The Big Island has an abundance of big surprises in store for
visitors who take the time to explore beyond the beaten path,
according to Lisa Sherwood, concierge supervisor for the Orchid at
"There's a guided excursion offered by Hawaii Forest & Trail
that I've gone on and loved, but not many people know about it
because it's not your standard basic tour," says Sherwood.
The tour goes deep into the Pololu Valley, near the northern tip
of the island, through hidden private roads, some of which are
gated and require a key to get into, she says.
"There are sheer cliffs at some points, with drops of about 200
Highlights include a lush tropical rain forest, a beautiful
lookout -- perfect for shutterbugs -- and five waterfalls.
"Everyone goes under the last waterfall and takes a dunk," says
The tour is mostly on foot, and is escorted by a guide who
brings along water, equipment and snacks.
Sherwood also has a tip for clients looking for that perfect,
hideaway white-sand beach.
"It's a little beach that's just south of the public beach at
Anaehoomalu, near the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Facing the ocean,
you have to walk to the left along the main beach, until you come
to a turnoff which leads to a trail. If you follow this trail,
eventually you'll come to a beautiful sandy beach that's very quiet
and uncrowded, unlike the public beach."
For a special dining experience, Sherwood recommends Edward's at
Kanaloa, a "little secret spot," on the ocean in Kona.
"It's small and intimate, with a casually elegant candlelit
atmosphere, and very romantic," says Sherwood, "but because it's
out of the way, in a condo complex, it's not the sort of place most
tourists would know about."
Prices are rather upscale, but reflect the quality of the
excellent Mediterranean-style cuisine and the fine wines that
accompany dinner, she says.
Clients seeking a different kind of shopping experience should
head for Holualoa, a small artists' village in the Kailua-Kona
"There's a road here filled with little art galleries featuring
the works of local artists," says Sherwood. "The galleries
themselves are an attraction because they're located in quaint old
buildings dating from plantation days."