Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure? Join us on a 5-day journey through the stunning Big Island of Hawaii! From swimming with dolphins and manta rays to exploring an active volcano, this travel guide and tips video will showcase all the incredible experiences this island has to offer. You’ll visit Volcanoes National Park, taste delicious local fruits, witness breathtaking waterfalls, snorkel at popular spots like Two Step Beach and Captain Cook Monument, and even relax on picturesque black and green sand beaches. The narrator emphasizes the kindness of the people they met along the way and encourages viewers to embrace the importance of being kind and helpful while traveling. By the end of this video, you’ll be inspired to visit the Big Island and immerse yourself in its natural beauty and unique experiences.
Day 1: Exploring Volcanoes National Park
Overview of Volcanoes National Park
Welcome to Volcanoes National Park! This iconic national park is a must-visit destination on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is home to powerful volcanoes, breathtaking landscapes, and unique geological formations. As you explore the park, you will witness the sheer vastness and beauty of Mother Nature’s creations.
Visiting the Kilauea Visitor Center
Start your day at the Kilauea Visitor Center, where you can gather information and learn about the park’s history, geology, and current volcanic activity. The knowledgeable staff will provide you with valuable insights and tips for exploring the park safely.
Exploring the Thurston Lava Tube
After visiting the visitor center, make your way to the Thurston Lava Tube. This short half-mile hike will take you through a fascinating natural tunnel formed by flowing lava. As you walk through the lava tube, marvel at the unique rock formations and imagine the incredible power of volcanic activity that created them.
Hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail
Next, embark on the Kilauea Iki Trail, a moderate 4-mile hike that offers stunning views and a chance to witness the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. This trail takes you across a vast crater, where you can observe steam vents and volcanic activity up close. The contrasting landscapes of lush rainforest and volcanic rock make this hike a truly unique experience.
Driving the Chain of Craters Road
To complete your day at Volcanoes National Park, take a drive along the Chain of Craters Road. This scenic route provides breathtaking vistas of the ocean, lava fields, and volcanic cliffs. Along the way, you will encounter several overlooks and points of interest, including the Holei Sea Arch. Be sure to stop and admire the dramatic coastal scenery before heading back to your accommodation.
Day 2: Waterfalls and Beaches
Start your second day by visiting Rainbow Falls, a picturesque waterfall located just outside of Hilo. Named for the rainbows that often appear in the mist, this 80-foot waterfall is a sight to behold. Take a short walk to the viewing area and marvel at the plunging cascade surrounded by lush vegetation.
Venture off the beaten path to discover Narnia Falls, a hidden gem tucked away in the tropical rainforest. Although access to the falls may be limited, the 3.3-mile round trip hike is well worth the effort. Take in the tranquil beauty of this secluded waterfall and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of nature.
After your visit to Narnia Falls, make your way to Akaka Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls on the Big Island. This impressive waterfall drops 442 feet into a gorge, creating a mesmerizing display of water cascading into a pool below. Follow the well-maintained trail through lush vegetation and enjoy the breathtaking views along the way.
Snorkeling at Two Step Beach
Ready for some underwater adventure? Head to Two Step Beach, a renowned snorkeling spot located near Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. This sheltered bay offers crystal-clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life. Grab your snorkel gear and dive in to explore the colorful reefs, swim alongside tropical fish, and maybe even spot some sea turtles.
Snorkeling at Captain Cook Monument
Continue your snorkeling adventure by visiting the Captain Cook Monument. Accessible by a challenging hike or a kayak tour, this remote spot offers exceptional snorkeling opportunities. Dive into the calm waters and discover a vibrant underwater world filled with coral reefs and a variety of fish species. Keep an eye out for dolphins and other marine creatures as you explore the area.
Enjoying the Beaches of the Big Island
After an exciting day of snorkeling, take some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful beaches of the Big Island. Whether you prefer the white sands of Hapuna Beach, the black sands of Punalu’u Beach, or the green sands of Papakolea Beach, each beach offers its own unique charm. Soak up the sun, go for a swim, or simply unwind and appreciate the natural beauty of your surroundings.
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Day 3: Waipio Valley and Manta Ray Night Snorkeling
Exploring Waipio Valley
Start your day by exploring Waipio Valley, also known as the Valley of Kings. This sacred and historically significant valley is characterized by lush greenery, taro fields, and dramatic cliffs. Embark on a hike down into the valley, taking in the breathtaking scenery along the way. As you descend, you’ll be rewarded with stunning waterfalls, picturesque landscapes, and a sense of tranquility.
Hiking to Hi’ilawe Falls
While in Waipio Valley, make sure to hike to Hi’ilawe Falls, one of Hawaii’s tallest waterfalls. This hike is approximately 8 miles round trip and takes you through dense vegetation and across streams. The reward at the end is worth the effort, as you witness the majestic cascade of water plunging down into a pool below.
Manta Ray Night Snorkeling
As the sun sets, embark on a unique and unforgettable experience – manta ray night snorkeling. Join a guided tour that takes you to a designated area where manta rays gather to feed on plankton attracted by underwater lights. Snorkel alongside these graceful creatures as they glide through the water and perform mesmerizing acrobatics. It’s an awe-inspiring experience that will leave you with lifelong memories.
Day 4: Black Sand Beach and Green Sand Beach
Visiting Punalu’u Beach
On your fourth day, head to Punalu’u Beach, famous for its black sand and the presence of sea turtles. This beach offers a stunning contrast between the dark sands and the turquoise waters of the ocean. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, keep an eye out for basking turtles, and immerse yourself in the unique beauty of this volcanic beach.
Swimming with Turtles
Punalu’u Beach is known as a popular spot for sea turtles, so take the opportunity to swim alongside these gentle creatures. Observe them in their natural habitat, but remember to maintain a respectful distance and never touch or disturb them. It’s a magical experience to share the water with these magnificent creatures.
Exploring the Black Sand Beach
Spend some time exploring the black sand beach of Punalu’u. Notice the fine texture of the sand and the contrast it creates against the surrounding scenery. Take a moment to appreciate the power and beauty of volcanic activity that shaped this unique landscape.
Hiking to the Green Sand Beach
To continue your beach adventure, make your way to the Green Sand Beach, also known as Papakolea Beach. This secluded beach is one of only three green sand beaches in the world, thanks to the presence of olivine crystals in the sand. Hike along a rugged trail or opt for a shuttle ride to reach this natural wonder. Once there, take in the extraordinary sight of the vibrant green sands and the clear blue waters of the ocean.
Day 5: South Point and Final Thoughts
Reaching the Southernmost Point of the United States
On your final day, journey to the southernmost point of the United States. Known as South Point, this remote and windswept location offers stunning views of the ocean and rugged coastline. Stand on the edge of the cliffs and appreciate the vastness of the ocean stretching out before you.
Enjoying the Scenic Views
Spend some time at South Point, soaking in the scenic beauty and tranquility of the surroundings. Observe the crashing waves, feel the ocean breeze on your skin, and reflect on the incredible adventures you’ve had on the Big Island.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
As your journey on the Big Island comes to a close, take a moment to reflect on the incredible experiences and natural beauty you’ve encountered. The Big Island truly offers something for everyone, from stunning waterfalls and diverse beaches to volcanic landscapes and unique snorkeling opportunities.
Remember to be kind and respectful to the people you meet along the way, as their hospitality and generosity contribute to the overall richness of your experience. Embrace the spirit of aloha and strive to leave a positive impact on the places you visit.
We hope that this 5-day adventure on the Big Island has ignited a sense of wanderlust within you. The unique landscapes, rich culture, and incredible experiences make the Big Island a must-visit destination in Hawaii. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and embark on your own unforgettable journey on the stunning Big Island.