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Hawaii vacation - Page 2

post #16 of 30
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Never been to Maui; can give you all kinds of tips on Oahu though. Been vacationing there for over 30 years.
I'll take that: leaving Friday. I won't have much free time, though, as I'll be working there, till Tuesday. I'll be in Honolulu and would be most interested in exploring places that are off the beaten path, unless the beaten path is at all interesting. Thanks. Fabienne
post #17 of 30
OK - I'm jealous - My wife and I honeymooned on Maui in 2001. One of the best pieces of advice I got was, bring your Safeway Club Card (if you have one) and just buy your picnic lunch stuffs at the Safeway - much cheaper than restaurants - and take it with you during your daily excursions. The Old Lahaina Luau was a lot of fun - good food and good entertainment. As mentioned, The Aloha Mixed Plate was delicious and a nice place right on the beach (nothing fancy). We did all the snorkeling and beach stuff. Didn't do the bike ride down Haleakala, but did drive to the top. One of my favorite things was going sailing on the America II. It's the actual boat that competed in the America's Cup and you can go out for a sailing excursion where they really get moving. Not quite as fast as they would have gone in competition, but certainly fast enough for a landlubber like me. You do get completely soaked, but the water's so warm it doesn't matter. Additionally, by buying the sailing excursion, they also (at least when we were there) throw in a free whale watching cruise where you go back out on the boat some other time during the week. They use the motor, so you don't get wet again, but you do get close to the whales. The America II is based out of Lahaina Harbor. I bought two hawaiian shirts while there - one was at Hilo Hattie's which is a big local chain that specializes in local apparel and the other was one that I actually got at Costco (although when we got back to Phoenix I saw the same shirt for three times the price I paid at Nordstrom's Rack). I also enjoyed the Road to Hana. If you like to drive, it's a blast. Buy the audio CD tour and follow the directions - but don't believe what they say - your rental car can definitely make it all the way around the back of the island. If you obey the stupid signs, you'll turn around at Lindbergh's grave and then you miss all the cool lava fields and the isolated back side of the island. I made it in a convertible Mustang and only had to back up once or twice when other vehicles came the other way around single lane hairpin turns overloooking oceanside cliffs Hope you have fun - pm me if you have any questions. Brad EDIT - Sorry, I didn't look at the date of the original post. You're probably already back on the mainland. Hope this helps anyone else headed to Maui.
post #18 of 30
Thread Starter 
Man, what a week. After spending a few days on Maui, it is readily apparent why it has been voted "Best Island In The World" for 11 consecutive years in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Poll.  It is an outdoor lover's paradise.  Created when two volcanoes erupted in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it possesses beaches, mountains, and rain forests all in close proximity.  That makes for some outstanding sightseeing as well as an incredible number of outdoor activities to do.  Throw in world-class resorts and an abundance of fine dining and shopping options, and you can be as active or as relaxed as you want to be. Faced with this embarassment of riches, and the knowledge that I wouldn't have time to do in one week all that I wanted to do, I decided to take the "Greatest Hits" approach and do the activities that everyone does when they go to Maui: (1) Snorkeling at Molokini.  This was one of my favorite activities.  Once I got accustomed to breathing through the snorkel tube and humbled myself by using a boogie board, this was a blast.  The water was crystal clear.  A lot of other people had the same idea, and the water around the crater was pretty crowded even in the morning, but it didn't detract from the experience. (2) Highway to Hana.  Like Bradford, I bought the audio CD and drove the road myself.  My favorite part was actually past Hana, at the Haleakala National Park.  Oheo Gulch, the bamboo forest, and Waipuku Falls were amazing sights.  Unfortunately, that particular day there were intermittent downpours, so I got soaking wet.  As a lawyer, I read the rental car agreement carefully, and could find no express prohibition on driving the back way around the island, so that's what I did.  (Actually, I completely missed Charles Lindbergh's grave, and by the time I realized it, turning around was not an option.)  I found that drive a bit desolate; fortunately there was a winery with tastings near the end. (3) Sunrise at Haleakala.  I had visions of creating a 20-bike pileup if I did the bike ride down, so I decided to do a van tour instead.  The morning I went was clear after two cloudy days, and the view was awesome.  Totally worth getting up at 2:30 in the morning.  And yes, it is very, very cold before the sun rises. (4) Luau.  I couldn't get into the Old Lahaina Luau (booked until August), so I went to a luau at one of the resorts in Wailea instead.  I figured out how these luaus can have an open bar for 600 people -- water down the drinks so much that they are closer to virgin than to actual mixed drinks.  (I had five and didn't feel even slightly buzzed.)  Nevertheless, the food, ambience, and entertainment were great.  Totally worth doing. Added to these activities, I took surfing lessons and a helicopter ride around the island, shopped/sightsaw around Lahaina, Kaanapali, and West Maui, and oh yeah, attended my friend's wedding.  I was so busy that I didn't have time to relax by the pool or on the beach. I was pleasantly surprised by the dining options.  I had the standard lunch plate at Aloha Mixed Plate (kahlua pig, lomi lomi salmon, poi, macaroni salad, rice) -- great introduction to local cuisine.  Roy's, which was located in a nondescript strip mall slightly north of Kaanapali, is as good a seafood restaurant as there is, and yes, the chocolate souffle is divine.  (Interesting side note: I was wearing a camp shirt and shorts, most men were wearing hawaiian/polo shirts and shorts; this attire did not negatively affect my experience a whit.)  Lulu's in Kihei serves great burgers in a casual, beach atmosphere.  And Antonios, located in a strip mall in Kihei, is one of the best Italian restaurants I have ever dined in. For shopping, I did the touristy Lahaina thing.  Didn't go to the Shops at Wailea, as it is mostly replicated by Whalers Village in Kaanapali.  I went a bit overboard with the Hawaiian shirts, buying five for myself (two at Hilo Hatties, two at Moonbow Tropics -- best place for the real deal shirts, and one at the T-shirt Factory).  Also bought shirts and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts for the folks back home.  About 90% of the non-groceries you need can be purchased at Hilo Hatties or the ABC Store.  And yes, the ABC Store is really, really ubiquitious. I found the location of my condo -- second to last condo complex in Kihei before Maaleaa -- to be ideal.  Fifteen minutes to the airport and to Wailea, and 30 minutes to Lahaina.  If I didn't have a wedding to attend in Wailea, I might have wanted to stay in Lahaina (more stuff to do there), but the drive up Route 30 to Lahaina is not one to do at night after you've had a few drinks. As you can probably tell, this vacation was wonderful, despite what my credit card statement will look like next month.  I can't wait to go back, after I see Kauai and Costa Rica and Greece . . .
post #19 of 30
AC: Sounds like a great vacation. I am truly jealous. I'm glad some of our suggestions were useful. Jeff
post #20 of 30
Bump for info previously requested on Honolulu. Leaving in one day.
post #21 of 30
I don't remember Oahu as well as I do Maui, but I do remember that I felt that I had pretty much seen it all in the 3 days that we were there. The only major attraction we weren't able to see was the Pearl Harbor memorial. We landed in Hawaii on September 10, 2001, you see, and the memorial was temporarily closed shortly thereafter. We hiked up Diamond Head, which provides spectacular views, and is a fairly easy hike. We also visited the Dole Plantation, which I cannot advise you strongly enough to avoid. Dole tee shirts and soft serve pineapple ice cream - a terrible tourist trap. We stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki, which is right on the beach (Waikiki and Honolulu are basically right next to each other). There was a lot of high end retail near where we stayed (I remember Gucci and Ferragamo, specifically) - no bargains there, but some good brousing. There's a great Hawaiian shirt/panama hat store called Newt at the Royal (located at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel). I remember that we went out to one nice restaurant, but I can't remember the name. I know we ate at the Royal Hawaiian, which is right next door to the Sheraton, and the food was very good. Hopefully others can give you some advice regarding good restaurants or other things to see. If not, there is always the concierge. Enjoy. Jeff
post #22 of 30
I had been worn about the Dole plantation. For having been **near** the pineapple plantation on Moorea (French Polynesia), I knew better. If I could find a pleasant walk that would lead me away from bustling places, that would be perfect. If I could be in the presence of native hawaiians, that would be even better.
post #23 of 30
I love the most touristy spot of them all: Waikiki. Great beach, great sights. The "town" of Waikiki has world-class shopping, famous dining and all the tourist traps you'll want to try. Try to get a table for drinks and dinner at Duke's at the Outrigger Waikiki. For elegant dining, see if you can get in at the Halekulani Hotel: La Mer is outstanding; House Without a Key is relaxed and old-Hawaii. You've got to go to Diamond Head: take the hike into the crater; see the lighthouse. Hanauma Bay: snorkeling in an underwater "park"; tends to get busy with tourists, but you're in off-season, so might be worth a visit. (Two other inlets are just as cool and less crowded: Chinaman's Hat (up the coast from Kaneohe on the windward side) and Goat Island on the North Shore. Both are secluded, but require a hike to get there.) Touristy, but informative: Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. See big surf at Banzai Pipeline, although the big waves are in winter. Waimea Bay is pretty gentle this time of year, great for swimming or snorkeling. The Iolani Palace, Honolulu is beautiful. A great place to catch the sights and sounds of Waikiki is just about anywhere along Kalalaua Avenue. East end of Kalakaua is Kapi'olani Park. Pearl Harbor: US Navy has free tours that are better than commercial ones, but require an early rise. They're first-come-first-served. The Bishop Museum is awesome. Hilo Hattie's has a huge store on Nimitz Highway (free shuttles from Waikiki) and they have a huge sale every 4th of July. You're right on time. Have fun.
post #24 of 30
Thanks, Dakota Rube. I'll be right off Waikiki beach, so I suppose if I wake up early enough (counting on jetlag), a walk should be spectacular. I'll try to get to the palace out of curiosity. If I can manage it within my schedule, I'll go on the crater hike.
post #25 of 30
I'm sure this has already been covered in this thread, but for a little re-affirmation: I went when I was younger a few times and the most fun I ever had at maui was snorkeling at molokini. In fact, it still stands as one of the most beautiful/spiritual/awe-inspiring experiences of my life. (however, I was told that the day we went out was especially beautiful) I absolutely HATED the road to hana. Ugh it made me want to throw up. I've never heard anyone come back from that with a positive experience (there should really be a shirt that says "i survived the road to hana") I vaguely remember going to the place where part of predator was filmed. I remember having fun there on the big rope swing and the setting was gorgeous Thats about all my imput
post #26 of 30
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We stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki, which is right on the beach (Waikiki and Honolulu are basically right next to each other).  There was a lot of high end retail near where we stayed (I remember Gucci and Ferragamo, specifically) - no bargains there, but some good brousing.
I was at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Waikiki. A bit dated, but OK. The problem with Louis Vuitton, Hermes, etc in Honolulu/Waikiki, is that they cater to their overwhelming Japanese clientele. I might have bought a pair of Christian Dior shoes, otherwise. I was essentially concentrating on shoes, and it was near impossible to find one pair without the famous logos or patterns. I bought a long Hawaiian dress, sleeveless, with a slit up the side, black pearl earrings, and a black pearl necklace. And Hawaiian wine (Yikes.) I enjoyed the ocean, and the general good mood and courteous manners of Hawaiians.
post #27 of 30
Hawaii, and Oahu in particular, seems to be a hot spot for Japanese tourists. We asked our concierge about this. We were told that it's cheaper to fly from Japan to Hawaii to play golf than it is to play golf in Japan. We were also told that Oahu was sort of the Japanese Las Vegas when it comes to weddings. Once again, much cheaper to have the wedding in Oahu. We saw several Japanese wedding parties while we were there. There is no doubt that the Oahu retail focuses on Japanese tourists. There is a member on AAAC, Leather Sole, who owns a men's shoe store in Oahu. He is branching out to Edward Green, but says he will carry mostly smaller sizes to cater specifically to Japanese men. I also found the Hawaiian people (both those in the service industry and the general populace) to be extremely friendly and accommodating.
post #28 of 30
I wasn't out and about much, but I did manage to see two Japanese wedding parties (photo shoot at the Royal, in particular). Puts everybody in good spirits. Since the retailers keep Japanese women in mind, it was wonderful to be able to find my size wherever I went (I am relatively thin). One afternoon, I asked a Hawaii police cop if he could tell me where to find a bookstore (there are none in Waikiki, btw), and he kept talking to me, asking questions, for almost half an hour. I guess they don't see French tourists often, in Hawai'i.
post #29 of 30
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One afternoon, I asked a Hawaii police cop if he could tell me where to find a bookstore (there are none in Waikiki, btw), and he kept talking to me, asking questions, for almost half an hour.  I guess they don't see French tourists often, in Hawai'i.
Your accent must have been making him swoon.
post #30 of 30
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(Fabienne @ July 07 2005,13:44) One afternoon, I asked a Hawaii police cop if he could tell me where to find a bookstore (there are none in Waikiki, btw), and he kept talking to me, asking questions, for almost half an hour.  I guess they don't see French tourists often, in Hawai'i.
Your accent must have been making him swoon.  
No, I think it was my new (henna) tatoo.
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