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Old 08-01-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Kailua, Oahu, HI and San Diego, CA
1,127 posts, read 3,910,444 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaAndi View Post
I am still confused as to what I should do. I do know I want to spend some time on Oahu. I'm leaning towards 7 days on Oahu (And YES our hotel is in Waikiki because that's the only option we had with using the points, but we will be renting a car to experience the entire island) and 3 days on Kauai or 7 days on Maui and 3 days on Oahu. I haven't decided which one.

Maui sounds beautiful with the Road to Hana, but it also sounds a little bit on the expensive side compared to the other islands. Kauai sounds amazing and lush and I think I'd love 3 days on that island.

Question: Which Island has the best snorkeling? The only reason I'm straying from going to the Big Island is because you need 7-10 days on that island by itself and there aren't really the same sandy beaches there as the other islands. Snorkeling is going to be very important for us. I have never done it and while I am very scared of sharks, I will get over it for this trip as I think it sounds like an amazing experience.
We live on Oahu half the year and love snorkeling. We think the snorkeling is great on Kauai's north shore, and at the City of Refuge on the Big Island. The snorkeling on Oahu is not as good, in our opinion. For a visitor who wants to snorkel, we would pick Kauai over the Big Island for a short visit, because it is very hard to see both the Big Island snorkeling spots and the other things of interest on that island (volcanoes) because of its size.

My son lives on Kauai and we have a vacation rental house there, in Princeville, so I know a lot about Kauai from a tourist's point of view.

Here are a couple of links that may help you with your decision. The first is a quiz you can take to enter the things that are most important to you. The quiz results will then be ranked by island. The second is a web page I put together on things to see and do on Kauai, including maps, videos and blogs by people who love the island:

Best Hawaiian Island - Choosing an Island for your Hawaii vacation

Princeville Information (http://www.visitprinceville.info/Princeville_Information.html - broken link)

Hank
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:38 PM
Status: ""Mony Mony " was the "B" side." (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: Eureka CA
3,754 posts, read 4,784,665 times
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If you end up on Oahu both Haunama Bay and Waimea Bay (North Shore) are excellent for snorkeling.
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
1,082 posts, read 1,274,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eureka1 View Post
If you end up on Oahu both Haunama Bay and Waimea Bay (North Shore) are excellent for snorkeling.
I went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay last August, and visibility was very poor -- due to silt kicked up by people's feet, and sunscreen from their skin, from what the locals told me. It didn't use to be that way, everyone assured me. The water was much clearer at Hapuna on the Big Island, where we went later.

To the OP: One thing I didn't get a sense of from your posts is whether you enjoy the excitement of the city or prefer to "get away from it all" and relax. That, to me, would be the deciding factor. On my first trip to Hawaii, from the East Coast, I took a 10-day vacation with a friend to Kaua'i. That lopped off two days for travel, of course, so we actually spent 8 days there. We were never bored, we didn't get to see everything on the island, and we would have been happy to spend more time there. Kauai is incredibly beautiful, and it's very slow-paced. We stayed at a B&B in Kapa'a, and because the road doesn't go all the way around the island, we managed to put 1,000 miles on the rental car, going back and forth. Some places warranted two visits. For example, the Koke'e rain forest was rainy and misty on our first visit, so we went back a second time, and it was bright and sunny, which made for two completely different moods. We snorkeled at Poipu, but the island was having a cold snap while we were there (highs in the low 70s, and windy at the beach), so we didn't stay in the water for very long. So if your primary interests are nature, outdoor activities, and relaxation, I'd recommend 7 days on Kaua'i and 3 on Oahu, or even all 10 on Kaua'i.

If, on the other hand, you desire a faster pace, then 7 or 10 days on Oahu would be fine. I love Waikiki and the rest of Honolulu. There's a great energy there, and so many things to do. On our most recent trip there, we arrived in Honolulu mid-afternoon, checked into our hotel on Waikiki, walked along the beach, went to Duke's, had drinks and a long, relaxing dinner on the patio, went for another walk on the beach, came across a free outdoor concert, listened to that, watched the sun set, went back to our hotel, and relaxed on the balcony until bedtime, as a cool breeze and mist from the mountains blew down. It was one of those days that make people say, "I want to move to Hawaii!" In Honolulu, you can see Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace, Punchbowl Cemetary, and the Bishop Museum, do some shopping at Ala Moana, catch a show at one of the hotels or the Waikiki Shell, and maybe attend an event at the Convention Center. There are plenty of great restaurants to eat at, and people-watching never gets old. On the rest of the island, there's the Polynesian Cultural Center, the North Shore beaches, and Byodo-In temple in the Valley of the Temples. Those are the things I've seen, and I'm sure there are plenty more. Oahu might not be as jaw-droppingly spectacular as Kaua'i or the Big Island, but it's still plenty beautiful. Once you get outside the city, there are quiet -- even rural -- areas.

I don't know how relevant this is to your fibromyalgia, but on one trip to Hawaii, I had the misfortune of coming down with a 10-day respiratory flu the day before we left Portland. We spent our first 5 days in Honolulu. I had a headache, stuffed-up nose, low-grade fever, and fatigue -- enough to make me feel generally lousy, but not bad enough to keep me in bed. I found Honolulu to be chaotic and overwhelming. Once we got to sleepy Hilo (my wife's home town) for the next 10 days of our trip, I was still sick, but I immediately felt relaxed, and thought, "This is the real Hawaii!" When I don't feel well, I prefer a slower pace. But on our last trip to Honolulu, I felt fine, and I loved it there.

I agree with the poster who said that the Big Island is worth its own trip, because it really is big, and there's a lot to see. I haven't been to Maui, so I can't comment about it. Hope that helps!
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:49 PM
 
Location: NC
617 posts, read 465,545 times
Reputation: 1360
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaAndi View Post
I truly appreciate each and every single one of your responses.
I am still confused as to what I should do. I do know I want to spend some time on Oahu. I'm leaning towards 7 days on Oahu (And YES our hotel is in Waikiki because that's the only option we had with using the points, but we will be renting a car to experience the entire island) and 3 days on Kauai or 7 days on Maui and 3 days on Oahu. I haven't decided which one.

My fibromyalgia can be very debilitating and it was much worse only a few months ago when I was living with this without any medication (Since 12 years old. I am now almost 30) Thank goodness I found a dr who gives me pain medication which helps tremendously.

Maui sounds beautiful with the Road to Hana, but it also sounds a little bit on the expensive side compared to the other islands. Kauai sounds amazing and lush and I think I'd love 3 days on that island.

Question: Which Island has the best snorkeling? The only reason I'm straying from going to the Big Island is because you need 7-10 days on that island by itself and there aren't really the same sandy beaches there as the other islands. Snorkeling is going to be very important for us. I have never done it and while I am very scared of sharks, I will get over it for this trip as I think it sounds like an amazing experience.

Thank you again! You are all so wonderful!

Andi
Hi Andi - You will get opinions all over the map - but here's my humble opinion. How social are you? If you really enjoy being in groups, I think you will love snorkeling on Oahu or Maui. If, on the other hand, you prefer being out on your own, I'd say the Big Island for sure. No comparison. There have been times that my wife and I were literally THE ONLY ONES snorkeling at the top snorkeling spots on the Big Island (see my first post). Also, IMHO - the Big Island has some of the BEST beaches in all of Hawaii (ie: Hapuna, Kua Bay, Mauna Kea, etc). These are world class (and sandy) beaches!

Really, if the top priorities are snorkeling, beaches, and value - I'd say the Big Island really is the top choice. Plus, I think you mentioned something about horseback riding in your OP - well, I forgot to mention that one awesome thing to do is go mule riding down into Haleakala crater on Maui after watching the sunrise - but to tell you the truth - there is awesome, awesome horseback riding on the many ranches on the Big Island. This is definitely the island to go to for horseback riding, no doubt!!

So - not to make things harder on you - but I wouldn't necessarily count the Big Island out. True, it is much slower paced than the other islands - but you can get into plenty o' trouble (in a good way) there! Kailua-Kona/Keauhou and Hilo have great restaurants and diversions. Not to mention Volcano!!

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Old 08-01-2011, 05:30 PM
 
683 posts, read 1,771,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaAndi View Post
I truly appreciate each and every single one of your responses.
I am still confused as to what I should do. I do know I want to spend some time on Oahu. I'm leaning towards 7 days on Oahu (And YES our hotel is in Waikiki because that's the only option we had with using the points, but we will be renting a car to experience the entire island) and 3 days on Kauai or 7 days on Maui and 3 days on Oahu. I haven't decided which one.
Which one you do should come down to: do you want more time in Waikiki (think crowds, shops, tourist destination) or less? If you're a "city person," then do 7 on Oahu. It'll give you time to see stuff in Waikiki (one day at least, maybe two), downtown (museums, Iolani palace, etc.), Chinatown, snorkel a couple of locations (yes, there is really great snorkeling here... Hanauma Bay is great and usually has very good visibility, though crowded... there's lots of other spots), get over to Kailua Beach (maybe rent a kayak? or snorkel there, too, though really visibility is usually not great there), get up to the North Shore (snorkel if it's summer, just watch the waves & surfers if it's winter), etc. etc.

If the three or four days of city stuff is less appealing than more time snorkeling, maybe some horesback riding, hiking, etc... the do the Maui for 7 (snorkel Molokini for sure) and Oahu for 3. Use the 3 days on Oahu for the little bit of city stuff and a day on the North Shore.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:03 PM
 
21 posts, read 49,971 times
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Thanks again! Certainly opinions all over the map. I honestly don't know what "type" of vacation I want. If that makes sense . I have Fibromyalgia which causes me to be fatigued and in pain much of the time, so long hiking trails aren't really going to be possible most of the time. I'm worried that most of our time spent somewhere like Kauai or Maui will mean hiking to be entertained unless we sit on a beach the entire day. I think we'll probably do 7 Oahu then 3 Kauai, or 7 Maui and 3 Oahu..So confusing. Seriously, these decisions are going to kill me.

What type of Itinerary would you have for Maui or Kauai? Does it involve a ton of hiking?

We really want good snorkeling, beautiful beaches, YUMMY not too expensive food, nice sights and just fun, yet relaxing. Make sense? LOL. I'm sure I sound like an airhead.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:17 PM
 
683 posts, read 1,771,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaAndi View Post

What type of Itinerary would you have for Maui or Kauai? Does it involve a ton of hiking?
On Kauai, you could stay in Poipu which has good beaches & snorkeling and lots of hotels.

You should get up early one morning and drive up to the top overlook of Waimea Canyon. (Definitely drive all the way up, then stop at the other overlooks on the way down. If you get to the top in the day, you're more likely to see clouds than any view.) It's true there's lots of hiking in the canyon. But there are also lots of nice overlooks. You can just stop and see them, hang out, and not do a hike. When you get down, you can have a beer & lunch at Waimea Brewing Company, then head to one of the west shore beaches for the rest of the day.

The last day, you could make the drive up to the North Shore. It's a really pretty drive over the one-lane bridges. Have a cocktail overlooking the ocean at the fancy resort (St. Regis maybe?) Even drive all the way to Ha'ena park to see it (though don't head off on that 11 mile hike!). Even though it's the other end of the island, it's totally do-able as a day trip. And if you're there in the summer, there's some good snorkeling on the North Shore as well.

For 3 days on Maui, it depends on what you want. You could stay up country (great views), which makes it easier to get up to Haleakala for sunrise (or sunset). You could take a day to drive the road to Hana, though it's true that most of the stops involve at least a short hike to a waterfall, so maybe it's not worth it. You could go with a group to snorkel Molokini.

On both islands, you'll have no trouble finding nice drives, scenic views, and things to do that don't involve long hikes. You'll have a great time either way, I'm sure.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
1,929 posts, read 2,483,488 times
Reputation: 825
Oh dang.... Lost my reply.

We spent 10 days in hawaii last december. It was amazing!
We did 3 days on Oahu, 4 days on the Big Island and 3 more back on Oahu.
We stayed the Military resort on Waikiki and it was really nice. The beaches by the resort are pretty open and not at all crowded. We rarely ventured into Waikiki directly but rather took road trips all over. Usually we ended up at the North Shore and Haleiwa mostly. Totally adorable town.

The trip to the Big Island was amazing and left us wanting to come back for more! We stayed up near Kilauea at the Military Volcano Camp. Did the volcano thing, the lava tube and took a day trip through Hilo, the black beaches, ate some amazing taro bread at a local bakery, stopped by a few roadside produce stands, the Historical Park (cannot recall the really long name), Kailua, Saddleback Road, up to the observatory at Mauna Kea and watched the sun set and got to see Jupiter! then back to our room.

Awesome!!!!

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:24 PM
 
820 posts, read 1,797,061 times
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OK, my bad, I'm confused. I thought in your original post you said you'd already booked your flights, because you list departure times from HNL on the 11th day. But now it sounds like not. Usually folks figure out where they are staying first, THEN book the airfare.

Not sure which hotel you have to use for your package deal. For Maui it's probably going to place you in either Kaanapali / Kapalua area or else Wailea.

In any case, Maui does have great snorkeling. You can snorkel right from shore on several beaches (South Maui is good for that), or take a boat ride out to Molokini for some deeper water.

Maui also has horseback riding upcountry, and a winery up there too if you want to add that into your day.

Lahaina has a lot of art galleries if you'd like to look around a little before or after dinner. Friday nights the galleries are open later - Friday Night Art Night.

You don't want to spend every day at the beach, and you can't hike. How about a ferry ride over to Lanaii? It is a couple of blocks length walk to the beach there, then up a slanted path to the Four Seasons to take shuttle into town. Or catch a taxi from the ferry dock into town. Nice place to have a lunch, but I just love the ferry ride too.

You say take in the beauty & relaxation - if you drive the road to Hana, it's quite beautiful if you stop every now & then to look around. You don't have to hike into the bamboo forest, just get out of the car and admire the foliage or the ocean. Too many people drive like scared rabbits all the way to Hana, turn around, and come back. They miss everything! You should drive to Hana (pack a lunch), and then take the back way around to return. It is absolutely gorgeous, but you can't be a fearful driver as some of the parts have one lane. Just take it slow and admire the views.

Perhaps 7 days Maui then 3 days Oahu. That gives you the relaxation up front, then back to Oahu for a little extra gift shopping, some bigger restaurants and such, before you get on the plane for home.
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:24 AM
 
1,308 posts, read 932,951 times
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If you go to O'ahu then snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is a must. I would suggest that when you get to the bottom, take a left and go all the way to the end before getting in the water.
Also, might sound crazy, but I have found some fun snorkeling right there in Waikiki. Last December my brother-in-law and I walked south down Kalakaua Blvd until the beach ran into a hotel. We got in the water and snorkeled out around the Natatorium War Memorial and all the way back to the wall. We saw some amazing fish along the way!

10 days in Oahu too much?-img_0022.jpg

10 days in Oahu too much?-photo.png
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