12 days in Hawaii - how many islands?

Sep 13th, 1999, 07:49 AM
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12 days in Hawaii - how many islands?

We are going to be in Hawaii for 12 days (11 nights). We fly in/out of Oahu and are thinking of staying there for 2-3 days and then Maui. We're also considering going to Kauai for a couple of days. Is this too much to do in 12 days? We like to explore, hike, and scuba/snorkel and want to make the most out of this trip.
Also, any thoughts on if we should stay in a couple of different locations on Maui to experience the different areas?
Sep 13th, 1999, 08:50 AM
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depends on what you like. We spent one night on Oahu and thought is one night too much. This island is more built up and more crowded than the others. We spent the rest of our time between Maui and Kauai. Kauai is the more secluded of those two islands and is supposed to have great hiking in the canyon (we drove past, but did not hike). On kauai, a good road trip is the drive to the north side of the island (where the princeville is). On maui, try the road to hahna. At either island, stop in at the chain of snorkel shops (Maui Jim, or something like that). As to moving around on Maui, it depends on how you like to travel. Some of us prefer to pack/unpack only once.
Sep 13th, 1999, 09:14 AM
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I agree with the early post, skip Oahu and go straight to another Island. You will find that island-hopping can consume the better part of a day, after you add packing/unpacking, check out - check in, and car rental - return, arrival and departure at the airport, as well as the travel time itself. Also, most accomodations will not guarantee check in until mid afternoon.

Enjoy the Island pace and RELAX. I suggest you skip Oahu, and visit 2 other Islands. Spend the extra time on excursions such as the Napili Coast, or on Haleakala. Don't bother to change locations on Maui, you can do just as well by planning a day visit for a vacation of 12 days.
Sep 13th, 1999, 01:23 PM
Steve Kamenetsky
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We just got back from Hawaii and did 3 islands in 10 days. It was an aggressive schedule but one that I'm glad we did since we wanted to see a lot. We spent 3 days in Oahu, Maui, and 4 days in the Big Island. I recommend taking the Circle Island Tour in Oahu, and also spending a full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu. Drive the road to Hana in Maui to see spectacular scenery. Go to the National Volcano Park in the Big Island. We had a great time and would love to return one day.
Sep 13th, 1999, 03:26 PM
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Hi JC,

With 12 nights there, you actually have eleven full days to plan things. I would not do three islands in that amount of time. We've been four times, and are planning our fifth trip next year. When you change hotels/islands, it eats up so much of a day. I would spend eight days on either Maui or Kauai, both small enough to do day trips from one hotel, then three days in Waikiki on my way back home.

That way, you could relax and really get to know your first island, then do the historical sights in Honolulu - Pearl Harbor, Mighty Mo, Punchbowl Cemetery, The Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace, Mission Houses Museum; plus take a car or a tour another day to see the beautiful scenery outside Waikiki, toward the end of your trip when you're more rested. If I went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, I would not spend 12 hours there, as some of the tours have you do. I would go just for a quick look at the villages, attend the luau and the evening show, which is spectacular. But if you're going to Maui, I'd do the Old Lahaina Luau there, and skip the Polynesian Cultural Center completely. I think it's gotten way too touristy, although I think children will have fun there, if that's a consideration.

Please don't dismiss Oahu before you have seen it and all it has to offer. It's true that Waikiki can be crowded, but it's still a wonderful, vibrant, clean, exotic city with the fabulous Waikiki Beach right there. It is quieter and less crowded down toward Diamond Head, if that's what you want. But when you walk down that beach at sunset, with the lights coming on in all the hotels, and hear the music playing in the outdoor bars, feel the tradewinds blowing, there's nothing like it! There's a reason why it's one of the most desirable resorts in the world! The only time I'd avoid it is the Christmas thru New Year's weeks, and maybe the month of June thru July 4th week or so, when you will have the most children out of school. At that time, I go to outer islands.

Having said all that, I'm sure that you'll have a wonderful time, whatever you do. If you're flying from the East Coast, do heed advice about not planning too much! Else you can come back in need of another vacation. If I can help with any recommendations, please contact me!

Aloha, Ruth
Sep 13th, 1999, 04:00 PM
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My advise would be not to overdo it. Wwe've been to the islands about 14 times and enjoy relaxing, but I can understand if you are coming a long distance you want to do the maximum, however nothing is too enjoyable if you are rushing about catching planes every few days. Inter-island travel is time consuming, you will find it eats up a good part of the day simply because you have to return a rental car, fly, get another rental car, drive to hotel, etc. Before you know it hours have gone by -- hrs. you could be doing something fun! If this is your first visit I would not skip Oahu - it's fun if you take it for what it is, lots of hotels, shopping, etc. You can also rent a car and take a nice ride around the island too - the "other side" is lovely. Waikiki can be fun too, it's certainly lively. A trip to to Diamond Head is worthwhile too, but whether or not you do Oahu is up to you.

Maui is our favorite island and probably has the most to do. I would not stay in two different locations tho, unless you enjoy checking in and out of hotels! Do take the time to do Mt. Haleakla and Hana. Hana is definately an all day trip. There is plenty to do on Maui to take up a good part of the 11 days believe me. Kauai is lovely as well, and the Big Island is not called big for nothing - it takes time to drive to the Volcano, and other places. Really 11 nights will not give you enough time to "see everything", and relax too. Three island would be pushing it I think. Pick the two that interest you the most and go for it -- Hawaii is a fantastic vacation place, you will want to return (again and again!)
Sep 14th, 1999, 12:00 AM
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Agree with poster Ruth above. DO NOT skip Oahu at all!! The scenery is absolutely SPECTACULAR on that island, much more so than on the other islands, in my opinion! And don't miss Hanauma Bay on that island -- very crowded but a FANTASTIC place to visit!
Sep 14th, 1999, 07:15 AM
MJ Eraci
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I just got back from Maui aboutmonth ago and it is great. I would suggest doing the Road to Hana, helicoptor tour etc. I know there is some great hiking etc but I had a broken foot. Also, the evening sail on the America II was fantastic.

Some great place to eat are the Hula Grill in Whalers Village and Spatz in the Marriott. HAVE FUN
Sep 16th, 1999, 12:11 PM
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Hi- We've been to Hawaii twice, first to Kauai for 6 nights and second to Maui for 9 nights. We are hikers and snorkelers and really like to "see" the islands, everything possible. WE found that the time we had on each island was not enough and we almost cried that we had to leave. Next we are going for 11 nights and probably going to spend all of it on the Big Island because it is so large. We've never visited Oahu even though we always go through there -- not sure if that's a mistake. I think if you do Oahu do it at the beginning so you can end your trip in the Heaven of Maui or Kauai. Kauai is smaller so you can "do" it in less time, but you won't want to, beleve me! But I think if you want to do 2 islands, do 5 nights in Kauai and 6 nights in Maui. In Kauai I liked to stay just north of the airport so you are in the middle and can easily tour north and south of the island from there. Definitely do not miss the Na Pali trail hike to the 400 foot waterfall (all day hike). Our favorite. Also do not miss Waimea Canyon (at least drive up to the lookout). Also take the boat from the north shore to see the cliffs from the water (they are amazing) or do the helicopter tour if you can afford it.
In Maui I highly recommend at least 1-2 nights in Hana becaust it's a long drive from the resorts on the other side, especially if you want to make stops on the way (and you should). Hana is paradise and there's a great hike up from "seven pools" there to the waterfall which you probably can't do on a daytrip.
Also definitely hike down in the Haleakala crater. Do the molokini snorkel tour in the morning not on a weekend (less crowds.
But you could easily spend all your time on one island alone. Or just do 2-3 nights in Oahu and spend the last 8-9 nights on one island. Don't do three. You'll go back, trust me. It's irresistable.
Sep 17th, 1999, 09:54 AM
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just want to add my wholehearted agreement with Ruth, Mike, et al who say Oahu is a do-not miss place--so much more than "just" Waikiki--which is as Ruth describes it. Drive over the Pali Highway and stop at Pali Lookout, continue on to Kailua and Lanikai, see the fascinating historic sites in Oahu (if you like small history museums, try the Hawaii Maritime Museum nr. Aloha Tower and the wondeful open-air-verandah shopping "mall" there Then, see one more island. Agree, any more than 2 is too much. I'd "vote" for Kauai over Maui, but it's all so personal. Aloha and happy trails
Sep 17th, 1999, 11:50 AM
dan woodlief
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In 14 days we spent 4 nights on Oahu, 3 on Kauai, 3 on Maui, and 4 on Maui. We did and saw a lot, believe me. In fact, we managed to circle every island except Oahu and saw most major sites. If you want an aggressive schedule of siteseeing, you can easily do it. If you want to mix in several very relaxing days, then concentrate on two islands. My own recommendation is 2 days for Oahu (drive around to some of the beaches and see Pearl Harbor), 4 days for Kauai, and 5 for Maui. However, you could also just stay on Oahu for a day and take a guided half-day tour of the Honolulu area and add the other day for Kauai.
Sep 17th, 1999, 02:15 PM
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Just thought I would follow up on an my 1st post and the reactions to my advice to skip Oahu. As I told JC up front, it depends on what you like. On vacation, we enjoy really getting away from it all. This is more easy to do on Kauai and Maui. Also, the moving about (either from island to island or from location to location on an island) just decreases the time you have to do other things. Its up to you--a mile wide or an inch deep. As to the suggestion to do Oahu on a day--how about this: get an early flight into oahu on your last day and the last possible flight out. take a cab and see pearl harbor, which is very close to the airport (or anyplace else time permits). We saw pearl harbor like this, although we never made it to the Arizona Memorial, as I was on crutches from a lava rock accident--but that's another story (wear SHOES on the beach!!!!!).

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