Second Trip to Hawaii advice

Old Jun 24th, 2003, 01:52 PM
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Second Trip to Hawaii advice

Hi . . .

We spent two and a half weeks in Hawaii just last August (2002)--eleven nights in Kauai and eight nights in Maui--and absolutely loved it. So much, in fact, that we are considering a return trip this coming August.

We adored both islands, but feel that we shouldn't go back to Kauai since we spent such a long time there and pretty much feel like we've seen most of what there is to see. On the other hand, we're really tempted to go back to Maui since it was our favorite island and also because we did a lot less exploring while we were there (didn't visit the volcano or drive the road to Hana).

My question is twofold: one, am I making a mistake by dismissing the other islands (Big Island, Oahu) as possible destinations? On the one hand I'm temtped to just go back to Maui because I know it has everything we're looking for--beautiful beaches, fun restaurants, shopping, some nightlife--and I'd hate to travel to one of the other islands and be wishing the whole time that I had gone to Maui. On the other hand, I've heard great things about the BI and Oahu as well. I'd appreciate any insight anyone may have as to whether those islands would be good travel destinations for us, and here is some background info to aid in that assessment: we're both 25 (no, not honeymooners) and would certainly appreciate SOME nightlife/entertainment (shows, fun restaurants and shopping, towns or other areas that are lively in the evenings), although we aren't looking for anything crazy (i like to be in for the night around nine or ten when i'm on vacation!). For example, we thought that the best part about staying in Kaanapali was the Whaler's Village, where we could walk for dinner and drinks at night and there would be activity and people and live music etc. We didn't find that to be true nearly as much in Kauai (we stayed in Poipu). We're also much more beach people than outdoorsy hiking types. The other important piece of information is that we live in a big city (New York) and so definitely aren't looking for big city hustle and bustle. This is what turns me off to Oahu (although I certainly realize that it must be a far cry from New York!). Do I misperceive the nature of that island? Finally, we're trying to keep the cost of this trip down somewhat (we were originally only supposed to go to North Carolina!) so splitting the trip between two islands isn't really something we're considering. Also, we are probably planning to rent a condo as opposed to staying in a resort/hotel if that matters.

The second question I have is, assuming that we do decide to return to Maui and in light of what I said about our preferences above, should we consider staying somewhere other than Kaanapali beach? I would like to experience something a little different, but it seems like Kaanapali is really the best area to be in for our purposes. I'd appreciate insight into other areas of that island that we might enjoy (that aren't overly secluded).

Thanks in advance!

it be silly to go back to Maui when we've never visited the Big Island
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 02:09 PM
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I vote for two islands, especially if coming all the way from NYC, go to Maui and the Big Island. Spend most of your time on Maui and a few days on the Big Island to decide if you like it. You can always go to Oahu in the future as many flights connect through Honolulu. The active volcano is a unique Big Island experience and this past March after a 20-30 minute walk we reached flowing red hot lava. The best snorkeling experience for us so far has also been on the Big Island from the Fairwind II out of Kona. Be sure to check out the Road to Hana next time and pick up copies of "Maui Revealed" and "Hawaii-The Big Island Revealed" available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc.
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 02:28 PM
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I think your question is an excellent one, as I am still unclear which island offers which experence. I wanted raw, historic Hawaii and no tourist 'stuff'. My first visit was perfect to the Big Island, Kona and Hilton, were fun to visit quickly, but my heart was filled with Waimea, Parker Ranch and plaza, Honokaa, and KuKuihaele, and the WaiPio Adventure Horseback Ride over the ridge, Valley of the Kings and down to the waterfall freshwater pond, with a Paniolo telling us all the wonderful stories of the past. That was exactly what I dreamed of, dining with the locals and really living Hawaiian history. Everyone is hungry for a different experence, so maybe a clearer discription of the type visit offered would be helpful. I now want, after visiting my new friends in WaiPio, to see Kauai for the gardening experence. Would this be correct?
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 04:47 PM
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Reply to Bodi, We have been to Kauai three times and the closest we have come to the Garden Experience was at Limahuli Gardens. The Limahuli Garden and Preseve is nearly 1000 acres in the Limahuli Valley, Haena, north shore Kauai, Hawaii. For tour info. call (808) 742-2623. They gave us a walking tour pointing out unique botannicals, archeological sites, and told us some hawaiian legends about the local mountains etc, I don't think we spent more than an hour or two there. Suggest you pick up a copy of "Ultimate Guide to Kauai" to decide if its right for you. Aloha.
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 07:18 PM
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Missrocco, if you are pining for Maui then I think you should go back to Maui, at least for a large part of your vacation. After all, it is only your second trip to the islands and surely it won't be the last--you can see other islands later on.

As far as cost, if you are able to wait until Sept., Oct., or Nov. the rates will go down, so you might want to consider that.
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 09:14 PM
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Hello Missrocco, here's my .02. I would definitely do the BI. It's reeally wonderful & different from the other Islands. The southern part is all lava, yet if you drive an hour North you'll find amazing lush landscaping. Not to mention the volcanoes. I'm sure you already know but you can get great hotels on the beach for 125/140nt. Things are definitely not as lively as Maui but there are movie theatres, shopping, and such. Oahu may be nice for 1-2 nights, again the island is really pretty if you drive away from the city. Have a wonderful time whatever you decide
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 08:27 PM
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The hawaii that i allways dreamed of was in waikki. But yes it is crowded ( tourists from all over- and hey i was one to ) but the enviroment is just really something special ( like my first time to new york ). That being said 3 nights in oahu is plenty. Then off to Maui. nick
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 12:18 AM
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I would definitely do the Big Island, especially if you waant to see a live active volcano. It's amazing to see the contrast in landscape from the west or Kona side of the island (moonscape) and the east or Hilo side (tropical rain forest). It's Hawaii at its best.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 06:32 AM
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If you are going to spend some time in Maui, then I would recommend Oahu for contrast.
Yes Honolulu is big and bustling, but it is totally different from NYC and has its share of charm. It also has the biggest and best restaurants by far, and the most nightlife. There are also very nice beaches in addition to Waikiki.
If you do stay on the Big Island, consider spending one or two nights near the volcano so you have enough time there and don't have too much driving all at once.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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I know how you feel, we are in the early planning stages for our now annual spring trip and are trying ourselves to decide where and what. Our first trip together to the Hawaiian Islands took us to Oahu/Big Island. If you have not seen the Big Island, it is truly worth it. Kona has a small boutique type open air shopping area similar to Whalers in Kaanapali, as does the Waikoloa Resort area with it's King's Shops. The Big Island does have it's own unique charm, as does each island and is really a wonderful diverse location. I don't think you would find the same feel that Kaanapali Maui has on the Big Island though-everything is more spread out, but not as much as it is in Kauai. I suppose BI is the happy medium between Maui and Kauai.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 12:00 PM
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We have been to Hawaii five times and have always included time in Maui. We have just done different combinations - Kauai and Maui, Big Island and Maui, Lanai and Maui. I would also strongly recommend the Big Island. We also did Kauai and Maui on our first Hawaii trip but after visiting the BI on our second trip we went right back there on our third.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 03:32 PM
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If you do go back to Maui, be sure to eat at Mama's Fish House. If you want "old Hawaii", this is it. It's an upscale restaurant with marvelous food, but the atomosphere is like stepping into an old movie about Hawaii from the 40s or 50s. It is secluded and on it's own private beach, you walk through the palm trees and past an outrigger canoe that looks like it just landed. The restaurant looks as if it's made of palm branches and bamboo and it's a wonderful experience. We can't wait to go back.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 03:48 PM
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I agree with Johnd. I think the experience of seeing the volcano on the BI is well worth a visit. If you loved Maui then, by all means, return. I. too, love Maui with the BI being my second favorite island. I'd consider staying in Wailea on the other side of the island for a very different experience. Check out www.mauihawaiicondo.com for a great condo rental in Wailea and also consider The Mariott Outrigger in Wailea.
Wherever you decide to stay and whichever islands you choose you'll have a great time!
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 04:30 PM
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Oahu has a lot to offer, and although Honolulu is a large city, it's really only a small part of the island. Nonetheless, you get the best of both worlds by venturing to isolated west oahu beaches for the day, for example, then driving back to town for evening shopping, nightlife, and dining.
Just don't make the common mistake of staying in Waikiki, never going beyond its boundaries, and thinking that all of Oahu is super urban.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 05:14 PM
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Well, I don't envy your dilemma but I offer my viewpoint. I grew up in NYC and lived in Hawaii for three years in my 20's. I lived on Oahu and visited the other four main islands (Maui, Big Island, Kauai, and Molokai) several times, but Oahu remains my favorite. Maybe only a New Yorker can appreciate the beauty of Honolulu with the mountains rising up behind it and the water in front of it. Or the fact that Waikiki Beach is less than 20 minutes away (imagine if Jones Beach was that close to Manhattan!), not to mention that you can be completely out of the Honolulu/Waikiki area in very little time.

If you really want to go back to Maui, by all means go, but don't do it just because you missed Haleakala and the road to Hana. I thought the road to Hana was a big waste and I'd never do it again or talk anyone into doing it. Haleakala is beautiful, but Kilauea on the Big Island is amazing.

Just don't sell Oahu short. I consider it an island just made for city people who might want the city, but then again there's so much more.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 07:12 PM
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If you have not beento the Big Island I would definitely go there. Kaui is also very beautiful. Oahu and Maui tend to be more commercialized than the other islands.
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Old Jun 27th, 2003, 03:35 AM
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i agree with postal...don't sell oahu short. i also am from nyc area and oahu is a wonderful experience. there is so much to do and still some wonderful beaches, history all in contrast to waikiki which is pretty terrific by itself. the island preferences are really a personal thing. so many people love the BI while is was not my favorite. maui seems to have the best mix for me and my family. you just have to decide what activities you'd like. anyplace you go will be wonderful...it's hawaii!!
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Old Jun 28th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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Wow--

Thanks to everyone for the helpful replies! After some thought, it looks like we are going to do two islands after all--maybe 6 or 7 nights in Maui and then 3 or 4 in Oahu or the BI. (Is 3-4 nights enough time to see another island?)

Does anyone have any hotel recommendations in Oahu? I think we'd probably like to be in the middle of the action (if we're going to do Oahu, then we might as well do Oahu right?) Specifically, has anyone staed at the Aston Waikiki property?
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Old Jun 29th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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I have always found that less is more with travel misrocco. I think you are making the best decision taking one island at a time. I go every year and struggle with the same issue. I find though that I am happiest when I focuse on one island. I learn new things every year even when I go back to the same place.

upps just read your last response. Sorry just the way I travel and it seems to work for me. Now you have me missing that volcano. I have not been back there for 8 years. I should never open some of these threads !!!

Have fun I am on Oahu July 16 WHAWHO!!! North Shore!!!
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