jetBlue777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 1 Posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 1684 times:
We'll be visiting Hawaii for the first time in Mid-August of next year. We're flying out from JFK or EWR, so the flight will cost us around $700-$850 per person (3 of us) As a first time visitor, Oahu seem to be the popular destination. We're looking for a nice hotel to stay at near Waikiki Beach for 4-6 nights (say less than or around 250 a night?) then we'll fly to other islands. Any suggestions? Maui seems to be the favorite, so it's going to be on our list. We want to see that picturesque Hawaiian scenery (lush green forests, volcanoes and etc) I've also heard that there are houses/condos that are available for $1000-$2000/ week, any personal experience on that? We'd like to experience different activities (water sports, hiking, cultural and dining experiences) as well as relax and just do nothing. Please feel free to suggest anything from restaurants, hotels, condos, sights, attractions, shopping (souvenirs) activities (especially helicopter rides) airlines, etc! Anything at all! We're looking to stay for 7 to 10 Days, is $5000-$6000 enough for a family of three? Thanks!
stratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1675 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1673 times:
I have been to Hawaii 3x the most fun I had was renting a condo in Maui most are in Kihei but we rented in Kannapali I had a condo that slept 7 for 80 bucks a night went to the local supermarket and got food to cook at the condo was awesome and was right on the water too. I will never go to a hotel again if I go back.
N243NW From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1656 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1665 times:
If you'll be in Oahu, Pearl Harbor is a must. Plus, it's free. The Arizona Memorial in itself was breathtaking and eerie.
If you're all old enough, I'd also recommend renting a moped. One of the more fun things I did in Oahu. The view from the top of the island looking down on Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head is spectacular.
Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (August 24, 1890 – January 22, 1968) was a Hawaiian swimmer, actor, lawman, beach volleyball early player and businessman credited with spreading the sport of surfing. He was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming.
LMP737 From United States of America, joined May 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 1588 times:
My suggestion is to stay somewhere else other than Wakiki. There are just to many people. Try the Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore if you can fit it into your budget. Or at the very least stay a night or two. Maui is great, try the drive up the Haleakala the views are out of this world.
tugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 6128 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 1586 times:
Quoting stratosphere (Reply 1): I have been to Hawaii 3x the most fun I had was renting a condo in Maui most are in Kihei but we rented in Kannapali I had a condo that slept 7 for 80 bucks a night went to the local supermarket and got food to cook at the condo was awesome and was right on the water too. I will never go to a hotel again if I go back.
That is the area I stayed (Honokowai to be accurate) when I went to Maui and I highly recommend it to the OP.
JetBlue777, first I recommend you plan for to stay for ten days, seven won't be enough. As to where to start, if what you are looking for is to experience a big city on an island, then yes, go to Oahu. But I recommend Maui as the "best overall" Hawaii experience. You can stay "in the city" or on the edge of the city (Waihee-Waiehu) or completely remote areas (like Hana, though I don't recommend that). Kihei and Wailia are great places that are near to everything. Or you can stay in a somewhat remote area that still has everything you need but has a feeling of being "island" and unique: Lahaina, Ka'anapali, Napili, and Honokowai (Kapalua is here too but it is mostly a high end resort area). It is a great place to stay and explore the island from. And like stratosphere, I recommend renting a condo.
As to visiting the other islands, if you spend 4-6 on one island I do not recommend trying to go to two more islands if you want time to just lay back and relax. If you are a "go-go tourist, lets experience it all" then go for it. But two islands is what I recommend. And regarding what other island, of course any of the islands are terrific, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii (known to most and "the Big Island") are each unique and special in their own right. You can't go wrong with going to any of them, though I would recommend the Big Island as my first choice (for a second island to visit) and Kauai as my second.
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
LAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 27174 posts, RR: 50
Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1569 times:
You want a real and tranquil Hawaii vacation, pass over Waikiki and head for Maui or the Kona side of the big island. Lots of R&R which includes your mentioned desire of water sports, hiking, cultural and dining experiences with plenty of hotel and condo options. You'll be able to take in the lush green forests and volcanoes you mention.
Quoting LMP737 (Reply 5): My suggestion is to stay somewhere else other than Wakiki.
Never saw the attraction of going to vacation in a busy crowded cityscape which essentially is one concrete building after another. Waikiki is kinda like Manhattan and the Las Vegas strip that meet Miami beach.
[Edited 2011-08-26 10:46:31]
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! Don't rent a moped. Tourists on mopeds are a disaster waiting to happen, and a pet peeve of mine.
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7): You want a real and tranquil Hawaii vacation, pass over Waikiki
If its your 1st time to Hawaii I think O'ahu and Waikiki are great. There is a lot to do, Waikiki is a fabulous, fun and safe beach for swimming.
O'ahu as an island is extremely "underrated" from a tourist point of view. Waikiki is about 2% of the island...you have to explore the rest of it.
Overall, O'ahu has the most "best" beaches...Mokuleia, Sunset, Laie, Lanikai, Kailua, Waimanalo, Sandy, Kahala, Makaha, Kawela Bay and many more.
O'ahu has the most easily accessible hiking trails if you're interested in some beautiful mountain/rainforest scenery....Diamond Head is a MUST for any 1st time visitor. I can reccommend some other trails if you like hiking.
O'ahu has the best educational/cultural activities....Pearl Harbor, Bishop Museum, and my personall favorite, I'olani Palace.
Some O'ahu that most tourists miss....
Aloha Airlines - The Spirit Moves Us. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. Aloha, A Hui Hou!
Aeri28 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 709 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1540 times:
It all depends on what you want. Go to Waikiki, especially if it's your first time. Nothing wrong with that. Few places mix the urban with the beach like Waikiki. THEN you can go to the neighbor islands. (Although I live here in Honolulu, I don't go there often, opting for Ala Moana Beach park from time to time, but still....if I were a first time visitor, it's a perfectly acceptable introduction).
For some reason I would suggest Hawaii or Kauai over Maui, Maui jsut seems to "expat mainland" to me with strip malls and shopping plazas. I guess Kona side of Hawaii can be described as so, BUT Kona side has the beaches to the north and those beautiuifl black sand beaches way to the south. Hilo is a personal fave of mine, but may be too sleepy for you. Lots a rain and not a huge tourist destination.
Geezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1524 times:
It's really hard to say "this island" or "that island" is "better"........hey.......they are ALL "better"! Here's my "take" on the perfect trip to Hawaii; fly to Honolulu; Hotel, condo, whatever; I stayed at the Hotel Ilikai right by the Marina on Waikiki Beach. Absolutely loved it. What to do.............? Here's a tip no one else ever seems to mention; there is only ONE "bargain" on Oahu: The bus line ! Here's why..........Oahu is app. 28 miles long, by maybe 22 miles wide; and it's ALL covered by the Honolulu Bus Line. The bus is "dirt cheap", you can transfer from one bus to another, ride all over the island, all day long, for just a few bucks! (A rental car is even better, but obviously they cost MUCH more.) What to see? My "must see" list is:
1. Foster Botanical Gardens; downtown Honolulu: no other spot on planet Earth has as many species of trees and plants, from tropical rain forest, to temperate climate. the reason is simple......it's the only place on Earth this many things will grow. It's been there a long time, and many people miss it; don't be among them!
(Lotta reasons for that)
2. Diamond Head; I went on the bus; (one hell of a walk before you start climbing) The "climb" to the top is really just a lot of stair steps; but it's more than worth the effort; the "view from the top" is......World class, awesome, amazing,spectacular, a great vantage point for the best photos, etc etc etc. ( If you're "there", don't miss it ! )
3.Hanauma Bay; a free (or almost free) sheltered "bay", "cove", whatever, where you can safely swim / snorkle among the most colorful tropical fish; this place is world famous, and it doesn't belong to any big "tourist trap"; a fabulous place for the whole family. (you can get there on the bus, but a rental car is better) Great place to swim among colorful tropical fish, and not become a "meal" for one of them.
4. The mountains; The very best thing to see is..............the island it's self ! With a family, I'd definitely rent a car, if only for a few days; you hear many people saying Oahu is "too big city", "too many tourists" etc. etc. etc. 99% of those people have never bothered to explore the whole island; sure, Honolulu IS a big city, (so is Waikiki Beach) but you can't "see" Oahu unless you take a bus (or a car) and get OUT of the city. When I went to Oahu, I had a "special deal"........free air fare, free place to stay, ( Hotel Ilikai) and I could stay as long as I wanted. My plane ticket was for two weeks; I ended up staying two months ! (And I barely "scratched the surface" as far as really "seeing" Oahu. There is much to see on any one of the Hawaiian Islands; Far too much for any vacation of less than a few years in MHO; Oahu is the one island that has the huge diversity of things that interest me.
5. Buildings; I freely admit it; I'm a building nut; I LOVE world class buildings ! And boy, Oahu sure does have spectacular, world class buildings ! Far too many to even mention.
6. The weather I don't recall anyone ever "bragging" about the weather as an "attraction"...........which really is too bad, when you consider that: Hawaii really is in a very unique "spot" relative the rest of "Planet Earth"; it's actually one of the most "remote" spots on earth, ( in terms of distance from the major land masses of the world ); partly because of this remoteness, and because of it's latitude, the Pacific Ocean, and a few more things, Oahu has "weather" like no other place I'm aware of; in the 8 weeks I was there, it never fell below 75 degrees F. and never went above maybe 85 degrees. It rained every single day, (usually for about 5 to 10 minutes), you never get "hot", you never get "cold", it's ALWAYS "just right" ! Sunny every single day, rains 5 minutes, 5 minutes later you see absolutely no puddles, no standing water, just gentle warm breeze all the time, I almost forgot........rainbows ! Everyone loves rainbows! Oahu has rainbows every single day, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day ! (and no rain clouds !) (Why don't more people notice this?)
7. Pearl Harbor ; being a former Navy guy, I went to Pearl Harbor; I'm glad I did, but I don't see it as a "tourist attraction"; (neither do I see Arlington National Cemetery as a tourist attraction) The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is exactly what the name implies; it's a memorial to the 1,200 dead American sailors whose remains are just a few feet below the waves, ( and below your feet) when you visit it, and just like any memorial, it ISN"T a place where you make a lot of noise, and dis-respect those who lost their lives there. Unfortunately, there are many "visitors" to the Arizona Memorial who seem "oblivious" this fact. Were I ever to visit "ground zero" at Hiroshima, I would conduct myself in an appropriate manner. (Enough said on that matter)
8. Koko Crater; This place is not far from Hanauma Bay; not a whole lot of tourists go there, but being interested in trees and plants, I'm very glad I did; it's actually in the crater of an extinct volcano, and it's where the City of Honolulu grows all of their gorgeous plumaria trees, the petals from which all of the beautiful "leis" are made; they have more species of plumaria growing there than I ever knew existed! Prettiest flower in all of Hawaii !
From the standpoint of, say, a meteorologist, Oahu is a strange place; I think they said the mean-average rainfall at Koko Crater is like a desert, while just 12 or 14 miles away in the mountains, it's like a couple of hundred inches per year. Tropical rain forest !
For anyone interested in surfing, I suppose a trip to Waimea Bay (on the North Shore) is a "must"; in the winter months, they have some of the biggest waves anyplace, but in the summer it's just where everyone goes to scuba dive, ( shark cove), (so named I'm told because of it's "shape" rather than from it's "inhabitants")
In any case, the north shore is a definite "must see"; the road runs along side the base of those fabulous mountains, and on the other side is the Pacific Ocean; just a few hundred yards from the beach, in very shallow water, there are two small islands, one known a "Chinaman's Hat", and the other as "Rabbit Island"; both look EXACTLY like their names ! I'm told it's possible to wade out to either at low tide, but I didn't try to do it.
One more thing; birds............ I like birds; always have, always will; we have a lot of birds where I live; but not like Oahu! again, because of it's climate, and it's almost lack of natural preditors, Oahu has a very diverse, and very interesting bird population. And most species came from "some place else"; the single most common bird is a type of mynah bird; rather colorful, very bold, and all over the place ! From some place in Asia; Another very common bird is the Brazilian Cardinal; from, Brazil ! Rather light blue, with lots of red on their wings; again, all over the place. My very favorite was a small species of dove; I forget where they came from, but they have one "trait" which really "endeared" them to me: they like people ! Especially people who carry around a bag full of "goodies" to feed them; it takes like 2 seconds to "train" them to eat, sitting in your hand. ( Even my birds out in the back yard won't do that ! )
Here's an idea; take a look at a large globe; find the Hawaiian Islands; check out what's "close" to them; you'll see what I mean.
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
MadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 11079 posts, RR: 35
Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1517 times:
Oahu has a terrific bus system that can get you about to every corner of the island inside and out.
You can buy 4 days passes at a reasonable cost. They are sold in ABC Stores or Seven Elevens and probably other places too. Well worthwile. The Bus has great routes and they run frequently. This is the one thing I love about Oahu.
stratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1675 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1507 times:
Quoting STT757 (Reply 9): Avoid Waikiki and Diamond Head, I wasn't impressed. Definitely head to the other islands, especially Maui. My Wife and I loved Maui, we flew nonstop EWR-HNL and connected on HA to Maui.
Thats how I did it too went to HNL then HA to Maui. Would have liked to gone to the other islands maybe another day. But hey if you do stay in Oahu I do recommend the Pearl Harbor tour at least. I had a buddy who lived in Waikiki and he took me to Makaha beach mostly locals there definitely nice to get away from the tourists.
Quoting aloha73g (Reply 8): PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! Don't rent a moped. Tourists on mopeds are a disaster waiting to happen, and a pet peeve of mine.
We rented Harleys in both Oahu and Maui was a blast but have to have a motorcycle license to rent one though.
Oh yeah forgot that..When we went to Maui went on a 1/2 flight on Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. Its a little pricy but worth it all their pilots are very knowledgeable about the Islands in fact I think all of them are certified tour guides and have thousands of hrs of flight time. They fly either an A Star or ECO STAR very nice and roomy and they also videotape it and give it to you after the flight..Very professional outfit I would recommend it.
jetBlue777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1483 times:
Hey guys, thanks for the very detailed responses!
Since it's our first time in Hawaii, I think Waikiki is a must for us. Then we'll fly out to Maui for 3 or 4 Nights, then maybe a day trip to the Big Island for the Volcanoes National Park (my mom is an Earth Science professor, so she'd be thrilled to visit the nat'l park)
We're tied up between renting a house on the North Shore (It's around $350 per night) Then we could buy and cook our own food and maybe rent a car to get around. Our other option will be of course, staying at the beach. Hilton Hawaiian Village seems to be great with all the pools and it's large beach and lagoon area, though, a bit pricey (though lower than renting) and it seems to get some negative reviews when it comes to service. It has the "Big Resort" with lots to do feel that we're looking for, then Maui would be the "relaxing" part of our vacation. But we're still waiting for our friends to confirm if they want to join us to Hawaii, if so, then renting a house would be the best option. We also have some contacts in Honolulu, so they might show us around the island and it's attractions.
BTW, what US airline still serves complimentary meals on flights to Hawaii? Can anyone explain the service you get from CO on a 10hr flight from EWR to HNL? (or DL's ATL-HNL flight) I'm pretty sure that both airline only has BOB, I'm worried that the meals might be sold out and no food for 10hrs will be hell, though, we're planning to grab something from the airport. How many drinks service will be conducted? DL and CO/UA have comparable prices, though, we'll fly with CO for the miles, IMO better airline and nonstop option.
jpetekyxmd80 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 4499 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1475 times:
Oahu is great if you do it right. One thing I can say though, if you don't rent a car and stay isolated around Waikiki, you're missing it. Renting a car can be a bit of a pain, especially with parking charges being quite high on Waikiki hotels, but it is a must. Sure, you're going to want to do a day trip to the North Shore. There are other great drives in and around the city. A MAJOR must is going to the windward side. Kailua is a wonderful suburban beach city, with great restaurants, nice vibe and the pristine Kailua and Lani Kai beaches. It is a very special place and very well insulated from mass tourism. And best part is its a simple 20-30 min drive through (literally) the Ko'olau range from Waikiki. Another big reason to have a car is to navigate Honolulu. The city is so much more than Waikiki and has great districts and restaurants scattered all around it, off the tourist trail. Too many to list. Malasadas, poke, manapua, mochi ice cream, shave ice. Point is, to get the real taste of Hawaii it's fine to stay in Waikiki for its nice hotels and beachcombing amenities, but its important to be mobile from there. You can have many fun side trips exploring North Shore, windward, Tantalus road, Manoa Valley, around the eastern tip, etc.
Another must recommendation for you is La Mariana Sailing club. A very old tiki bar and restaurant, one of the few of its kind left. It's in an unassuming industrial area off Sand Island Access road near HNL. In fact, that the first thing I would do if I were you. Arrive, rent your car, and stop at La Mariana for drinks or some grub. You'll be tired, you won't feel like it, but that is perfect. It's other wordly, this place will add the old style exotic ambiance of arriving here in the 60's. You'll hear loud airplanes take off, you'll feel transported in time to the jet age when flying 5,000 miles across oceans to the most isolated tropical islands in the world was a bit less conventional. I think it will be a memorable experience to greet your arrival.
Oahu is centered around the politics of keeping the tourist lodging isolated at a few locations- Waikiki and and now Ko'olina, with the Turtle Bay anomaly. The car is the way around being always stuck in those places.
Stabilator From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1463 times:
Ahhh Hawaii! It truly is a wonderful place. I've never met such kind and genuine people in all of my travels. My favorite island is Maui. This coming March will be my fourth time.
If visiting Maui, be sure to do the road to Hana. Absolutly breathtaking...trees with multi-colored bark, waterfalls feet away from the road, and all the flora/fauna. I went just after it rained...made the waterfalls even more magnificent. Watching the sunset on the west side of the island is an unforgettable experience. Btw...the fish tacos at Leilanis (sp?) will keep you coming back!
Err on the side of caution at Waikiki...it felt like a suffocating cacoon of concrete to me. I ate at Dukes the last night I was there, and stuck up a conversation with a few pilots at the base (really cool!). Pearl Harbor is a must. If staying there, be sure to see the rest of the island.
Most of all, enjoy! It's a great place...filled with great people and beautiful weather. The Aloha spirit is something special!
So we beat on against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
corocks From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1425 times:
Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 17): Since it's our first time in Hawaii, I think Waikiki is a must for us. Then we'll fly out to Maui for 3 or 4 Nights, then maybe a day trip to the Big Island for the Volcanoes National Park (my mom is an Earth Science professor, so she'd be thrilled to visit the nat'l park)
I side with those that say skip Waikiki. It is okay, but does not compare to the other islands. I would only stay on Oahu long enough to go to Pearl Harbor. Yes there is other things to do there, but the things on the other islands are better.
The best part of the volcano park is taking the long hike out to the lava flow just before it gets dark. You can see the lava flow glowing as it goes into the ocean at night. Totally cool. It is a hard hike back in the dark, but worth it. You have to take flashlights, water, etc.
Another great thing is diving/snorkeling with the giant manta rays in Kona. This is the best single dive I have ever done. They are amazing. The snorkelers loved it as well. This is done at night as well.
I think you should do 1 day in Oahu, 2-3 days on the big island, and 3-4 days on Maui.
Thank you for your posts. I always shake my head when I read posts that only see Oahu as Waikiki and Honolulu. Oahu has a lot of the same natural beauty and tranquil settings as the other islands once you leave the urban core. I have taken pictures of areas on Oahu that people have mistaken for the Neighbor Islands.
UAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1346 times:
Try the Halekulani in Honolulu. It may be a bit more than your budget, but it's very famous and very exclusive. Other than that, if you want a story, I'd try the Royal Hawaiian. It's also very famous. Both are on Waikiki. As for Maui, the best is going to be the Four Seasons, but might be out of your budget. Just right next door is a GREAT hotel called the Kea Lani which is fabulous.
Another hotel I would check out is the Aston Waikiki Beach Tower. It's quite nice, very 1980's, but such is Hawaii!
ER757 From Cayman Islands, joined May 2005, 2787 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1341 times:
I'm a frequent visitor to Hawaii, my favorite island is Kaua'i. I find the incredible natural beauty and the laid back atmosphere just perfect for a vacation getaway. As others have noted, it all depends on what you are seeking. For me, the fantastic hiking trails on Kaua'i are a huge draw. I'm an avid duffer as well, so the courses at Poipu Bay, Princeville and Kaua'i Lagoons make for some of the most scenic golf anywhere. Of course if you want to see the volcanos you need to visit the Big Island and I see you've got that planned. Aloha and have fun. Wherever you go, you should find enjoyment. You can't go wrong if you have an idea of what you want to do and visit the islands that fit the bill.
: Hey Guys! Looks like you have convinced me, our main destination would be Maui. We'd probably stay at Waikiki/Oahu for 3 Days to visit Pearl Harbor an
: Honua Ka is a beautiful condo resort, thats a very nice choice. Maui is a great first time trip, with Oahu thrown in. That was my first time there, a
: First of all, thanks for your very detailed response! We're planning to take a day or two for some day trips on the island then visit Oahu for Pearl H
: Yeah, I think thats a good split. 9 nights is a nice length. Yeah, there should be some good value to be had in Waikiki, generally. That's tempting,
: Nice place, only downside is that the area is a bit isolated being located at the far West end of the island. So you'll definitely be doing some driv
: Heres a nice little slideshow on windward Oahu that I just came across.. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...10904-oahu-gobig.html?ref=travel#1[Edi
: More evidence that there is alot more to O'ahu than Waikiki. -Aloha!