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Which would be busier over Christmas - Kauai or Big Island?

Which would be busier over Christmas - Kauai or Big Island?

Feb 5th, 2013, 04:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,109
Which would be busier over Christmas - Kauai or Big Island?

Trying to decide whether to fly out of Kauai or BI on Dec 30.

Thinking of possibly using AA points and flights are unavailable from Hilo to Buffalo on the 30th. Looked at Kauai and there's flight out but I'm wondering if the Kauai is so much smaller than BI that we will really feel the Christmas crowds?

If we're going to feel really cramped on Kauai, I'm open to just paying for ITO > BUF airfare.

DH & I will have a rental car and hope to be staying in an 'affordable' studio condo. Any advantages to doing Kauai before BI or vice versa?

Planning my first trip to Hawaii and decided to do Oahu first so that we have left it by the time it gets really busy. Have compiled a massive list of things to do/see on each of the islands but haven't figured out how many days on Oahu, Kauai and BI yet. Will be there from Dec 7 to 30.

I'm starting to get lost in the weeds and I know there are a lot of experienced Fodorites - I've read a lot of great tips - hope someone helps my light bulb turn on. Any insights much appreciated - enjoy-la!
klam_chowder is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
Well, don't know if there is a perfect plan to see paradise - and there are a lot of posts and info you can find.

My thought would be to find the best deals/accommodations you can and work you schedule around that.

Since you said you were flying into Honolulu - would spend 3 or 4 days on Oahu - getting to know it and also - knowing you can more easily get deals back to Oahu than any other island - and maybe next head to Kauai (20 minute flight and easy to navigate the smaller island) - and explore it's legendary beauty - and finally - head over to Big Island - flying into Hilo for a visit to Akaka Falls and then the Volcano - before kicking back at a nice resort on the Kona Coast.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Kal, goes to Kauai every year at that time and I don't believe he has ever complained about crowds. Maybe he will chime in to give you the first person scoop.
Suzie is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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Alohaaaaaa....We've done Christmas once..maybe twice and it was pretty quiet. The days between the day after Christmas and a few days after New Years are pretty crowded. Especially with the recent road work thru Wailua/Kapaa.
Kal is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 07:14 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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In answer to your thread title question, my non-scientific research is that I've never seen traffic on the Big Island like the usual jam-up trying to get through Kapaa on Kauai. So I'd first try to book a flight out of Hilo/Kona(?). Further rationale; that probably also works best in terms of air fare.

Kauai is my fave of the islands, but weather at that time is more likely to put a damper on activities you might be planning: hiking, snorkeling, Na Pali coast tour... helicopter tour even? So as much as it pains me, I'd suggest you allot fewer days there than the other two. It'd help, though, if we knew what activities you're thinking about for each island.
22tango is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 11:09 PM
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We stayed at this Hilo condo last year. Really nice and the owner was easy to work with, and a great price.

DebitNM is offline  
Feb 6th, 2013, 04:06 AM
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Remember that all the other islands could be fitted onto the Big Island with room left over.

Both will obviously be busy but there will be some parts which are much busier than others.
Dukey1 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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Thx a mint for replies and helpful info!

Tomsd, will definitely fly in & out of BI from different airports.

Kal, thx for your firsthand account.

22tango, appreciate your thoughts. I was trying to avoid a sprawling post so refrained from mentioning activities - mostly as you describe! Snorkeling (have our own gear), kayaking (once/island?), short hikes (max 4 hrs), beaches, volcano helicopter tour on BI, plus the usual tourist things like Iolani Palace, Pearl Harbor, afternoon tea at Surfrider but will likely pass on the Poly Center, Dole Plantation.

I'll take your advice and allocate fewer days to Kauai and then have longer to split my stay btwn Hilo and Kona.

For Kauai, I've decided to stay on the south side due to the seasonal rains/strong currents that will likely happen in the north. Of course, we'll drive up there for a visit or two.

The thread on drownings was very educational and eye opening for me and now has me second guessing my plans for snorkeling and renting kayaks and going out for the day on our own. We're open to guided day tours but usually we find we don't get in enough paddling due to the first-timers in the group. We like to watch the ocean so I was thinking of watching waves but I had no idea of the level of danger and that sets of waves could just rush in and carry people off.

DebitNM, wow, that place looks great - thx for sharing your find. I'd stayed at ABB places before but for some reason never thought to look there for this stay (was checking out vrbo and a couple of other sites). Thx for the tip!

Dukey1, that's why I was thinking of doing BI last. Plus I've often experienced that even if some place is busy, if one goes just 5 or 10 mins down a trail, you are usually alone.

Seems like I was really getting bogged down in where everything is located, figuring out the names I'd read: is that a beach? town? area? resort? I still have to go through all that but after reading this thread, I feel good to look look for airfare for Oahu, Kauai, then BI. Fodorites are great!

klam_chowder is offline  
Feb 6th, 2013, 07:07 AM
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Suzie, thx for flagging Kal...LOL!

Not sure how this got left out!

klam_chowder is offline  
Feb 6th, 2013, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,299
You might find this map helpful in locating where certain places are in relation to other places in the islands. http://mapcarta.com/24043946
martym is offline  
Feb 6th, 2013, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Good call on So'side pick for Dec.
If you are there for Christmas and want a Christmas brunch/dinner may want to make ressies early. Lot of the regular restos are closed so hotel restos and some of the "biggie" indies only show in town.
Kal is offline  
Feb 6th, 2013, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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flying in and out of different sides of BI is not ALWAYS the best plan. You should explore all options. It really depends on your schedule and lodging choices. For us flying in and out of Kona worked best when we last visited, staying 4 nights in Hawi and 4 nights in Volcano. We had an evening departure, so checking out late morning and spending a leisurely day driving back to the other side and exploring new areas was the perfect for us, with a final sunset and a lite meal at the 4Seasons.

Hilo side will be wet. We like that, and loved staying in Volcano to that we could enjoy the park early morning and late night and explore other areas mid day.
We loved this place, but there are lots of options, as well as Volcano House that reopens this year.
Lookin_Glass is offline  
Feb 8th, 2013, 06:08 AM
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martym, wow, that was an amazing map - had not come across it before so much appreciated!

Kal, never thought I'd have to think about Xmas dinner so early...LOL! Thx a mint for the heads up - one of those details easily missed. I'm all about food but never had a Christmas brunch before - sounds fab. Any favorite places on BI Kona-side, that you care to share?

Lookin_Glass, thx for your thoughts and links. I saw the gov't site before and will be watching it to see when the rest of the lodgings open up for 2013 bookings on it. Will look into the other one too.

Hope to secure airfare this weekend!

klam_chowder is offline  
Feb 8th, 2013, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,883
Two good beaches on the south and west shore are Poipu Beach State Park and Salt Pond Beach, both have lifeguards, restrooms and showers, etc. Enjoy your trip.
jamie99 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Thank you jamie99 - I will look those up!

klam_chowder is offline  

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