Unscripted on the Big Island

After a busy week exploring Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island, we were ready for an unscripted beach day. And, because it rained most of the previous day on the windward side of the island, we looked forward to dry weather on the “Kona side” (leeward) at Kailua-Kona. Cruise ships anchor offshore at this port, so our first order of business was taking a tender from our ship to the pier.


Tender to the Kona pier


View of the Pride of America from our tender


Beach ready

After the requisite photo on the pier, we were ready to find a beach. Fortunately, historic downtown Kailua is adjacent to the pier so we didn’t have to look far. We stopped at Tourist Information and learned the Kona Trolley would take us south to the beaches for just $2 per ride.


Roadside view from the Kona Trolley


Trolley View

We got off the trolley at Kahalu’u Beach where Jim was first into the water. When he spied a large sea turtle swimming next to him, he was intent on avoiding contact after seeing the sign announcing a $35,000 fine for touching these protected creatures. An underwater camera sure would have been handy to capture the experience, however.


Kahalu’u Beach


Jim swimming with the sea turtles

While the beach was lovely, there was too much coral in the water which makes for good snorkeling but awkward wading, so we packed up and got back on the trolley to try another beach. Magic Sands Beach was perfect.


Magic Sands Beach


Magic Sands Beach


Magic Sands Beach


Yours truly in the water at Magic Sands Beach

The official name is La’aloa Beach, but locals nicknamed it Magic Sands because the sand washes away in the winter only to return each summer when the currents change. Fortunately for us, there was plenty of sand during our visit in November.

A sweet little dog wandered about the beach visiting various groups of sunbathers and eventually he joined us, too. We, of course, assumed he was a stray but when he turned up his nose at the granola bar we offered, we knew his owner was nearby. Sure enough, as we left, we saw him jump into a car with a local.


Lori and I made friends with this sweet dog

When we’d had enough beach time, we took the trolley back to town for a little exploration. We’d been advised to have a shave ice with azuki beans and finally located a place that sold them. Azuki (or adzuki) beans are red beans that are sweetened and used in Asian confections. Since the tradition of Hawaiian shave ice was first introduced by Japanese immigrants, it makes sense that they would use azuki beans. They were surprisingly tasty in the shave ice.


Shave Ice offerings


Ordering our shave ice


shave ice with azuki beans

At the end of a relaxing unscripted day in Kailua-Kona, we were ready to return to the Pride of America to set sail that evening for the island of Kauai. And if you’re wondering why we didn’t visit a coffee plantation, we did –on Kauai, so please come back and check it out.


Home sweet Pride of America


Based on events from November 2015.




Categories: cruise, Travel, Uncategorized, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Unscripted on the Big Island

  1. The beaches in Hawaii are beautiful, aren’t they? I love following along on your adventures and your Hawaii one has to be one of my favorites to date. Oh wait–or Alaska or Ireland….I can’t decide!


    • Thank, Beth Ann. They’ve all been wonderful places to visit. Although I’m horribly behind on blogging about my travels, I get to enjoy them each again as I reconstruct the experience to write about it.


      • I totally understand. I also am horribly behind and find that I lose the information if I don’t write it down right away. Sigh. Age does not make the memory better that is for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

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