Blog, Hawaii Life

5 Reasons to Love the Big Island of Hawaii

5 Reasons to Love the Big Island
A beautiful view of Mauna Kea

You can take the girl out of the islands, but you can’t take the islands out of the girl.

I recently watched an old friend’s music video about Hilo (and you can watch it here too!), and his love of Hilo reminded me of my love for the island. My happy memories of the island resurfaced and maybe I’m biased, but I think a lot of people who have visited the Big Island can agree with me that it is probably the most unique, beautiful, and diverse of all the islands.

The second piece of inspiration hit when a fellow coworker argued that Oahu was “the best” island. I disagreed, because I think the Big Island is phenomenal, and it is full of history so rich, it’s like the very earth of the island is saturated with tales of our ancestors and reminders of who we are as the kama’aina. As I argued as to the reasons the Big Island is the best, I decided:  I’m going to write an article. There are many, many reasons it could be counted as the most beautiful, unique, and “best” of all the islands but here I’ve listed what I think are the top five reasons people fall in love with the island… 

 

It’s so diverse

 

It literally has everything, whether the island is diverse in culture, language, race, climate, terrain, animals, or natural life. I’m not kidding when I say it has snow, lava, sandy beaches, rocky beaches, green sand beaches, black sand beaches, waterfalls, caves, and everything in between. We also have desert areas, orchards, mountains, and let’s not forget to mention the variety of ferns, flowers, and trees. The occupations of the people are also very diverse, ranging from cowboys, fishers, and divers to business men and women, students, and healers. All kinds of languages are spoken: Pidgin English, Tagalog, Cebuano, Japanese, Micronesian, Samoan, Tongan, and Hawaiian. There is a plethora of races, and it’s like a big Halo-Halo mix plate of cultures. With so many different people and things, there’s still a commonality holding it all together: aloha. Aloha for the ‘aina, aloha for the people, aloha for the island. 

 

People are nicer

 

It has such a small town feel because you’ll see the same aunties and uncles and friends working at the stores or in the community. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by the kindness of drivers on the Big Island. They’re always waving, letting you in when you need to get in, and people just smile and wave when you’re at a stoplight. People are really friendly, including the way the locals treat the tourists. I remember being at Punalu’u black sand beach in Ka’u and some locals had their easy corner set up. While the locals went into the water, some tourists stood under it for protection from the sun. When the locals returned, they were super kind to the tourists, asking where they were from and how was their visit. Even if you’re not a part of a party or barbecue at the beach or the park, the locals invite you to eat with them anyways. 

 

You can jump off the southernmost tip of the United States of America

 

Besides the territories, you can literally jump off of South Point and it’s like you’re jumping off the edge of the United States of America. Because you are! The other islands can’t claim that.

 

It is alive 

 

The Big Island is a place that just thrives, and so the natural life is amazing. Dolphins, fish, whales, turtles, and, yes, sharks, are just a part of our ocean lives. At one of my favorite beaches, I am so familiar with some of the turtles that visit that I count them as my friends. The native birds, hawks, and owls in the mountains are highly respected and seeing them is always good luck. This is also the island that is continually growing. As the old legend goes, Pele is busy at work with her lava flowing into the Pahoa area, claiming everything in its path and causing the island to grow. The hot lava pours into the ocean, and the island grows everyday. On Hilo side, it constantly rains and as the earth fills with water, it brings new life and light beneath the surface and to all the people there. 

 

It is a spiritual place 

 

There is something about the island that carries a sort of mystery and spirituality. It might be the history that sings its tales from various locations, whether it be Queen Liliuokalani’s Garden, Kealakekua Bay, or the Kilauea volcano. When you go to these locations, you realize something very poignant happened there. You can almost see the queen strolling through her gardens, stopping to look at the koi in the pond, the look of regality and poise on her face. You can almost see Captain Cook first landing in Kealakekua bay, the native Hawaiians looking upon him with fascination and shock, and the captain’s tragic decision to return during the reign of Ku. You can almost see the hundreds of hula dancers taking the trek to the volcano to dance and pay respects to Pele. The Big Island is nothing short of a spiritual place, and I believe it can have an impact on all who set foot there, especially those who listen to the heartbeat of the growing island, the thriving of the natural life, and the aloha that fills the hearts and eyes of the people.

 

But for me…

 

Beyond all of these five reasons, for me, when it gets down to it, it’s home. When you’ve lived somewhere for an extended period of time and have learned to love the people, the place, the culture, and (let’s not forget) the food, it’s home. I know the Big Island is home to many other people, and I think all those who have moved away can relate. Although I’ve moved away, I’ll always be a Hilo girl at heart. After all, the saying is true…

You can take the girl out of the islands, but you can’t take the islands out of the girl.

 

What are some of the reasons you love the Big Island? Comment below! 🙂

 

 

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