Hidden Treasure on the Kohala Coast – The Blue Dragon Musiquarium and Day Spa

Dance under the stars at the Blue Dragon - The Big Island's hidden treasure!

Dance under the stars at the Blue Dragon – The Big Island’s Hidden Treasure!

Looking for night life on the Kohala Coast?  The Blue Dragon is THE place to be.  Fine music, ono food, and a casual, friendly atmosphere make this the place to be any Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening.

You can subscribe to their calendar for updates on scheduled performers, and once in a while they schedule a bigger name like John Cruz, or John Keawe.  For such special shows, at reasonable cover charges, like $20/each, those shows sell out quickly, so keeping abreast of the schedule is a must if you want to participate.

Besides the food and music, the ambiance at the Blue Dragon is an experience to take home with you.  Tall walls and unique lighting hide the fact that the place has no roof!  Dancing in an enclosed space, while under the stars at the same time is an experience to be cherished and repeated every time you visit the Big Island.

A popular local venue, The Blue Dragon offers amazing body work, as well!  During the day, you can schedule your spa treatment, therapeutic massage, or other soul-satisfying experience, and return again for the evening delights.

Their body workers are all professionally trained, have years of experience, and areregarded as some of the best on the island, and their body products are good enough to eat — made from all organic ingredients and as locally made as possible.

Whether it is your first massage or a part of your weekly self care routine, all treatments are customized to meet your individual needs.   Feed the Soul, Body and Mind at Blue Dragon Bodywork.   Here is a line-up of the body work options for your nurturance.

  • Blue Dragon Supreme– $140
    Our luxurious and pampering signature medley of your choice of a body scrub, mini-facial, and a massage — a must have!
  • Cranial Sacral – $80
    Trance out with a deeply balancing and relaxing series of light and gentle holds on the bones of the skull and spine.
  • Duet Massage – $160+
    Four hands massage for the ultimate in relaxation!
  • Deep Tissue –$80-120
    Reduce pain and muscle soreness at the source through a stronger and more specific therapeutic touch.
  • Lomi-Lomi– $80-120
    Traditional Hawaiian massage using long, firm, rhythmic strokes to deeply nourish the body, mind, and soul.
  • Reflexology –$80-120
    Our version of the very best pampering of the feet. Includes a foot scrub, foot massage, and a bit of hand and neck massage for a satisfying completion!
  • Sports Massage / Injury Relief –$80-120
    A targeted, tailored treatment using massage techniques and hot & cold therapy as needed to provide relief to problem areas.
  • Swedish – $80-120
    Traditional European technique using gentle kneading and smooth strokes to relieve stress and tension.
  • Thai Massage – $80
    Unique moves and stretches to elongate and relax muscles and mind; client wears loose fitting clothing.
  • Mini-‘Facial’ – $25
    Delight in the best pampering for the face, neck and scalp!
  • Gentle Chiropractic `Tune-Up`- $50-$100
    We are proud to now offer treatments with Dr. Kennedy, the only “Proficiency Rated practitioner of Activator Method Chiropractic Techniques” on the Big Island.

So, feed your mind, body and soul at the Blue Dragon, and take home memories to share for a lifetime.

Click here to visit Hawaii Re-Creation Guide Website

Click here to visit Hawaii Re-Creation Guide Website

 

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Finding Farmer’s Markets on the Big Island

fancy vegetables

Click the photo for a comprehensive guide to Farmer’s Markets on the Big Island

Did you know?  There is now a Farmer’s Market at the Kings’ Shops at Waikoloa Beach Resort, every Wednesday from 8:30 to 1pm! 

And of course there are the usual Saturday morning markets throughout the Big Island, with several mid-week markets as well.

Waimea recently opened a new Wednesday Market at Anna’s Ranch, and the Kailua Village Market in downtown Kona  is open Wed thru Sun from 9 til noon!

One of the nice things about renting a condo rather than a hotel room is that you can bring those fresh and delicious treasures into your own kitchen and wow your friends and family with the delights of island fare.

Here are a few special items, not to be missed at the local markets.

apple-bananas-resized-600

Hawaii’s famous apple bananas

Apple Bananas!    Although short in length, apple bananas are fatter and chunkier than other small varieties and their flavor, once ripe, is both tangy and sweet displaying hints of apple or strawberry.  Wait till the peel is dark, and you will experience the best flavor and highest sugar content These bananas are DELICIOUS stuffed with walnuts or peanut butter for a quick, hearty and nutritious snack.

Sweet, Juicy - buy a LOT!

Sweet, Juicy – buy a LOT!

Not to be missed is Rambutan!  They look funny, but they are delicious, and quite the treat for anyone with a sweet tooth.  Buy a bunch!  You’ll be glad you did…and they look so pretty in the fruit dish.

To eat them, simply peel the thick hairy skin off and pluck the sweet juicy fruit out.  They do have a sizeable seed, so chew gingerly, and be sure you buy enough, because they are quite tasty, and you can never seem to get enough.    Mild and sweet, they are a fun fruit to pile high on the table while the family gathers round.

Dress up your table with dragon fruit!

Dress up your table with dragon fruit!

Dragon fruit is another exotic treat, worth a try.  With it’s light sweet taste, intense shape and color, it is sure to be a hit with anyone willing to try something new.  Highly decorative, it is also tasy, so pick one up for a new experience with an exotic Island fruit.  Dragon fruit is especially popular in a fruit salad, or used as a garnish to make any dish look festive.

lilikoi

An island staple – lilikoi or passion fruit.

Lilikoi, or Passion Fruit is an island “staple” for flavoring everything from jam to juice.  At once sweet and tart, the juice/pulp and seed are edible, but the fruit must be mature, as toxins exist in the immature fruits. While the seeds are edible, it is the fruit and juice that are mostly used.

The pulp is normally pressed through a strainer and then bottled as a concentrate. We normally use it in combination with water or other juices, along with fine crushed ice and vodka to make a delicious frozen cocktail. In our opinion, Kilauea Lodge in Volcano makes the world’s best Liliko’i Margarita.

Passion fruit is also used in a reduced form to make jams, syrups and butters. A trip through the local KTA supermarket will yield many delicious foods that incorporate passion fruit.

Of course, pineapple, papaya and mango are also favorites to purchase at the Farmer’s Market.  Look for “white pineapple” which are highly concentrated sweetness.  The only safe place to eat a mango is in the bathtub, but it’s well worth the sweet juicy pleasure.

Not only do we have wonderful fruits, vegetables, breads, coffees, crafts, and all the other normal fare of a farmer’s market, but often you will find a tasty breakfast, and some happy music as well.  Farmer’s market is a cultural tradition wherever you go, and especially on the Big Island, it is a solid way of socializing and meeting old friends and new.  Come along!  The locals always welcome visitors, and are happy to share their wares with you.

Click here to visit Hawaii Re-Creation Guide Website

Click here to visit Hawaii Re-Creation Guide Website

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Swimming with Wild Dolphins on the Big Island

swimming-with-wild-dolphinsSwimming with Wild Dolphins in Hawaii is the ultimate in eco-adventures.  Sink into the warm, liquid velvet waters of the Pacific, get over the initial 3-second temperature shock, and immerse yourself in pure bliss.

Outfitted with snorkel and fins, one can feel comfortable in the water, even if not a good swimmer.  Salty ocean water is especially buoyant, and even if you can’t swim a stroke, you can position a “noodle” across your chest and under your arms, and relax entirely.

Swimming with dolphins doesn’t require as much swimming as one might think. The dolphins are faster than lightning, and swimming WITH them more entails relaxing AMONG them as they either whizz past, or mosey around, as the case may be.

The Hawaiian Spinner dolphin is a year-round resident of the Islands, and people have a 95 percent chance of swimming with them on any given day.  After spending the night feeding in the deep waters, the dolphins come in to the safety of the shallow waters to rest, mate, and play.  Since we are visitors in their “bedroom”, it is important that we respect their needs and honor their space.  They will let you know what mode they are in. On a sleepy day, they stay down deep, and you catch glimpses of them as they rise from time to time to take a breath.

Dolphins are highly conscious, and in fact, actually CHOOSE every breath.  Scientists, anesthetizing dolphins to study them,  lost a lot of dolphins before they discovered their need to be awake to breathe.  To facilitate this, dolphins in sleep mode sleep with one eye open, half of their brain awake, while the other half sleeps. They swim in a circle, with all the eyes on the inside closed, while those on the outside watch for danger. Incomprehensibly, on some collective cue, the dolphins make a simultaneous figure 8, turn in the opposite direction, and change sides to rest.

On an active day, dolphins jump and spin and chirp and dive in joyful play.  Babies especially love to jump and chase one another.  Snorkel masks leak when you smile, so get used to flipping over on your back and emptying out your mask from time to time, because NOT smiling in the midst of a pod of dolphins is not an option.

Dolphins are more receptive and playful early in the morning, before settling down to sleep.   A dolphin swim typically begins at Honokohau Harbor, meeting at 8 am for an early departure, returning in approximately four hours.  There are two sizes of tour boats available for parties of up to six or from 7-21.

For guaranteed best prices, call 888-856-3682 to reserve your spot. Mention Discount Code 2484.

Click here to visit Hawaii Re-Creation Guide Website

Click here to visit Hawaii Re-Creation Guide Website

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Snorkeling on the Big Island

snorkeling-yellow-tangs-1024x768Snorkeling on the Big Island of Hawaii is one the most joyful and rewarding adventures you can have.  There are myriad beaches, tours, and opportunities for exploring our underwater treasure trove.  Especially on the “Kona side” or west side of the Island, the waters are clear, warm, and inviting!  You can sink into the cool, liquid velvet of azure waters and explore the nooks and crannies of our coral reefs.

For a list of beaches, click here.

Whether you go in from one of our local beaches, or charter a boat to go in deep, snorkeling is one of the “must do’s” on the Big Island.  Here are some suggestions for beach and boat access to our lovely Hawaiian waters.

If you have never snorkeled before, remember that the ocean is not a swimming pool with well-defined sides and bottom.  There ARE very safe sandy beaches for newcomers to learn, so don’t let this word of caution scare you away.  Just be careful, and aware of your surroundings.

Its a good idea to wear sun-protective rash guards, especially if you’re from a place where white tender skin is not used to prolonged exposure to the sun.  It is also helpful to snorkel in the early morning, when the sun is not yet so strong.

If you or your child is not a strong swimmer, swim noodles can be a wonderful help in the water.  Wear them across your chest and under your arms, and all fear of sinking is alleviated.

Be sure you have good defogger for your goggles.  Cloudy water is one thing – foggy goggles is another.  Together, they spell low visibility in a place where you want to see everything!

Put on your mask (make sure all hair is out of the mask) and snorkel before entering the water, but wait till you’re in deep enough to float to put on your flippers.  Entering in the surf can be tricky enough, without having clown shoes to trip you up.  When you come out, it’s also a good idea to take off your fins before trying to exit.  When gravity takes over again, you want to have your feet well planted beneath you.

Find entry and exit places that are not over rocks or coral.  Enter at a sandy place.  Incoming waves can be strong, and you don’t want to be dragged over rock, coral, or even course sand and pebbles.

Always wear snorkel goggles in the water!  You want to be able to SEE where you are at all times, especially in relation to where any underwater rocks or coral may be.  Goggles and snorkel give you an added measure of safety to be able to see and breathe without having to worry about where the underwater rocks are.

Once in the water, fins are very helpful in having purchase to get around.  Without them, you can kick for a long time against the ocean and go nowhere fast.  Especially when close to rocks, you want to be able to move quickly when necessary.

You can rent good snorkel equipment right in Waikoloa Beach Resort at either Blue Wilderness in the Queens Shops, or Big Island Motorcycle Company in the Kings Shops.  They have reasonable prices, and you can be assured that your gear is sanitary and that it fits.  Prescription goggles are also available there.

Boat access is also a joyful chance to swim in the deep and see dolphins, mantas, an occasional white-tip, and of course, our magificent whales.  Unfortunately, swimming with whales is not allowed in Hawaii, but all others are available for swimming with.  Once again, on our Activities and Adventures page  you can find references to good boat tours for a 4-hour snorkeling trip along the west shores of the Big Island, from Kohala to Keauhou.  That’s a whole ‘nother story, and I’ll be happy to share in my next blog post.

Click here to visit Hawaii Re-Creation Guide Website

Click here to visit Hawaii Re-Creation Guide Website

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