By ROBERT ELIAS DEATON
All good things must come to an end, and so it is with our final installment of travel within the Hawaiian Islands. No island adventure on Hawaiian soil is complete without experiencing at least one Luau. And the one we remember most fondly is the Royal Kona Resort’s Lava Legends & Legacies – Journeys of the South Pacific Luau (75-5852 Alii Drive Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, 808-329-3111). It is a feast of tropical delicacies, song, and dance celebrating the legends and lore of Polynesia. More than that, it is an incredible sunset experience at one of the most perfect spots on all of Kailua Bay. The featured dish, of course, is the roasted whole Kalua pig, cooked in an underground imu oven.
Accompanying entrees include island fish with black bean sauce, island chicken, Lomi Lomi Salmon, and Pulehu (teriyaki) beef. The torch lighting begins on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:15 p.m. with an open bar from 5-7 p.m. Fire dancers, hula dancers, and ukulele musicians make for a perfect blend of culture, entertainment and great all-you-can-eat dining. (Well worth the price at $65.00.)
Our local guru of all things Big Island, Uncle Don Sanders, called in to say that his own personal favorite gay-owned private tour is Kapohokine Adventures (808-964-1000), on the Hilo side of the island. Kapohokine offers a variety of zip-line experiences, volcano lava tours, hiking, waterfalls, complete with a chicken barbecue on a macadamia nut farm. Some tours last as long as 12 hours, so some advanced planning is needed for this one. Uncle Don says “Personal, private, super fantastic, fascinating guides, and places you’ll never forget.” Lest you missed it—fascinating guides.
For those whose idea of fun includes a snorkel dive, remember Dolphin Discoveries (808-322- 8000). Word from the scene is that this is a mom and pop operation that will yacht you to their secret dive destinations by Zodiac boats. The tour includes snorkel gear in case you’re traveling light, with sea caves, coral reefs and pods of wonderfully charismatic dolphins.
If you have a free Wednesday evening, we highly recommend an Evening at Kahua Ranch (808-882-7954). This tour is headquartered on an historic 8,500 acre working cattle ranch located 3,200 feet above sea level in the Kohala Mountains. The ranch provides transportation for area hotels, with buffet, beer, wine, singing, line dancing and cute paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) Closer to Kona town, Big Island Grill (75-5702 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, 808-326- 1153) is a local secret that serves up huge portions at reasonable prices. With all the décor of a Hawaiian diner, this place puts the emphasis of delicious. Try the Saimin for a brothy noodle soup that doesn’t overload you with salt. For larger-thanlife appetites, there’s a always the loco moco— three kinds of meat served on a platter the size of Dodge Pickup. For more traditional fare, you can’t go wrong with kalua pig and cabbage.
For a short two-hour side trip across ancient lava flows, head north along Highway 19 north, stopping at Hapuna Beach for a swim. Continue past the Mauna Kea Beach Resort another two miles and branch off on Highway 270 into Kawaihae town (don’t blink). Stop for a bit at Café Pesto (61-36653 Hawaii 270) for our favorite Crispy Coconut Crusted Calamari served on a slaw of arugula, won bok and pickled ginger (14.95). And while you’re there, say hi to chef “Moki” Tavares.
Continue north, and you’ll discover the hidden secret of Mahukona, with its old sugar cane port, broken down pier and perfect beach-side snorkeling. A hui hou
Also Read the Previous 3 Hawaii Travel Articles at the links below: