For your bucket list journey to the Big Island of Hawaii’s Waipio Valley. The top 7 most incredible things to do in Waipio Valley that will leave you breathless.
The tour books have it all wrong.
Waipio Valley- located on the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island) – gets a short blurb, while the big resort areas, the volcano parks, and the shopping districts get all of the focus. You might assume there was nothing particularly special or worthwhile about making the trek out to Waipio.
But here’s the thought that came into my mind as I sat on the soft, warm black sand beach of Waipio Valley: “I’ve found it in my lifetime. It’s here. Heaven on Earth.” Why don’t the tour books mention that?
Here Are the 7 Wonders of Waipio That Will Take Your Breath Away:
Wonder #1: Harrowing Adventure
Waipio is an enchanting paradise, but that doesn’t mean the journey there is heavenly. You’ll need to make sure you rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle to make the trek down to Waipio Valley. The ‘road’ is one of the narrowest and steepest I’ve ever seen. (It’s actually one of the steepest in the country!) And it’s filled with winding curves on the edge of a cliff. When other cars passed from the opposite direction, my husband Chris and I had to pull into the vegetation along the side of the road to make room. My heart was exploding out of my chest by the end of the half-mile journey, but it was worth it. (It’s also possible to hike down to the valley, but the trip back up will be an intense workout.)
Waipio Valley Wonder #2: Black Sand Beaches
Once you make it to the valley floor, the first thing that might catch your eye is the unique black sand beach. I read that the dark sand is from the volcanic lava that helped form the island. What I noticed, though, was how soft and warm it is under bare feet.
Waipio Valley Wonder #3: Wild Horses
The next thing that caught my attention: several darkly colored wild horses foraging through the tropical forest just beyond the beach. The horses were clearly thriving and perfectly happy around people. Catching a glimpse of these peaceful, graceful creatures – all while relaxing on the beach – is just another breath-taking offering of Waipio.
Waipio Valley Wonder #4: A Beach Filled with Flowers
Incredible, vividly hued, astonishingly giant flowers are everywhere on the Big Island. What I loved about the bright flowers of Waipio, though, was how they grew on vines right along the sand.
Waipio Valley Wonder #5: Private Escape
When we made our journey down to Waipio Valley, Chris and I were actually the only two souls on the beach (aside from the wild horses). Waipio is open to the public and a popular spot for surfers. But it’s often completely deserted during weekdays, when most locals are at work.
Waipio Valley Wonder #6:Cascading Waterfalls
Drive just a couple of minutes down the road and into the rain forest behind the beach and you’ll soon come upon a clearing the will make your heart leap. It’s Hiilawe Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in Hawaii. You can’t get close enough to swim beneath the falls (I was told that the land leading up to the falls is mostly privately owned, although some people do attempt the demanding hike). But just standing for a moment – admiring the stunning power of the cascading falls amidst the lush green rain forest – is enough.
Waipio Valley Wonder #7: Panoramic Views
This photo was taken from a beautiful one-bedroom bed and breakfast located in Waipio called Waipio Rim B&B. The otherworldly view from this magical spot was something I’ll never forget: black sand contrasting with breathtaking cliffs of lush green rainforest and sweeping clear blue waters stretching endlessly into sky. If you don’t stay at the B&B, there is another stunning view, Waipio Valley Lookout, that is open to the public.
Mother Nature pulled out every stop in Waipio. The tour books say that, for centuries, many considered this sacred land. And many still do. Take a trip here, and you’ll understand why.