the beach is really sandy as far out as you can go, but the right side is rocky.  Pololu Valley is a great surf spot so typically you will see a lot of surfers.

After you spend time on the beach adventure out into the valley.  You will find several trails that travel through the lush landscaping and back into the valley.  You can get some amazing pictures of the valley along these trails.  Throughout the trails you will see lots of wildlife, man made swings, and much more.

Make sure to wait until later in the afternoon or when the clouds to come out to treck your way out of the valley.  The hike out is much tougher than the hike in.

Waipio Valley

September 4th, 2009

Waipio Valley is the most well known of the seven valleys on the north side of the Big Island of Hawaii.  Down in the valley is a beautiful black sand beach and some of the best surf on the island.  You can spend a day walking along the stream that flows through the valley and checking out the lush tropical setting.  You will also see a lot of roaming wildlife such as mules.

The view from the lookout is breathtaking enough, but if you are the anventurous type you may want to go down into the valley.  There is a narrow steep, windy paved road down into the valley which can be used by four wheel drive vehicles.  Although you can go in with a four wheel drive, it is not recommended.  You can also hike down into the valley along the same road.  Although it is a tiring hike, it is worth it.

Akaka Falls State Park

August 23rd, 2009

Akaka Falls

Akaka Falls is the best known waterfall on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Akaka Falls is a 442 foot tall waterfall that plunges down into a deep gorge.  When you enter Akaka Falls State Park there is a circular trail through a tropical setting that will give you views of Akaka falls, streams, and also Kahuna Falls.  One good thing to note is that you will want to go through the from the right as you enter.  The right side of the trail is steeper and has a lot of stairs.  If you are not able to make the full hike, you can go to the left and see Akaka Falls and then turn around and come back the same way.  Kahuna Falls is really just a smaller version of Akaka Falls so you would not be missing much.