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By Steven M. Schwartz D

uring the early stages of wedding planning, I was given the responsibility of making honeymoon arrangements. To simplify the process and narrow down the choices, I set two goals: our destination

must be reasonably affordable and unforgettably romantic. Hawaii’s Big Island was the obvious choice.

Te Big Island has an abundance

of renowned attractions, from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and cascading waterfalls, to sun- set luaus and black sand beaches, but it’s the lesser-known wonders that make Hawaiian honeymoons truly special. Private charters offer seasonal whale watching excur- sions, while stargazing from the Mauna Loa Observatory offers a unique view of the surrounding area. With so many possibilities, Hawaii is a foolproof choice for the perfect honeymoon. Kona, the Big Island’s largest dis-

trict, features outstanding restau- rants, nightlife and culture. Since we preferred solitude, the resorts at Waikoloa Village suited our needs. Just 30 minutes north of Kona, the Waikoloa Marriott provides numer- ous amenities, including an on-site beach, and a variety of dining op-

tions within walking distance (al- though most were chain or resort restaurants). It was also close enough to Kona for quick excursions. Each day, we set out in our rental car on a new adventure.


Custom, independent travel to various Hawaiian Islands, including helicopter tours of volcanoes, is available from Perillo Tours. Seven- and 10-day two-island and three-island tours are offered. Accommodations include 5-star beachfront hotels, tours and many other amenities. Island visits include Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the “big island,” Hawaii.

(See for details.) 22 | | Summer 2015 Along the coastal

drive from Kona to Hilo, off Highway 19 on the Hamakua Coast’s Four-Mi le Scenic Drive, is one of the Big Is- land’s hidden gems: the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. It is considered a “Garden in a Valley on the Ocean.” We walked down paved trails winding through stunning flower beds, under mas- sive papaya trees, over babbling streams, and down to the coast where sapphire waves break on the jagged black stone shore. Orchids of every color flourish here, and orange spotted green anoles bask where the sun slips past the canopy above. Te Botanical Garden is the perfect place to experience the fer- tile sum of Hawaii’s natural beauty. Further down the road, the Hilo

Farmers Market delights all five senses. More than 200 vendors sell the freshest papaya and mangos $2.50 can buy, piled high next to every fruit imaginable – and the scent of $1 salsa-smothered tamales carries through the market grounds buoyed by the salty ocean breeze. Across the street, colorful souve- nirs, handmade works by local art- ists, clothing and seashells all vie for tourist dollars. After the mar- ket’s hustle and bustle, drive a mile up the road to the impressive Rain- bow Falls – nearly 80 feet tall and 100 feet wide. Surrounded by tow- ering, twisted Banyan trees, arrive

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