I am overdue on my review of Mala a Kai. First off, the pictures do not do the place complete justice. It is even better in person than the pictures show. The house and unobscured views to the north, from the Lanai, are stunning. The house was also stocked better than any other VRBO property we have experienced. All the household products you would need such as soap (for the excellent washer/dryer), dishwasher tabs, and paper products. Also a fresh bag of coffee beans and all the cooking spices and utensils you may need. Not to mention all the beach gear, such as huge towels and snorkel gear!
It was our first time to Hawaii and we chose the Big Island as it seemed to offer more diversity than any other island. I never realized how true that would be. In a simple 20 mile drive, you can go from lush wetlands to lava flows and green pastures. I truly though the southern part where this house is located was going to somehow be depressing out in a lava field or something. But it is actually in quite a lush area. There is an old lava flow next to the neighborhood but it is fascinating to see how the plants are taking it back over and finding places to root and flourish. The steepness of the road goes away after 2-3 trips and you realize the steepness is the only way to have homes in here. I think that may preserve the views as well from over-development. Just be sure to use low gear on your rental and you will have no issues.
I also think this is a great location for proximity to just about everything. It is a good midpoint for adventures to the northern side of Kona as well as being closer to Volcanoes National Park. And don't miss the Black Sand beach along the way.
My wife and I had our 14 and 11 year old kids with us and they are both ready to move there! We went off on adventures almost every day we were there. To the tune of over 1400 miles on our rental in just 10 days! Now that we have seen and experienced everything, it would be nice to have a week or three at Mala a Kai and just be home-bodies. Enjoy the stunning areas that are right outside your door (Pebble Beach) or just up the street south of Kona.
A few of our favorite things, in no particular order:
*Green Sand Beach
*Black Sand Beach
*Volcanoes National Park and the drive down Chain of Craters road
*Mauna Loa observatory
*Pololu Valley Lookout (nearly as spectacular as Waipio Valley but a prettier drive and closer)