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The Big Island, A Heightened Perspective: Up Close and Personal in Hana

A wedding brought me to Hawaii but I left with so much more…new friendships, stunning memories and a fresh perspective. Mahalo!

We were invited to our friend’s wedding on the Big Island at the Four Seasons Kona-Hualalai so there was motivation to get to this place many call, true paradise.

Four Seasons simply gets Hawaii, not only do they have four properties peppered amongst the islands but they weave their brand delicately through the tropical terrain.

This property was all encompassing. Catering to the guest who wants to relax and circulate from one pool to the next as well as the active traveler (that was me), accessing the daily itinerary, dashing from paddle boarding in the cove to afternoon swimming with the sharks in the Eco pond, and a set of tennis in between.

As a fan of this brand I knew the Four Seasons would continue to amaze but what I was most impressed by was the staff’s warmth and willingness to share. I am one to ask questions, a lot of them.

The staff was open, and truly happy to share their personal story on how they got there, suggestions on what to see, foods we should sample, and places we must go. When I mentioned how happy everyone was, staff members would gaze out along the crystal waves and say…

“This is our office”

The wedding festivities occupied a portion of the time but we carved out opportunities for exploring.

The bride and groom organized a catamaran excursion through historic Kealakekua Bay, learning about the legends of Captain Cook,  and snorkeling over coral reefs. (not to mention, eating the most tasty poke, from Poke Shack).

Larger than all the other islands combined (and still growing!)…  The Big Island consists of five Volcanoes, one in particular is among the worlds most active. Kaliue which name translates as “spewing” has continually been spreading molten lava into the Pacific since its most recent eruption in 1983 creating over 100 KM of new land mass.

With limited time and a burning desire to take in as much of Hawaii’s vast eclectic climate range and infinite wonders, we opted for a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian.

 What better way to experience this on going creation then from 1000Ft.  

With the wedding festivities and a busy itinerary the plan was to seek out Hawaii. With the remaining days, I envisioned  a more intimate connection letting the island come to me.

Travelers who embark on the arduous 57 mile  journey along “The Road to Hana” are rewarded with countless moments to stop and marvel at the splendor of  Maui’s remote eastern tip. Hana represents one of the last vestiges of the authentic Hawaiian experience.

It is a community where the elderly and wise are addressed by Aunty and Uncle, where there is a black beach, a red beach, a salt and pepper beach, and  a white sand beach all with a few miles stretch. Where wild horses roam lush parcels of rolling pastures colliding in shrouds of mist along the rugged coast. And one hotel lies in between…

So many hotels box their guests in from the local culture. But Travaasa embraces its Hawaiian cultural heritage.  A graceful presentation of architecture and decor balance clean sophistication with cabin like warmth. Gentle walking paths follow the curves of the property leading to quiet nooks, and colorful surprises.

Travaasa’s staff  represent a proud lineage whose energy shines bright exhibiting a true understanding of their guest’s needs. (They packed us a picnic lunch, and a mesh sack filled with flippers, snorkeled and beach boards for our beach day, all complimentary of the hotel).

I requested to see some of Hana’s “local color”  they suggested I look at the beach for Gabe, one of the staff to show us around. (It was the perfect match.)

As you know I am a sunset worshipper. while in Hana my body subconsciously arose daily to experience the sunset, a majestic moment that felt like a secret between me and the sky.

A day at Hamoa Beach….
felt as if I was watching a documentary on Hawaiian beach life.  A couple from the other side of Maui who just moved to Hana were playing in the surf with their two massifs, an older pair with a large picnic basket feasting on homemade snacks and socializing with friends.

A group of sun kissed Hawaiian tweens body surfed and giggled, arching through the foaming crests like playful dolphins. It seemed like everyone already knew each other and just like that I knew I found Gabe.

The next morning Gabe pulled in with a black pick up truck with two Tommy Bahamas beach chairs perched in the back with beverages and Maui Style onion chips to snack on… I knew we were on the same page.

We started south…

Visiting the seven pools; the Bamboo forest. We saw a 400 ft. waterfall.

In the afternoon we traveled north and visited the black beach and the Kahanu Garden, the national tropical botanical garden.
We jammed to poetic Hawaiian reggae while weaving through the curvy road. I closed my eyes and promised myself that I would never forget this magical day.

A local staple, Bruddah Hutts Food Truck, serving up their famous de-boned BBQ chicken

There are all types of trips, some serve to rejuvenate, others that ignite exploration. This experience expanded my soul and lingered on the mind like a powerful film. Forcing oneself to ask new questions.

The natural beauty, the genuine hospitality of the locals and the staff at Four Season and Travassa provided me the oppurtunity to experience Hawaii from two distinct perspectives.

When we departed, I had a lump in my throat like the last day of middle school. I wanted to climb into the side of the cliff and stay for a while.

I am confident that I will be back. It felt too much like home not to return….. A hui hou (till we meet again)



Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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