The Big Island is ideal for cycle touring if you don’t mind the price tag of shipping (or renting) your bicycles there. I did see a few places here where you can actually buy bicycles under $200 but I’m not sure if it’s worth it.
Food at the store is generally expensive, costing twice or more than it does on mainland, but fresh fruit and vegetable you find in the farmers market can be cheap (especially if it’s a bit bruised) and is well worth the price.
Day 12 – Kohanaiki back to Kailua-Kona – Turtles – Farewell
We go into the water one last time in the morning. The tide is really low so rocks are right on your face if you start swimming from the shallows. We manage to find a sandy spot to ease ourselves in but when the time comes I cannot find an obvious way to get out. The waves make it hard to avoid rocks and I am about to panic a bit; where is Bengul, I wonder. I stand on a relatively smooth coral to catch my breath. Luckily I spot Bengul already on the beach looking towards me. I put on my mask and carefully swim among and crawl over a bunch of rocks to finally make it to the sandy beach. I now have a few cuts on my fingers and on my big toe.
Day 11 – Spencer Beach to Kohanaiki – Surf – Urchins – Sunset…
We are approaching the end of our trip. Originally I planned to reach Kona today and overnight at a hotel but changed it later to break the rest of the trip into two days so we can see more. I’m glad I did. Kohanaiki is such a beautiful place. I think it’s a recent development and I imagine not many visitors are aware of it, because the park sign is not right on the highway. I wouldn’t know it if it wasn’t listed on the state park website when was booking the others.
Day 10 – Waimea to Spencer Beach Park – Hawi – Ukeleles – The Heat
It’s another promising day. The mountains keep the rain away on the east side and the wind is blowing kind of sideways. We leave Kamuela Inn after a full breakfast and start gradually up north on 250; the view of Kawaihae Coast by the side. We are back on 3500 ft and the rest to Hawi is a nice descend.
We watch the sunrise at Laupahoehoe and it looks like the rain has stopped. An officer drives by informing us that maybe we should get going since a crew has just arrived to work on a bridge and the road will be closed until noon. He uses the phrase “If I were you…” but I don’t think he really means it.
Day 8 – Hilo to Laupahoehoe – Botanical Garden – Rain – Tsunami town
The rain slows down to let us get on with the rest of our journey. We get off highway 19 as soon as we can to the Old Mamalahoa Hwy at Papaikou. The lush Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden is located near Onomea Bay and full of exotic specimens from around the world.
Day 6 & 7 – Puna to Hilo – Muku’u Market – Swimming with Green Turtles
We leave early to avoid the heat and take an alternate route up to Pahoa. A guy at the hostel mentioned Muku’u Market so we are going to explore that this morning. The place is huge and we are on time since it starts raining soon after we arrive. We browse through the food and souvenir sections and buy some ripe bananas. Bengul notices some lady selling tea-towels imported from Turkey. The couple playing music at the other market yesterday is here.
Day 5 – Volcano to Puna – Downhill all the way – Rain Squall
After two nights in soft bed we are eager to get back on the road. Just as we leave the village we notice a young couple getting off the Hele-On bus with their cycling gear by the side of the road. They are also from Quebec and apparently two days behind us doing the same route.