Annual “Pilgrimage” to the Big Island of Hawaii

I first came to the Big Island of Hawaii for the New Year’s eve, in December of 1999: hard to believe, but it was 20 years ago.

And I felt in love instantly with the place: beautiful beaches and sunshine on Kona side, lush vegetation and waterfalls on rainy Hilo side, dramatic cliffs and amazing Green Sand beach at the South Point, majestic Mauna Kea mountain offering – perhaps best in the world – possibility for the star-gazing and much more.

Green Sand beach

But most importantly, I was very lucky to meet a number of people there who became dear and close friends. The result? At least, one trip each year to Big Island. And so, it felt very appropriate to open “2020 season of travels” with the pilgrimage to Big Island.

I arrived to Honolulu airport and had to wait two hours for connecting flight to Kona. But…here is a piece of advice for such transit travelers. Honolulu airport has several “internal” open air gardens where one can enjoy lush vegetation, have a picnic or take a nap. No need to go back and forth through security to access these gardens. Take a look:

Gardens inside Honolulu airport
Gardens inside Honolulu airport

Upon arrival to Kona airport, everyone is instantly aware of this island’s volcanic nature: lava fields are everywhere…

But I know my ways around as well as favorite destinations. I am heading right away to one of the best kept secrets of the Big Island: Kekahi Kai state park. Many tourists are turned away from this place, because the 1.5 miles road from the highway to the park is REALLY bad, but once you have driven several times there, it is not big deal anymore. From the parking lot, it does not look very appealing.

But wait…go to those trees in the distance and you will find a small paradise

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