The island of Hawaii bears the same name as the state of Hawaii. To distinguish therefore had a second name ago. In common usage, therefore, the name Big Island has prevailed. Big Island is the largest island in the archipelago. From the surface all other islands would fit in here.
Nevertheless, Big Island is geologically the youngest of the islands. Volcanic activity is constantly creating new land in the southern part of the island. The huge lava deserts create interesting extremes in the landscape, for as soon as one leaves these areas, one is surprised by tropical rainforests, green pastures, steep cliffs and rugged mountains. James Cook, the discoverer of Hawaii, landed here and died on the island. Today, the most diverse population groups live in Hawaii. They are made up of Paniolos (Spanish descent) who live as cowboys on the island’s largest cattle farm, rich Americans and landowners, Hawaiian fishermen and cane farmers. In addition, many foreigners and environmentalists have settled on the island. On the highest mountain, the Mauna Kea with its 4200 meters above sea level. There are researchers from various countries who test alternative forms of energy. Many athletes travel to Hawaii to practice water sports, golf, sport and deep sea fishing. Every year also the Ironman competition is held here. In winter, skiing is possible on Mauna Kea. Many luxury resorts and golf courses have settled on the island. In addition, there are also cheap accommodations that offer bed and breakfast. There is something for every taste and budget.
We arrive after a short flight from Honolulu at Hilo Airport on the island of Hawaii (Big Island). It is recommended in high season to pre-book a rental car.
We’re lucky with the weather as the Hilo Coast (East Coast) is one of America’s wettest places. Here falls on 270 days a year rain. The high volcanoes create practically two weather zones, the so-called humid Hilo Coast and the desert-dry Kona Coast in the west of the country. The approximately 120,000 inhabitants of the Big Island attract around 800,000 visitors per year. However, the development of tourism is declining. The big hotel resorts were created mainly in the 70s and 80s. Therefore, the island of Hawaii was largely spared further construction in the 1990s. To explore the island Big Island, a rental car is virtually essential. We picked a white Oldsmobile, which we get after a long negotiation instead of a Japanese small car without extra charge. Therefore, the island of Hawaii was largely spared further construction in the 1990s. To explore the island Big Island, a rental car is virtually essential.
We picked a white Oldsmobile, which we get after a long negotiation instead of a Japanese small car without extra charge. The employee of the rental company was cooperative to solve the problem with the long legs. The first impression we get from the incredible lava masses is simply overwhelming. The lava flows stop at nothing. They roll over the paved roads with meter high lava, so that the roads have to be relocated. The residents have become accustomed to the forces of nature in Hawaii and take the event with a pronounced serenity. Where the lava flows pour into the sea, the environment looks like a lunar landscape. Only gradually does plant growth form, which takes possession of the newly created territory. In this way, the cycle of dying and life closes, which can be understood very closely here. We have a “short” walk of about 100 kilometers to our hotel on the Kohala Coast.
The Ritz Carlton Mauna Lani is the island’s newest hotel, located on the small and sheltered Pauoa Bay. The journey takes us along the east coast. The Highway 19 is well developed and so the drive goes north past sugar cane fields and orchards. The summit of Mauna Kea lies in dense clouds. So we drive past the sleepy western village Honomu. The place is dominated by weathered wooden houses. Worth seeing are the Akaka Falls in the eponymous state park. They are counted among the most beautiful waterfalls of the island. A circular path leads through a tropical rain forest to the 135-meter-high waterfall. Until Honaka’a we pass a whole series of small and smallest villages. Honaka’a is the largest city on the Hamakua Coast, with about 2,000 inhabitants. The inhabitants live here mainly from sugar cane cultivation, agriculture and the cultivation of macadamia nuts. From Honaka’a, the trail now heads west through Hwy 19 through Kohala Mountain.
We come to the highlands of the island. Here we are greeted by a foggy drizzle that does not even penetrate the sun. But once we have passed through the mountains, it gets drier and the sun is burning again from the sky. The highway runs along the Kohala Coast through endless lava fields. It seems that the hotels far off the coastline have been separated from each other by the large lava flows. Each of the hotels located here has its own access road, which always leads directly past the lava fields.
Finally we reached the hotel. The Ritz Carlton is the most European of all the hotels on the Big Island and is characterized by a simple, elegant style, while the neighboring hotels such. B. the Hyatt for European conditions overloaded and pompous. The interiors of the halls and rooms are decorated with works of art from the 18th century. The rooms are very large (50 – 60 square meters) and tastefully decorated. All rooms have a view directly to the sea. The hotel has two top golf courses, which we describe in more detail on our page “Golf Courses”.
There is a fine sandy beach at the hotel but also the dark lava-shaped beach a few meters away. The golf courses are partially built directly into the lava fields. This results in an abstract interesting design of places. The places are not easy to play because you always have to fight either with solidified lava flows or with the near water of the sea. But more on our separate page for golf enthusiasts.
A trio consisting of two gittarists and a singer gives us the original Hawaiian folklore, which is still maintained on the big ranches of the island. They move from guest to guest so to speak and so we can find out in a conversation with them that they work in real life on a ranch in the plateau of the island. In your spare time, you will be hired by the hotels from time to time to improve your wages. In her original costumes, her depictions are an experience for the eyes and ears. After a long, eventful day, the well-deserved siesta on the beach is set to begin. Jürgen has chosen a shady spot in the hammock and dreams of many more days and adventures in Hawaii. We will not only talk about his dreams on the other pages.