Hawaii: The Big Island: Hilo

Hilo was probably my favorite district in Hawaii County. Hilo is on the rainy side of the island which results in fewer tourists than Kailua-Kona, lush green landscapes, and plenty of waterfalls.

Rainbow Falls is the most famous waterfall in Hilo, and as its name suggests, boasts beautiful rainbows… at the right time of day. We did not reach Rainbow Falls until close to sunset, so the lighting wasn’t right for us to see Rainbow Falls in all of its glory but it’s still beautiful. We followed another couple through a path to the left of the falls through a lightly wooded area, through high grasses and over some rocks, finding ourselves on top of the falls! I wouldn’t recommend this excursion as the river could start flowing because of rains upstream and you’d find yourself in a very dangerous situation. But, there we were so Stuart braved a peek over the top of the falls to capture an image of the falls from a different perspective, while I did my best to stay calm.

Rainbow Falls

Country CoffeeA new little coffee shop, Country Cafe opened across from Rainbow Falls. We stopped on in and we didn’t leave with just coffee. We purchased Rare Hawaiian Organic Kiawe Honey. This honey is unlike any you’ve ever tasted. It’s actually white! The following is taken straight from the label, “Organic Kiawe Honey is gathered from an isolated forest on the Big Island of Hawaii. The deep roots of the Kiawe trees have tapped an underground aquifer of fresh water that flows down from the volcanoes. This forest is in a desert and no other vegetation has tapped the aquifer, allowing the bees to collect Kiawe nectar of exceptional purity and quality.” I haven’t figure out a unique way to use this honey yet, but as soon as I do a recipe will make its way to Sew You Think You Can Cook!

Le Magic PanIt doesn’t seem like we did a lot in Hilo, but there was a lot we wanted to do. So why is it my favorite district? Honestly, because of one little restaurant and the best meal we’ve ever had. Le Magic Pan is an adorable French restaurant specializing in crepes in Downtown Hilo. We started our night with a cup of French Onion Soup. Stuart ordered the Polish dinner crepe with Polish sausage, tomatoes, mushroom, olives, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. I went off menu with their special of the night, spicy shrimp, tomatoes, basil, and avocado. It’s actually impossible to go to a crepe restaurant and not get dessert – I wouldn’t even dare you to try it because not getting a dessert crepe would be a sin! We split the Italian crepe with nutella, bananas, and whipped cream. They even added strawberries at my request! We actually tried to return to Le Magic Pan the next night for a dessert crepe, but didn’t reach Hilo after our excursion in Puna before closing. I am now determined to master the art of crepe making. Note: These photos were taken with a cell phone and do not do Le Magic Pan justice!

Without a doubt, our next trip to the Big Island will include lodging in Hilo!

Things to do on our next trip (aka things we didn’t have time for but wanted to see)

  • Hilo Farmer’s Market; corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue. This farmer’s market opened 25 years ago in 1988 and now has 125 vendors selling local produce, flowers, and fish. The farmer’s market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7-noon.
  • Pe’epe’e Falls & Boiling Pots; Wainuenue Avenue. A little past Rainbow Falls is a dramatic series of waterfalls that crash into pools of swirling water that appear to be boiling.
  • Wai’ale Falls; Wainuenue Avenue. Going further down Wainuenue Avenue and hiking a quarter mile through forest will take you to the top of Wai’ale Falls and a view of the ocean.
  • Kaumana Caves; Kaumana Drive. The Kaumana Caves were formed in 1981 by an eruption from the volcano Mauna Loa.
  • Yoga Centered; 37 Waianuenue Ave. We thought it could be fun to try a yoga class in Hawaii, what better way to find inner peace than in the most beautiful of locations? Yoga Centered offers vinyasa yoga classes and has a drop-in rate of $15. Check out their website at yogacentered.com!

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