Saturday, September 17, 2022

Back to the Islands...Maui and Kona

If you know us or followed my blog at all, you know that one of our favorite places to visit and "vacation" is in Hawaii.  Obviously, we can't take the RV there and it's truly our fantasy getaway place to completely relax.  I, for one, love all the islands, and don't really have a favorite.  Jack, on the other hand, favors Maui, so we tend to return to that one more than any of the others.  This year was no exception.

We usually go towards the end of October, around Jack's Birthday, but decided to celebrate our anniversary there this year instead, which is around Labor Day.  It made it tougher to find places, etc. but, oh well...

We ended up booking our time share for one week in Maui then another on Kona, the Big Island.  Another change for us this time was that we didn't bring any friends along.  I can't remember the last time we've done that, as we almost always do.  Because of the holiday period, places were harder to find and we ended up getting "hotel style rooms", something we've never had before.  We also decided not to rent cars at either island as we have toured both of them extensively and didn't feel the need to do that again.  This was going to just be a full, sit and relax kind of vacation.

Maui was our first destination.  Our room was okay, nothing special, but it had a great view of the resort overlooking the ocean.  There were two pools, that I quickly learned two things about:  neither one was designated for "adults only" so both were FULL of kids, and two, both were ICE COLD!  Now, the heater at our place here in Arizona has been out in our Olympic size pool all summer and it's not that cold, these pools were half that size, in the full sun, and freezing cold.  I got in, and got out!  Yikes.  The beach was beautiful, gentle sand, and the water was bathtub warm...that's where we went everyday!  It was only steps outside of the who needed the pool?

Watching the sunset from our balcony at The Royal Lahina Hotel
Red-crested cardinal enjoying breakfast with us
Along our beach walk

The resort offered free shuttle service to the nearby mall that had plenty of shopping and restaurants as well as another shuttle service that was all of $2 to Lahaina.  We enjoyed both, going into Lahaina for our anniversary dinner.  Fancy drinks and sunset included. It was lovely. 

Fancy drinks and a walk along the boardwalk in Lahaina


We were not thrilled with the "on site" restaurant.  We tried, but the menu nor the prices just didn't impress us, so I turned to Google for help and discovered The Castaway Cafe right next door!  A 2 minute walk and we not only found good food and great prices but wonderful staff that we soon became friends with!  We almost hated to leave them at the end of the week.


Watching the sun set from the Castaway Cafe

The following week we were off to Kona!  We've only been here once before, about six years ago.  Our friends own a home here and had invited us to stay with them, and kindly showed us just about everything one can see on the island....thank goodness!  Renting a car here (which you need to have if you are going to see anything, as this is a BIG island) is expensive, at least it was the week we were staying.  I figured out that between the car rental, the hotel parking charge and gas, it would have cost us about $1000. for the week.  Not worth it, so we didn't.  

The pictures of the hotel before we booked really didn't do it justice, so when we got there, our jaws dropped.  We soon realized we had actually been here before to "see it" when our friends took us here as a "you've got to see this place, it's unbelievable".  We had taken the boat tour around their little canal and ooh and ahh then.  Now, we were staying here.  How cool was that?

The room was twice the size of the one in Maui with a view of the beautiful Asian gardens.  This resort was huge - 64 acres huge.  An adult pool (nearest us, warm and peaceful) along with various other pools of different sizes and shapes, a man-made lagoon and beach, waterfalls, a dolphin pond, and acres and acres of Asian gardens filled with sculptures and art all surrounded by a water canal and monorail system to get around it all.  Beautiful. They had a variety of restaurants to choose from along with different shops and markets, plus a shuttle service ($) to the local mall for more choices.  All fun, and delicious. 

One amusing thing we discovered were the myna birds.  Seems that right outside our room were these trees that they liked to roost on, so every evening around 4pm or so, they would start flying in.  They would line up along the rooftop...hundreds and hundreds of them, and slowly fly into these trees.  Then as the sun set, they would start chirping.  This goes on for a bit... then quiet down until about 4 AM and the chirping begins again!  Now, you have to understand, there are hundreds and hundreds of these birds, all chirping at the same time - it's LOUD!  When I first heard it, I couldn't quite figure out what it was.  I followed the sound and ended up going outside to look for it, and that's when I discovered it was the birds! Wow.  After that, I realized their pattern and was blown away at how many there were as I watched them come and go.  I used to tell Jack, "here comes our evening and morning choir!" Once you knew about them, you got used to it.  It really was kind of amusing.

We enjoyed a luau while we were there as well.  Now we have seen one on each island except Oahu.  It was quite nice.  We had front row seats, met nice people, the food was good, weather was wonderful and the entertainment was delightful.  I would have to say that the fire dancers were some of the best we've seen.  But as for the luau itself, the best we've experienced, I feel was on Kauai, hands down. 

No matter how many times we go to the islands, we discover new things, enjoy new wonders and always have a wonderful time.  It truly is a paradise for us.  The only downside is the long trip back home.  I hate that plane trip.  The older I get the worse it seems, too.  We ended up taking the "red eye" this time, and I promised myself, I will never do that again...ugh.  We couldn't sleep, to uncomfortable, so we were up for 24 hours, and just wiped out when we got home.  Took us days to get back into shape.  We're to old for this anymore...guess we've been spoiled with all the years of RV travel!  ;-)  

Well, this is probably it for awhile now.  Only two more trips scheduled for the remainder of the year...until then...Aloha...

kicking back in Arizona,  Marie