Trip Highlights Kona, Hawaii
2011 marked our second annual Lavaman Keauhou Olympic Distance Triathlon in Kona Hawai. We all trained hard through the year and felt more confident knowing what to expect our second time around. Although we were looking forward to swimming in the warm ocean water instead of the cold reservoirs we had been training in, the swim turned out to be a little more challenging than we were expecting. The Keauhou area experienced very large swells for several days, including the day of the race. These swells challenged us each stroke of our .9 mile swim.
Our fellow traveling companions not competing in the race, acted as our personal cheerleading section. It was exhilarating to race towards the finish line of the 25 mile bike ride and 6 mile run, and hear the cheers of our friends and family. For the second year in a row, we proved our hard worked paid off when one of our team members landed on the podium with an age group top finisher award.
We carried the excitement and celebration of the triathlon with us as we began the rest of our journey, starting with a trek to the other side of the island. On the drive to Volcanoes National Park, our guide informed us of the island’s rich history, as we took in spectacular landscapes, and incredible views. While in the park we hiked through lush rain forests, toured the inside of a lava tube, discovered hidden overlooks, cycled the rim of the Kilauea Volcano, and visited the Jagger Museum with its displays of real time seismographs, volcanic eruption footage, lava flows, and Hawaiian geology.
The next day, we took a guided kayaking and snorkeling tour that included a visit from a pod of spinner dolphins. We spent the next few days resting and relaxing, then decided to step it up a notch with a zip line tour. After completing the safety instructions, we were outfitted with harnesses and helmets, and guided into a secluded rain forest that is off limits to the general public. As we zipped across 600 – 1100 foot lines we took in impressive views of the coastline, waterfalls and lush forests. Safety was always top of mind for our guides, allowing us all to relax and enjoy the experience.
We can’t say enough about our accommodations at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach resort. Each morning they served a full buffet breakfast that included local fruits, yogurts and pastry, as well as eggs, pancakes, french toast, and so much more. Each guest room included a balcony with ocean views, overlooking a small cove that was home to giant turtles and a variety of sea life. And, the near-by Kona village, offering great dining and shopping, became a frequent hang out after each day’s experiences.
We found our Kona, Hawaii adventure to be one of the best vacations ever. We’re already looking forward to returning again. We hope you’ll join us.