help with "baby moon"to Hawaii!

Old Sep 29th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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help with "baby moon"to Hawaii!

This is my "baby moon". The version of a honeymoon that you take right before deciding to have kids. So I'm really hoping Hawaii is a fantastic vacation. I need y'all's help to make it that way.

We have our car rental, flight to the islands, (not necessarily between islands) and hotel stays (marriott a or ritz or Hyatt allowed plus I think intercontinentals) except for two nights) paid for with miles.

We can go for minimum 6 days, max 11 days. This includes travel days/time.

We'd be going over my birthday May 2, 2014. So any time around there. I'm thinking the 1st through the well, whenever.

Our budget: max $3000, most likely $2500. Remember, this won't have to include airfare to the main island or hotels or car rental.

Activities I want:
heavy on the snorkeling and quiet beaches. (Too many people around makes me crazy! ) (blue clear water and gorgeous sand make me happy!!!)

I want to see lava somehow.

Helicopter excursion to see gorgeous scenery that I can photograph. (I am a professional photographer).

Swim with dolphins. (Manta rays, sea turtles, are all nice plusses)

Hubby would love to go sailing.
Ride horses on the beach.
Go to a luau.


About us: May as well be honeymooners for how attached at the hip we are though we've been married five years. We are ages 27 and 28. Not huge partiers. I get anxious in big crowds so prefer to avoid them. I have asthma really bad so hiking anything over a mile will be really tough for me. Visual appeal and luxury are high priority in my scenery and hotel accommodations. We are not foodies. We can and will eat cheap and don't much care where our food comes from though a recommendation of a few places would be nice since we like to eat out occasionally while on vacation.
I want to look behind me and see a gorgeous lush mountain rising up out of the ocean where blue waters and sandy beaches are at its base. Looking for a st lucia or Bora Bora feel. (Yes, we are still thinking about those options, but BB is wicked far away and expensive, though my dream vacation! And st lucia, I just don't know enough about).

Any general price info, links, order of islands to visit, order of activities, etc, ALL of it is helpful. Thank you so much in advance for taking your time out of your day to help us out. I genuinely appreciate it!
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 03:34 PM
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With your time constraints, sounds like a maximum of 9 days (excluding travel), I would pick and stay on one island; there is more than enough to do on each one of them. If you don't like crowds, then I'm thinking Oahu doesn't make sense. So, that leaves Maui, Kauai and The Big Island. Everything but the lava (Big Island, maybe but not likely) and riding horses on the beach (haven't seen that anywhere in Hawaii, although you can do trail rides into the mountains) is doable on all three. I am thinking Kauai or Maui would be best, mostly because of the gorgeous scenery part. The Big Island has a different look, and I'm not sure it's what first-time travelers to the islands envision, although there is plenty of dry lava, miles and miles of it on the Kohala Coast. If you snorkel a lot you will see turtles. And you might see dolphins while sailing.

For 9 days of food and activities, $2500 will be fine since the other stuff is covered. Food is expensive in Hawaii, but there are also ways to keep it down by getting snacks at grocery stores and hitting the small "plate lunch" style places.

In May, weather should be good, so you could probably stay any number of places, but I am thinking Wailea/Kihei for Maui and Poipu or Princeville for Kauai.

Beaches can be busy sometimes, not that busy others. We have been going to Maui, Kauai and The Big Island for 18 years and I have never felt too crowded, although you can sometimes be searching for parking spots at popular beaches. I would think the Napali Coast/Princeville would be closest to the Bora Bora "look," but others may want to weigh in on that.

You need to get a good guidebook to the islands and read about the differences. The similarities: each one has a dry side and a wet side (in the winter this can be critical to your vacation weather and snorkeling experience). Since it's May, you have more leeway on that, but still look at monthly rainfall for the areas you are considering. All have good opportunities for snorkeling, helicopter rides, boogie boarding, boat/sailing excursions, and hiking. Do you like to watch the sunset? Make sure your hotel faces west.
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 03:50 PM
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Helicopter rides are great but pricey. We used Blue Hawaiian on Big island, they did great job.
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 04:18 PM
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I think the suggestion to get a good guide book that covers Oahu, Maui, Kaua'i and Big Island is a good one.
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Big Island has the best snorkeling and has the lava. It has helicopter tours as well. It has swimming with dolphins but as that is just a really bad idea as it harasses the dolphins and causes all sorts of problems for them, I would strongly, strongly advise against it. It is just a bad idea and not the way to be a good visitor.

The issue will be the hotels. If you have to use those hotels, I guess I would figure out where they are and work from there. For instance, there is no Ritz or Hyatt on the Big Island. Not sure if there is an Intercontinental either. There is a Marriott but it is nothing special. So, while it has the best of everything else you are looking for, you will come up short on the hotel front.

Good luck
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 09:09 PM
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Thank you all very much!

Does Kauai have enough excursions and snorkeling for us? I'm pretty set on Kauai so far from all I've learned at other places around the net.

Also thinking Maui and one night in Oahu after we arrive.

But does it cost a fortune to fly between islands?
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 04:36 AM
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Depends on how you define fortune. A one way fare is usually around $100 plus or minus-check Hawaiian Airlines website.
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 05:05 AM
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Kayak will answer your question about interisland fares.

Snorkeling on Kauai in May could be a mixed bag. The beaches on the north shore where the best snorkeling is could still be affected by the winter surf making the beaches unsuitable for swimming/snorkeling. You'd have to do a wait and see until you get there.

As far as excursions...we've been to Kauai 7 times, two weeks each time and the only excursion I've ever taken is a Napali boat cruise. We tend to make our own fun there. There is plenty of opportunity for that.
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 07:07 AM
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You can take as many or as few excursions as you want on Kauai or any of the other islands. I have been to Maui more times, but I have been to Kauai a few. There is some snorkeling in Kauai on the Poipu side (which might be calmer than the north shore) because we have done it there in the winter. Again, a guidebook will give you all that info and more.

As far as the inter-island flights, for most people it's the hassle factor not the cost. It will take a good portion of your day to deal with the airport, car rental, check in and out of hotels, so you need to have enough time in the vacation to make that worthwhile.

You won't be able to do everything on one island in a trip of this length anyway, so unless you never plan on returning to the Hawaiian Islands, I would stick to one and keep it relaxing, but it depends on how energetic a traveler you are and how much you like to stay on the move.
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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So I will definitely pick up a guide book then! Thank you.

And thank you for the info on Kayak.com. It's very helpful!

Will not Harass the dolphins! Thank you for the info about that. Would have had no idea. Would kayaking in the area they are bother them?

Maui or Kauai for better snorkeling? That's a big priority for me.

What does Oahu have that the other islands do not? Perhaps I can learn all of this via the guide books!
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 03:59 PM
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I think Maui has better snorkeling generally than Kauai does. Wailea and Makena have some good spots, especially for turtles. Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach is a favorite of many. Kapalua Bay can have good snorkeling. Honolua Bay on the north west part of Maui can be like a fish bowl if the conditions are right. Again, May is a shoulder month for water conditions. Check the surf report before entering the water.
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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I will second the caution about checking the ocean conditions before snorkeling, especially if you are not an experienced snorkeler. There is usually good information in the guidebooks (some websites too) about snorkeling and how and when to do it safely, so please take advantage of that.

Well, Oahu has Honolulu and the cultural/social attractions that go along with a city of that size, which are a big draw for a lot of people. That is in addition to more peaceful areas on other parts of the island that are similar to what you would get on Kauai or Maui. And many people want to visit Pearl Harbor, which is on Oahu.
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 04:36 PM
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Oahu Has a lot of people! Unless you are on the North Shore. Have snorkeled on both Big Island and Kauai and I feel they are about the same. Going in May, you won't have any problems with water, waves, etc on the Northshore. Poipu is calm most of the year. Did the snorkeling with excursions on both islands. Capt'n Andy on Kauai and Body Glove on the Big Island. Both very good. I hear that snorkeling on maui is good but I don't think the island itself is nearly as exotic as Kauai. I agree that going to the Big Island for 9 - 10 days for a first time Hawaii traveler might not meet your expectations of what you picture Hawaii to be....for that go to Kauai....Kauai is very laid back and lush island and no high rises there either. Princeville area on the Northshore is lovely as is Hanalei but no marriott or Hyatt there. There is a wonderful Hyatt on Kauai at Poipu (stayed there a few times) and the Marriott I have stayed at is at Kalapaki Beach which is not a great beach!! Only stayed there because we had an early morning flight (very early) and didn't want to drive that early in the morning to the airport. Kalapaki Beach is NOT a pretty area. I would book now for your use of points at any hotel. Don't wait or you might not get in...
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 05:29 PM
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Kauai's North Shore is my preference--but as others have said, the only hotel you'd be able to choose from your list would be the Hyatt in Poipu (in the South). It's a beautiful hotel, but ... the North Shore is much more the South Seas fantasy for me. The snorkeling at Ke'e Beach and Tunnels (Makua) are often very good--and those are the two beaches that most make me feel like I'm in Tahiti or Bora Bora.

In terms of lava -- your only possibility is the Big Island. But bear in mind that the lava does not flow consistently. It's not something you can count on.

Also, bear in mind that the water is not typically that gorgeous Caribbean turquoise. I've seen it that way at times at Tunnels and Lumahai on Kauai, but don't count on that stunning sapphire blue or you may be disappointed.

For me, Kauai is a photographer's paradise. I never run out of things to do.
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 05:49 PM
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"Going in May, you won't have any problems with water, waves, etc on the Northshore."

That is a generalization that might prove to be either right or wrong depending upon the weather and the ocean currents. We were on the northshore this past June and there were several days when the surf was up. People were actually surfing fairly good sized waves in Hanalei Bay and there were warnings at Ke'e and Makua beach as well. Fairly unusual, but not out of the realm of possibility. As I said earlier, it is best to not assume anything and check the surf reports. "Plan the plan. Not the outcome."

I love Kauai, but if snorkeling is your priority, then the Big Island or Maui are preferable. Both islands have much to offer in terms of diversity and variety as well.

Here is an older thread that properly extols the virtues of Oahu. It is pertinent today as it was when it was started.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...e-oahu-too.cfm
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 07:03 PM
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I would give a slight edge to Maui over Kauai. Kauai is beautiful, but it's my opinion that Maui has a wider range of things to see and do. Someone mentioned Wailea/Kihei in a previous post. If you do choose Maui, I've stayed at the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort and Spa several times. Although a little older and not quite as elegant as a couple other Wailea resorts, it was still quite nice. Someone also mentioned Blue Hawaiian for helicopter tours. They gave us a great tour. They have several different tours, but I strongly recommend the "West Maui/Molokai" tour. And be sure to buy the DVD of your tour.
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Old Oct 1st, 2013, 04:26 PM
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There are a number of B&Bs on Maui and a few on Kauai that could save you some $$ -- they won't be on the water, more than likely, but never that far from the beach. They aren't old furniture and lace doilies, either. Remember, it's Hawaii. There are several in Kihei.
I would check the bigger hotels for deals as well. That would leave you more money for any extra plane rides/helicopter tours and additional expenses.
I would also choose between Kauai and Maui, and also give Maui the edge in snorkeling.
And you'll have to see whether the lava is active. When we were on the Big Island some years ago, we opted for a small plane -- less noisy and we got great views. We got the tip from the woman who ran a B&B in Volcano.
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Old Oct 4th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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Thank you, sincerely, everyone!
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Old Oct 4th, 2013, 04:11 PM
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Hubby and I were in Hawaii last month and visited Oahu, Kauai and Big Island - which was by far our favorite. We did most of the things you mentioned there - snorkeled several places off of Kona, took a heli tour with Blue Hawaiian to see some beautiful waterfalls. But the best thing we did was hike to see lava. We thought about the boat but opted for the hike instead on the advice of our B&B hosts. We went with a company called Lavaland Hawaii - http://www.lavalandhawaii.com They have updates on their website and unfortunately it looks like the lava shut down just after we were there. Maybe keep checking and you'll be lucky by May. It was a pretty good hike though, maybe it will come closer by then. Kauai was beautiful and we hiked the Napali trail to the first waterfall (also a bit of a hike - but lovely). Good snorkeling there at Haena beach.
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