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First Time to Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, other? - need some help

First Time to Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, other? - need some help

May 27th, 2008, 12:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 62
First Time to Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, other? - need some help

Hi. My husband and I are going to Hawaii for the first time this August. We are leaving our kids (aged 6,6, and 5) at home to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We only have 10 days total from Aug. 2-12 and it is unlikely we will be able to get back so we are trying to fit as much in as possible, but still relax. A bit about us. We are in our 40's and are really looking for lots of r and r. We like moderate hiking, some snorkeling, relaxing at the beach, good food, a nice place to stay, and the natural beauty that Hawaii seems to offer. We don't need a lot of night life. I have read a lot of posts that seem to indicate that we need 7 days per island. We had hoped that we would be able to do Pearl Harbor, Kauai and Maui. Is that too much? If so, which would you recommend between Maui and Kauai? I'm sure I'll have follow up questions after this, but I needed some help in getting started. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
ccb213 is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 03:38 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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You could do 3-4 days each place: Oahu 3 days, 3 days Maui, 4 days Kauai.. something like that. I was only on Kauai briefly but I did see the beautiful coastline in Kauai that everyone raves about. Kauai is very quiet and peaceful. Maui is more touristy and more things to do. Maui was still gorgeous though. We went snorkeling off the side of the road in Maui and saw all kinds of bright, beautiful fish. Many things to see. Enjoy!
krissypoo4 is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 03:42 PM
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I've not been to Kauai, but I agree about Maui. Some great snorkeling just past Kapalua.We also enjoyed staying in Haiku and spending some relazing time in Pa'ia. The protea farm in Kula is a great stop on the way up to see the crater.
Amere is offline  
May 27th, 2008, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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If you want to see Pearl Harbor and such on Oahu, I'd suggest spending a few days on Oahu and then spending the remainder of your time on one other island. If you try to hit more than two islands in 10 days you will miss alot and be cramming whatever you can into the days you are there.

With what you said you are interested in (much like us), I'd suggest Kauai. We have been to all of the major islands and Kauai is out favorite of all. It is the least commercialized island in Hawaii. There are some great beaches to snorkel and hang out on, great hikes, lots of natural beauty and some great places to eat. I can provide specific info if you decide to go to Kauai.

I would suggest getting Kauai Underground to familiarize yourself with what the island has to offer.

beth_fitz is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I would suggest doing Pearl Harbor because it is something that everyone needs to experience when going to Hawaii for the first time. Beyond that both Maui and Kauai have their strong points. In Maui there is a very beautiful beach called Kanapali Beach it is I believe one of the top rated beaches in the world. At this beach is a place called Black Rock it is one of the top places to snorkel at while vacationing on the island. Also on Maui that is another top thing to do and this is probably my very favorite is the Road to Hana. It is something to start at early but for your pleasure is one of the most beautiful drives you will ever experience. The views are something out of this world to experience. In the town of Lahaina is a park and in this park is a very large tree that takes up pretty much of the whole park. Lahaina used to be known as the whaling town in Maui so it has alot of real neat places to go to. If you are lucky enough to get a place to stay located on the west side of the island which is where Kanapali Beach is located the drive from the airport is a very gorgeous and enjoyable drive. Oh! the sunsets are beautiful to behold also. As far as for Kauai, itis very beautiful also and very picturesque but smaller than Maui. Having been to all three I would suggest you pick either Maui or Kauai and also do Oahu. A lot of the air travel routes you into Oahu and then go to one of the other islands. Hope this was a help. Congratulations on your upcoming trip. One last suggestion which is a must take a very good camera because your pictures will be just beautiful. Enjoy. As you can tell I absolutely love going to Hawaii it is my very favorite place to visit and I literally cannot wait until I go back which will be a month before you are going.
grasshut is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 01:06 PM
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For 10 days, I would chose two islands. If you are bound and determined to do Pearl Harbor, then its's Oahu + Maui/Kauai.

You won't go wrong with either choice.
Marginal is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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In 10 days you can pretty much see two islands.

Oahu + either Maui or Kauai

Lots of info including sites with free brochures for all islands:

dusty56438 is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 01:28 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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On our last trip to the islands, we did 4 days on Maui and 4 days on Kauai. As has been stated, there's more to do on Maui and Kauai is more laid back. We flew in and out of Honolulu and took inter-island flights from there. On our last day, we flew back to Honolulu early, rented a car and did Pearl Harbor, the flea market at Aloha Stadium (we got our timed tickets to Pearl Harbor,went to the flea market then retured for the tour), Waikiki, lunch in Chinatown and drove around the SE portion of the island and was back in plenty of time for our late evening flight back to the mainland. It made for a long day, but a long day in Hawaii ain't bad.
spartanap is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 05:39 PM
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Thanks to everyone for your responses - they are very helpful. Based on the feedback, I think we might try Oahu and Kauai (thinking perhaps we could get back to Maui sometime with kids). Please let me know what you think of this itinerary:

Fly into HNL
2 days in Oahu
- pearl harbor (early am)
- PCC (afternoon)- luau at night?
- Diamond Head Summitt (next day)
- fly to Kauai

Dusty - I pulled a post down from a previous thread with some great suggestions from you for Oahu so thanks!!!!

Any recommendations on places to stay in Oahu? We would like a nice hotel, but I think we are planning on staying at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai (unless you all suggest differently) and didn't think we needed to do as nice in Oahu.

5 days in Kauai
- helicopter over Ne Pali coast
- sit by the pool/beach and relax
- moderate hiking - suggestions?
- snorkeling - suggestions?

Beth_Fitz -- any insights?

Are we splitting the time right - do we need more time in Oahu? Should we skip Pearl harbor and do Maui? Any and all guidance and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.
ccb213 is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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I think three days would be good for Oahu. Be sure to go to Pearl Harbor early to get your tickets. You can spend the entire day at PCC. Diamondhead is a nice hike and hanging out at the beach in Waikiki is good too. I'd suggest checking out the Kahala Resort on Oahu. It is on the far side of Diamondhead.

For Kauai...my favorite place in the world....I'd suggest taking the waterfall heli trip with Inter Island Helicopters. The trip includes a landing at a remote waterfall that you can swim in. Lots of snokeling at Ke'e, Tunnels, Lygate and Poipu beaches. Driving to Wiamea Canyon (Grand Canyon of the Pacific) is a beautiful day trip. Great eats include Tidepools, Hanalei Dolphin, Beach House, Duke's, Gaylord's and of course Bubba's burgers and Puka Dog.

Happy 10th Anniversary.
beth_fitz is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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You ought to spend 1/2 the time on Oahu. It will take one day for PCC alone.
dusty56438 is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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We have been to all of the islands several times but I have to say that Kauai is by far our favorite. We were there for a week in 2006 and 2007. Snorkeling at Ke'e beach at the end of the road past Princeville was excellant. My wife told me the other day that standing on the cliff at the Napoli lookout (you have to walk a little to get to it) is probably the most beautiful site we have experienced in all our travels. Kayaking and then hiking to Secret Falls was loads of fun. Our 4 year old grandson walked the whole way and then we went swimming under the falls. Bring a hydrating backpack and water shoes that are comfortable to hike in. We have 2 underwater enclosures for our digital cameras that make snorkeling and other activities more memorable. You would be amazed at the sounds underwater with a digital camera taking movies. The Smith Family Luau was great.

On Oahu, the Germaines Luau is the best and half the fun is the bus ride. Snorkeling at Shark Beach (don't worry about the name) on the north shore was some of the best ever.
pompa1 is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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You picked the correct choice, Kauai is by far the best, after a couple nights in Waikiki. We stay at the Hyatt and the view of Waikiki, Diamond Head and the ocean is nice.

We always stay at the Grand Hyatt when in Kauai. Check out their Sunshine on Sale package, pay for 5 nights get the 6th one free, and includes their wonderful buffet breakfast each morning.

Skip the luau at the PCC and go to the one at the Hyatt Resort. It's in a beautiful setting next to the ocean. Inter-island helicopter with the doors off gives a great experience around the island. They leave from Port Allen, so you begin your journey sooner.
MBnancy is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 05:23 AM
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Ditto Interisland for your helicopter tour. Since Port Allen is near Waimea Canyon we combined the two to save driving that way a second trip.
panhandle is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 03:56 AM
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I would avoid helicopter ride, tons of money for a short flight and they have crashed a few times
The Napali coastal trip by catamaran is great, Kauai north shore, includes snorkeling. We did the one out of Hanelei, I'm drawing a blank on on the name of the company but its the one highly rated in the Blue Book about Kauai. You have to book ahead, they sell out. GO to the bookstore and buy the aqua colored guide to Kauai full of pictures, ideas.
We rented a condo at Pali Ke Kua from a private owner, this is in Princeville on the North shore. I'm not sure if you can have less than a full week. We loved Kauai, good choice. The North shore will take your breath away
hilda is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback - it is really appreciated and incredibly helpful.

We are rethinking our itinerary. I know we are going against conventional and well-traveled wisdom, but are we trying to cram too much in if we:

Fly into Maui and do 4 nights in Maui - (3- 3 1/2 days)
Fly to Kauai for 4 nights (4 1/2 days) - then take early flight to HNL and do Pearl Harbor before taking redeye flight out? Thanks.
ccb213 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 02:21 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Aloha! I am a little biased but have spent several years traveling the islands and in two years my husband and I will be permanently living on Maui. For a first time trip, and only 10 days, I highly recommend only 2 days on Oahu to see Pearl Harbor and a drive around the island with maybe a stop on Waikiki Beach with a lunch or dinner at Dukes. Then I would spend 5 days on Maui and 3 days on Kauai. As was said Kauai is a bit more quiet than Maui and has some georgeous scenery but for all around dining, hiking, snorkeling, a drive to Upcountry for beautiful views, Haleakala the volcano, a lavendar farm, Makawao - a wonderful small town artist's colony, and wonderful places to stay and relax - it's MAUI! If you have any more questions I will be happy to help.
mauigal is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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Do NOT miss North Shore of Kauai!!!!!
caroltis is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 10:19 AM
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You seem to want to see Kauai and Maui on this trip so doing an open jaw flight into Maui onto Kauai and out of HNL with time to see Pearl Harbor sounds fine to me!

Many people spend less time on each island than you will so even though tons of people here will advocate for a slower pace you're not overdoing it IMO. You originally mentioned a total of 10 days so if you could add one more day I would.... or two more would be even better!!
highflyer is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Since you specifically mentioned Pearl Harbor and might as well go to the Punchbowl Cemetery I would suggest Oahu first.
Drive up to Nuuanu Pali Lookout and drive the windward coast.
I guess trying to do all three in that time you may still find sometime to relax.
You also may find as we did that one way or another you will return again and again.
hulajake is offline  

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