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-   -   Hawaii - First Time - HELP! (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/hawaii-first-time-help-919428/)

jill_h Jan 25th, 2012 11:03 AM

re: National Park pass -- if you have one, take it to use at Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

succulent Jan 25th, 2012 11:35 AM

<Island hoping by air is not something DH is going to want to do :( I'm lucky to get him from the mainland to the islands! ;)>

Does that mean you are now planning to do one island? Two to three weeks on one island is usually what we do. The pace is slow and you have plenty of time to really get an in depth feel for the island. It is how we travel in general and it works well in Hawaii where the whole point is to slow down, relax and get in the aloha spirit.

islandaze Jan 25th, 2012 11:47 AM

No snarkiness intended here, but except that "it's time" and Hawaii is the only state you haven't visited, I'm wondering what interests you about traveling there.

PeaceOut Jan 25th, 2012 02:38 PM

The Big Island (Hawaii) has it all. We have been there about four times.

We have stayed at Sea Village, just below Kona, three times and have recommended it to family, who also liked it:
http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals...na/sea-village

The units are individually owned and managed, so shop around for best view and price.

It is a low-key place, with six or eight three-story buildings surrounding a garden/barbecue area, small pool overlooking the water, and tennis courts on the side. Free parking. It does not sit on a swimming beach, as its coastline is rocky. But there is a small snorkel beach very close (Disappearing Sands?)

No elevators, but we have liked being on the third floor in an oceanfront room, for the spectacular view.

Kimberly_Bamford Jan 25th, 2012 06:00 PM

Weather pretty perfect year round, but Maui has been known to be rainier/windier in December. I've been to Maui several times and it's my favorite due to snorkeling, whales in Feb/March, variety of beaches and a little acton. There are some hikes on the road to Hana( well worth staying in Hana, check out the shabby cottages in Wainapanapa State Park Fab location!) and at the volcano, but not ideal for hikers. We find places on VRBO and prefer the Kihei/Wailea area . renting a cottage this year for the second time right across road from beach w great view for $100 night .Favorite beaches/coastline in .
That being said, last year we started with a week in Kauai and it's breat-taking! It tends to be rainier, which is why it's so lush and green. Lots of hiking opportunity, refreshingly unbuilt. I would stay again at the very end of the north shore north of Hanalei. We got an apartment below a house high up in the jungle just a 1/2 ml from great beaches. (check VRBO) Hanalei town would be nice to be near too. Not as simple as we'd hoped to travel the island. Takes longer than you think so we stayed up North for the most part, but loved it! Enjoy!!!

lhenry1998 Jan 26th, 2012 06:56 AM

I would seriously recommend Lanai to you. It is a very secluded island that not a lot of people know about. It isn't busy, and is like stepping into old Hawaii. There is a famous hiking trail, and is just amazing. There are three hotels, 2 are four seasons, and one is like a 3 1/2 star old fashioned one level hotel. If you wait, the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele, can go down to $197 a night with the third night free. We stayed there and the property is gorgeous. Can't wait to go back.

Placename Jan 26th, 2012 07:30 AM

I seriously discourage you from chosing Lanai as your first time destination in Hawaii.

utahtea Jan 26th, 2012 12:54 PM

islanddaze,

We would have visited Hawaii a lot sooner if we didn't have to fly or take 5 days to cruise to get there. The issue is with flying not Hawaii. We are avid RV'ers and that has been our mode of vacationing for the last 35 years. We even drove to Alaska the first time we went. A year and a half ago we did our first cruise and we do like that. We love traveling but flying and staying in motels is not our ideal way to visit a place but we realize we are going to have to bite the bullet if we want to see Hawaii...and we really do. Our 40th Wedding Anniversary is this year so this is one of the ways we are going to celebrate it.

jill_h.

Not to worry, DH keeps his Senior National Park Pass right next to his drivers license at all times! ;) We love visiting National Parks!

succulant,

DH has been talked into flying to Hawaii and one island hop. He's not going to be talked into anything more and I won't settle for anything less. ;)

Utahtea

utahtea Jan 26th, 2012 01:30 PM

To all that recommended the vrbo rentals...that site looks awesome!

Utahtea

easytraveler Jan 26th, 2012 02:16 PM

Hi, Utahtea; can't help you much here, as my family is from there and we don't do the touristy things.

Just have to mention that the two-finger poi is as bad as the three-finger poi. Avoid both at any cost - and the Spam.

I like Tomsd's suggestions. Hawaii has very well-developed water sports. A snorkeling day-trip from Maui to Lanai or Molokai would be the way to visit those islands. There's snuba-diving, scuba-diving, windsurfing, going around in glass-bottom boats, swimming or just lazing around on teh beach. I know you're a hiker but don't forget the water sports!

Kauai is beautiful. Maui has the Haleakala Park which will be a fun thing to do. Don't go to Hana on your first trip - not worth it, especially if you have driven the California Big Sur coast.

Oahu has more than Honolulu, even if you just arrive there and spend the first couple of days there, it'll be worth it. It, too, is a beautiful island. Hike up and try and catch the sunrise at Diamondhead.

Will post more if I remember anything else the others might not have posted.

utahtea Jan 26th, 2012 04:35 PM

ARG....now I'm questioning whether or not I should do Maui or Oahu....did I mention I got a headache and couldn't sleep last night thinking about this trip!

The road to Hana was one of the reasons for doing Maui. Is it really not worth it...what if this is our ONLY trip to Hawaii? Is the road to Hana paved or not? What if we were spending 10 days on Maui?

Utahtea

edjim Jan 26th, 2012 05:48 PM

IMO, the Hana Road is very much worth it and it's a great glimpse into a different kind of Hawaii. I think you'll get just as many people who say the Hana Road was a highlight of their trip as those who didn't like the twists and turns. When you go to Hana, it's important to take it slowly and make a number of stops -- see the roadside falls and the town of Keanae, the fruit stands, the banana bread, the black sand beach. Make sure you get out of the car.

The Hana Road was paved all the way to Hana, last I checked. I believe the portion of the road which connects around to the south part of the island has a gravel stretch. However, many people turn around after visiting Hana and the Seven Pools and take the paved portion back.

Personally, I think the Hana Road is a lot of fun, with the fruit and flowered trees hanging overhead with glimpses of falls and the ocean all along the way ... but I understand that the ride is not for everyone. I think if you go early in the morning, there would be less traffic, too.

One of the reasons I like Maui, especially for first-timers, is that it has such a varied landscape -- beaches and snorkeling, a mountain and some great drives around the island.

easytraveler Jan 26th, 2012 06:30 PM

And I think the Hana is way overhyped.

There's not much of a view because the road twists and turns and you're not really getting a "vista" view most of the time. You HAVE to drive slowly, there is no other way to drive. You also HAVE to stop at times. Sometimes the water will be pouring right onto the road in a small waterfall and you have to check the road to make sure it's sturdy enough to go on and that the small waterfall hasn't washed off too much of the road. your car has to be a small car and you may not have a chance to even look at the ocean because your eyes have to be glued to the road.

I've only been on the road to Hana twice and both times I was cursing the 10,000 turns and 20,000 potholes.

Once you reach Hana, there's not much there. The Seven Pools might be dry.

Honestly, if it were my trip, I would spend the time doing something else. There are just so many beautiful places and interesting things to do in Hawaii.

However, that's just my take on it - especially in comparison to Big Sur.

Warning: Although i like to hike, I haven't hiked any of the trails before reaching Hana, so you might find those of interest and therefore worthwhile driving into Hana.

MichelleY Jan 26th, 2012 08:16 PM

I agree with easy traveler. Long and winding road to nowhere. Waste of time.

carolyn Jan 27th, 2012 04:38 PM

One of my favorite views in all of Hawaii is from the point above the Seven Pools looking out onto the rocky cliffs beside the ocean. It just speaks to me. I've been the complete circle of the road to Hana twice, once in a car and once in a van, and neither time was it scary; but then I grew up in the country a long time ago before all roads were super highways or even paved.

Tomsd Jan 27th, 2012 04:58 PM

Hey - you have received lots of good advice. While I love to do research and also - see as much as one can - only you can really determine the pace of your vacation. And once there - you can also modify whatever itinerary you have outlined, or go to plan B if it's raining, or do this along with that, whatever.

The best thing to do is try to get as much info ahead of time and even print out some of it and take it with you - and pick up the local tourist mags at the airport when you arrive.

And ask the locals also - as they are usually very friendly.

Since 77 - w2e have been all over the six main islands - many times (my wife first started going to Maui in the 50's) - and they all offer something great/beautiful/peaceful. So don't worry about doing it right or wrong but just do it!!!

And BTW: I am not a big Spam fan by any means - never eat it - but once had Spam and eggs in some little out of the way cafe - and it was great. Also like fried rice for breakfast, banana pancakes, coconut syrup, Saiman (sp) soup - even at McDonalds, picking up local treats (such as plate lunches and also love the sweet rice sushi at just about every convenience store/gas station - brown wrapper) - and oh me oh my: My wife also makes sushi when we are over there (takes the bamboo roller along) - and I sometimes try to spear a fish. Oops - forgot I am on a diet, or I could go on much more about the local treats. :)

PeaceOut Jan 27th, 2012 05:03 PM

The first time we went to Hawaii, it was to Maui. I was somewhat disappointed, as it felt to me like crowded southern Cal. rather than the tropical wonderlanf I was hoping for.

But Kauai has more that tropical, exotic feeling I wanted in Hawaii. It is small, but great for one week or less. We stayed in Poipu twice, and drove to Princeville on a day-trip.

We also went to Molokai once. Not enough there to keep us happy, but that was years ago.

We have returned to the Big Island because of its diversity, and because of its size, it doesn't feel over-crowded. It is more of a slower-paced place.

PS. We drove to Hana once, and while it is lovely, it is a long day of driving, so I suggest you spend one night on the road if you go there.

easytraveler Jan 27th, 2012 07:38 PM

Oh, Tom! Food!

Sushi!

"If you like sushi, like I like sushi, oh, oh, oh (what a gal!)" ((8))

Try Sensei. They have an early bird special and a late bird special, when the prices are discounted. Best to call and ask for the times for these. Also believe that the one at Kapalua Bay Resort is the best (Maui). Just thinking of their butterfish makes my mouth water.

http://sanseihawaii.com/


Also try some shaved ice - everyone has his/her favorite spot.

Tomsd Jan 28th, 2012 03:01 AM

LOL easytraveler. And we loved Sensei - the one at Kapalua Bay.

We also loved the drive to Hana - but we stayed overnight - and drove back around the south side, even though the rental car company said that was a no-no - at least waaaay back when.

And Maui can be busier - they get the 2nd most tourists, but I found a somewhat secluded spot up in Napili (above Kaanapali) - the Napili Sunset, right on the beach with it's own cove. Just a clean, two star condo/motel type - but it has a private grassy area in front - and small kitchens in the smallest rooms/bigger ones in the 1BR's, and there is a Foodland type store on the drive in from the main road. It's inexpensive - and one of my favorite - "simple" places in the islands.

http://www.napilisunset.com/

iceeu2 Jan 28th, 2012 05:41 AM

The road to Hana was one of the reasons for doing Maui. Is it really not worth it...what if this is our ONLY trip to Hawaii? Is the road to Hana paved or not? What if we were spending 10 days on Maui?

utahtea....the road to Hana is ABSOLUTELY worth it!!! Get a convertible and the cd to put in the car that points out all the places. Just hang loose and enjoy! Pull over and let the locals zip on past you. They will thank you for it and give you the shaka sign(it's a good thing). On the day you do Hana, don't make plans for dinner because you probably won't be back in time!
Have fun.........i'2


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