And so…after a long flight on Japan Airlines (which was awesome by the way! If you never flew with JAL, book one right now, just to enjoy the service ?) we finally arrived at Kona in the Big Island. We were super excited as the Hawaii have always been a dream for us to visit sooner or later.
Before arriving we explored some options such as renting a Harley Davidson 🙂 as we were in the US, what better way to get around? Anto managed to contact a shop that rents them and they would arranged our pick up at the airport so that we could have gone straight to their shop and got on our bike! (Harley rental) But the cost was a bit too steep for us, and instead we decided to hitch a ride to town and see if we could find a motorcycle later on in town. We walk away from the airport and the road leads straight onto a highway…it was magical how the very moment I stick my thumb out a super chilled dude pulls over and takes us into his pick up van! Our adventure in Hawaii had started perfectly!
The guy was going just short of Kona’s main area, which was however only a 10 minutes walk from where he told us he would drop us. We were super happy and a 10 minutes walk was nothing.
This was the first time for Olla in the US and the places Anto visited before were different, more city-like, but he knew that usually things are bigger in the states. Olla realized that straight away when we passed near this pickups dealership! OMG, the bonnet of this car is as tall as Olla! Crazy stuff!
The pancakes are also not a joke in terms of size! Look below a “short” stack of pancakes at a local typical eatery in Hawaii.
After arriving at our hostel, we head straight into town to explore a bit and we quickly settle for this awesome poke local style restaurant which served us some amazing food. If you are into raw fish and typical Hawaiian poke bowls, make sure to get your fix here (this is the google maps link: (maps) when in Kona and if you are vegetarian like Anto, don’t worry as you will get your vege poke here too!
The town is not very big and during our first day we walked around a fair bit, but missed to find a decent ice-cream parkour! We decided that one day we would need to open one here and retire whilst making authentic Italian gelato. It seems that around here shaved ice is more popular and the gelato we found was just mediocre (don’t recall the name, but if you do know of some good gelato parlor in Kona, feel free to point it out in the comment section below!).
We were also very lucky to bump into this festival and managed to get a sneak peak into this Tahitian dancing competition, which was awesome! FYI, this was a dancing competition organized by Heiva I Hawaii.
We were super happy here in Kona, the town is small enough for us to get around on foot almost everywhere, people are friendly and the weather was glorious. We were excited about the days to come for some hiking in the volcano national park, the unique green beach, snorkeling and seeing tropical fish in the warm waters, perhaps scuba diving, surfing or just chilling at the beach.
Our original and usual thought of renting a motorcycle did not fade away and we went ahead. We found this super friendly store owner here (motorcycle rental). We wanted to settle with something relatively cheap and easy, but instead we went ahead and rented a CBR250! Boy the bike was awesome! Well maintained, sounded aggressive, fast and relatively comfortable. We would have been happy with a 150cc large scooter, but they did not have any available at the time we visited them. Also other shops had the same issue, which is obviously the most popular pick around here for bikers. Our recommendation though is for folks to be very careful when deciding to rent a motorbike in the Hawaii. With the hindsight we would probably rent a car next time considering we wanted to visit places that were far away from our base and that to reach we had to go via routes near the snow-peaked volcanos…the chances of experiencing 4 seasons in Hawaii are REAL and we went through them on a motorbike 🙂
Another word of advise is regarding public transport. This practically does not exist at Big Island for tourists. The only bus that goes around the island has limited timings and it is mainly a commuter bus for the locals. Best to stick to renting a vehicle to achieve freedom in this really huge island. To help you plan make sure you also check out the following two websites: