Photo Friday: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

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I’ve only been to Hawaii once, and I’m a total cliche: I LOVED it and couldn’t get enough.

It was an extra special trip, because SVV and I were reuniting after seven months apart. When we said good-bye in Copenhagen the previous June, I didn’t think I’d ever see him again (we hadn’t discussed the future, not even a tiny bit). Then, he invited me to his cousin’s wedding in Hawaii on a whim.

The wedding spot was gorgeous, some Buddhist peace gardens (hippie much?) perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Complete with a Hawaiian ukulele player.

We all got lei’d upon showing up at the wedding.

The best part of the trip was I finally got to meet his sister and her fiancee at the time (now husband), some extended family and his best friends, Danny and Jill.

And who knew Hawaii could be so cheap? We found a two-bedroom condo right on the Kona coast (from where the picture above was taken) in high season for a meager $175 a night (split six ways). This was our resident Fatty. We named him Chubs.

It was also my first attempt at snorkeling. This was nearly a year before I started SCUBA diving, when I was still terrified to put a toe in the ocean for fear that a shark would bite it off. SVV held my hand the entire time to calm my nerves.

Apparently the only photos I took on this trip were crappy sunset ones.


I’d really like to go back to Hawaii maybe in the fall, and um take some actual pictures of something other than the skyline, especially since it’s such a cheap and easy flight from San Fran. What’s your favorite island? Anyone have any can’t-miss diving spots?

**Still pre-DSLR days, Canon Powershot A520.

  • February 20, 2009

    I’ve been to Maui twice (family) and Oahu twice (basketball) and loved both. Maui is much more scenic and a little more private. Oahu has GREAT shopping, the North Shore is freaking sweet and an awesome night life (so I’ve heard).

  • February 20, 2009

    i LOVED kaua’i. went with a group of friends and stayed for free at a condo of someone’s in-laws. saw lots of crappy sunsets, i mean really…terribly beautimous! highpoints: meeting jim irons (jenna’s dad/andy’s uncle) at luma’hai beach. bubba burgers. the best hawaiian shaved ice with macadamia nut ice cream in hanalei…near the best chai latte (on the left side–near the organic grocery store). secret beach. kapa’a and the best vegetarian cafe. names have elluded me at this point. it’s less touristy and lots to explore. like the hindu monastary.

  • February 20, 2009

    I too have only been to Hawaii once and LOVED it. Chris has never been, so it’s definitely on our list. I know he would LOVE it, and would also probably take five million pictures.

    When I went I stayed in Oahu for four days (and tried to surf, ha!) and then we went to the Big Island and stayed in both Hilo (super humid! low key, but gorgeous, with waterfalls and the friendliest people) and Kona (which was my favorite). We also took a helicopter tour of the active volcano in Hilo and that was totally awesome, too.

  • February 20, 2009

    i am DYING to go to hawaii. dying.

  • February 20, 2009

    Like Ali, I’ve been dying to go to Hawaii. Something about the sand and the warm water and the flowers and the Not Being At Work really appeals.

    Let’s go! Who’s with me! (Hopefully someone with enough expendable income – or counterfeit skills – for all.)

  • February 20, 2009

    I have been to Hawaii twice and I still maintain that Maui is the ebst island, hands down. That being said, I have a personal rule of only visiting a place once until I have gotten to see every other part of the world, which will never happen, thus me going there twice was a total fluke.

  • February 20, 2009

    I also went to Maui and fell head over heels in love. I am not even a big beach person but it was amazing. I think I cried every day for a week after we left. I was so determined to move there. Ha! I was a stupid teenager. What can I say?

    But seriously, you should definately visit Maui!

  • February 20, 2009

    I’ve been to Waikiki once, and even though it was a sort of consolation trip for a tough time my family was going through, I still remember it very fondly and would go back in a heartbeat.

  • February 20, 2009

    I have NEVER been to Hawaii. But oh, how I’d love to go…

  • February 20, 2009

    I’ve been to Oahu twice. I’d love to visit another island. The boy has never been, so it’s on our list of possible vacation destinations. Also – Alaska flies there now and I heart Alaska Airlines.

  • February 20, 2009

    My Mommy has never taken me to any island. Will you?

  • February 20, 2009

    Rene and I visited Maui a year after we got married, and it was fantastic. We stayed in a condo near Lahaina, on the western coast of the island, and got the best of both worlds. We were close to low-key beaches and nightlife.

    My fondest memories include eating opaka-paka fish (I don’t know if this is the same as mahi-mahi) at Longhi’s, seeing the sun rise at the top of Mt. Haleakela, and snorkeling at La Perouse Bay. You should definitely visit Maui.

  • February 20, 2009

    Beautiful! Brings back very fond memories of my wedding at the Mauna Lani. Love the Big Island!

  • February 20, 2009

    i think the hawaii is so cliche too – but I loved it! i just went to oahu but definitely want to hit up the big island!

  • February 20, 2009

    I’ve only been once…in the when I was twelve with the fam (brother and parents). My parents weren’t big “hang out on the beach” type people, so we did ALL the museums and tours that were offered. I want to go back, and you’re right it is SUCH an easy flight for us west-coasters (I live in L.A.), but I always find somewhere else to go instead.

  • February 20, 2009

    I find the sunset shots beautiful! Particularly the one with you in silhouette.

  • February 20, 2009

    I’ve been to Maui twice and the Big Island once. Both are amazing, but very different. I’m not a diver (as you know) but there’s supposed to be a cool manta ray night dive off the Kona coast (run, I think, by Kona Village Resort – which is one of my favorite places in the world!)

  • February 21, 2009

    Oh wow, that first picture is AMAZING! Jon and I really want to go to Hawaii soon. I think I will be so scared to SCUBA there though with all of the tiger sharks…eek! I watch too much Discovery channel.

  • February 21, 2009

    I have never been to a tropical island. My best friend is on a plane to Hawaii right now, she is visiting a friend who moved their because her fiancee is deployed there. I plan to post her pictures when she returns.

    I didn’t realize it was that cheap!

  • February 21, 2009

    How did you find such a cheap condo??

  • February 21, 2009

    When Aaron and I went to Maui, we bought a book called “So You Want to Move to Hawaii.”

  • February 22, 2009

    i have never been, i’m so sad to say! we want to go, we do, we do. it looks amazing, and i’ve never met anyone who says otherwise. great pictures, full of pizzaz 🙂

  • February 23, 2009

    I went to the big island a couple years ago too, right at the beginning of September. It was the perfect time to be there, I think — it was basically tourist-free at that time of year. I was surprised at how inexpensive it was, between a $300 plane ticket (on the now-defunct ATA), and cheap hotels/B&Bs. I spent well under $1000 on a week-long vacation, even without anyone to split hotel room costs with.

    My favorite place I stayed while I was there was Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast, north of Hilo. Akiko is wonderful, and I felt like I got a much more real, local experience than if I had stayed at one of the hotels. I’m not a SCUBA diver, but I loved snorkeling at Place of Refuge and also at these tide pools near Pahoa (though some crazy surfer dude did flash me there) . If you ever do go to the Big Island, let me know, and I’ll dig up the names of some of the other amazing places I went. For example, I drove my jeep across a crazy lava field in order to get to this secret cove with naturally heated tide pools where you could swim with turtles.

  • February 23, 2009

    I’ve been to Hawaii a bunch of times, being from Los Angeles, it’s an easy trip. Lanai is my favorite though. By the way, for diving, go to Curacao. It’s Diving Capital. Everyone goes there to dive.

  • February 25, 2009

    I’ve only been to the big island (last October when my brother-in-law did the Ironman!) and LOVED IT. It is so beautiful! It definitely gave me the desire to go back and see the other islands.

  • March 30, 2010

    I went to Oahu in December and toured the whole island for two weeks, North Shore is awesome.
    The surf was the highest since 1965
    I went back to Oahu in January for week and spent more time on North Shore, The Breakers is a really great spot to drink Long Board beer,
    I then went to the Big Island and spent two weeks with my son and hit the Volcano, fishinging
    at Kona and staying in Hilo, Great time

  • March 30, 2010

    I loved Hawaii so much i’m leaving Seattle and moving to Kauai in June. I have spent the last
    three summers in Alaska but the beauty does not equal Hawaii.

  • January 17, 2013

    Hi Kristin, long time reader first time post-er. I’m with two friends in Kona now and we are pumped for the sunset!!!!!!

    • January 17, 2013

      HAVE A BLAST. Hope you get to chill at the Orchid!

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