Fall in love with the breathtaking beauty of Pacific coast paradise

by Gazette Reporter

Hawaii – land of white sandy beaches, palm trees, stupendous sunsets, Pacific warm as a heated pool, the “lei” flower necklace, beloved by Elvis, of course, and home of Barack Obama. Who hasn’t heard of aloha, the islands’ happy hello? There’s something for everyone in Hawaii.
More usually the setting for an unforgettable honeymoon or anniversary trip, my recent visit was neither. But it was still unforgettable – not least the eyewatering travel costs.
The special occasion that demanded shelling out by my mum and me was the Ironman World Championships. My brother was participating this year and so we sallied forth for Kona, the Big Island. Autumn is a great time of year to visit. And being surrounded by world class athletes added to the vibe.
I intended acting as support crew for Ironman and this turned out to be a major highlight of the trip. The hype leading up to the event was electric. If you could bottle it, you’d be rich. But enough of Ironman and on to the holiday.
Top picks of the Big island for me were the following: Snorkelling kept me busy for a long time and cost me nothing. Kona’s calm clear waters are perfect for seeing sea turtles and other marine life.
A highlight was the Manta Ray Night Snorkel (€70) – This bargain night out (who needs nightclubs when you can snorkel?) had me within inches of enormous manta rays as they slowly swam beneath us. A night that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Do rent a car because that way you’ll have more flexibility getting around. Public transportation is virtually non-existent and taxis atrociously priced.
If you’re of a mind to do rent a car or book a tour consider visiting Mauna Kea Summit, Kohala Zipline. Don’t forget the option of a volcano helicopter tour with Safari where you’ll see flowing lava and the last house standing as the lava flows around it. Seeing the sights depends on your budget.
But, boy, is Hawaii worth the outlay. I fell in love with the island’s beauty and most importantly the hospitality of its people. With so much more to do I hope one day to return and say: Aloha, I’m back!

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