That is the question.
We booked all nights from our home computers, not knowing where we would get ourselves in to. For cost saving the idea of using airbnb popped up. Airbnb, I heard of it, but have no clue what it is. ‘You’re staying with people in their homes’, my friend said. Well, that can be fun. As long as we are doing this together I don’t mind. And so the search for airbnb hosts started. Create an account, let airbnb qualify you as decent and trustworthy (me?) and start searching for nice places. Let me give you some insight in our hosts on Hawaii and the great (yes, absolutely great) time we had so far.
First Kona Town Oasis in Kailou-Kona. The app on the phone shows the map where the location is, all in the offline mode, so that is already a big plus. We drive to this house in a ok-ish area. No, no beach in front of the room, yes locals are the neighbours. We find it, park the car, get out and… are greeted by a very friendly guy called Marc. He walks barefeet and has no clue if he even owns shoes. He is printing t-shirts, sells coconut milk on farmer markets, invented some device to climb in the palm trees to harvest coconuts… well, he is a nice guy, very laid back. Aloha as they say here. The room is a nice bedroom with a private bathroom. His daughter used it before she left the house. It is clean, cool and very close to town. First one is a big plus and we start liking the concept.
Next we drive to the Holoholo In in Volcano. Yes, we stay in a hostal, but we booked it also through airbnb. Satoshi, the Japanese owner, is waiting for us. We have a really nice conversation about traveling (he went backpacking in the 70s, so he is one of the pioneers) and how he got up there starting the hostal. He is very friendly in a different way. His place is very nice as well. The first night we were the only guests. Bit spooky to be in a hostal all by yourself, but the quietness made me sleep like a baby. The room was big, with a nice bathroom. Thumbs up again.
Next one we needed long to decide. We wanted to stay around Hilo, but could not find something nice. I ended up booking ‘retreat in style’ in Kea’au. The host is called April, and April sends already a lot of messages before we were on Big Island already. We arrive and are overwhelmed by the hospitallity. She is a chatty lady who likes people to feel at home at her place. She rents out a bedroom with private bathroom to people like us. Just for 1 or 2 nigths mostly. She loves talking, just like the little Coqui frogs love to make a lot of sound in the garden at night.Before we could go to sleep, we knew everything about her, but…. in a nice way. She is so sweet and caring about people, that she forgets to care for herself sometimes. She is a professional massage therapist, who gives my friend a treatment and talks to angels in the same time. Hmmm, I pass, if only for the rose water which is sprayed around a lot. In the morning a nice cup (well, impessively huge) of coffee is awaiting us. She has all kinds of tips where to go, what to do. To stay with her was great, again!
Last bnb on Big Island was again located in Kailou-Kona. Marc unfortunately had no room for the last night, so we booked at Charlie and Joanne’s place. In a nice neighbourhood we find this large house. A very clean, quiet place, with a great bedroom complete with towels, shampoo, water and snacks. 5 star rating I would say. We ask them where to go for dinner and Joanne decides to join us for a girls night out. Hilarious. We have no clue who she is, but we go out. First to a pub with great coconut shrimps, then to a café at the waterfront. Joanne is very funny. A woman with a very sad story, who just wants to make some fun. Well, we did have a lot of fun! She is a bit happily crazy if you ask me. We sleep well and in the morning both Charlie and Joanne get up to make us some coffee, give us yoghurt and say farewell.
As soon as the visit is over, and you think you have moved on, airbnb requests you if you would lik to write a review. And funny enough, the hosts write a review of their guests as well. That way, people who make a mess can be banned by airbnb more easily. I start to like this concept. I have to say, I was hesitant at the beginning, but I love it now. Just one more place for me to go this holiday. Let’s see…