Club Wyndham Mauna Loa Village in Kona Hawaii. I am on the edge of my seat about going back to Hawaii. The last visit I made, I thought, might be my last. Just because for me, it is a big deal taking the long flight, and traveling this distance. But I love Kona and I am very happy to be going back.
Video by Island Hopper TV
Day One Travel and Arrival
The flight time is about 15 hours (from VA) or more if you like me have a connecting flight. That is a long time to be in coach seats, so if you have the miles, you may want to see about upgrading if you can. Me, I did not have enough miles for the upgrade, but I was able to get aisle seats near the emergency doors that have the most legroom of any in coach.
At 6’4” with a 36-inch inseam in pants, you need all the legroom you can get. Also, with a long flight (s) you want to be able to get up when you want to, but not have to get up in rough air unless you have to.
My flight was a little choppy before the connection, and then again on the second flight before coming down to Hawaii. Not bad but enough to notice. There was one moment when I had been walking around, I am sure I would have lost my footing, but the Captain had seen the weather ahead and turned on the stay seated sign.
The Kona Airport is about a 30-minute drive from the resort. So, once I landed and grabbed my rental car, it was a quick trip to the resort. It was after check-in time but not yet dinner time locally. But I was starving after all the travel and stopped before the resort for a bite.
I stopped at Sam Choy’s, which is not far from the resort. I love all things Teriyaki, so I ordered Teriyaki chicken and was as happy as can be. They also have a great key lime pie here you want to order if you are a key lime fan like me.
The resort has large villas the 1-bedroom is almost 900 sq ft and the 2-bedroom goes up to almost 1,800 sq ft which is very large and spacious.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Since I have eaten and I am tired from the air travel, I will probably go to bed early but first things first I want to watch the sunset. Sunsets and Sun rises in Hawaii are almost religious experiences. The colors and the view of the ocean are just amazing. Given some volcano clouds, at times the colors can also be very impressive.
Day Two Seeing the Island
Taking an organized tour
There are few better ways to see as much of the island as a tour. Today I have prebooked a day-long extensive tour with a local company called Kailani Tours.
From their website, you can see all this tour includes.
Waterfalls, Coffee, Black Sand Beach, Volcano Winery, and the Volcano in One Day!
Travel in Mercedes-Benz Sprinter mini-coaches, the ultimate in comfort and style!
Includes a tour of Hawaii’s most active volcano! Breakfast, lunch, and wine are all included!
See Big Island waterfalls, Punalu’u Bakery, and our famous black sand beach
Premium Kona Coffee Farm–Enjoy a delicious catered continental breakfast at this enchanting and historic coffee farm. Sip local coffees, walk the tropical fruit grounds, or send gifts home to those who couldn’t be here.
Punalu’u Bake Shop –The Southernmost bakery in the United States! But that’s not the only reason it’s a favorite.. .try their delicious Portuguese donut (malasada) to find out why they’re a must-visit.
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach – The black sand beach! Check out Hawaiian sea turtles at this stretch of black sand beach in Pualu’u. The surf meets this incredible beach in the southernmost part of the United States.
Volcano Winery and Tea Farm–Enjoy a gourmet Hawaiian-style lunch served at this incredible property on the slopes of an active volcano. Sample unique wines, and local teas, or enjoy some hot chocolate. Wine tasting is optional but included with the tour.
Hawaii Volcanos National Park – See Big Island volcanoes! The massive park is consistently listed as a must-see for visitors. Our tour highlights all the park’s best, including Chain of Craters Road, natural steam vents, and views of the new Halemau’mau Crater.
Thurston Lava Tubes–We guide you down the Thurston Lava Trail, which is a 0.4-mile loop that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. Then take a walk through Nahuku, known as the Thurston Lava Tube, a 500-year-old lava cave. Lit by electric lights, Nahuku has a flat rock floor and a ceiling height of more than 20 feet in places. The 600-foot-long cave is a great introduction to lava tube geology.
Rainbow Falls – One of “The Best Waterfalls in Hawaii” in every guidebook and blog. Witness one of the most famous Big Island waterfalls up close and personal! Take in the tropical foliage as it wraps its arms around iconic Rainbow Falls.
Hamakua Coast–Take in the spectacular view of the Hamakua Coast driving along the rocky coastline famous for its lush tropical foliage. Should time allow, we may stop to take in the views at Waipio Valley–“The Valley of the Kings.”
This tour is kind of their big dog tour given all it includes and that it is an extensive tour. The tour itself now is $219 per person for adults, but it is well worth every penny.
You can go out and see these places for yourself and if you are on the islands for a while, doing so might make sense. I was going to be here this time for just 3 days so I wanted to see as much as I could of the major sites in 1 day. So, this is the best way to do that.
I enjoyed it all, but the lava flows and the Rainbow falls were the most impressive on this trip. The food with the breakfast and lunch were well handled and good meals given that they were feeding several buses of people with each meal. The staff at each location did a great job.
Just remember if you are buying gifts, you may want to consider having them shipped home from the gift shop or store. It may be a little cheaper than checking them in your bags before going back, but it is primarily just so much easier. Time things right and you might get your items shipped to you the day after you get back to make life even easier.
That way you get home and crash from the flight time, then when you wake up and go see anyone to tell them about your vacation, your gifts are shipped to you and waiting. You did not have to worry about them making it through as baggage on the flights and no hassle of carrying it all through several airports. That is a win, win.
Day 3 Luau and Stars
I love everything, Polynesian. I am a full-on sucker for it. I love the Tiki culture, food, and attitude. One of my favorite things is a luau so I have that booked for tonight.
No Hawaii vacation should be without some time on the water and at the beach. Beaches here are some of the very best in the world, and some are very remote and fun.
For a luau, there are many choices. So, this time I wanted to try a place new to me. Last time I came I went to the Voyagers of the Pacific Luau which was great.
Tonight I am going to the Island Breeze Luau. Both experiences offer the buffet style dinner and a show. The Island Breeze Show started with the performers arriving at a ceremony by boat which was fun. It was a little higher in price, but they all will probably be increasing in prices with inflation and food costs on the rise. Today, this was $169 per person. They offered an upgrade for $20 for preferred seating, and I did that as well.
My day at the beach was fun, but I was looking forward to my nighttime activities today. First with the luau and then seeing the stars.
Once at the luau, all the performers were amazing. But if I had been 20 years younger, I might have proposed on the spot like a crazy man to one performer who was just magical to watch. Her smile would pull on anyone. She had the charisma of a top national act and was just lovely.
The food was very good at this buffet as well, which was nice since you are paying the good price for the ticket and access. They clearly have their act together here and have been providing luaus for a while.
Still, after dinner it was time for me to leave the lovely luau which my mortal self hopes dinner is like in heaven. (Knowing things are likely very different lol). It is just such a lovely experience.
For stargazing, I am investing in a tour provider again to get the best experience but also access. I chose to use Epic Tours which provides a top-level tour with access to telescope time, and augmented reality views for $259. The tour is led by a noted photographer and uses his equipment to make you feel up close and personal to the stars. You also get access in 5 days to the photos taken on your trip for your own personal use and enjoyment.
One of mine is neat. I might see about having it printed to enjoy it.
The view of the stars at this location is amazing, even without any equipment. There is no light pollution here at all so you see more stars than you will ever see outside of a planetarium.
Now on the big island there are several options and if the cold at the top of the mountain does not appeal to you, there is a local provider that sets up his pro telescope near the ocean.
If you too want to take this dream Hawaii vacation, save up for the flight and book this resort via TZort.