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Adventurous Hawaii Honeymoon on The Big Island

Travel off the beaten path to a mystical oasis that charms honeymooners with its tranquility and welcoming aloha spirit.

By: Stefania Sainato

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  • The Big Island

    The Big Island's Appeal

    Travel off the beaten path to a mystical oasis that charms honeymooners with its tranquility and welcoming aloha spirit. Twice the size of Hawaii's other islands combined, the Big Island encompasses 11 of the world's climate zones, so you can experience snow-capped mountains, lush rain forests and jet-black beaches all in one trip, without having to fly to different continents. The temperature rarely fluctuates (it's always about 75 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit), so you're guaranteed sunny skies and refreshing breezes year-round.

    Whether you're drawn makai (seaward) or mauka (inland, towards the mountains) you won't be able to resist the isle's magnetic pull towards adventure.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Hilton Waikoloa Village

    Hilton Waikoloa Village

    With over 1,350 acres of lava-borne paradise to explore, Hilton Waikoloa Village’s endless landscape creates the illusion of seclusion, even when it’s filled to capacity. Fun fact: Developer Chris Hemmeter dreamt of opening the most grand resort in the Pacific—sketching the hotel’s current layout on a cocktail napkin.

    Romance awaits at every turn where you least expect it; enjoy “Waikoloa” (the name Hawaiians gave to the gentle winds of the region) in swaying hammocks by the beach; sunset-watch overlooking Buddha Point, where the day melts away in shades of pink, orange, and gold; or even steal a kiss from a squeaking bottlenose dolphin.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Luxe Accomodations

    Luxe Accomodations

    Call ahead and surprise your other half with a special “Aloha” message, spelled out on the bed in the island’s abundant orchid blossoms. Each of the 1,240 appointed guest rooms is spacious, yet inviting, featuring views of the Dolphin Lagoon, black-sand beach or majestic mountains in the distance. Or, you can splurge on a newly-renovated Naupaka or Nai’a (dolphin) suite with an enormous private Jacuzzi and outdoor dining area. Rooms are also available at three Hilton Grand Vacation club properties featured on the resort.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Luxe Accomodations

    Luxe Accomodations

    No matter which tower or property you stay at, leave the sliding screen door ajar slightly—the tumultuous, crashing waves lull you into a deep slumber. Savor the deep, rich taste of complementary 100% Kona coffee on the lanai with your spouse and you’ll see that the guides weren’t exaggerating (prime growing conditions on the island). Visit hiltonwaikoloavillage.com to book (rates start at $209).

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Dive Right In

    Dive Right In

    Wade, swim, or simply dip your toes into your choice of three fresh-water pools (wedding stress will merely be a distant memory by then). The Playboy Mansion-style grotto in the Kona pool, complete with waterfall, is not to be missed. Insider’s tip: The adjacent Jacuzzi is open until 11 p.m., the ideal time to soak your weary muscles from that day's journey.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • The Blue Lagoon

    The Blue Lagoon

    The resort’s saltwater lagoon is a haven for both beach lovers and can’t-sit-still types. Strengthen your core with paddleboarding, which torches calories despite its slow-moving pace. Or, sunbathe as your new husband does all the work for you (just kidding!).  Snorkelers may spot beloved honu (sea turtles), the colorful Humuhumunukunukapua (Hawaii’s state fish) and other tranquil sea creatures in its shallow waters.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Beach Bliss

    Beach Bliss

    The Big Island is home to Technicolor sand in shades of black, green, white, and even pink. The nearest beach is located just a short shuttle ride away; contact the concierge for available pick-up times. All beaches are available for public use, so both newcomers and Kama`aina (native-borns) can soak in the heavenly surroundings together.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Spectacular Sunsets

    Spectacular Sunsets

    A fire runner announces the start of sunset by blowing into a conch shell and racing through the tiki torch trail, lighting the perimeter of the property’s coastline. The lighting around the island is minimal at night so as not to interfere with the stargazing observatory in Mauna Kea (90% of the world’s stars can be seen here).

    Photo Credit: Stefania Sainato

  • Dine On Authentic Island Delights

    Dine On Authentic Island Delights

    Dine at nine restaurants, from a quickie poolside snack at The Marketplace to an epic six-course feast à deux at KPC (Kamuela Provision Company). Executive chef Charles Charbonneau embraces a farm (and sea)-to-table philosophy that showcases authentic Hawaiian flavors.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Dine On Authentic Island Delights

    Dine On Authentic Island Delights

    Start with a Chilled Ocean Sampler for two, a favorite with seafood-lovers; Ahi Carpaccio, smeared in macadamia nut pesto, converts even the pickiest palates; and a crispy-light Maui Onion Ring Tower, dipped in spicy aioli. Mains are split into sea and land—you can’t go wrong with island favorites like Grilled Mahi Mahi or Kalbi Style Beef Short Rib. Split a Baked Mauna Kea—homemade marshmallow meringue, chocolate mousse, macadamia nut crunch, spiced rum vanilla sauce—the sweetest way to end your evening.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Birds-Eye View Of The Big Island

    Birds-Eye View Of The Big Island

    Suit up in mountain climber’s gear, ship out to the Kohala forest in an RV—hang tight to “seatbelts” strapped on to the ceiling—and glide high, high away into the tree canopies at Kohala Zipline. If you get acrophobic, you can opt to take a “chicken run” back to the car, but be prepared for some good-natured, Hawaiian-style ribbing. The three-hour-long course is a thrill-seeker’s ultimate playground, with five elevated suspension bridges (shaky, Indiana Jones-style contraptions), 14 tree platforms, nine ziplines and two rappels.

    Photo Credit: Hawaii Forest & Trail

  • Birds-Eye View Of The Big Island

    Birds-Eye View Of The Big Island

    What sets this course apart from others: It’s the only one that uses “WhisperLines,” special cables so guests can still hear the noises of the forest in the underbrush below. Instructors also teach zip riders how to perform a hand brake on their own. (Just don’t death grip the line—we learned the hard way and had to pull ourselves in with “monkey climbs.”) Race your husband in the grand finale: A 1,100-ft. duel-cable tandem rider! By the time your feet are back on the ground, nearly a mile will have passed underneath. Visit kohalazipline.com to book ($159 plus tax for adults).

    Photo Credit: Hawaii Forest & Trail

  • Visit An Active Volcano

    Visit An Active Volcano

    No trip to Kona would be complete without a sacred visit to the volcanoes, home of the all-powerful goddess of fire, Pelehonuamea (Pele, for short). Her mana (spiritual power) is omnipresent throughout the entire island—she’s in the flowers and trees (through ancient folklore), hula dancers tell her stories with the graceful sway of their hands and feet, and lava spilling into the ocean adds to her kingdom.

    Witness Pele’s influence firsthand during the Twilight Volcano Adventure, a fascinating 12-hour journey through some of the most rare ecosystems in the world. The tour encompasses over 30,000 feet of elevation changes and 300+ miles by car, so it’s one of the best ways to see all of the different parts of the island. Visit hawaii-forest.com to book ($179 plus tax for adults).

    Photo Credit: Stefania Sainato

  • Visit An Active Volcano

    Visit An Active Volcano

    First, you’ll take in the sites along Saddle Road—passing from desert to forest and back again—before arriving at Hawai`i Volcanoes Natural Park (HAVO), one of only three UNESCO World Heritage sites in the U.S. Here, Mauna Loa is pictured in the distance. At 9,300 meters above the ocean floor, it’s the tallest volcano in the world, higher than even Mount Everest. This shield volcano (classified because of its gently-sloping sides, resembling a warrior’s shield overturned) has erupted more than 18 times in the past 100 years—it can erupt again at any time.

    Photo courtesy of Jeff Berkes

  • Explore The Lush Rainforest

    Explore The Lush Rainforest

    HAVO (Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park) is one of Hawaii’s best places for hiking and camping, with over 140 miles of trails. The roads are easy to navigate, so honeymooners don’t necessarily even have to break a sweat. Waterproof jackets and long pants are recommended, since it tends to get quite misty and wet on this side of the island. Visit nps.gov/havo to plan your visit.

    Photo Credit: Stefania Sainato

  • The Devil

    The Devil's Throat

    Ninety-nine percent of guests never see the appropriately ominous-sounding Devil’s Throat, a newly formed crater in the middle of the park. Sweetly ask your guide to make a pit stop there—endless “Caution: Do Not Enter” signs let you know you’re on the right path. Local superstition dictates that anyone who steals a piece of lava and brings it home with them will be cursed by Pele (the post office receives hundreds of returned rocks each month from tourists!), so you may want to find your souvenirs elsewhere.

    Photo Credit: Stefania Sainato

  • Climb Through A Lava Tube (If You Dare)

    Climb Through A Lava Tube (If You Dare)

    Couples who are brave enough to descend into the darkness, slip through a claustrophobic crawl space reminiscent of a horror film, and navigate slippery rocks will be rewarded with the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being in a lava tube. They’re formed when the outer crust of a river of lava starts to harden, but liquid lava still flows through. The guide will ask participants to shut off their flashlights, cell phones, and close their eyes—the eerie quiet is unsettling, and even if you scream, the sound won’t echo!

    Photo Credit: Hawaii Forest & Trail

  • Climb Through A Lava Tube (If You Dare)

    Climb Through A Lava Tube (If You Dare)

    One such tube is Pua Po`o, located in a secret place. Only 12 people are allowed to visit the tube per week; sign up at the Kilauea Visitor Center. Snapshots are a must to prove you were actually there; don’t forget the “Shaka” sign with your hand (a popular Hawaiian greeting).

    Photo Credit: Hawaii Forest & Trail

  • Watch Lava In Action

    Watch Lava In Action

    During the tour, you will end at Kalapana to watch the lava as it enters the ocean at sunset, or Halema`uma`u Crater, which contains a surging lake of molten rock. The crater is located on Kilauea, the earth’s youngest and most active volcano. An explosion in 2008 set off the current activity. Its vast size is astounding—a standard American football field could easily fit into the 510-ft. opening!

    Photo Credit: Hawaii Forest & Trail

  • Watch Lava In Action

    Watch Lava In Action

    At night, the lava lake bubbling within glows scarlet red, visible from miles away. (Leave it to Kona to find a way to make lava sound romantic.)

    Photo Credit: K. Aleisha Fetters

  • Whale-Watching Adventures

    Whale-Watching Adventures

    From late January to mid-April is kohola (whale) mating season in Hawaii, when these gentle giants migrate from 3,000 miles away in the Gulf of Alaska. To get up-close and personal with these amazing creatures, reserve your spot on a catamaran cruise through Ocean Sports.

    Photo Credit: K. Aleisha Fetters

  • Whale-Watching Adventures

    Whale-Watching Adventures

    Keep a lookout for shifting spots of color in the ocean (a sign that they’re about to break the surface), spouts, tail wags, and—if you’re lucky—breaches (when they leap into the water). They travel in groups called pods, and you may even hear them “sing” to you from beneath the ocean during the cruise. The experience of watching a 45-ton whale appear out of nowhere in still waters, as if by magic, is nothing short of exhilarating. Visit hawaiioceansports.com to book (from $97 and up).

    Photo Credit: K. Aleisha Fetters

  • Swim With Dolphins

    Swim With Dolphins

    Hilton Waikoloa Village is the only hotel in Hawaii with a dolphin encounter on property, attracting adventurous couples and celebrities like Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, who visited during their honeymoon in 2010. This interactive, highly reputable program follows a conservation approach that teaches guests about their biology and habitat, rather than forcing them to show off tricks like foot-pushes and flipper waves.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Swim With Dolphins

    Swim With Dolphins

    Ipo (meaning “sweetheart”) is the newest addition to the ‘ohana (family) of bottlenose dolphins that call HWV home. Each new calf that is born receives a “Circle of Life Blessing” and their name is chosen through an online vote by guests.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Serenity Now

    Serenity Now

    Spa-goers, splurge on a private seaside cabana massage, 65 minutes of rubdown bliss set to the tranquil sound of waves in the Pacific Ocean. Lomi lomi (loving hands) is the signature Hawaiian massage technique, which incorporates a gentle series of rubs and even joint mobilization, catered to each couple’s specific needs. Treatments include local ingredients, such as the Signature White Naupaka Flower Ritual, Treasures of the Seas skin treatment and Seawater Pearl, plus Hawaiian Coffee Fruit facials.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Get Married On The Big Island

    Get Married On The Big Island

    Destination nuptials are so idyllic on the Big Island that it’s tempting for brides-to-be like myself to scrap their original wedding plans and hop an 11-hour flight to wed in this wonderland. The Hilton Waikoloa Village offers a variety of wedding packages for every price point and level of customization; the average cost per guest is around $100. Services include in-house floral and media, catering, tables, chairs, décor, music and lighting, and 'day of' coordination.

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

  • Get Married On The Big Island

    Get Married On The Big Island

    The majority of destination brides at Waikoloa hail from the Midwest, although some have traveled from as far away as Canada and even Australia. The "Just Married" canal boat is a universal crowd-pleaser, granting couples a special moment alone as husband-and-wife. Learn more about destination wedding packages at Hilton Waikoloa Village. 

    Photo courtesy of Hilton Waikoloa Village

Adventurous Hawaii Honeymoon on The Big Island

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