Joining us were NZ's dad, brother & his family and his sister & her family. That was fourteen people total! My kids were amped to see their cousins and share a room with them since the rental house actually had a bunk room set up! ( side note: message me if you want the contact info--would totally rent this home again!)
We spent most of our week at the beach. With young kids, hiking didn't seem doable, and thanks to a stomach bug that hit NZ and Gino, we felt like puking was best done at the house or beach. The bug definitely put a damper on our time in Kona, but we still went out daily and made sure to get our shave ice fix!
One of our favorite beaches was the turtle beach. HUGE sea turtles could be found basking in the sun on the sand, or in the shallow waters at our feet. We visited this beach a few times because of the calm waters and cool turtles. I was quite impressed that the beach had full time volunteers roaming the shore to remind tourists to give the turtles space. It was a reminder that this is THEIR beach, and we are just visitors.
My father in law treated us all to a Luau midweek. It was my first one ever, despite my having been to Hawaii a handful of times in my life. I didn't have high expectations for it ( or my kids' behavior) but it was FANTASTIC. My kids were mesmerized the entire time, as was I. Both Carla and Sal got serenaded with a Hawaiian version of Happy Birthday, and Carla really got into the hula dancing.
By Friday, Carla was taken hostage by the stomach bug, so we stayed close to the house, with a quick trip into town to look for souvenirs and a visit to the local farmer's market. Sal was stoked to find his beloved longa'n berries, and we finished the evening off with more shave ice at sunset.
The flight home on Saturday was spent worrying that Carla would puke all over the seat in front of us, but thankfully, she and Gino slept a great deal of the trip with ZERO puking. Unfortunately, Carla ended up with her first ambulance ride a couple days later due to extreme dehydration.
Nothing like finishing off a trip with a trip to the hospital, amirite?