Hawai‘i is a healing place, and not just because of the soothing sounds of waves crashing on the shore or the warmth of the sun. Hawaiian culture traditionally stresses the importance of healing both body and spirit, a focus on mindand-mana aloha.
Treatments that stem from Hawaiian tradition relax the body while soothing the mind and spirit, since the belief is that one being off-balance affects the other. Lomi lomi is a type of massage that focuses on easing stress and bringing harmony to the recipient as a whole. La‘au lapa‘au is herbal healing. Hawaiian salt rituals emulate the healing effect believed to come from ocean water while cleansing pores and rejuvenating skin. Some spa tips: 1. Arrive between 15 to 30 minutes early. 2. Turn off your mobile phone. 3. Let your therapist know of any health concerns 4. Tips are usually 15 to 20 percent. If you are using a gift
certificate, ask if the tip is included. 5. If something is not quite right (the pressure of the massage,
for example), let your therapist know.
Fresh from the Island
At colorful open-air markets throughout Hawai‘i, you’ll find fresh, homegrown produce at bargain prices. Look for local favorites like sweet and juicy Ka‘u oranges, Puna papayas, cherimoya, poha berries, Hamakua mushrooms, sugarloaf pineapples, Hilo lychees and Waimea strawberries. Some markets sell an assortment of cakes, cookies and preserves. Bring lots of small bills (markets are cash-only).
Hilo’s Farmers’ Market
Wednesday, Saturday Corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street 6 a.m.-4 p.m. www.hilofarmersmarket.com
Laupahoehoe Farmers’ Market
Sunday Highway 19 between the 25 and 26 mile markers, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Waikoloa Village Farmers’ Market
Saturday Waikoloa Community Church, 68-3625 Paniolo Ave., 7:15-10 a.m.
Keauhou Farmers’ Market
Saturday Keauhou Shopping Center, 8 a.m.-12 noon
South Kona Green Market
Sunday Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden; 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Village Farmers’ Market
Saturday, Sunday Across from Hale Halawai, Kailua-Kona; 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Holualoa Gardens Famers Market
Saturday 76-5901 Mamalahoa Highway, Holualoa; 9 a.m.-12 noon
Volcano Farmers’ Market
Sunday 1000 Wright Road, Cooper Center, Volcano; 7-9 a.m.
Create a Lasting Memory
Hollywood knows Hawai‘i is one of the most beautiful places on the planet—but they’re not the only ones. You can enlist a professional photographer to document your special time on island.
Professional shooters like David O. Baldwin offers family portraits, wedding photos and the like. Kids call David “Uncle Beach” as he spins Hawaiian folklore and ocean stories while capturing their expressions in the camera. From formal to cliff diving, beach scenes or sandcastles, sessions are filled with laughter thanks to Baldwin’s knack for putting even the most camera-shy people at ease.
•David O. Baldwin Photography (808) 938-7321
Surround Yourself with Blooms
There’s little else that says “Hawai‘i” than a flower lei. This garland of flowers that is given as a gift upon greeting guests is a fragrant symbol of aloha.
Lei can be as simple as a daisy chain-like string of perfumed plumeria; or as intricate as a multi-braided haku lei composed of flowers, berries and leaves. Either way, it’s an honor to receive one.
In Hawai‘i, May Day is Lei Day when many kama‘aina wear lei. Lei displays and even competitions are a part of the celebrations. Other days of the year, one can find lei at lei stands, florists, farmers’ markets and even at island grocery stores.
Many hotels and resorts offer lei-making classes, sometimes for free. Ask your concierge if there’s a class nearby.
Stroll to Kokua Kailua
In Hawai‘i, keeping it local is important. For many residents of the Islands, local support is the only thing that keeps them afloat. And at Kokua Kailua, a monthly village stroll, eating and shopping local converge with a concert series at Hulihe‘e Palace for a wonderful experience.
Families and friends of all ages walk around oceanfront Ali‘i Drive along scenic Kailua Bay, as local artists’ display work and performers share music, while local restaurant fare abounds.
From 1 to 6 p.m. with the concert starting at 4 p.m., Kokua Kailua typically falls on the third Sunday of every month.
Trek to a Star Party
You won’t find celebrities at a Big Island “star party,” but having the Southern Cross, Jupiter, Saturn and the Great Andromeda Galaxy at your fingertips draws awe just as well.
A regular feature of the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station, the stargazing program is held every evening from 6 to 10 p.m. It begins with an astronomy video, followed by a discussion focused on astronomy and Mauna Kea, where the center is located. There, state-of-the-art telescopes and guided tours to Mauna Kea’s summit are your passports to the stars.
It’s a good idea to call (808) 935-6268 for the latest weather conditions before making the trip. For more information about the Onizuka Center, call (808) 961-2180 or log on to www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis
Picnic Under Coconut Trees
Wander across a footbridge over Hilo Bay keeping your eyes peeled for sea turtles that often play underneath, and you’ll find yourself on a small, peaceful island frequented by tourists and locals alike.
Aptly named for the coconut trees scattered across it (heads up!), Coconut Island offers shallow pools with sandy bottoms perfect for children to play, grassy spots ideal for picnicking, and a beautiful view of Hilo Bay with a mountainous backdrop. The breeze that reaches the island and the shade of the palm trees makes for a nice retreat where you can snack, fish and play.
Head to the east side of the island and you’ll even find an old stone tower, remnants of a footbridge that was wiped out by a tidal wave.
The footbridge to Coconut Island is just opposite the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel along Banyan Drive.
Follow the Scent of Sweetbread
Like most things in Hawai‘i, the treats one finds to munch on are as varied as the people who’ve come to live in these Islands. From the Portuguese, Hawai‘i has adopted the malasada (a hole-less donut typically coated in sugar) and sweetbread (loaves of sweet, soft bread) as a dining staple.
Here on the Big Island, some bakeries have taken the sweetbread recipe to a whole new island-inspired level: flavorings that include tropical fruits or taro.
In Hilo, check out Low’s International Food, or head south to Punalu‘u Bake Shop, the southernmost bakery on the island and in
the U.S. You can also get malasadas filled with flavored creams like mango and lilikoi. Punalu‘u Bake Shop is located on Route 11 in Na‘alehu. It can also be found online at www.bakeshophawaii.com.
• Punalu‘u Bake Shop (808) 929-7343
Find Beachfront Om
Yoga is known for its relaxing and centering qualities. Beaches are hailed as a place to escape and rejuvenate. Hawai‘i is a destination renowned for its luxury and leisure. Why not combine all three for the best possible getaway?
Located on the Eastern tip of the island among 26 tropical acres, Yoga Oasis offers week-long yoga retreats as well as daily classes. Near Pahoa, Kalani Oceanside Retreat offers a variety of workshops and packages including a weeklong “Introduction to Yoga.”
If you want go the retreat route near Kona, visit Yoga Hale, located minutes from White Sand Beach.
Or, for classes and workshops held daily, visit Big Island Yoga Center. Held in a plantation home in the cool, upland town of Kealakekua just south of Kailua-Kona, these classes are very popular with travelers.
Beyond these options, many resorts and spas offer yoga classes of their own (for example, the Hilton Waikaloa’s fitness center offers complimentary classes to its guests), so contact your concierge for more options.
Learn more information about Yoga Oasis by calling (800) 274-4446 or visiting www.yogaoasis.org; Kalani Oceanside Retreat at (800) 800-6886 or www.kalani.com; Yoga Hale at (808) 938-9980 or www.yogahale.com; and Big Island Yoga Center at (808) 329-9642 or www.bigislandyoga.com.
Book a Sunset Dinner Cruise
When the sun sinks below the horizon and the party boats light up, Kailua Bay is one of the sweetest sights on the planet. Book a dinner cruise and savor a view of the island from the deck of one of several seagoing vessels that travel from Kona’s shoreline every evening.
Dinner cruises are available on various types of boats, with island-themed food and entertainment that is sure to please. Dancing into the sunset and looking back at sparkling city lights is an exquisite way to end a Big Island day. • Blue Sea Cruises (808) 331-8875 • Body Glove Cruises (808) 326-7122
or (800) 551-8911
Romantic Big Island Eateries
While there’s no need to hunt out romance in Hawai‘i, plate lunches and shave ice for every meal may not do the trick. Instead, check out these restaurants for a view, good food, and a perfect place to feed the flame.
Brown’s Beach House
What better way to rekindle that spark than surrounded by tiki torches and palm trees right along the beach? Brown’s Beach House offers the ideal sunset meal, pairing outstanding Hawaiian fare with a stunning view and outdoor seating. In the Fairmont Orchid at 1 N. Kaniku Dr., Kamuela (808) 885-2000
With hardwood floors, wood tables, local paintings—oh, and windows that look out onto the ocean—the ambiance of this small fine-dining restaurant is sure to charm. Keei Café is known for its seafood and delicious local desserts as well as its ambiance. Even better, their menu won’t break the bank; just remember that they don’t accept credit cards. By 113 mile marker 113 on Highway 11 in Captain Cook, near Kona. (808) 322-9992
Pahui‘a at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
A beautiful aquarium that gives the restaurant its name (Pahui‘a means “aquarium” in Hawaiian) marks the entrance to this fine-dining restaurant. The Asian-inspired menu changes every season to take advantage of local ingredients. With a cozily lit lanai overlooking the ocean, this is the perfect place for an evening meal accompanied by soothing trade winds and a view of the stars. 100 Ka‘upulehu Dr., Hualalai (North Kona Coast). (808) 325-8000
Tips: Always make reservations for this special meal. If you’re looking for a sunset view, find out what time the sun will set before making a reservation. Ask for beachfront seating if possible.
Sneak a Kiss
Maybe you came to the Big Island for the romance. Maybe you came for the adventure, touting your significant other along. Or maybe you brought along three kids and left your two dogs at home. No matter what the answer may be, you and your loved one can always find an ideal place and moment to soak up the romance that Hawai‘i exudes, and sneak in a kiss to add the finishing touch. Some ideas for the when and where of this movie-worthy kiss: 1. In the air over Kilauea, while lava glows below you
during a helicopter tour 2. After an oceanfront couples massage; just ask your
hotel what they, or nearby spas, have to offer 3. In front of a rainbow at Rainbow Falls, located off Rainbow Drive outside in Hilo. Head to the site in the early morning to catch the mist and a rainbow