In October 2013 my two cousins and I were privileged to visit the Big Island of Hawaii for 10 days. This was my fourth trip to Hawaii but first time to this island. One of the first things I noticed is how huge it is compared to the other islands. There were actually long stretches of highway where you could drive full speed, and not that much traffic!
We spent the first half of our trip in Hilo, on the wet side of the island. Not very many tourists stay on this side as the weather is often not as good, but the rain makes for beautiful rainforests and waterfalls. We snorkeled about 40 minutes away at the Kapoho tidepools–really amazing experience. The pools are very protected so there is hardly any current at all, very easy snorkeling and lots of fish. We also enjoyed visiting the Kilauea volcano, the Mauna Loa Macademia Nut factory, ziplining along the Hamakua coast, and visiting the top of Mauna Kea at nearly 14,000 feet above sea level.
The last half of our trip we moved to Waikoloa, on the dry side of the island. The landscape around Waikoloa is really barren, not beautiful at all due to the extreme lack of moisture there. But the resort was incredible, built right around a natural lagoon with sea turtles. We could walk right out our hotel room and go swimming with the fish, turtles, and eels without driving anywhere. While here I also drove down to South Point, the southernmost point in the 50 United States.
The big island is definitely worth going back in the future, I really enjoyed how uncrowded it was as well as the incredibly diverse landscapes–all the way from lush rainforests to barren, snowy mountaintops. Highly recommended!