Hawai’i: A Month of Unforgettable Adventures

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Hawai’i: A Month of Unforgettable Adventures

Hey guys. I’m currently writing this latest update from the Philippines. It’s been about a month since I left Hawaii and I wanted to get you guys up to speed. I also wanted to thank you all for your patience, as maintaining a blog requires a ridiculous level of discipline that I just have trouble finding at this point. Anyways.

After my first week in Oahu, I visited three other islands – Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai, respectively – spending about a week on each island before returning to Oahu.

Maui.

After departing the Polynesian Beach Club Hostel, I took a bus back to Honolulu International Airport and booked myself a one-way ticket to Kahului, Maui. (I should’ve booked online, as they charged me a $20 “booking fee” for purchasing it on the spot at the airport. Lesson learned.)

My next stop was the Banana Bungalow Hostel in Wailuku, Maui. One of the highlights there was the free tours and activities that the staff offered. The first tour I took had us sunbathing and snorkeling at the beach, followed by a visit to the charming streets of Lahaina.

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The rustic Lahaina Town. Historic city, traditional vibe, but also quite the modern tourist hotspot.

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Lahaina is also home to the biggest banyan tree in the USA. Pretty neat.

Unfortunately, I got sick after the tour. I was decommissioned for a few days and just stayed in the hostel to avoid overexerting myself until I got better. Of course, it’s natural to want to suck it up and see as much as you can because you’re traveling, but you have to remember to take care of yourself first. Remember this, folks!

After I started feeling better, I decided I would wrap up my last few days in Maui by getting together with a group of new friends and driving the Road to Hana. If I could recommend just one thing to do on Maui, I would recommend renting a car and spending at least two days to get a chance to check out all the sights and stops on this 64-mile stretch of road. You won’t regret it. Make sure to bring a tent so you can camp (that’s what we ended up doing!).

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“Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls…”

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I’ve always loved photographing palm trees.

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A hallway of bamboo…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maui’s Black Sand Beach (it’s actually volcanic rock, kids!)

The black sand beach pictured above is just one part of Maui’s Waianapanapa State Park. Being a state park, there were campsites available. Because we couldn’t go any further due to road construction, we decided to pitch our tent there. Our night was a bit rough as it was cold, raining, and our tent had a leak, but that’s a story for another day!

The next morning, we packed up our camping gear and drove back to the hostel, checking out a few more sights along the way. Once I got back to my dorm, I booked my flight to the next island!

The Big Island.

The Big Island is (obviously) the biggest island in the Hawaiian island chain, bigger than all of the other islands combined. I had a wonderful time here. The hostel I stayed at, the friendly locals, the chill vibe, and the captivating sights made my week on this island so memorable.

On Wednesday, October the 19th, I flew into Kona, the Big Island’s main city on the west side. From the airport, I ended up taking a taxi to get to my hostel as there was no bus or Uber option available. I arrived at the My Hawaii Hostel and my adventures began almost immediately; I found myself hitchhiking with a new friend from England a short time later.

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One of Hawaii’s idyllic sunsets!

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Captain Cook Monument.

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The comfiest hostel bed I’ve encountered so far.

I had good food (both in restaurants and homehostel-made), went snorkeling and saw a sea turtle, and got to know several new friends from various places around the world. Exciting stuff.

My highlight on the Big Island, however, was the lava flow in Kalapana. Going at night is advisable, as the lava is too hard to see during the daytime, and I would recommend renting a bike for $25 for the 8-mile roundtrip trek. Unless you’re fond of walking. (We walked to save money, but my legs were killing me for the next 2-3 days.)

The day started with a trip to the southern tip of the island. You park your car, hike for about 3 miles, and find yourself at a green sand beach. Or, you can pay somebody to shuttle you there, which is what our group did.

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A bumpy ride to Papakolea’s Green Sand Beach.

I’ll be honest, the sand wasn’t as “green” as one would hope/expect (it’s more an olive color), so I found that aspect of it overrated. The beach itself and the landscape surrounding it, however, were just spectacular. There was even a mountain you could walk up to get a view like this:

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Green Sand Beach, mountain view.

We spent about an hour here, and then our unofficial tour guide Joel took us out to lunch and drove us to our next stop: the volcanoes. We went to Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park and checked out some neat steam vents near Kilauea as well as the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

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Kilauea steam vents.

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Where land meets ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove a little bit further to Kalapana, the prime area for seeing Hawaii’s volcanic activity in action. After our 4-mile long trek, we finally arrived at the observation point. We spent a good couple hours just chilling along the cliffside, stargazing and watching the lava spill into the ocean. Everybody in our group vibed so well that night. It couldn’t have ended up any better than it did. It was unforgettable.

Kauai.

The last island I ended up checking out was Kauai. Kauai is the geographical firstborn of the Hawaiian islands and, as a result, has this particular mystical charm surrounding it. It’s also known for its dramatic landscapes: 90% of the island is inaccessible by road and must be explored on foot. (If you’re not the hiking type, you gotta at least take a helicopter ride. The views are more than worth it.) I had a wonderful time here and met some cool people; in retrospect, Kauai ended up being my favorite island on the whole trip.

The first destination was the Waimea Canyon, an impressive gorge with majestic panoramic views.

After the Waimea Canyon, we found an unmarked trail off the beaten path. It was definitely a little sketchy at certain parts, but the view overlooking the Na Pali coast was absolutely gorgeous. Not to mention Mother Nature added a nice touch:

 

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Probably my favorite picture from this whole trip. (Instagram @jhagster)

 

Hawaii as a whole is a beautiful place, but if you’re looking for truly majestic, awe-inspiring, breathtaking natural beauty, Kauai does it best.

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*Jurassic Park theme intensifies*

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Queen’s Bath.

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And I tried surfing here for the first time. That’s it Kauai, you’ve stolen my heart.

 

My first solo trip was a wonderful one, and I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap it up. This adventure, however, is only the beginning. Stay tuned for more stories, life lessons, and, hopefully, words to inspire you. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

 

Josh

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