36 HOURS ON THE BIG ISLAND

While staying with friends on Oahu, we took a weekend trip to the Big Island, and, as per my usual, packed in an insane amount of stuff. It was a perfect weekend.
  1. Our first stop after landing in Kona was breakfast at Island Lava Java.
    I had banana macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup. Perfecto.
  2. We then road tripped along the coast to the southern part of the island from the northwest side. We pulled over quick when we saw a sign for Donkey Balls chocolate factory.
    I purchased the Donkey Patties and LOVED them.
  3. Everywhere we drove, we found lava fields!
  4. Then we went to Papakolea, the green sand beach. It was in a beautiful cove that we had to hike down to get to the beach.
    Here you can see the olive-colored sand and me in the green shirt on the right.
  5. To get to the green sand beach, we had to go off road over some rough terrain for three miles each way.
    Good thing @iammeghanmurray is a badass and had no trouble piloting our Jeep there. There was a lot of laughter and terror during this trip.
  6. Next we headed to Punalu'u Beach, which is a black sand beach.
    It was beautiful and the sand was so soft! We could've stayed there forever.
  7. Instead we headed to Volcanoes National Park.
    And checked out the steam vents.
  8. And the evening lava glow.
  9. And the morning lava glow.
  10. We had breakfast with this bear.
  11. We walked through a lava tube.
  12. Which had this all-too tempting sign.
  13. After saying adios to the volcano, we drove to RAINBOW FALLS, which combines two of my favorite things: rainbows and waterfalls.
    I loved it.
  14. We had lunch in Hilo.
    At the Surf's Up Cafe. It was delicious.
  15. We hiked to Akako Falls, through all of this beautiful scenery.
  16. When we got to the falls, I was thirsty.
  17. Here's the full view of Akaka.
    Pictures do not do it justice.
  18. On the way out we stopped so I could try some ice cold coconut.
    Loved it.
  19. From there we headed to Waipi'o Valley Lookout, which was really beautiful, even though the weather was not cooperating.
    But it was okay, because we left there and started driving back to Kona when we saw this:
  20. THE MOST MAGNIFICIENT RAINBOW I'VE EVER SEEN.
    The picture is not capturing all of its beauty.
  21. And it was actually a double rainbow!
    We stopped, and I took a million pictures. And then we got in the car and drove away but watched it in our rear view mirror for ever.
  22. Finally, we made it to Kona, after circling the ENTIRE island, in time for dinner before our flight.
  23. I had some amazing nachos and sampled the beers.
  24. And now, 36 hours later, we're back at the most awesome airport ever.
    It's entirely outdoor, and there's an amazing breeze. This is the gate for our flight.