The island of Lana’i, one of the smaller Hawaiian Islands, is what my SDH and I consider our own personal ideal paradise. We found it several years ago while looking for a place to get married in Hawaii. We chose it for a few reasons: 1 – It was one of the only Hawaiian Islands that neither of us had been to before. 2 – We loved the photos and descriptions that we read about it…small, non-commercial, a hide-away of sorts and beautiful.
We fell in love with it the minute we stepped foot off the plane. I remember we originally had to fly into Honolulu on the island of Oahu then catch an island hopper from Oahu to Lana’i. Our plane from Florida to Oahu arrived a few hours late and we had missed the last flight for the day to Lana’i. We were given a hotel room near the airport with the expense of our room, meal and transportation from and to the airport paid by the airline. The small hotel we stayed at that night was filled with young U.S. military families who were residing there for undetermined amounts of time while they waited for their housing situations on Oahu to be resolved. We had a wonderful time visiting with several of them at dinner. My husband-to-be, being a Marine combat veteran, was able to ask them questions that I never would have dreamed of asking these families. It was an enlightening and very heart warming evening. The dinner was simple and delicious, too. Fresh fish, a vegetable and fried rice…I LOVE good fried rice! I don’t remember the name of the hotel or the airline that treated us so well, but it was a great start to a great trip!
The next morning we finally arrived on our small turboprop airplane to the beautiful island of Lana’i. Had we flown in the night before, as originally scheduled, we would have missed viewing this beautiful paradise from the air before landing. Just another reason we were grateful our plane was late the day before.
We landed and walked down the steps of this tiny airplane, across the runway and into the tiny, clean and oh so adorable airport. Once we grabbed our luggage off the conveyor belt, the trip became hassle free. Not that grabbing our luggage off the conveyor belt was a hassle, but we DID have to do it ourselves. (sigh) We stopped by a check-in counter to give an employee our name and let them know which of the two hotels we would be staying at. Yes, that’s right, only two hotels on the entire island. There are actually three as we discovered later during our stay. I will talk more about that later.
Our luggage was taken to one of the shuttle buses waiting to take us to the Four Seasons Manele Bay. There was another shuttle bus to take passengers to the Four Seasons The Lodge at Koele. This shuttle would also drop off passengers at the rental car station as well. THE rental car station was located in THE city. THE as in…the only one…the only rental car station and the only city on the island. Lana’i City, of course.
When riding on any type of shuttle or bus, I have learned to sit as close to the front as possible to prevent motion sickness. I think my SDH secretly enjoys sitting at the front because he will strike up a conversation with the driver if there aren’t other people on the shuttle. We learn a tremendous amount from the bus drivers. This particular shuttle ride, there were others onboard, but we had plenty of time later to visit with many of the locals, including the shuttle bus drivers.
The shuttle ride was approximately 15-20 minutes. It is on the leeward side of the island and very dry. The drive reminded me a little of west Texas…except for the hills and canyons…and the Cook Pines lining the highway…and the occasional wild bougainvillea… I realized at that time it had been close to 5 years since I had been in west Texas, so it made me smile to see something in Hawaii that reminded me of my first home. As the roads started getting curvier, the terrain became rockier and the Manele Bay (insert angels singing here) came into view! It was such a beautiful rich color of blue.
This is the first of a several part series on Lana’i, why we fell in love with it and stories about our day trip there on Saturday, May 4th. I can’t tell you how many parts yet, because I don’t know…just several.