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Hawaii - Maui & Big Isl - Advice/Tips?
Old 06-13-2008, 07:08 PM   #1
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Hawaii - Maui & Big Isl - Advice/Tips?

Well, despite the high airfare, we (me, DW & 13 y/o) are still planning two weeks in Hawaii last week of Jul & 1st week of Aug.t

Thinking of staying in Maui (Kihei area?) one week & Big Island (Kona area?) the next.

Looking for tips on condos & things to do.

We're planning on going to beach some, do some snorkeling, & daughter & I will try to get a few dives in (have OW certs). Want to drive the Hana highway also (thinking renting a convertible will be worth the extra $)

Wondering what else we can do - or best ways to do it. Don't want to get caught up in a lot of the so-not-worth-it $100 per person tourist traps.

Any advice/tips on condos & things to do will be greatly appreciated. (also on what to avoid/stay away from)

Maybe also some recommendations on good, but not overpriced, places to eat.
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:00 PM   #2
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Leave early for the Hana trip, the road is narrow/windy and you wouldn't want to drive it in the dark. Maui was really beautiful.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:06 PM   #3
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OOOOOOH, Maui, Maui, you lucky dogs!

Take a look at this site for condo rentals.
..VRBOŽ is Vacation Rentals by OwnerŽ Vacation Homes Rentals by Owner
Stay in Wailea where the beaches are absolutely divine and the snorkling is wonderful. There's a lovely walkway along the beach as well.

Wish I were there right this moment!
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:03 PM   #4
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I just returned from Wailea which is about a 45 minute drive from our place.

South Kihei and Wailea are great places to stay. All the beaches South of and including Kamaole I are beautiful. It's probably less expensive to rent a condo in Kihei, just make sure you are in the southern part (near or south of Kamaole). Most of these beaches have excellent snorkeling. Check the weather, it will be excellent as long as there isn't a south swell (wave episode ) running. South swells are common in the summer.

Big Beach (aka Makena Beach) is beautiful but be careful in the shore break. Little beach (next to BB) is gorgeous and clothing optional.

If you don't mind hiking for 20 minutes through a rugged lava field the Aquarium and Fishbowl at the Ahihi natural preserve offer excellent snorkeling (drive south and it's within the lava flow just before LaPerouse Bay). They are small coves within a new lava field and are protected from the open ocean. Go in the early morning before the trades pick up. The hike is very exposed so going in the morning will minimize sun and heat. Make sure you wear sneakers or boots as the lava is sharp (no flip-flops/slippers).

Hana is fantastic and I recommend staying one or two nights. You can rent a house or camp. Since you are only staying a week you probably don't have enough time.

The Haleakala crater is worth visiting. I think it costs $10 to drive a car up. If you like hiking the sliding-sands trail is wonderful. It takes about 5-6 hours so plan accordingly. You leave a car Leleiwi overlook parking lot and hitch-hike back to the summit (10 minute drive, getting a ride is no problem, just drop the others off up there first) The hike starts at the summit and ends at some switchbacks that lead back to the car. Incredible views.

If you like snorkeling/scuba Molokini is worth visiting but the boat trip is expensive. I like the Trilogy and Paragon sailboats. Cost is around $100 pp for 1/2 day trip including lunch

It's definitely worth driving around the west side but be careful on the narrow road. Honolua Bay has outstanding snorkeling in the summer (and surfing in winter). You need to swim out fairly far to see interesting things (I see many tourists on the inside the water isn't clear and there is no coral). Black Rock at Ka'anapali is also good and has a good cliff dive. Flemming Beach is one of my favorites over there. You can also stop at a blow hole and gorgeous pools. When you come back around through Wailuku stop and visit the Iao Valley then go to the Cafe Saigon for dinner (good inexpensive Vietnamese).

Mama's Fish House in Paia/Kuau is my favorite restaurant. It has a wonderful ambiance and view of the north shore. It is also very expensive, but the food is excellent.

Many of the restaurants in the tourist areas are expensive and often not great. The Ma'alea Grill and Waterfront are both good. I live in Haiku and am more familiar with the upcountry restaurants. Hali'imale General Store is excellent but pricey. For inexpensive food try the Paia Fish Market or Cafe Des Amis (both in Paia.)

You might enjoy the Maui Ocean Center (the other Aquarium). When kids visit I often take them there and they like it.

I don't know much about the Big Island, but it is very big! You'll need to drive a lot more if you want to see different places. The Kilauea lava flow has been active recently so that might be fun.

PM me if you have specific questions.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:29 PM   #5
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If you go to the Big Island, see the volcano, and hike up to the flow, don't do the boat or helicopter thing. Walking up is free, and I don't think anything can really compare to standing a foot away from flowing lava. Definitely stay on the Kona side, we stayed at a place called Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. You don't need to need to stay there to visit that beach, it's amazing.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:30 AM   #6
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Check the weather, it will be excellent as long as there isn't a south swell (wave episode ) running. South swells are common in the summer.
How big a deal are these "south swell"s - any impact on shore diving?
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:54 AM   #7
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Well, despite the high airfare, we (me, DW & 13 y/o) are still planning two weeks in Hawaii last week of Jul & 1st week of Aug.t

Thinking of staying in Maui (Kihei area?) one week & Big Island (Kona area?) the next.

Looking for tips on condos & things to do.

We're planning on going to beach some, do some snorkeling, & daughter & I will try to get a few dives in (have OW certs). Want to drive the Hana highway also (thinking renting a convertible will be worth the extra $)

Wondering what else we can do - or best ways to do it. Don't want to get caught up in a lot of the so-not-worth-it $100 per person tourist traps.

Any advice/tips on condos & things to do will be greatly appreciated. (also on what to avoid/stay away from)

Maybe also some recommendations on good, but not overpriced, places to eat.
Look at this thread. You might find something useful there.

(FAQ archive) E komo mai Hawaii!
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:29 AM   #8
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Also, if you have time and you like boat trips, I highly recommend the snorkle trip to Molokini with Pacific Whale Foundation. They also go to Lanai and the dolphin tour is fabulous!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:37 PM   #9
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How big a deal are these "south swell"s - any impact on shore diving?
Beach dives will not be very good during south swells. Check the Maui Weather Today Website for conditions. There is a menu on the left that includes snorkeling and diving. Right now we have a good size south swell (that's why I was over there yesterday), and the web site indicates that the snorkeling/diving conditions are poor. There's probably around a 25% chance for a swell when you are here. If this is the case you have a number of options. You can drive to the west side -- Honolua Bay is great and you can dive from the shoreline. Go someplace far from a beach. For example, Molokini, or St Anthony's off Kihei. Makena landing might be good too, find someplce where the shoreline is lava. The dive shop can help you out. The north shore has some good diving in the summer (site calls for excellent conditions today).
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:57 PM   #10
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ISTR some of the best body-surfing ever at a shallow bay on the NW tip of Maui. Park on the road and walk down the hill.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:54 AM   #11
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How big a deal are these "south swell"s - any impact on shore diving?
"Impact" is the right word! Swells are for surfing, not diving. You'll want to either switch gear or change locations.

We enjoyed a rental condo at Ma'alaea and the Oceanarium (especially big hit with kids). There were also plenty of snorkel/dive charters out of the harbor. Thompson Ranch offered horseback trail rides (another big hit) but Oprah Winfrey bought the place soon after and the ranch may no longer offer trail rides.

The passengers will enjoy the Hana drive a lot more than the driver.

If you're hikers then you could spend days at Volcano. Kailua-Kona is more built up and has bigger crowds but bigger/nicer beaches along with the higher prices. We actually prefer Hilo and the Pahoa/Kapoho area for the snorkeling and rental condos.

You may find that 13-year-olds are discouraged from Haleakala due to concerns over altitude sickness (especially severe in teens). That prohibition seesaws back & forth so check with the tour before you make plans.

I've never been a fan of the helicopter rides, let alone their prices...
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:49 AM   #12
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The passengers will enjoy the Hana drive a lot more than the driver.
This passenger didn't. And I'm sure the driver didn't either with me along. We didn't make it...turned around...probably because of ME.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:54 AM   #13
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You have already gotten a lot of good advice on places to stay and things to do, but you did mention diving and haven't gotten many comments on that, so I will offer a few personal opinions:

If you are staying around Kihei on Maui, that is where a lot of dive boats leave from, especially to Molokini. The crater itself is fairly shallow and can be very crowded with snorklers. The back side of Molokini, however, is a great dive along a sheer wall. There are a number of good dive operations, but my favorite is Ed Robinson's.

On the Big Island, around Kona, the diving is actually somewhat better than on Maui, with slightly better visability and good dive sites much closer. There is a Manta Ray night dive just outside the harbor in Kona that is amazing and should not be missed.
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:50 AM   #14
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My wife and I go to Maui every year. We've stayed at a bunch of places and our favorite (ok, affordable favorite) is Kamaole Sands in Kihei. Its a condo complex right on S. Kihei road on the south side of town near Wailea. We usually pay about $150/night during high season.

Nobody has mentioned food, which for me is a big thing. Our favorite places to eat in town are

Da Kitchen - Inexpensive plate lunches with enough food to feed you for the whole day. Da Kitchen Home

Thailand Cuisine - Thailand Cuisine Home Page

Maui Tacos - Welcome to Maui Tacos - A Vacation You Can Eat!

Pita Paradise - Maui Restaurants - Maui Menus Online - Pita Paradise
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:19 PM   #15
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Leave early for the Hana trip, the road is narrow/windy and you wouldn't want to drive it in the dark. Maui was really beautiful.
We took a tour to Hana and it was great because we didn't have to drive that long windy narrow road. You can go the breakfast meeting and book any tours you want right there...except the big Luau in Lahaina that gets booked months in advance..I can't remember the name of it right now..

We stayed at the Resort Quest in Maui..we really liked the condo..the beach was okay but not great for walking it was on a slope and made it hard to walk on the sand.....I think if we go again we are going to stay in Wail ea, it is on the other side of the Island. We also stayed in Oahu for a few night and that was fun.

Good Luck..I am sure Nords or some others here will have plenty of advise...it is really beautiful over in the Islands.

Kathyet
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:00 PM   #16
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The back wall of Molokini is an awesome dive.

I'll let you in on a secret about Hana. The attraction isn't the 'road', it's the beautiful and peaceful places around Hana and Kipahulu. Many people are too tired and rushed to enjoy the area. That's why you need to stay there for at least a night.

The Luau that Kathyet refers to is probably the Old Lahaina Luau , which is very entertaining. The Ulaena show is also good.
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:25 PM   #17
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The Luau that Kathyet refers to is probably the Old Lahaina Luau , which is very entertaining. The Ulaena show is also good.
We'll be going to Lahaina in August with our 2 kids. Would it be foolish to take 2 small kids to these? I've never been to Hawaii or a Luau, and don't much know what to expect. I don't want the kids to ruin anyone else's experience if they get fussy or bored. The kids will be 4 and not-quite 2 years old...
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:46 PM   #18
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It's been a few years since I was at the Ulalena show. My guess is that the Luau would be fun, the show might be more difficult since it's in a theatre. It probably depends on the kids. I took my niece and nephew to Ulalena when they were around 5 and 6 and they loved it. Check the web sites and you can get a feeling for what these attractions are like.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:49 AM   #19
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We'll be going to Lahaina in August with our 2 kids. Would it be foolish to take 2 small kids to these? I've never been to Hawaii or a Luau, and don't much know what to expect. I don't want the kids to ruin anyone else's experience if they get fussy or bored. The kids will be 4 and not-quite 2 years old...

Luau's are lengthy events, lots of eating, entertainment, sitting in one spot. I'd ask myself: are my kids quiet and calm in the evenings when they are tired? I had a son who was like that, quiet and observant, and we could take him anywhere in the evening. Our daughter was not, became overstimulated and cranky if tired. Only you know your kids.
But, other than the luau and maybe the long airline flight, Hawaii is a wonderful place to vacation with young children. Have a lovely time!
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:04 AM   #20
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We'll be going to Lahaina in August with our 2 kids. Would it be foolish to take 2 small kids to these? I've never been to Hawaii or a Luau, and don't much know what to expect. I don't want the kids to ruin anyone else's experience if they get fussy or bored. The kids will be 4 and not-quite 2 years old...
Yes that was the luau it gets very crowded and seating is at long tables the later you book the further back your seats are...if you are going this August you probably won't get in.

There are a few more Luau's that you can check on when you get there..as well as a lot of other activities..they also have a glass Bottom Boat that might be fun..2 and 4 year olds.

Pick up the weekly magazines and things you see when you get there these little books have lots of things to see and do.

Also Nords usually recommends a "101 things to do": site that might help with research before you go....

Good Luck Maui is just beautiful

Kathyet
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