Journey Jotters

Bitten by the travel bug


Hilton Waikoloa Village beach

The dawn of the morning of Day 3, Missy JJ and I went down to the Waikoloa Coffee Company at the base of the Ocean Tower. The store is open every morning from around 5 am to about 11 am or so. They offer different kinds of coffee as well as bakery products like croissants, muffins etc. We settled on cafe latte with steamed milk and carried some back for Mr. JJ. It was wonderful to sit there in the dawn light enjoying aromatic coffee and savoring a relaxing morning, no hurries to be anywhere, to do anything.

As morning broke, we enjoyed an in-room breakfast of toast and cereal from the bounty bought the previous night. And then took the tram to the Kohala Spa stop where we planned to start the day with a game of family tennis. Courts can be rented for $25 per hour with $10 per person for rackets and $5 per bag of tennis balls. The rental comes with clean towels, a pitcher of water with ice and cups. It had rained the previous evening and some of the courts has small pools of stagnant water. But we were led to one that had none, it featured two courts side by side. There was a match in progress between four adults on the other court.

The weather was perfect for the tennis fun. It was bright, sunny and cool, not humid and we worked up a sweat running after the balls and trying to maintain a decent volley of serve and returns. I think we laughed at each other’s game more than we played but it was all done in good spirits and we burnt some calories in the process.

Satisfied with our workout for the day we headed back to the room, stopping by the other Waikoloa Coffee Company store at the base of the Makai tower to enjoy another cup of coffee and hot chocolate.

As we were leaving the premises, we saw a concierge office located next door and popped in to talk to the gentleman there. We had heard about the Manta Ray snorkeling at sunset. And felt this might be a wonderful experience o try. So we booked through the concierge for the tour the following evening. Now, admittedly, I am the weakest swimmer of the family, with an abundant fear of water and drowning. This irrational fear is more in my head and I need to overcome it by putting myself more often in these situations. The children and Mr. JJ were excited about the opportunity and looked forward to it with great gusto! I, on the other hand, quietly worried about how the whole evening would turn out. Would I make a fool of myself or would I chicken out?


Lagoon, Hilton Waikoloa Village

After a good shower and some snacks, we set out once again, this time to the Lagoon and beach that is the focal point of the resort. By Day 3, the crowd was increasing at the resort and we noticed the lagoon and the beach were busy, if not fully crowded. After slathering on some much-needed sun screen, we set to try out some water fun. The Lagoon rental shop offers multiple activities and equipment for fun. As seen from the rental pricing, hotel guests pay less than guests on a day pass, but it’s still a substantial price, nonetheless.

We first rented two Aqua Trikes, essentially trikes on steroids and took them for a spin around the lagoon. The children rode one and we the other. It was a nice way to acquaint ourselves with the lagoon. There is a quieter area of the lagoon, past one of the overarching bridges, where we came across schools of fish and the Honu, the sea turtles. We stopped pedaling and spent some quiet time watching them as they went about their daily routines, oblivious to our presence. It was one of the most memorable moments of this trip for me, a snapshot so sacred for its peacefulness, for its stillness and the elemental beauty of our surroundings.


Aqua trikes, Hilton Waikoloa Village

Once back on the beach, we managed to snag a couple of open beach chairs with a good view of the lagoon. The children then rented a standup paddle boat and had tons of fun learning to maneuver it. Once they figured out how to balance themselves, they were able to take a trip around the lagoon with a few splashes along the way. Then it was time for us to each get a ride with one of the kids on the paddleboat and it was fun, although a little scary for me. I found a lot of kids and adults snorkeling in the lagoon. We did not carry our own snorkeling gear, so the kids just swam and lazed in the water while we alternatively enjoyed a cool breeze on the beach and time in the water. As the afternoon waned, the lagoon became more crowded, so around 5 pm, we called it a day and set out to find food. We were hungry after a long day of activities and the Lagoon Grill next door beckoned with its aroma and scintillating music.

Our dinner for the evening included the vegetarian summer rolls, the Boca Veggie burger for the rest of the family and the Island veggie wrap for me, all accompanied by a side of fries. Seriously, the food at this Grill was very good. I thoroughly enjoyed the wrap. And in all his life, I haven’t seen Sonny JJ devour an adult sized burger and fries with such gusto and speed! If he wiped his plate clean, then the burger must have been really good!


Boca veggie burger, Lagoon Grill

After a satisfying meal, we explored the Kona pool which was open and busy that evening. This pool features a water slide that the kids just had to try. Luckily, they had just enough time to enjoy it once before it closed for the evening. This pool has a waterfalls and a whirlpool as well. We decided to come back and enjoy them the following day. From the pool, we headed further along the adjoining pathway and came across the Kamehameha Court where the Legends of Hawai’i Luau is held. Now the biggest part of the Luau, apart from the traditional dancing and performances, is the food. The issue that we have with luau is the lack of substantial vegetarian food. We checked with the concierge to see if we could forego the food and attend the performances but that wasn’t allowed, so we decided to skip it altogether. But I am certain for those that attended, this particular setting would have been an excellent backdrop for the luau.


Kona pool with the Kohala mountains in the backdrop


Sunset from our balcony

As we headed back to the room, we took the long route enjoying some stunning views of the setting sun. From our balcony, we watched as the sun sped in its quest to meet the horizon, creating a mesmerizing play of light, golden, light purple and orange. We could hear and see many guests crowding the shorelines watching this amazing display and I am sure many of them will carry those special moments in their hearts for ever, just as we will do.

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