One of the latest trends in travel, Fire and Ice vacations allow travelers to experience vastly different climates, usually a snowy one coupled with a sunny one, in a single trip or destination. It’s an ideal way for savvy travelers, looking to get the most out of their vacation time, to cross off several hot and cold bucket-list experiences in one go by combining the best of both worlds.
Hawaii Island, known appropriately as The Big Island—it’s nearly twice as big as all the other Hawaiian Islands combined—makes the perfect Fire and Ice climate-hopping, tropical vacation destination. Home to almost all the world’s microclimates, travelers can experience sun, sand, steam and snow—all within a few hours’ drive— courtesy of Hawaiian goddesses Pele and Poliahu, deity of fire and snow, respectively.
The west side of the island is sunnier; you’ll find most of the island’s resorts here throughout Kona and the Kohala Coast. Plan to visit the beautiful beaches here for snorkeling, scuba diving and viewing countless marine life, including colorful fish, green sea turtles, spinner dolphins and, in the winter, whales. A night dive with manta rays— only one of a few places in the world where you can experience this adventure—is bound to be a bucket-list item!
Another aim is experiencing the sun rise or set from the snow-capped summit on the icy slopes of Mauna Kea, the island’s highest peak. Consider booking a sunset and stargazing expedition with one of the many tour operators for less crowds than the morning rays see. With Mauna Kea’s high elevation and zero light pollution, you’ll be doubly delighted with a blanket of fiery colors as the sun sets beneath the clouds and the brilliant light from a magnitude of stars takes over the sky, providing a stunning show. Many tours provide telescopes, along with parkas and hot chocolate to keep you warm; just remember your gloves and sunglasses!