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Can't make it to Caribbean. Is Maui a comparable alternative?


Jul 22nd, 2012, 08:03 PM
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Can't make it to Caribbean. Is Maui a comparable alternative?


I have enough miles in my mileage plan to either travel to Caribbean or to Maui. We originally wanted to go to Birtish Virgin Islands and/or USVI but could not find any seats in mileage space until next year. So we can either wait till next year or not use the miles and instead purchase the tickets that would cost us more than $2000. Or we could just go to Maui now for free (using miles).

We have never been to Maui or Caribbean. We are a family of four. Our goal is simply to experience a relaxing vacation by the beach, you know, the idyllic image of clear blue water, sand and palms. If you have been the two destinations mentioned above, I would appreciate if you could share your experience and help me decide whether we should wait another year or plunk down a couple of grands for USVI/BVI or start packing our bags for Maui.

qzseattle is offline  
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 08:08 PM
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I much prefer the Hawaiian Isles to the Carribean - as much less humidity.

You can find everything you want in Maui.
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 09:26 PM
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When we cruised to the Caribbean several years ago, we were very put off by all the pushy vendors that hassle you.

Yes, the beaches were nice but we have been to Maui a half dozen times and never tire of it. We are returning in October and can't wait to see the beautiful water, beaches and mountains!
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 07:50 AM
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I much prefer Maui to the Caribbean.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 09:12 AM
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There is just as much humidity in Hawaii as there is in the Caribbean. I know because I've LIVED in both but in Hawaii you have the tradewinds which mitigates the dampness a good deal.

I would recommend anywhere in Hawaii over a lot of the Caribbean islands and for a variety of reasons to include the prices in some cases (although you are NOT going to get the duty-free shopping anywhere in Hawaii you would get on St. Thomas, believe me).

The beaches in Hawaii are much better especially if you like beaches with decent surf and within Hawaii itself there are vast differences in beaches.

Then there's the so-called "free" aspect of your miles which, of course, you have definitely paid for in one way or another.

I would still go to Hawaii.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 09:33 AM
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Have been to Hawaii several times. Went to St Martin once and did not like it. One reason is that the beach at our resort was devoid of fish. When we snorkeled there, we shared the water with spear fishermen. Hmmm. Not fun. We also did not like the lack of service attitude by waitstaff there. Could have been because tips are automatically written into your bill.

Go to one of the Hawaiian islands. We like Hawaii and Kauai best.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 09:43 AM
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While I'd take Maui over most Caribbean destinations, there are tradeoffs. As nice as some of the bays are on Maui, the water isnt that 'idyllic clear blue' nor is the sand as white as you will find in the Caribbean.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 09:43 AM
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I've been to Hawaii many times and to the Caribbean several times (including on cruises, so we've been to a lot of the islands). I love Hawaii and keep returning, but partly that's because it's simple to get to from the west coast. I like some of the Caribbean islands and not others. For example, I also didn't like St. Maarten much -- the beaches aren't nearly as nice as those in Hawaii -- although I did like Phillipsburg.

That all said, the beaches in the Virgin Islands are some of the best and most beautiful I've ever seen (Maagen's Bay on St. Thomas, Trunk Bay on St. John).

I'd go to Maui -- I just don't see how that can be a bad choice!
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 10:45 AM
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Maui is WAY better... especially if you are already on the West Coast.... the extra travel from Seattle to the Caribbean alone makes it a less attractive choice...
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 10:48 AM
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Do I understand that you can use your miles next year -- not expiring? (If so, that's not really part of the equation.)

We used to do Christmas vacations in the Caribbean -- cruises, staying on a couple islands, sometimes on St. Thomas - St. John. We went because we wanted to be WARM at that time of year!

Since 'discovering' Hawaii we have not returned to the Caribbean. (Also our DS grew up on us, so we were not limited to the span of his school holiday.) We've stayed on all four major islands in Hawaii for two to four weeks, many times. Now we stay Maui Jan. - Feb.

Where are you flying from? How long can you stay? What time of year will you travel? (Lodging will probably cost about the same, but food may be more in Hawaii.)

If you want sugar sand and turquoise water -- period -- that's the Caribbean. If you want historic sights, hula, Aloha, larger islands with astounding scenery, volcanoes -- a tropical paradise that happens to be a State...that's Hawaii.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 10:51 AM
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We prefer Maui to the Caribbean, but the water won't be as crystal clear as what you see in the Carib. Still very beautiful though, and there's a lot more to do on Maui. We've been to both the BVIs and USVIs, and I'd take Maui over those.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 11:37 AM
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I prefer Hawaii generally speaking. I've been to the USVIs, Dominican Republic and Jamaica (6 trips total). I've been to Oahu and Maui (5 trips so far).

Hawaii has everything you describe... and then some!
suze is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 01:29 PM
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We've had some funny experiences in the Carib. It seems like most things don't operate on time because of the laid back vibe. We pre-booked a cab to come at 8:30, and it came about 20 minutes late. We booked a ferry, and they decided they didn't feel like running at that time so told us just to come back later, etc. I find it easier to operate in Hawaii.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 02:07 PM
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Definitely Maui!! It's my favorite island! I've been to all the Hawaiian Islands, and I've also travelled to the Caribbean. Although individual beaches in the Carribean are beautiful, there is nothing else like Hawaii. The Aloha spirit, the food, and the beauty of the islands are amazing. There is also no customs/immigration to go through which is a huge pain that I try to avoid. We used to go to the Caribbean every year but are put off by long custom lines, and aggressive hard sells by local tours and vendors. Since our first trip to Maui in 2009 we just save our vacation days for Hawaii!
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 08:56 PM
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Definitely prefer the Caribbean over Maui. But that's primarily because we choose smaller boutiquey resorts in lesser developed islands than what we have generally been able to find in Maui (unless you are in Hana). If you have free travel to hawaii i though I would go there. You can definitely have a great vacation there. If it were me,though, I would personally choose Kauai over Maui. Just my preference because Kauai seems less developed/ touristy to me then Maui.

I'm sure there will someone who disagrees but that's been my experience over the years and quite a few visits to both the Caribbean and hawaii.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 01:37 AM
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I have lived in the Bahamas, visited multiple islands including Cuba, USVI, Jamaica, St Maarten, Anguilla, Guadeloupe.... Have visited Hawaii on various islands 6-7 times. Last Oahu for a week in May. I find that they are different travel destinations. Weather is more dependable in Hawaii as you have to take into consideration Hurricane season for the Caribbean as well as jellyfish season. Scuba and snorkeling better in most of the Caribbean. Beaches are good in both locations although the best are probably in the Caribbean. I find the food to be better in Hawaii, and the people in Hawaii are IMHO much nicer without a lot of the aggressive hawkers you tend to find in the Caribbean. I find Hawaii to be more relaxing. Go to Hawaii and do the Caribbean on another trip.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 06:55 AM
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oh I think pretty much everyone would agree that Kauai "seems less developed/touristy" than Maui. But Maui is also a spectacular island, just certain areas have more tourist development than others.

It's hard to put into words but Hawaii just has an entirely different feel to it than Caribbean islands from my point of view.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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I'd suggest you rent a condo or house or apartment in Hawaii, where your family can have their own bedrooms, and you have a living room and kitchen. there's nothing, IMO, like eating a nice dinner on your own lanai looking at the ocean (and not paying a fortune for it). We do rent oceanfront properties and we do pay a premium for it, but it's our great splurge.

Those trade winds are what make Hawaii climate so lovely, by the way.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 01:19 PM
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Oh another thing to mention is that the sand on Maui beaches is more golden. There are also black sand beaches and red sand beaches. The beaches on the caribbean are more "white sand" from my experience. Has anyone else seen a white sand beach on Hawaii? The closest I've seen is Lanikai on Oahu, and it's gorgeous. Either way both places are beautiful,but I definitely give the edge to Hawaii.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 04:00 PM
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I go to the Caribbean frequently to scuba dive, and Hawaii every other year once I save up enough points to fly for free from the east coast. I love both for different reasons. The reefs are more lush and colorful for diving on some Caribbean islands and the sand is whiter. On the flip side, I find most of the Caribbean islands I've been to much more buggy, more challenging to navigate, and more of an adventure (but we go off the beaten path and rent houses.) If you go to the Caribbean in the summer it can be very hot and muggy, and if you get a wind reversal it can be oppressive.

Maui is a fabulous place for a family beach vacation. As my friend said after taking her kids- it's the tropics, but it's America too! You can go to Safeway for groceries in comfort, but also find lots of awesome local food, Japanese products, Hawaiian prepared foods, etc, right next the familiar products (unlike some Caribbean islands where if the boat hasn't arrived, you have to make do for groceries.) Amazing farmers markets, local produce, fresh fish, and great Asian and local cuisine. Great lodging options, Hawaiian culture, great music, clean, balmy breezes, perfect!

Maui beaches are more golden sand than white, but the water is gorgeous, the palm trees and flowers are lovely everywhere, and the finger reefs, while not as colorful as Caribbean reefs provide very easy snorkeling for kids and beginners with lots of colorful fish and many turtles right off shore- no long swim out to snorkel over a reef that is 30 ft down- the turtles and bright fish are right beside you just a short swim from shore.

For a scuba adventure, we head to the Caribbean (Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica) but to really relax and decompress, just enjoying every moment, hanging on the beach, taking stunning hikes, and seeking out local music and food, we love Hawaii.
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