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#9 on the list of Romantic Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii

Sunset Ride for Two

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

First, press ‘Play’ …

… then picture this.

You arrive at Ponoholo Ranch in the late afternoon.  Located on gorgeous Kohala Mountain, Ponoholo Ranch is an 11,000 acre working cattle ranch, with the second largest herd of cattle after the world-famous Parker Ranch.  The Ranch streches all the way from the top of the mountain to the coast.  The area at the top of the mountain sometimes has a gentle mist, reminding you you’re actually in a tropical rain forest for the moment.

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island has a rich “cowboy heritage” in this lush upcountry area going back more than a century ago to 1788.  Just ten years after Captain James Cook first landed in Hawaii, British Captain George Vancouver presented five cows to King Kamehameha I (prone. Ka-MAY-a-may-a).  The King loved his cows so much he immediately declared them to be kapu (pron. ka-poo), the Hawaiian word for taboo.   He set them free to roam the Big Island where they were extremely fruitful and multiplied into thousands.  By 1809, when 19 year old John Palmer Parker arrived from Massachusetts, the feral cattle were wandering everywhere wreaking havoc on farms and family gardens.

Initially Parker befriended the King and helped tend his fishponds.  Then, after leaving to serve in the War of 1812, John returned to the island he loved with a brand new American musket.  Kamehameha gave John exclusive permission to shoot the maverick cattle and supply meat and hides for the island and other nations.   In 1832 John contracted with Mexican vaqueros, expert horsemen and cattle herders, to help him wrangle the cows.  Called “paniolo” (pron. PAN-i-o-lo ) by the Hawaiians, these cowboys brought with them their boots, saddles, guitars and ukuleles.  You and your love will begin your ride by dressing in style.   You feel like a real paniolo when you outfit yourself with  boots, hats, chaps and Australian dusters.

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

Then it’s off to the stables to meet your horse.  Her name is Guava and she’s very sweet.

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

Your love is riding Mango, and you’ll get the scoop on what they like and don’t like.  Then you’ll head out across the beautiful mountainside.

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

You are rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the Kona and Kohala coastline.  To the south you see Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai (pron. who-WALL-a-lie) Volcanoes.  Gazing out across the ocean you can also see beautiful Haleakala (pron. Hi-lee-AH-ka-law) Volcano on Maui.

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

You may even get to meet some of the cows.  They are very nice as well.

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

As the day transitions to night, a magical moment occurs.  From 3,000 feet on the Ponoholo Ranch you enjoy unobstructed views of the beautiful array of colors in a Hawaiian sunset.  The glowing land and tranquil ocean combine to create a moment in time for you and your love with all else just fading away.

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

As the sun sinks lower, it bathes the sky in a soft peach hue.

Romantic Horseback Ride Big Island of Hawaii

There are 5 different rides to take, but the Sunset Ride is a 90 minute interlude that you’re sure to love. You can make it exclusive (just a guide and your significant other) for an additional $150 if you want. You don’t need to be a great rider (or to have ridden at all) to do it either, as beginners are welcome here. The horses, valued partners in this business, are kept in good condition and matched to rider’s skill levels. Everything is low key so it’s easy to enjoy yourself and each other.

The guides are friendly, interesting and up on the history and local lore. You’ll have a marvelous time.  If you’re looking for a romantic experience for you and your love, it doesn’t get much more memorable than seeing an awesome sunset on horseback. There are a few places to do this, but I’d recommend Paniolo Adventures – at the Ponoholo Ranch on Kohala Mountain.

AddressKohala Mountain Rd, Waimea, HI 96743
   Phone(808) 889-5354

More Interesting, Unique Things to Do on the Big Island

Kohala Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hale Ahonui is on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Here the sleepy towns and countryside of the real Hawaii remain unchanged. Nestled between the wind swept terrain of Kohala Mountain to the east, and the beautiful Pacific Ocean on the west, Kohala Ranch rests on the grassy meadows in between.

Church in Hawi

If you would like to feel the spirit of aloha in its most pure form, we invite you to attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Hawi. All visitors are welcome with open arms. The members of the congregation are some of the warmest, most welcoming folks on earth. This is a don’t miss. If you leave dry eyed, I’ll be amazed.

GJ’s Huli Huli Chicken

If it’s Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you’re in luck. And you gotta try this! He sets up on Thursdays at the Hawi Welcome Center parking lot in Waimea. If you’re downwind, they’re very easy to find!

Aloha Dreams

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

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