Big Island: Kailua-Kona Side & Turtles on a Black Sand Beach
After staying on the Hilo side for four nights, we headed towards Kailua Kona situated on the east coast of the Big Island. To travel between these two towns, you can do one of two things - you can drive through the middle of the island or you can drive along the southern coast. Since we already drove part of the first road (Saddle Road) when going to Mauna Kea observatory, we opted for the latter which promised to be very scenic. Also we heard we could see some turtles at Punalu'u Beach where we ended up making a few hour stop and spotted a group of turtles sunbathing atop the black volcanic sand.
For our stay near Kona, we picked a simple cottage on a small farm called South Kona Estate. The cottage had bug screens instead of windows, an outdoor kitchen as well as a semi-outdoor shower. We fell asleep to the sound of rain, and were awoken in the middle of the night by another sound - that of falling fruits, which sometimes hit out roof. This did not bother us at all.
So here's some photos showing the scenic drive, our cottage, and the grounds of South Kona Estate.
Our route from East to West.
Punalu'u Beach was an easy detour and a place where we stayed for few hours. How many places on earth provide for such unusual beaches? Hawaii never seizes to amaze. It felt as if we were on a different planet. The beach was not very crowded, but we found that to be true for pretty much any place on the Big Island. We had our lunch on the beach while watching turtles bob their heads swimming in the ocean. Vlad spotted the first turtle. We read in our guide that there was a very high chance of seeing them on this beach. Shortly after, few more reached the shore for an afternoon siesta. Luckily most people give them plenty of space and do not bother them which is the reason why these beautiful creatures keep returning to this spot. Local kids playing in the sand. Vlad looking into the ocean and where every once in a while you could see turtles swim in the waves. It was simply incredible to sit on a beach with sand of such unusual color. This sand reminded me of super fine poppy seeds that you could find in makowiec cake. Super happy to be on this beautiful Hawaiian island.
Continuing our journey towards Kailua-Kona - this is the type of a landscape you will often encounter while driving through the Big Island. Volcanic rocks Various shade of lava rocks indicate that they are from different years of lava flow. Few other tourists were also intrigued by this landscape and used all of their electronic devices to document what they saw ;-).
When we finally arrived at our Airbnbn cottage on a small coffee farm called South Kona Estate we were greeted by this cute sign. Our cottage was simple but extremely pleasant. It had large windows with no glass, just a tightly-woven net. The owner gave us some fresh fruit from his property as well as a bag of a delicious Kona Coffee grown on his estate. Kona coffee is cultivated on the Kona side of the Big Island and is one of the most expensive coffees in the world as it's usually grown on small, mom n' pop type plantations. The favorable climate and mineral rich soil provides for amazing coffee growing conditions. Because Kona coffee is very pricey, you are likely to see more Kona blends sold around the world, which usually consist of at least 10% Kona beans, and 90% cheaper beans - like those imported from South America. If you fancy some real 100% Kona Hawaiian coffee, have a look at South Kona Estate's website. Shipping is free! We were also given some delicious macadamia nuts that grow on the property - which were very tasty. Unfortunately macadamia nuts lose some of their delicious taste and moisture after they are packaged, which is why it's best to eat them fresh. Fun fact: macadamia nuts are not native to Hawaii - they have been imported to Hawaii in the late 19th century from Australia. This outdoor kitchenette area was shared between us and another cabin. It was really fun to prep our food here and be able to chuck banana peels and nut shells into the bushes for natural compost. The bathroom also had an outdoor feel to it as the windows were covered only with some bug nets.
We made friends with the owners' dog. And some geckos. This vibrant green kind is called The Gold Dust Day Gecko.
As encouraged by the owner we took a walk around the property to admire his garden. Papayas from this tree were delicious.
One banana tree can provide plenty of bananas. This is what coffee looks like long before it ends up in our cups every morning. .
Stay tuned for our next posts from the Kona Side. There's really a lot to explore on this island - it's called the Big Island for a reason :)
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