BI or Kauai for our second trip to Hawaii?

Dec 16th, 2008, 08:44 PM
  #1  
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BI or Kauai for our second trip to Hawaii?

Hi All,

I'm planning a 5-day getaway around Valentine's Day/President's Day. This will be our second trip together to Hawaii. (Our first was four years ago for my brother's wedding...we stayed in Wailea at the Kea Lani.)

I'm trying to decide between Kauai and the BI for our second foray. At first I was leaning towards Kauai (and potentially staying at the Grand Hyatt/Poipu). But now I'm leaning towards the BI and trying out the just renovated Mauna Kea after reading about its wonderful beach.

Since this is a shorter trip (flight's not too bad for us since we're coming from LA), my aim isn't necessarily to try to see and do everything there is to do on either of the islands. BF and I are in our early-mid 30s and are very active, but my ideal would be a vacation with equal parts adventure (diving, volcano seeing (BI), kayaking, etc.) and chillaxin'.

Would love to hear the POV of some Hawaii veterans on the forum! Also, I'd read some about the VOG in BI...don't know if people think that should be a factor or not.

Thanks!!
TravelDiva is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 01:24 AM
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Like many travel destination, Hawaii has attractive hotel rates right now if you can find a reasonable flight. Kauai and the Big Island have very different vibes. Kauai is a much older island geologically, and so you'll see lots of lush green valleys and waterfalls. Think enchanted forest. If you like kayaking, Kauai's Na Pali Coast is terrific. The Big Island is the youngest (and still growing) island in the chain. While there are rain forests, there's also lots of stark black lava fields which can be amazing in their own right. Think walking on the moon. The Volcanoes National Park has hiking trails and is one of the few places you can see an active lava flow. Regarding VOG, unless you have respiratory issues, it shouldn't be a problem. It looks like LA smog and is only around if there are no trade winds that day. Hope that helps. Aloha!
bradinhawaii is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 05:10 AM
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What a delightful dilemma...choosing between these two great properties. I've stayed at both and would give the edge to the Mauna Kea on the Big Island.
I was there shortly before the earthquake, and even pre-renovation it was a very special place. So serene, and a vintage luxury feel that is very unique and hard to describe. The beach is, indeed, wonderful. And you can take a free shuttle between Mauna Kea and the sister hotel Hapuna Prince if you want to try out another great beach.
I like that whole end of the island:
Waimea, Hawi, etc. And it is far enough north that vog is usually not a problem.
Barbara5353 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 11:14 AM
  #4  
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Thanks for your responses! Would 5 days in BI be enough to do it justice? Since it's so...big, I'd rather not be spending a lot of time in the car.

Assuming 3 of those 5 days will be spent on the beach, what would the top 2 or 3 "must-do" activities be in your opinion? VNP and Akaka Falls?

Or would a 5-day trip be better spent in Kauai?

Decisions, decisions...
TravelDiva is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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>> Since it's so...big, I'd rather not be spending a lot of time in the car.

I would not recommend the BI. I just returned from my 2nd visit to the BI. The island is huge. We stayed in Waikoloa which is only about half the distance from Kailua-Kona to where you would be staying. The drive is through very stark scenery - lots of lava rock with a very lunar landscape.

It would take you 40 minutes just to get to Kailua-Kona. From there, it's another 75 mi to the volcano on a 2-lane road where the mph is sometimes only 35.

You can't help but spend a lot of time in the car on the BI...unless your priority is to stay at or very near the resort. But if you do that, then you miss out on a lot of the diversity the BI has to offer.

Just my two cents.
beanweb24 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 01:41 PM
  #6  
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I called to check on flights/confirmed upgrades and it looks like for Kauai, our trip would actually now be 6 days instead of 5.

Would 6 days be enough to BI justice?
TravelDiva is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 02:19 PM
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The only way to have a successful 5 or 6 day trip to the Big Island is to decide before going that you will not try to see and do everything the island has to offer.
Otherwise you WILL be spending all your time in the car. For instance, I would not go to the volcano. It is just too far from the Kohala coast. The sulfur smell and noxious fumes are very hard on the eyes and throat anyway. A better (IMO) and closer day trip would be to the Waipio Valley.
Another nice day trip would be a loop to Hawi and Kapa'au..taking the coast route one way and down through Waimea the other. I love the views across the green fields, to the dramatic sight of the blue ocean against the black lava rim. A visit to the Parker Ranch houses is also enjoyable. Save Kailua-Kona, VNP, and the Hilo area for another trip. If you think you must glimpse the flowing lava and waterfalls, consider a helicopter tour. The big attraction for your Big Island trip would be the Mauna Kea itself, and the beautiful North Kohala beaches. Stay... and enjoy what you came for.
Barbara5353 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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Not to hijack, but if staying on Kauai for 3 nights what area is best? Princeville looks lovely. Is that too far from the airport for an early am flight?
LynnieD is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 04:37 PM
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My favorite 2 islands. Since you only have 5 days, I'd recommend Kauai. I'd recommend 7 days for the BI. Enjoy!
SiteC_er is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 04:45 PM
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Just received my complimentary Fodor's 2nd edition guide for the Big Island -- and I am quite impressed with it. It has a great combo of maps, good selection of suggested activities and even traveller's comments. I happened to be quoted twice. So check it out and then decide.
Miss_Maple is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 06:05 PM
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If you can swing it, I'd do Mauna Kea Hotel on TBI.

I was recently at Hapuna and it was lovely. Barbara5353 is not giving you accurate information, I feel. I never ever smelt sulfur or stinging smoke. It was overcast one morning.

On Kauai, Princeville is way too far for an am flight. I would never try an am flight from there. Kauai is lovely, but it really feels like a very small place to me. The Hyatt is a big hotel with a bad beach and a pool system to compensate. Until the renovation of the former Princeville Hotel is finished, I wouldn't chose Kauai.
Marginal is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 07:08 PM
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Marginal,
Just to clarify, I agree, and stated in earlier post, that Kohala is far enough north that vog is not usually a problem at Mauna Kea or Hapuna. The problems I cited were regarding a visit to the volcano area itself, where noxious air is quite common. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. Like you, I hope TravelDiva opts for Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Very special place, and the photos of new decor look stunning. (That said, certainly Kauai is nice, too. In fact, I'm headed there in April.)
Barbara5353 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 09:11 PM
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The vog was pretty heavy when we were in Waikoloa over Thanksgiving and did extend as far north as Hapuna. Not usual, probably, but it does happen and it's hard to predict.

I still think with the OPs original requests - diving, kayaking, hiking...without long drives...that they would be better off in Kauai. Hiking would be possible near to Mauna Kea - but isn't kayaking and diving at Kailua-Kona at the closest (40 minute drive)? Maybe I'm wrong...
beanweb24 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2008, 09:17 PM
  #14  
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Thanks again for all the input all! In the final analysis, we decided to go for the BI. I actually figured what the heck and attempted to change our flight home so we could extend our trip to a whole week, but it wouldn't work (no confirmed upgrade available).

So we're booked at the Mauna Kea for 5 nights (got an awesome 24-hour sale rate...only $250/night on hotels.com) and then we spend our 6th night in the Mauna Loa suite at Volcano Village Lodge.

I can hardly wait...now that I have the logistics and basecamp question settled, I can focus on the fun part of planning our trip...what to do, where to eat, etc.!
TravelDiva is offline  
Dec 18th, 2008, 05:08 AM
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Oh, please post your thoughts about the Mauna Kea when you return. I am seriously thinking of hopping over to the Big Island for a one night splurge when I am on Kauai in April.
Barbara5353 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2008, 06:24 AM
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How did you find out about the 24 hour sale? I would love to book something similar...
shothyme77 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2008, 07:00 AM
  #17  
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Not to worry, I will not only post a trip report...I always take extensive photos and will post a link to them here.

I was lucky enough to find out about the 24 hour sale on hotels.com because of my obsessive vacation planning... I literally was just on hotels.com every day checking rates and yesterday the same hotel I was looking at for a week was suddenly 25% cheaper! Sure enough, my room level at Mauna Kea is back up to $338/night.
TravelDiva is offline  
Dec 19th, 2008, 05:19 AM
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We were on the BI in July for 2 weeks and even though we had prepared ourselves it was much bigger than we anticipated. stayed 3 days in volcano village and the rest in kohala. lots of hiking available in volcano area but eating is limited at best. it is quite a haul to hilo for dinner. definitely go to see the lava entering the ocean at night.
on west side, the vog in kona and parts south really reduced visibility and the views but didn't bother us as far as breathing.
kohala area was always nice. it is a 30-40 minute drive to kona. there are quite a few nice restaurants in the kohala resort area however (and waimea). we did enjoy our trip to the BI but Maui remains our favorite of the islands we have visited.
oh, we rented a harley for a day which was a blast. recommended if you have a motorcycle license.
biker is offline  
Dec 19th, 2008, 08:37 PM
  #19  
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Yeah, we're definitely not going to kill ourselves to do everything. I definitely want to make sure we get ample beach relaxation time in (funny since I actually live in Hermosa Beach).

One thing I want to do for sure is watch the lava flow into the ocean at night. Where do you go for that?

BF does have his motorcycle license, so we just might have to do that!
TravelDiva is offline  
Jan 5th, 2009, 12:24 PM
  #20  
 
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Sorry for the delayed response, out of town a couple of weeks.
go to this website, has details as well as a map

http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lavaflows.htm
biker is offline  

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