Big Island ATV Tour Through Waipio Valley

March 7, 2013 by

Action, Adventure & Adrenaline, North America, Travel Advice & Inspiration

To be perfectly honest, I’m not much of a driver. Sure, I hold a driver’s license, but as a New Yorker, it merely serves as a means as identification. I don’t own (or operate) a vehicle and I take the subway to work. So when the van pulled up for my Big Island ATV Tour Through Waipio Valley, and I saw the rows of rugged-looking four wheelers lined up—I could hardly contain my excitement.

After a brief (yet thorough) tutorial, our guides let us hop on the ATVs, and I felt like Cinderella in her carriage … or maybe Danica Patrick in her Chevy. Either way, we went for a test run and soon were off!

Big Island ATV Tour Through Waipio Valley

Big Island ATV Tour Through Waipio Valley

Since I’d never been on an ATV before (and was a bit nervous), I started out slowly, but had the hang of it after a few minutes. Soon after, I was flying through the Waipio Valley like a pro. The most amazing part? The scenery. Four wheeling has always conjured up images of tractor-trailers, stinky farm animals and flat lands, but it was here that I saw bigger-than-life trees, incredible black sand beaches and the tallest waterfall in all of Hawaii. Middle America, this is not.

The guides, a group of locals completely immersed in the Hawaiian culture (the types you want to hang out with and be their best friend), helped to make me feel totally comfortable as a newbie. Also, I loved the non-boring tidbits of info they’d weave in about Hawaiian culture, history and what locals do for fun (real Hawaii!) during the entire tour.

Big Island ATV Tour Through Waipio Valley

With plenty of turns, rugged bumps and mud puddles, I took every opportunity to get as filthy as possible (seriously, who knew racing though mud could be so incredibly exhilarating?), and when it was time for the first break, I needed that refreshing swim in the base of a waterfall. I use the word refreshing because the water temperature registered somewhere between brisk and limb-numbing, but I was covered in mud and needed to wash off what they call my “Hawaiian freckles.” After our group swim, we had time to snap a few photos and a quick snack, but there was more thrilling four wheeling and a stop at Hiilawe Falls.

Big Island ATV Tour Through Waipio Valley

“Hawaiian Freckles”

Big Island ATV Tour Through Waipio Valley, Hiilawe Falls

Hiilawe Falls

This was my first trip to the Big Island and I packed-in a lot activities that a city girl never gets to enjoy: snorkeling, surfing (okay, surf lessons), whale watching, hiking and loads of beach time. But this ATV tour was by far my favorite part of the trip. I was able to leave the “tourist” area of my resort, got incredibly messy and met some really cool locals. And though my drivers license probably wasn’t required—I busted out my racing skills all the same.

Photos courtesy of Anne Roderique-Jones.

– Anne Roderique-Jones

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