On our previous trips to HI we booked full-service hotels right on the beach. Everything was very convenient, which is exactly how we wanted it. It was always a very short walk from our room to the hotel beach, restrooms close-by, onsite restaurants, convenience stores & rental gear, and we could rent an umbrella. Now of course we’ve always had a great time at this hotel but the only “flaw” was that we really didn’t need to explore the island as everything we needed was right there on the hotel property.
As we were reserving our accommodations for our trip to Kona, we didn’t find any hotels we liked in our price range that were right on the beach and decided to go the VRBO route. I wasn’t sure how I’d like the VRBO vacation but it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made as it removed the convenience factor and forced us to find beaches and other things to do, which we did. We got some great recommendations from friends and ended up doing 2 surprisingly challenging hikes (not surprising for me as I kinda suck at hiking but am beginning to like it more). The Yelp description for the 1st hike (Waipi’o Valley) said the trail was “knee-jarring” which was a very astute observation as my knees were killing me on the steep downward slope. The 2nd hike to the Captain Cook monument was a little bit easier and has a cool cove at the bottom of the trail where we snorkeled. It was accessible by boat and bus and we saw some Cruisers there too. Quick tip: bring LOTS of water as you’ll need it for the uphill hike back to the starting point.
We also found out we liked searching for and trying out new beaches. There was always a sense of excitement as we put on the convenient beach chair backpacks and grabbed the body boards (all provided by the VRBO owner). We also packed our own very handy travel sackpacks with our water, towels, masks, snacks and snorkels . We found 3 awesome beaches and body surfed on some of the biggest waves we’ve ever done. Something we also found out is that people on the beaches are just cool and friendly. We carelessly left our stuff on the beach and didn’t worry about our gear walking off. Gotta love that Aloha spirit!
Looking back on our vacation, I realized some important things:
1) life doesn’t have to be all about convenience. Sometimes getting everything you want all in one place is not a good thing. Part of the fun is finding new things to do and new places to go.
2) Travel is more fun if you hang where the locals g0, which is usually not at a fancy resort. You’ll also find out that there are some very nice people like you who are just trying to have a great time.
3) It’s hard to make new memories if you’re not willing to get out of your comfort zone, so get out there and be inconvenienced!