Sunday, March 3, 2024

48 Hours in Waikoloa

Trip date: May 2023

I left Volcanoes National Park and drove Hwy 11 northeast to Hilo, about 45 minutes away. I've never been to Hilo, and really still haven't as it was just a good spot to have lunch on my way over to the west side of the island. I was going to spend my last 2 nights on the Big Island relaxing by the pool in Waikoloa.

A friend had suggested Suisan Fish Market for takeout poke and it was absolutely delicious! I ate at a picnic table with a view of the ocean at Liliʻuokalani Gardens. This park is just stunning and was donated by Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last Queen of Hawaii before being overthrown by the US in their move to take Hawaii. 


I didn't have a lot of time to stroll around but the park has a beautiful Japanese garden and great views of Hilo Bay.

I had chosen to take Saddle Road across the middle of the island, which cuts right between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. It's about 62 miles long and hits 6,632 feet elevation around mile marker 28. Although it was a beautiful sunny day, it got dang cold at the crest!


I pulled over for views of Mauna Kea but that's all there is out here! There are no services at all on this road so plan accordingly. But the entire drive was beautiful.

I arrived at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort where I had booked 2 free nights which I got when I opened my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card. When I checked in they let me know they had also upgraded me to a big King room with a view of the pool and the ocean. They also gave me 2 free drink coupons. Mai tai with a view, lovely!

I went down to the pool for a while as it was still super warm and sunny. The pool here is great! There are actually 3; 1 is super shallow and has a little sand beach for kids, another has a water slide, and then there is a full length pool. This would do nicely!

That evening I walked about 10 minutes to Queens' Marketplace outdoor mall and met my friend Noelle at Kuleana Rum Shack where our friend Missy was working. Delicious drinks were had while catching up with these 2 lovely ladies.

The next day was absolutely gorgeous! I started the day with a hike along the beach trail where I saw both nēnē (Hawaiian geese) and honu (Hawaiian Green sea turtles)! 

I also saw dolphins in a hotel pool that you could swim with. How is that even a thing still??? I was shocked. 

Back at the Marriott, I rented a cabana at the pool for the day. It was absolutely wonderful!

Sometimes you I just need a whole day by the pool! I had some very good Kalua pork nachos delivered to my bed for lunch, soaked up the sun, swam, read... heaven!

I did go for a short afternoon walk along Waikoloa Beach to ʻAnaehoʻomalu Beach... to the Lava Lava Beach Club for a mai tai!

And then later there was the most incredible sunset! 

I had planned to go out for dinner that night, but I was just feeling so relaxed hanging at the resort so I decided to have dinner at their restaurant as it was "Taco Tuesday". Unfortunately when I arrived I was told there was a shortage or something and there would be no tacos that Tuesday. Bummer, but I had some fine catch of the day and a wedge salad.

The next morning I woke up to a text from Alaska Air letting me know I'd been upgraded to First Class for the flight home! What an absolute cherry on the top of such a great trip!

My flight wasn't until late afternoon, and as I'm Gold with Marriott I had a 2pm checkout, so I had a very indulgent breakfast at the resort, took a few more laps in the pool, worked on the tan a bit more, and had one last poke bowl before heading to the airport for the 6-hour flight home.
Aloha until next time Hawai'i! 

All Big Island photos here.

Other posts from this trip:

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