In search of a new spot in Hawaii to experience, I honed in on the Hilo side of the Big Island. This would be the wet side! Hilo gets approximately 143 inches of rain on about 236 days per year. Compare that to where I live, Portland, Oregon, which gets maybe 43 inches of rain over 156 days per year. I keep trying to tell people… it’s not that Portland is so much rainy, as it is CLOUDY! Not kidding. Even with all that rain, Hilo still has 175 sunny days to Portland’s 144. Anyway, Hilo gets tropical rain, and also, I’m not afraid of a little rain.
So, the pleasant surprise was that it didn’t rain one drop while we were there the first week of November. They did have quite a bit of rain before we arrived, and a literal deluge since we left, but we were lucky I guess. I do, however, realize that part of the beauty of the place is due to that tropical rainfall. My uncle used to live in Kona, and he loved to talk about the fact that the island of Hawaii has 8 of the 10 climate zones recognized in the United States. I think climate zones are up for debate, but we did visit a few distinctly different climates while on Hawaii.
The other really nice surprise, was that Hilo was a great place to visit. Less touristy than most other parts of Hawaii, and a real home town feel. The food was universally amazing, the farmers market had THE best crafts, and there were so many fun things to see and do in the area. Since beaches aren’t really the highlight of this part of the island, we focused on everything else… waterfalls, volcanoes, gardens, a goat farm, forests, a cacao farm, two beautiful black sand beaches at sunset, and food, of course! Our airbnb was super nice and right on Hilo Bay. A very short walk into town.
My favorite meal was at a little restaurant in Hilo Town called Moon & Turtle. So special!
In order to earn our meals, The Peacemaker had me hiking every day. The most intense hike we did, was the Waipi’o Valley hike down to another black sand beach. The hike was unbelievably difficult. A lot of people hike down and get a ride back up in a 4×4. The Peacemaker wanted us to do the whole thing. By the time we made it back up, it was dark. The 800’ incline is at an average 25% grade, in some areas it is much steeper. It is a ridiculously intense uphill climb.
On our last night, The Peacemaker and I drove to Mauna Kea Observatory and watched the sunset from way up the mountain.
Wow we had an amazing time!