Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

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Hoosier CPA
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Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Hoosier CPA »

Thinking about a trip to Hawaii next Fall for our 15 anniversary. I know nothing about Hawaii except that my wife would love to go there. Wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a starting point for planning this trip.
Cyclone
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Cyclone »

Step one is to figure out what you want to see, because each island is different. For example, if you want to see a volcano you need to go to the Big Island.
HIinvestor
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by HIinvestor »

Try reading Fodors.com, especially the forum where folks post about their experiences. One way you could see the state is via a cruise between the islands that lasts a week and docks at each island.

Island hopping by plane and not spending much time in any place is tiring. Traffic, especially on Oahu can be pretty slow and stressful.

Get an idea of what you would like to do and see. Each island has its own character and attractions.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

What do you want to do in Hawaii, it would help to narrow it down.
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woof755
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by woof755 »

viewtopic.php?t=192782

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=229597

Couple other threads. Oahu has the big city feel but also has nice resorts in North Shore (lots to do, no bright lights) (see Turtle Bay)

Big Island has an active volcano, and an amazing (!!!) park with waterfalls. Akaka falls and Volcano National Park

Maui has two main features: Haleakala sunrise and the Road to Hana. Haleakala you could drive to, but it is tough--lots of switchbacks. Road to Hana I highly recommend buying a seat on a small tour bus. Haleakala is majestic. see the sun rise over a crater at 10,000 feet. Dress warm and revel in earth's beauty. Road to Hana is an all day tour, lots of riding, but the scenery is amazing

Kauai has the beautiful Na Pali coast. Much less developed, quiet atmosphere.

The Hawaiian islands have whatever it is you want, you just gotta pick the right experience.
Hawaiian Airlines has flights to and from every island almost every hour, so if you want to see two islands, go for it.
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oxothuk
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by oxothuk »

First step is to pick what island(s) you want to visit - they are all quite unique.

For a first time visitor with time for just one island I would recommend Maui. Because it is “in the middle” both geographically and geologically it has a bit of everything and is the most representative.

Oahu is the most crowded and least interesting island (to me). It does have the Arizona memorial however.

Go to the Big Island if you want to see active volcanoes. Go to Kauai to see the spectacular fluted Na Pali cliffs.

If you are looking for a beach resort you can find that on any of the islands, but the Mexican beach resorts are a better value IMHO.
itstoomuch
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by itstoomuch »

We did the NCL Hawaiian Cruise 2016. We arrived in Honolulu in time to catch Friday and Saturday, Annual King Kamehameha Celebration, in early June. It is essentially the beginning of the summer tourist season and not as crowded as later weeks/months. Active Adults, no rugrats, and not too many seniors (us at 66/69). We caught the parade, fireworks, some hula dancing contests. We went to the KCC Farmer's market (highly recommend) across from Diamond Head. We did University of Hawaii-Lyon Arboretum, Barack Obama's neighborhood (on the way to KCC Farmer's Market which is in the parking lot of the local community college), History Museum was closed by the time we arrived. We used taxi/uber to save time. We also used the city bus to get to KCC/Diamond Head. We embarked late and avoided lines and confusion. Tours can be booked online or at the venue with more variety than ship bookings. We ate a lot of pineapple, some unknown fruits, lycees were in season and we ate alot of lycees, coconuts water from the coconuts, fish, and pork in banana leaves, poi (its pretty good), taro, sweet potatoes/yams, and Hawaiian Ices. Fly Hawaiian Air if possible, a better experience. Local bananas and local banana breads are delicious.

I would recommend staying on one island for a week or take the NCL cruise for the week. There is enough to do on one island
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FIREchief
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by FIREchief »

+1 for cruise. You'll see at least four islands and only open your suitcase once. Likely much cheaper than hotel/restaurant. Relaxing and enjoyable (I did it once and will do it again).
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hoops777
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by hoops777 »

Go to Maui and call it a day.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
gtd98765
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by gtd98765 »

what do I need to know
Caution - Hawaii is so beautiful and varied you may not want to return to the mainland.
Shallowpockets
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Shallowpockets »

One thing you should know about Hawaii is the resort fees. They won't tell you about them until you check out. Then, hey, a whole new addition to your bill. Surprise! They are mandatory so you have no opt out option.
hightower
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by hightower »

For a first time visitor I think the Big Island is the place to start. We spent 2 weeks there on our first trip and absolutely loved every second of it. There's so many different things to see/do there. Lot's of different landscapes. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must see. Green sand beaches, black sand beaches, mountains, deserts, rainforests, coral reefs. It's got it all.
Oh and if you're interested in swimming you have to be more careful in the fall/winter. That's when the ocean tends to be rougher/more dangerous.
Last edited by hightower on Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
TRC
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by TRC »

We went on our honeymoon there 15 years ago and did Maui and Kauai. We went back this past January with our 2 kids and did just Maui. IMO - Maui is where it's at. If you spend time island hopping, you burn precious time.

That being said, winter is the most expensive time of the year to visit. To put it into perspective, we spent $3,000 on a rental jeep for 2 weeks in January. We went back in June with my company and spent $400 for the same jeep for 1 week. Car rentals, airfare and Hotels are WAY more expensive in the winter. But you get what you pay for. Nice trade wind breeze and whale sightings everywhere.

When we go back, we'll probably stay at the The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas again. Timeshare styled place, so we had a kitchen to cook breakfast and occasional meals. Ka'anapali is absolutely beautiful.

Here are some pointers:

- Be prepared to spend a lot of money.
- Get a rental jeep. Don't go with a convertable as you could easily get stuck.
- Road to hanna is awesome. Leave EARLY. I'm talking 5am early. Do the full loop around the island (where it says no rental cars allowed. This is why you have a jeep).
- Seeing the sunrise on Mt. Haleakala is spectacular. You don't need to do this with a tour. You can drive your jeep up yearly. While you're up in that area, have breakfast at the Kula Lodge and then check out the Lavendar farm nearby.
- Do a snorkeling tour out at the the Molikini crater.
- Sunset catamaran cruises are awesome. We like them so much, that we did it 3 times on our trip. The Hula Girl is the nicest Catamaran there IMO.
- Our favorite beach to chill at was the Kapalua Bay Beach. Tons of turtle sightings while we were in the water.
- Be prepared to spend a lot of money.
MrNewEngland
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by MrNewEngland »

gtd98765 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:24 am
what do I need to know
Caution - Hawaii is so beautiful and varied you may not want to return to the mainland.
gtd beat me to it.

I went about a year ago for three weeks to dogsit/housesit for a friend of mine and I can easily say it's my favorite place I have ever been. And it's not even close.

Hawaii is just phenomenal. Gorgeous, so much stuff to do and see, the climate is perfect... it's heaven on earth.

I spent almost all my time on Oahu but did go to the big island for a couple days. I have hear Maui is the prettiest of the islands but I can't imagine liking it more than Oahu.

Good luck, I am jealous of your trip.
3504PIR
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by 3504PIR »

hoops777 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:43 am Go to Maui and call it a day.
Amen.
CWhea1775
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by CWhea1775 »

Actual TV weather forecast from Maui in January, 2011:

...Trades winds this, surf that, yada, yada, yada (weatherman looks directly into the camera) "to summarize folks, tomorrow we will have the best weather on the planet"
NJdad6
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by NJdad6 »

Visited Hawaii for the second time this summer. My advice is research what kind of vacation you want. Each island is very different and you will get a number of differing opinions. I have been to Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. I enjoyed each island but have my favorites.

I love Oahu and Waikiki. I stayed on the more quiet end but loved all of the restaurants, shops, Japanese culture and food and nightlife. Spent 5 days there and could have spent 2 weeks. We would get up early and walk or hike somewhere (top of Diamondhead), have lunch, swim in the ocean with sea turtles, sit by the pool, walk across the street for some fresh pineapple and go for a fantastic dinner. Did a variation of this every day.

Maui is also amazing. Like Oahu it is a little more built up but still lots of cool hikes, volcanos, rain Forrest, etc. also great towns, shopping and restaurants.

Kauai is probably the most beautiful island. Relatively undeveloped with tons of natural sites like waterfalls, a giant canyon, rain forrests, etc. also beautiful resorts. More of a romantic kind of place good for honeymoons/anniversary etc.

Big Island is very different. We were there for a week over the summer. I am glad I went but my least favorite island. It is huge (as big as Connecticut) so everything was very far. It is also not as scenic as the others. Glad kids got to see the volcano but in my opinion not worth the day it took to get there. Coffee farm was cool and we went horseback riding up north where it looks and feels like Utah or Colorado. The resort we stayed at was incredible though (Fairmont Orchid). Restaurants are so far between we had a few meals at the hotel. Food was excellent but pricey.

I think it would be hard not to have a great time there. When people ask me how Hawaii was my standard answer is "perfect-only negatives are it is far away and very expensive." Enjoy
oxothuk
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by oxothuk »

TRC wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:08 pmDo the full loop around the island (where it says no rental cars allowed. This is why you have a jeep).
I’ve done the whole loop (without realizing I wasn’t supposed to). The “forbidden sections” were nothing special IMHO.
squirm
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by squirm »

We go every year...Snorkeling and going in the water is what makes Hawaii so awesome. Also, it's very safe.
bowest
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by bowest »

Like others have said, think about what you want to see and do. I'd recommend looking into flights as the next step. Think about things like:
- Flights to/from the mainland, especially if you're landing on and leaving from different islands.
- Flights between islands. We found that we couldn't fly direct from Kauai to Hilo on the big island, so we spent about a half day in transit.
- We loved Mokulele airlines for flights between islands. 9-passenger planes that use commuter terminals with competitive prices.

Agree with what others have said about Oahu. The traffic on the H1 is among the worst I've experienced. Many tour operators offer day trips from other islands to Oahu for visits to Pearl Harbor, which could be a good way to see it.

And...when you're at your wits end about the cost of food on Hawaii, remember that the best value meal is lunch at the Costco food court! Pick up souveniers, boogie boards, and discount tour packages while you're there.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Sandtrap »

VRBO or AirBnB
Locations:
Kamuela on the Big Island of Hawaii. . or Hapuna Beach Resort - cheaper than some others but very ritzy and peaceful. Hapuna Beach Resort has one of the best beaches and protected bays in the area. Eat in Kampala which is up the road. Crab and seafood and prime rib buffet is awesome.
Kula or Makawao on the island of Maui, by the lavender farms if you can find one. Makawao is wonderful. Old Hawaii style.
Anywhere on Kauai. Very small. You can do the island in a day.
Windward side of Oahu (kailua, lanikai, enchanted lake)

Tips:
Rent a car at Enterprise at a location that is not at the airport to avoid airport fees, if practical.
Oahu is permanent gridlock. Transit times do not correlate to the mainland. Between the rail construction, roadwork, and tree trimming, all bad. Sometimes cones and lane closures are put out and there's nobody working, or one guy trimming a tree.
Shop at Costco, Walmart, Longs, etc. Avoid tourist traps/money traps.
Lock your car and keep your valuable with you on viewpoints, parking, etc.
Wear sunscreen. Wear slippers at the beach.
Go to at least one "Luau". Eat everything.
Take lot's of pictures. It will be the trip of a lifetime.

Beaches:
Oahu: North shore : pretty but avoid heavy surf and riptide and sharp rocks. / Kailua beach (beautiful white sand, best in the islands overall, rent a kayak, warm, long, soft surf), Lanikai (adjacent to kailua beach), Waikiki Beach, Magic Island/Ala Moana Beach. Hanauma Bay (preserve).
Big Island: Kona side.
Maui: Kona side has better sand overall.
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timmy
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by timmy »

3x visitor: 2x Maui, 1x big island.

The above summaries feel about right.

On Maui, I like staying at hotels better. The scale of the properties are about right (not too big/ too small). On the the big island, I prefer a condo or house rental. I found the hotel properties too big. Obviously subjective ...
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Dottie57 »

Hoosier CPA wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:06 am Thinking about a trip to Hawaii next Fall for our 15 anniversary. I know nothing about Hawaii except that my wife would love to go there. Wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a starting point for planning this trip.


Sunscreen. Or Block is even better. I burned terribly.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Sandtrap »

Dottie57 wrote: Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:52 pm
Hoosier CPA wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:06 am Thinking about a trip to Hawaii next Fall for our 15 anniversary. I know nothing about Hawaii except that my wife would love to go there. Wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a starting point for planning this trip.


Sunscreen. Or Block is even better. I burned terribly.
Sun clothes are great. Long sleeves. Big hat. Columbia, etc.
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forevernaive
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by forevernaive »

I strongly disagree with the poster above who wrote that the Big Island is not scenic. I found it the most scenic by far. It has the most varied terrain, and nowhere else in the islands can you see lava pouring into the ocean, watching land be born. That was the most sublimely beautiful sight I have ever seen.

Conditions vary, so check just before you go. We did a difficult 4 mile hike across an old lava flow out to see it (bring binoculars!), and it was even more difficult coming back at night (bring a headlamp), but well worth it to see it at night. However, there's also the option of joining a boat tour and seeing the lava enter the ocean from water, and during the day you will likely see turtles, dolphins, and other sea life.

However, each to their own. We prefer adventure travel to resorts; in my opinion you'll find the best diving along Molokai's reefs, good hiking on every island (though my favorite is Kauai), the best sailing in the Lahaina Roadstead area (triangle of calm water between Maui, Lanai and Molokai), etc. But if you are after dining, resorts, shopping and golf, Maui and (Waikiki) can't be beat. Of course, you will find loads of good beaches and surf watersports everywhere; it just depends on how many people you want to share it with. And no matter what island you are on, springing for a helicopter tour is expensive but well worth it.

I wrote following for friends a while back--you may find it useful:

When choosing a place to stay you should know that the trade winds blow from ENE to WSW. This means the windward east and north sides of the islands tend to be wetter and windier, and the leeward south and west sides tend to be sunnier and drier. Don't miss seeing the east and north sides though--the rainforest and big waves are part of the show. I prefer to stay south or west, though the north shore of Kauai has some excellent secluded VRBOs away from the wind and the beach, and Hilo on the big island has some less expensive, historic resorts from a time when going to the wet side was considered more exotic.

Other tips:
1) With a week or less, stay on one island. Rent a car by the day if you are in a resort in a traffick-y region like Waikiki or parts of Maui, by the week if you are doing a VRBO.
2) I like Fodor's Hawaii (check the library--an old copy will do) as an introduction when you are picking an island or two to do.
3) The gold standard for guide books is the Hawaii/Oahu/Maui/Kauai Revealed books. These guidebooks are so good that locals despise the authors for revealing all their secret best spots. But even if you are mainly doing standard attractions like Pearl Harbor or the Royal Palace, they give you great advice on when to go (early, late) to avoid crowds, see the sunset/sunrise, etc. Once you pick an island, order the book for your island (Molokai and Lanai are briefly covered in the Maui book).
4) If you are cooking for yourself in a condo or VRBO, I recommend shopping at a Costco (or the equivalent). Even groceries are expensive in Hawaii.
5) gohawaii.com is a tourism site with good information as well. They have an app as well.
6) James Michener's Hawaii is a fun read for history and to get a sense of the place, either before you go or at the beach.

My quick take on the islands:
Oahu -- crowded, busy, trafficky, resort-y, best for encapsulated entertainment. Fantastic restaurants in Waikiki and Diamondhead, expensive, shopping, culturally very diverse--tons of Asian tourists. But it is still simply spectacular--I was just in Waikiki for a conference two weeks ago and loved it.
Maui -- resort-ey and condo-ey, trafficky, but a playground of fun! Fun! and more Fun! It's really almost three separate islands due to its shape and the way the roads go. The classic vacation island, and priced like it ($$$$).
Kauai -- mellow, easy-going, quiet island that still has some bustle. Can be trafficky at rush hour near the airport, not too bad except near Lihue. Lots to do. North and South have a very different feeling, so you can do two islands in one by staying at a resort to the south and in a VRBO to the north.
Hawaii -- the Big Island is much larger and more geographically diverse than all the other islands. Volcanos, lavatubes, rainforest, observatories, coffee farmstays, white sand beaches, mountains, even snow up at almost 14000 ft atop Mauna Kea.
Molokai -- remote, unpeopled (around 8000 people live on the entire island), spectacular reef, unspoiled, rugged, very, very local. Great for scuba and snorkel, but only one dive shop--plan ahead. Pretty average, simple, less expensive food, few restaurants (under 10!). Only a couple of hotels and 2-3 condo complexes on island--good VRBOs though. On the north is the former leper colony, which is a interesting historic site toured by mule or hiking from Molokai or by plane from Maui. Residents are mostly anti-development and the island is not resort-ey at all. Waikiki's sand was imported from its westernmost beach.
Lanai -- I have not been to Lanai, but it is typically visited from Maui as a day tip or a few nights excursion. It is a former pineapple plantation and now 97% owned by Larry Ellison (Oracle) since 2012, who plans to reinvent it as an upscale resort destination. 3000 people, 2 hotels. Ellison has remodeled one Four Seasons resort and the other is still being remodeled--the other open hotel is in in Lanai City.
dowse
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by dowse »

3-time visitor here. OP, I think it would help to narrow down the advice a little if you let us know how much time you have to spend and whether you are more inclined toward nature, all-inclusive resorts, sightseeing/photography, beach combing and beach languishing, etc. In any case, consider a once-in-a-lifetime treat of a helicopter tour. As others have said, each island is a little different. I have no experience with Oahu, but have been to the Big Island 3 times, Maui once and Kauai once. DW and I are avid photographers and lean more toward nature experiences. We like the Big Island the best, although we have captured great photos on Maui and Kauai as well. We've done a sunset catamaran cruise on Kauai, photographed Waimea Canyon and several waterfalls on Kauai. We've done the road to Hana on Maui with lots of stops for photos. We've driven to the summit of Halakalea, but not are sunrise - instead we came upon a rainbow over a valley to photograph. We've done a lot of car touring around the Big Island on main roads and a few paved back roads. We usually find something unexpected and spectacular by just driving around. We've visited Volcano Nat. Park on all 3 trips, and found something interesting each time. We've been to the Black Sand Beach to see the turtles and have made the somewhat arduous hike out to the Green Sand Beach. We've discovered some great restaurants. Each island has much to offer.
HornedToad
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by HornedToad »

I like Maui the best. One thing that annoyed me about the Big Island is that it felt like an hour+ drive to go anywhere (volcano, tea plantations, chocolate making/etc). I went to Hawaii to sit on the beach/resort, visit something new/learn something new, and have good food. This was partly what we scheduled at the big island, but I was tired of driving by the end of the vacation.
Drusif007
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Drusif007 »

I have found this site to have the cheapest rental car rates when visiting Maui twice in the last three years. Even lower than Costco.

https://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/
MandyT
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by MandyT »

I went to Maui in the summer of 2009 because there was a sale that was just too good to pass up. For me, I think it worked out ideally. The west side of the island is built up enough that I had all of the services and comforts I wanted/needed, but it still had a relaxed feel. I stayed on the north end of Lahaina.

I'll second the recommendation to snorkel at Molokini (preferably early in the morning, when the water is clearer). I'd also recommend the Old Lahaina Luau, which supposedly is more authentic than some of the other luaus. I hear that they get booked up, so it's advisable to book ahead.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

Molokini is not the place to snorkel anymore, we have not been there for many years now, not as many fishes. We’ve just been back from Maui this summer, just go on one of those boats to Lanai, the snorkeling there was out of this world. Lots of fishes there.
johnnyc321
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by johnnyc321 »

The Road to Hana on Maui is great. We rented a Jeep and drove around the entire island (back side of Haleakala) instead of turning around and going back. The locals say you aren't supposed to but we did it anyway and it was one of the most memorable parts of our trip.
Cunobelinus
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Cunobelinus »

HornedToad wrote: Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:41 pm I like Maui the best. One thing that annoyed me about the Big Island is that it felt like an hour+ drive to go anywhere (volcano, tea plantations, chocolate making/etc). I went to Hawaii to sit on the beach/resort, visit something new/learn something new, and have good food. This was partly what we scheduled at the big island, but I was tired of driving by the end of the vacation.
It probably was an hour or more to get anywhere on Hawaii. Just think how people who have lived in the islands their whole life feel when they have to drive an hour (one way) to get somewhere. Beach days are an all-day affair because it's a 30-45 minute drive each way for some (which is a really long time to drive) =)

The road to Hana is a long day. It took me a few trips to Maui before I actually buckled down and did it.

I advocate for doing Haleakala at sunset instead of sunrise. You don't need a reservation, you know the weather ahead of time, you can get their earlier and walk around and it's not frigid, and the only difference between sunrise and sunset to the layperson is that you look in the opposite direction =)
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peterinjapan
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by peterinjapan »

I *loved* Hawaii. The sprawl of Waikiki was not good, though my wife (being Japanese) loves it. I had more fun driving around Oahu in our rented jeep, up to North Short and back down again. Big Island was also fun, though we specifically prepared for visiting the top of Mauna Kea, which is hard to do yourself. (You have to rent a special 4x4 car.) We loved Big Island, everything was so big and fresh there.
noco-hawkeye
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by noco-hawkeye »

3504PIR wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:44 pm
hoops777 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:43 am Go to Maui and call it a day.
Amen.
I agree with this. This helps keep the crowds away from Kauai. :oops:

Maui is a decent starting place, and for most people maybe even the best choice. My heart belongs in Kauai, however.
johnnyc321
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by johnnyc321 »

You need a Jeep at any of the islands. If you go to the Big Island, drive all the way to the top of Mauna Kea. Just be aware of altitude sickness that will make you very tired.
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by squirm »

We visit both islands all the time. Maui is better hands down. We go in the water every day. You can't go wrong with those Maui beaches.
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dumbbunny
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by dumbbunny »

Go to Kihei on Maui.
A lot of activities - check TripAdvisor.com
Go to Costco after landing and get your supplies and gas.
Coconut's Fish Cafe is a must.

Kona the Big Island. Laid back. Again, check TripAdvisor.com
Go to Costco after landing and get your supplies and gas.
Poke Shack is a must.
“It’s the curse of old men to realize that in the end we control nothing." "Homeland" episode, "Gerontion"
GCD
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by GCD »

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Cunobelinus
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Cunobelinus »

johnnyc321 wrote: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:03 pm You need a Jeep at any of the islands. If you go to the Big Island, drive all the way to the top of Mauna Kea. Just be aware of altitude sickness that will make you very tired.
I disagree.

You need a driver and a vehicle that can handle unpaved, pebbly roads with a decent (5-9%?) grade with switchbacks.. on Mauna Kea. 4-wheel drive is recommended. I've done it in "all wheel drive" in a Rogue.

You need a driver and a vehicle that can handle driving in sand, heavily pot-holed dirt roads, or rocky "trails" through lava fields.. if you're really itching to try to find really niche places.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself why you need a really rugged vehicle to tear up the land where roads don't exist. Roads tend to limit the damage to the landscape... which is probably why you're in the area to begin with.

The driver is at least as important as the vehicle, though many people each year don't appreciate that and have accidents while hoping that a vehicle can make up for inexperience, poor judgement, and/or poor driving skills.

And yeah, altitude has different effects on people. I get headaches and feel buzzed, not tired. Certainly adds to the thrill of driving past the visitor station at Mauna Kea.
Cunobelinus
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Cunobelinus »

GCD wrote: Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:25 pm I've only been to Maui. Snorkeling was great. Make sure you enter the water even if you aren't a big swimmer. Salt water is very buoyant and very non-tiring to be in.
Be advised that the ocean surrounding the islands is far more dangerous that surrounding the mainland. You don't typically see waves >15feet on the mainland. Even a 5foot wave in the islands can be a really bad day, especially if it's a shorebreak (see Sandy Beach on Oahu: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Beach,_Hawaii)

But there are certainly beaches that have little to no waves, where the biggest threat to you is the sunburn.
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Cunobelinus »

Hoosier CPA wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:06 am Thinking about a trip to Hawaii next Fall for our 15 anniversary. I know nothing about Hawaii except that my wife would love to go there. Wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a starting point for planning this trip.
Hawaii island (Big Island)* has the most rugged feel to it, but you'll spend a bit of time driving around.
Maui seems to be the most resort-friendly.
Oahu has a mix of all of the other islands, plus a little metropolis and Waikiki if expensive shopping is something you enjoy.
Kauai is real laid back and slow, seems to have fewer resorts and more private rentals.

There's lots of outdoor things to do on any of the islands. Kona (Hawaii island) has some of the best diving. Hiking is pretty good on Maui, Oahu, and Kauai.

Don't expect to conduct a day-trip to any of the islands. Try to spend at least a few days on an island before moving on. Or just choose one island and be satisficed!

*just like the term "outer islands" has been mostly replaced by "neighbor islands", so too shall "Big Island" be replaced by "Hawaii Island", though perhaps not in my lifetime.
Reubin
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Reubin »

Be careful of sunburn. Especially when snorkeling or in the water. On my last day there I thought that my skin was ready for full sun without sunscreen and it was by far the worst sunburn of my life. Call it sun poisoning. Was dreadful.
Cunobelinus
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Cunobelinus »

Reubin wrote: Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:12 am Be careful of sunburn. Especially when snorkeling or in the water. On my last day there I thought that my skin was ready for full sun without sunscreen and it was by far the worst sunburn of my life. Call it sun poisoning. Was dreadful.
No joke.

You won't be ready for the Hawaiian sun between 11am-1pm or so without sun protection. Ever.
A melanin-advantaged friend of mine from Florida hadn't ever worn sunscreen. Then she came to Hawaii and got burnt for the first time in her life while surfing.
HIinvestor
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by HIinvestor »

Sunscreen of 50 or higher is strongly advised, as is avoiding being in the sun between 10-4 (per dermatologist). If you do want to be out in Sun, consider wearing Sun protective clothing—rash guards when in the water (about $20 at WalMart, Sam’s and Costco). Nylon Sun protective clothes thing is also widely available. Hats and polarized UVA/UVB protective of sunglasses as also a good idea.
Mr.BB
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by Mr.BB »

This is what I wrote from a different post about Hawaii
Here are some of my own titbits for your trip.
Maui:
Kaanaapali...a few degrees cooler and usually winder than down in Wailea.
If you do the road to Hana (make sure no one has vertigo!), make sure you don't have an oversize car. The roads are beautiful, but small and curvey.
Bring your Costco card (if you have one). After you get your rental car, Costco is not far away (also a great place/cheapest to fill up before returning it to the airport). You can get some snacks to have or some booze and keep it in your hotel room.
There is a great sub sandwich shop in downtown Lahania Mr. Sub Sandwiches (129 Lahainaluna Rd )...if you are heading to the beach this is a great place to get some sandwiches.
Miso Phat has the best sushi***
Around 4-5pm at Blackrock beach there is a family of large turtles that always come by...great to get close too..but don't touch!
Great restaurants all around the island
Mamas fish house is probably one of the most expensive...but you have to respect the menu that tells you where your fish was caught and the name of the fisherman!

Oahu
Wakikai beach is great,but does get crowded.
Hanauma Bay is a great place to snorkel, but you have to get there early, they have limited parking.

Kauai
Great for hiking!
Kauai is what Maui was 30 years ago...everything closes up pretty early there.

Big Island
If you like exploring and outdoor activities, this place is great. Hike the volcanos, snorkel at Capt Cook Cove, just plan on doing a lot of driving!
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
bumblebh
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by bumblebh »

I visited Hawaii Sept 2016 with my significant other, it was the result of planning for over one year. I bought a book that helped me decide which islands I wanted to go to based on our interests. I knew I wanted to see a volcano, so we went to the Big Island. It was a very unique experience, a bit scary walking over hot lava fields honestly. And we also wanted to go to beaches and do some hiking, so Kauai was the other island we visited. I would absolutely go to Kauai again, it was gorgeous and amazing. Wish I had 2 weeks in Hawaii and not just one week. We stayed in condos rented through VRBO rather than hotels and that was more cost efficient and roomy. Tripadvisor is always a good source of info for trip planning as well.
johan_s
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by johan_s »

Just got back from two weeks in Maui. We decided to just do one island and move around every couple of nights.

Great beaches in Ka’anapali; stayed in Lahaina to save a bit of money. Splurged and stayed at the Wailea Beach Resort for a few nights, which was my favorite resort. Road to Hana was great; we spent three nights in Hana. It’s a great contrast to the west/south resorts.

Agree that the snorkeling at Molokini was kind of disappointing. It was better at Makena Beach and Turtle Town.

One of the greatest parts of our trip. You can reserve a cabin in Haleakala National Park in the backcountry. You have to do it six months in advance. We hiked in from the summit down to Kapaloa Cabin (6 miles). There is a propane stove and padded bunks for up to 12 people. Just packed in warm clothes, sleeping bag, and food/water. Stayed the night, then hiked out through Holua to get back to our car (8 miles). The stars from the crater at night are amazing!!
giesen5
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by giesen5 »

Any suggestions on helicopter tour companies on the Big Island? Heading there in July, of course want to see the active lava flows.
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by MotoTrojan »

woof755 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:38 am viewtopic.php?t=192782

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=229597

Couple other threads. Oahu has the big city feel but also has nice resorts in North Shore (lots to do, no bright lights) (see Turtle Bay)

Big Island has an active volcano, and an amazing (!!!) park with waterfalls. Akaka falls and Volcano National Park

Maui has two main features: Haleakala sunrise and the Road to Hana. Haleakala you could drive to, but it is tough--lots of switchbacks. Road to Hana I highly recommend buying a seat on a small tour bus. Haleakala is majestic. see the sun rise over a crater at 10,000 feet. Dress warm and revel in earth's beauty. Road to Hana is an all day tour, lots of riding, but the scenery is amazing

Kauai has the beautiful Na Pali coast. Much less developed, quiet atmosphere.

The Hawaiian islands have whatever it is you want, you just gotta pick the right experience.
Hawaiian Airlines has flights to and from every island almost every hour, so if you want to see two islands, go for it.
A trip split between the north shore of Oahu (Turtle Bay is fantastic) and Waikiki would be my vote.

I’d start in Waikiki. Lots of shopping (people watching) and busling beaches. Good food, lots of energy. Then head up north for some relaxation and nice remote beaches.

Oahu has nice weather. Kauai is stunning but often rainy.
dowse
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Re: Trip to Hawaii - what do I need to know

Post by dowse »

giesen5 wrote: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:15 pm Any suggestions on helicopter tour companies on the Big Island? Heading there in July, of course want to see the active lava flows.
I would highly recommend Blue Hawaiian. Not sure how close they can get to the lava flows right now. Not sure if they are still doing DVD's, but in 2010, they would record a video of your flight and provide you with a DVD copy. I'm sure today they still use DVDs or some other common media. Their main base is at Waikoloa, along the Kohala Coast. I think you can also take them out of Hilo.
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