Where We've Been: The Big Island

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It's summer vacation season here at terrain, and our team is heading out of the office for adventures around the globe. Our latest traveler, Product & Community Writer Caroline L., recently enjoyed a tropical getaway on Hawai'i's Big Island. She says, "I chose the island of Hawai'i-- often called the Big Island-- because it's home to so many unique sights and experiences. You can relax under the palm trees and nap on white sand beaches, but volcanoes are just an hour away! The Big Island has an incredibly diverse landscape; it's possible to visit 10 distinct climate zones in a day, from tropical rainforest to grassland and (believe it or not!) tundra. I stayed on the dry western side of the island, where most of the land is covered in lava flows-- it really looks like the surface of the moon in some places. The lava comes from the island's active volcanoes, Maunaloa and Kilauea. One of the most remarkable moments of the trip was visiting Kilauea's crater in the evening and seeing the lava inside glow."

On other parts of the island, Caroline hiked through the rainforest for a peek at towering waterfalls, caught a glimpse of sea turtles napping on the black sand beach, sampled coffee from the famous Kona region, and headed to the coast to take in the view at the southernmost point in the U.S. She adds, "There are even amazing things to see after dark! We went for a night swim with giant manta rays, and visited Mauna Kea-- the island's tallest mountain at nearly 14,000 ft.-- for stargazing at the observatory. And of course we ate our weight in pineapple and macadamia nuts. We did so many different things that the trip felt like five great vacations in one!"

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