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Hawaii deals or special events next week (Oahu/Maui)?
Old 11-30-2008, 04:39 PM   #1
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Hawaii deals or special events next week (Oahu/Maui)?

DW and I are going to Hawaii for the first time next week: Oahu (Dec 7-10) and Maui (Dec 10-14). We already have our flights and hotels booked (great prices) but given all the talk of travel being down, I thought there might be other deals to take advantage of once we get there. Or, there might be some kind of seasonal activity (a festival or something) that is going on during our visit that we might not be aware of. Appreciate anyone's tips! We will have a rental car both places.

We are trying to hit the higlights in both cities so here is our list so far, subject to revision:

Oahu
Waikiki Beach
Pearl Harbor
Chinatown
Other Beaches
North Shore
Dole Pineapple Plantation
Polynesian Cultural Center
Diamondhead

Maui
Road to Hana
Kapalua & Lahaina
Sailing/snorkeling
Vineyard
Coffeehouse
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:09 AM   #2
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Man, you guys are gonna be churnin' & burnin'!

You can download "This Week Oahu" eye candy pamphlets as they're published, including December activity calendars in the current issues:

(WARNING: If it snows in your neighborhood, and you're not planning a Hawaii vacation in the next few months, then DO NOT click on the below links. If you insist on downloading these documents then don't blame me for your plunging winter morale.)
This Week Oahu
This Week Maui

"This Week" magazines have plenty deals & coupons. When you get to the airport you'll see stacks of them around the baggage claim area along with other advertising. The visitor industry is on the ropes so don't hesitate to ask for a discount on everything. If you can pronounce "kama'aina" then you can ask what the kama'aina discount is, confess that you're a visitor, and ask if you can have the discount anyway.

It's best to avoid being on Oahu roads during rush hours-- 6-8 AM and 4-6 PM. Plan your departures/dining around those times.

Honolulu City Lights ceremony will be on the 6th, so you'll be able to ogle the Christmas decorations around Honolulu Hale. Santa may also be surfing or canoeing into the beach several times this month as part of his pre-deployment stand-down.

Stay well clear of Pearl Harbor on December 7th. It's the 67th anniversary and the crowds/security will not be worth the delays.

Professional surfing contests are being held on both Oahu & Maui all month long; check the surf forecasts when you arrive. The day's events depend on the weather and the quality of the waves. If you want a quieter North Shore beach then I'd recommend watching the surfers, kitesurfers, gliders, and parachutists on the North Shore from Mokuleia Beach or Army Beach. They're out past Waialua toward Kaena Point. If you're surfing North Shore then I'd suggest Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park, Mokuleia, or Army… but everyplace North Shore is crowded this time of year and the surf can easily exceed 15 feet. Too big for me and not for occasional surfer dudes. Or you could go east of Waikiki to Makapu'u Point (whale watching) or Hanauma Bay (snorkeling, but closed on Tuesday). The water's cold by Hawaii standards but the scenery is stunning.

The Diamond Head trail should be open again; I haven't heard of any problems with the recent maintenance. (Diamond Head State Monument to close for maintenance - Pacific Business News (Honolulu):) H-3 is a nice drive back & forth across the Ko'olau and the Pali Lookout has stunning views (ask the hotel to loan you a jacket or an umbrella).

As soon as you get to the USS ARIZONA Memorial, grab a ticket at the entrance. Once you know your time you can decide whether you want to hang around that museum or go over to the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum. If you enjoy military history, the USS MISSOURI Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum are also both most excellent places to spend an afternoon. BTW the entire ARIZONA Memorial's museum is being rebuilt because the old one is sinking into the landfill.

If you decide to try a dinner cruise then I'd spend the extra money on the NAVATEK. It's a rock-solid steady SWATH ship, able to cruise at a higher speed, and less affected by weather. Well worth the extra cost.

If you're interested in a luau you may want to arrange your PCC visit to include their dinner/show. Many of the performers are native Pacific Islanders attending BYU Laie on work/study scholarship and demonstrating their culture at PCC.

The Honolulu Marathon is on the 14th, so IMO you picked a good week to be on Maui! (Honolulu Marathon 2008 | Powered by EventsOnline.ca) Hopefully you won't have to head home through Honolulu airport that day, or at least steer clear of their security checkpoints.

Personally this time of year I'd skip the SuperFerry-- three hours in open-ocean winter seas and not a fun trip. I'm not a big fan of the road to Hana and I wouldn't feel obligated to drive the entire distance.

I like the Oceanarium at Ma'alaea, and the harbor there has plenty of whalewatching/sailing/snorkeling charters. But Lahaina is also good. Just keep an eye on the weather reports.

Have you read Trombone Al's Waikiki threads?
Waikiki Trip Report/Tips
Waikiki Pictures
Hawaiian Getaway

If you're surfing just once or twice then the Waikiki beach surfboard rentals are cheaper (especially the one in front of Duke's statue). If you're surfing every morning/evening then you may want to contact Hawaii Surfboard Rentals (HAWAII SURFBOARD RENTALS.com: Surfing equipment rental on Oahu, Hawaii-Waikiki, Honolulu) or I can loan you a 9'0"-- although that's kinda short for small south shore winter surf. PM me if you want a surfing lesson but frankly I'm not sure you have enough time left over!

ClifP, what am I missing here?

I don't know if JB reads the board very often, so you may want to PM him about other Maui events.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:30 AM   #3
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Cut that list waaaay down! IMHO, the point of Hawaii is not to live in a New York minute (I've only spent 8 months there total, so others may have a different view). Snorkeling/Beach time should be a priority. Cut out Waikiki, Chinatown, the Plantation, and Diamondhead and relax more on Oahu. I'd cut the vineyard and coffee house on Maui as well. The activities I've listed for cutting are something you would add to a two week trip to one island. You've got one week for two islands. Are your hotel rooms on the beach?

I second Nords comment on adding dinner/show to the PCC visit. DW, family and I will be doing the same in April. Good luck, have fun and don't forget to relax! FWIW, one of the key things that cement DW and I together forever is our love for Hawaii. Even the smell is perfect.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:24 PM   #4
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Yeah, too much stuff for such a short visit. The general rule of thumb is one island per week, so you've already got too much on your plate. Unless, you must do something every day and just don't want to spend time on beaches.

As to Maui- Road to Hana is one full long day. Do you really want to spend one full day doing that? Skip the vineyard and coffeehouse on Maui. The vineyard is a nice, interesting drive, but takes almost a day, depending on where you are starting. And again, it is a drive.

Lahaina is worth a visit. Some history/museums/dining/shopping. Worth paying the money for one of the commerical luau's if you don't do PCC on Oahu. ( Either Old Lahaina Luau or Feast at Lele are worth it).

Kapaula is a rich man's golf paradise. I see no reason to make a trip there, especially as it is the rainier part of the island in December.
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
Stay well clear of Pearl Harbor on December 7th. It's the 67th anniversary and the crowds/security will not be worth the delays.
I assume this is true for every Dec 7. Or is there something special about the 67th anniversary? Maybe they do an extra big celebration in prime year anniversaries?
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:59 PM   #6
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I assume this is true for every Dec 7. Or is there something special about the 67th anniversary? Maybe they do an extra big celebration in prime year anniversaries?
Sounds a little redundant, doesn't it? It's a comprehensive explanation developed from previous exchanges I've had with other posters from this very board:

My post: ... and stay away from Pearl Harbor on the 7th.
Them (usually via PM): Why?
Me: Well, it's the anniversary.
Them: Of what?
Me: Of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Them: But wasn't that a long time ago?

It's not just a Mainland phenomenon. When Disney was filming the movie "Pearl Harbor" on Ford Island in, uhm, Pearl Harbor, they staged the ARIZONA sinking by packing an old ship with explosives and detonating it as the Zero-simulating planes buzzed around another part of the harbor. It was impressive-- at the time we lived 10 miles away from the explosion, we felt the vibration, and the shock waves made our lanai windows flex several inches. For weeks before the event, Disney ran full-page newspaper ads, radio announcements, and TV spots. However that evening 911 was still overwhelmed with calls from shocked residents wondering how we'd managed to let down our guard again.

Unfortunately these days only a handful of survivors are able to travel to the event. Much of the ceremony consists on interring deceased veterans on their ships. It's like the Gettysburg reunions of the 1920s & '30s.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips everyone!
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:28 PM   #8
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I've driven the road to Hana twice and stayed in a little motel in Hana each time. It's WONDERFUL! You won't find a more "authentic" rural Hawaiian town than Hana (at least from a tourist's perspective).
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:16 PM   #9
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You can take a one day tour which covers a lot on your list - Pearl Harbor, Diamondhead, Waikiki, Dole, and the Polynesian Cultural Center. It is literally an all day event but you can cram most of what you want to see into that one full day and then have the rest of the days to just hang out and relax.

We did the Pearl Harbor, Diamondhead, Waikiki tour which lasted from 7-3. I wish we would have gone ahead and done the bigger tour that covered the other items too.

Aloha!
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:14 AM   #10
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ClifP, what am I missing here?
To be honest not a damn thing. Although, I tend to echo the others in saying plan on a couple of days of just hitting the beach and chilling.

We had a Hawaiian monk seal (1200 in the world) swim today in the inner reef of Hanauma Bay and bark at a tourist (500 lbs of seal must make one loud bark). You'd miss that if you were constantly going from one tourist location to another.


That being said everything on your and Nords list is worth doing. Not sure about the Maui Vineyard but who knows. I think that snorkel trips in Maui are superior to Oahu but Hanauma Bay is nice.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:44 AM   #11
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To be honest not a damn thing. Although, I tend to echo the others in saying plan on a couple of days of just hitting the beach and chilling.

We had a Hawaiian monk seal (1200 in the world) swim today in the inner reef of Hanauma Bay and bark at a tourist (500 lbs of seal must make one loud bark). You'd miss that if you were constantly going from one tourist location to another.


Hanauma Bay is nice.
I have to say along with the others that it is important in Hawaii not to overprogram your time, after all it is a vacation and you will be on island time.

We just got back from a week in Kauai and also had the pleasure of observing a monk seal which beached itself on the sand in front of the hotel for a couple of days. The hotel did rope him off so no-one went near him. There is an interesting article in Hawaiian airlines inflight magazine this month about the monk seal - I had no idea they were so endangered in the Hawaiian Islands.
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:51 PM   #12
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We just got back, the trip was great. We did everything on our Oahu list but hit some bad weather in Maui so had to slow down. Probably was for the best anyway. Would have liked to drive to Hana but no time. My recommendations for Maui:

- Bailey house
- Take boat out to see lava flows along the Kanaio coast, stop at Molokini for snorkeling and whale watching on the way back
- Drive to top of Haleakala crater (10,000 feet)
- Swimming at Wailea beach
- Iao needle at the Iao Valley state park
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:07 AM   #13
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Your timing was flawless-- Oahu had record-setting rainfalls last week just after you headed to Maui.

A rain guage up the street from us recorded over 11 inches in less than 24 hours, which we were able to independently verify from various parts of our house...
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