2. For Your Large Lei Collection:
A Sunset Luau
Hawaiian luaus, no matter which island
you’re on, have evolved into full-blown
(some would say over-the-top) affairs
complete with hip-shifting hula
routines, and all-you-can-eat buffets
typically featuring kalua pork, pineap-
ple, mahimahi, sweet potatoes, fried
rice, and poi. From its kitschy cocktails
to fire-dancing spectacles, attending
a luau is obligatory for first-time
visitors, and a source of anticipation
for many return travelers.The
Waikoloa
Beach Marriott Sunset Luau
, for
example, on the northwestern Kohala
Coast, kicks the night off with an open
bar and caps it with inspired perform-
ances celebrating cultures from around
the Pacific.
3. Dancing in the Dark: Manta
Ray Encounters
If you’re interested in Hawaiian
nightlife, you’ll find a few clubs and
lounges that host live music and
a mildly raucous evening crowd.
On the other hand, if you’re
curious about different
forms
of
life that come out at night, it’s
best to break out the scuba gear
and plunge into the dark depths
with
Jack’s Diving Locker,
or
one of the other local undersea
outfitters.Your dance card might
seem empty at first, but click
on your flashlight, and soon the
resident manta rays (some span-
ning more than 20 feet across)
will glide into view, feeding on
the plankton illuminated in
the subaquatic glow.
4. Shave Ice (Like You
Never Imagined!):
Mauna Kea
While
Mauna Kea
lacks flowing
rivers of lava or screaming steam vents,
the 13,796-foot-high peak makes this
list for one simple reason: snow. You
read that correctly.
Snow
, as in frozen
flakes of precipitation, actually falls
on the top of Mauna Kea during the
winter months. That’s cool. Literally.
No matter what the season, you can
journey to the top — either on your
own or with a professional guide from
a company such as
Mauna Kea Summit
Adventures
— for stunning views and
some intense nighttime stargazing.
5. Small Town With Huge Appeal:
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
and its environs are the
hub of shopping and dining along
the Big Island’s southwestern shore,
which is collectively known as the
Kona Coast. Start in the historic dis-
trict on Alii Drive — a road flanked
by interesting boutiques, charming
eateries, and occasional views of the
Pacific Ocean — but be sure to
explore beyond this eclectic stretch.
Hilo Hattie
, headquarters for stocking
up on tropical motif souvenirs, is a
few blocks away, and many of the
region’s most popular restaurants —
Huggo’s
,
Jackie Rey’s
, and
Harbor
House
— are dotted throughout town.
While Kailua-Kona is noted for its
quaint village atmosphere, it also
offers a spectacular sunset view
along the Kailua Bay’s seawall.
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