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Is it worth switching from Kauai to the Big Island?

Discussion in 'US - Hawaii Timesharing' started by Firepath, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. Firepath

    Firepath TUG Member

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    1st trip for our family to Hawaii next May. I thought we were all set on Kauai, but started having second thoughts after reading about the great beaches that could turn treacherous at any moment (Kauai Revealed - great book by the way). Kids want to paddleboard and it looks like other islands might offer calmer opportunities for that. Then I had an RCI match on my OGS for 2 BR at The Bay Club at Waikoloa on the Big Island for the exact dates we prefer. It looks really nice and a good location. Anyone have opinions on this location and activities?
     
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  2. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    No matter where you go in Hawaii, the ocean can turn treacherous in a moment. That doesn't meant it will - but it can. Kauai has lots of awesome beaches and places to *paddle board, snorkel and swim, but you have to use caution and common sense in the ocean - everywhere.

    *Kauai has a couple of big rivers where you can paddle board, too.

    It's no different on the BI. Personally, I don't think I would plan a trip to the BI until the volcano calms down, but that's just me. (I actually have 2 exchanges to Waikoloa in 2019, but we will probaby cancel if the volcano stays active.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
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  3. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 TUG Member

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    All beaches can be dangerous and all beaches can turn treacherous at any moment.

    If it is sandy beaches that you seek, Kauai is a better choice than the Big Island.

    But there are no bad choices overall.
     
  4. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    WHERE are you staying on Kauai?

    *I don't think the authors of Kauai Revealed are saying that the ocean in Kauai is more dangerous than any other island - they are just saying that the ocean can be dangerous anywhere.

    To add to what Robert said, all of the islands were created by volcanoes and over many, many years, the vocanic rock gradually breaks down into sandy beaches. The BI is the newest island, so much of it's coastline is still lava rock. Kauai is the oldest island, so it's coastline has had more time to change from lava rock to sandy beaches.

    Much of the BI looks like this pictures of the Waikoloa coastline - black lava rock:

    Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 4.03.45 PM.png
     
  5. JulieAB

    JulieAB TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    We didn't like staying in Waikoloa. We had to always drive far to everywhere (beaches, restaurants, etc). We wished we stayed in Kona instead. Though there aren't beaches there, there's good snorkeling.

    Kauai is smaller, but like Denise said, where you stay makes a difference. We were on the east side in the fall, so the beaches on that side of the island were rarely swimmable. We ended up on the north or south ends every day (more driving). Kauai is smaller and more manageable for sight-seeing too.
     
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  6. slip

    slip TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    You’ll find great opportunities for paddle boarding on Kauai. The ocean is a little calmer in May also. So I wouldn’t let that scare you away but if the dates are better for you on the Big Island that would work too. The Big Island is Big so there will be more driving. I myself would go to the Big Island even with all the activity but that’s me. The park being closed is a mark against it though.
    I don’t have any respiratory issues either.

    I haven’t been to the Big Island In a few years so I want to go to the volcano but the park being closed doesn’t help. I would probably do a plane tour though.
     
  7. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 TUG Member

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    Don't let fear of waves or currents affect your choice of what island to stay on.

    Where you stay on any island makes a difference; btw--The Bay Club is a starkly beautiful property.

    I just prefer Kauai; it is lush, green and I find it to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
     
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  8. Xan

    Xan TUG Member

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    I have stayed here over ten years ago, and loved the resort, even though it wasn’t on the ocean or in view!
    Hapuna Beach up the road is heaven. Get there early, and it costs to get in.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. Luanne

    Luanne TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    The cost for parking at Hapuna is $5.00. Some days they don't even seem to collect.
     
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  10. brianfox

    brianfox TUG Member

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    I would pick south end of Kauai any day (Poipu/Koloa/Lihue) - especially over the current conditions on Big Island.
     
  11. ljmiii

    ljmiii TUG Member

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    I'd take Kauai over Waikoloa most days of the week...it's a lush paradise-y island with lots of great beaches. Waiohai on the South Shore's Poipu Beach is one of the places we own and we love the area. Also, Kauai offers great (and calm) paddleboarding on it's rivers - The Waimea River on the East coast is the most popular but the North Shore's Hanalei River and South Shore's Hanapepe River are also good kayak/paddleboard spots.

    That said, The Bay Club is a great resort (we're staying there for a few days in August). It's just that Waikoloa is far from most of the places/activities on the Big Island we want to visit (Kailua Kona/Captain Cook/Volcano/Hilo).
     
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  12. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    We love the Waikoloa resort area on the Big Island. It's actually my wife's favorite resort area on any of the islands (I prefer Kaanapali on Maui, but Waikoloa is my #2). Great golf courses, an excellent beach at A-Bay, and an even nicer beach - Hapuna Beach - just up the road. The contrast between the green golf courses and landscaping and the black lava rock is so scenic. Good restaurants in the area and up the mountain in Waimea.

    We're not at all worried about the volcano. We're going in March 2019 and are actually hoping the volcano is still erupting, in hopes that we can find a way to see some of the eruption from a boat or a helicopter (overflights can't go below 3000 feet right now). The eruption is in the far southeastern corner of the Big Island over 80 miles straight line and 150 miles by car from the Waikoloa area. In fact, Waikoloa is about as far away from the eruption as anywhere on the island. The prevailing winds generally keep any volcanic vog away from Waikoloa, but it is possible to get a little haze in some wind conditions. The news reports make it look like the whole island is filling with lava, but it's actually only a small area in the southeast. The only downside of the eruption is Volcanoes National Park is closed and may be for some time due to the ongoing deflation of the Kilauea summit (since all of the lava has left the summit and has moved down to the southeast where the eruption is occurring) which is causing a lot of land to move around up there. If the park is the main reason you want to go, then you could be disappointed.
     
  13. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    True, much does. But there are also great beaches. Here are two. A-Bay at Waikoloa is the one with the trees; and the other one is Hapuna Beach I believe. Hapuna is one of the best beaches I've been to in all of the islands. Uncrowded and largely unspoiled.

    20110625_TheBigIsland_2084.jpg

    20050630_Hawaii-BigIsland_6255.jpg
     
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  14. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    I like the BI too - it's my 2nd favorite after Kauai, but for a first timer - the vast size of the lava fields and lava coastlines are kind of a surprise.
     
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  15. dsmrp

    dsmrp TUG Member

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    Kauai may have more sandy beaches than the Big Island, but IMO, BI has more swimmable beaches than Kauai.
    I remember as a kid growing up in Honolulu, hearing about people drowning on Kauai due to strong undertows.
    Not just tourists, but locals and strong swimmers.
    I'm biased based on those stories, but I wouldn't swim on the east or north side of Kauai except in summer.

    I remember a few years ago at end of June, being at Haena State park on Kauai's north side, and amazed at the rather steep sand bank at water's edge. The water was pretty calm then, but the steep bank indicated some pretty significant waves crashing on shore in winter/spring.
    Unless you're into body surfing, I prefer waves at swimming beaches to break way wa-yy out from shore.
    So I like the 'flatter' beach to water entry angles, of Hapuna beach and others on Big Island, and southern Oahu.

    Big Island is better than Kauai for snorkeling and deep water sports such as fishing Kauai is far more tropical and green, and compact.
    Big Island traffic isn't too bad, but Kauai can get pretty bogged down between Kapaa and Poipu.
     
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  16. geoand

    geoand TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    This is a wonderful beach. However, I think the one at Mauna Kea hotel just north of Hapuna is the best. Limited parking but it is an easy hike from Hapuna beach to Mauna Kea beach so the parking issue at Mauna kea is no big deal. Last time we were there, I had a leg issue and had to walk with a cane. I dropped the family off at Mauna Kea, drove to hapuna and carried a chair on my back and used my cane to hike to Mauna Kea
     
  17. bnoble

    bnoble TUG Member

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    Why not both? We are finishing our week in the Waikoloa area after first spending a week on the East side of Kauai. Both were/are great. We are in EDT, so the flights are long enough that only one week doesn't do the trip justice.

    As a side note: I thought the volcano was something to run to not away from. We took a lava boat tour on Wednesday, and it was one of the top few experiences I have had in my 49 years on the planet.
     
  18. Luanne

    Luanne TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    The beach at the Mauna Kea is the first Hawaiian beach I had any experience with. We were staying at the Mauna Kea back in 1968 when it was the only resort up there. You entered the beach area from a kind of tunnel (as I remember it) and all of a sudden were just exposed to this gorgeous beach. I grew up in southern California so beaches were nothing new to me, but this one was special. We tend not to go there when we're on the Big Island just because of the limited parking and will go to Hapuna instead.
     
  19. dsmrp

    dsmrp TUG Member

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    Hey Luanne, I was at the Mauna Kea beach too back in 1968, or thereabouts, except my family couldn't afford to stay there. We were driving around the north end of the island, and stopped off for the public access to the beach. My pre-teen eyes thought it was the best beach I ever saw, and that was coming from living on Oahu all my life. I haven't been back since, and hope to on my next visit to Big Island. But I still won't be staying at the Mauna Kea, since I have timeshares now! :)
     
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  20. geist1223

    geist1223 Guest

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    Beaches and Oceans can be a lot of fun. But they can turn dangerous if one is not use to them and you don't keep an eye out. We have snorkeled and swum in beaches all over Kauai, Maui, and the BI. As a kid I swam and snorkeled all over Oahu. Whether or not a beach can turn dangerous should not be the deciding factor on an Island.

    People get into trouble in oceans water all over the world. Some even drown. This has not stopped us from swimming and snorkeling all over the World. People even get into trouble on Oregon Beaches. A few months ago a young man from Colorado that was Boogie Boarding on a Oregon Beach got sucked out by a sneaker wave. His father went into the water to safe him. Both drowned. Is this going to stop people from Boogie Boarding on Oregon Beaches - no.

    Many times people that are not use to Oceans and Beaches will be swimming and get caught in a rip current and pulled out deeper. Most peoples' instinct is to try and swim back to the Beach. Which is fighting the rip current. This is wrong and can lead to trouble. You should swim parallel to the Beach. Yes you will pulled out but you will find that suddenly you are released from the rip current and then you can turn and swim into the Beach.
     
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  21. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    One more thing - unless you are a confident swimmer, you should wear a floatation device in the ocean - especially children and elderly people. A large percentage of people who drown in Hawaii are Sr. citizens.
     
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  22. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Funny how perspective changes things. I think Mauna Kea beach is a great beach, but I like Kailua Beach on Oahu better. I think it's the things we know that filters our memories.

    When I was very young ( <5 years old), we lived for a time in this enormous house in Crescent City, California. I remember it being this huge place, far bigger than our family of five would ever be able to fill up. 30 years later my Mom and I took a trip down the California coast, and we looked up that house in Crescent City, just to see if it was still there. Mom knew the street name, and we drove right to the house.

    It was a cracker box. So small, it was laughable. Even my Mom kept staring in wonder, saying, "It was so much bigger when we lived here." Nothing had changed - it was the same size, the same trees in the yard and such - only our own perspective was different.

    I've spent time on Mauna Kea beach, and I agree, it is a very nice place. But to answer the question posted by OP, I think there are more beaches on Kauai that are as nice. Be safe and smart about ocean conditions anywhere, and you'll be fine. There is more to see that is different than what the Big Island will show you right now. After the volcano settles down things may be different, but at this time, I'd say stay on Kauai and enjoy your vacation.
     
  23. daventrina

    daventrina TUG Member

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    I wouldn’t base the decision solely on the thought that Kauai beached might become treacherous.
    That happens on all of the islands. That said, some the beaches on Maui are likely better protected as some site behind Molokai, Lanao, and Kahoolawe affording some protection from the open ocean.

    If beaches are an important part, Maui probably offers the most accessible set of beaches.

    Picking an island would depend on many things. FOt the Big Island traveling with kids, one consideration would be how much time you want to spend in a car driving with kids .... it is a BIG island and one would spend more time driving that any other island.

    I wouldn’t make a change in plans in going to the BI based on the volcano unless my accommodations were in Pune. The volcano activity is in a tingly soith east corner of the island and has little impact on the rest of the island. The biggest impact is that Queens Bath, Fish ponds lo longer exist so no one will ever see them again. VNP is closed so if that is a deal breaker then that may be worth consideration, but there are MANY other things to see on the island. The current visitor center may never open again, so thinking yuo may go there in the future may have little consideration.

    Plans are in progress to create a lava viewing area ... given the opportunity so see that, it’s amazing

    You didn’t specify your kids ages ... but Kauai probably doesn’t have the same variety that may be of interest of kids.

    Maui might be worth consideration.
    But between the choice of Kauai or Big Island ... we’d probably pick Big Island
     
  24. dsmrp

    dsmrp TUG Member

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    True, I like Kailua Beach too, tho don't have as much time to go there while in Honolulu :(
    Kailua has the finest white sand of the Oahu beaches.

    Yes this is the recommended method to get out of a rip current. However if you're not a strong swimmer (I'm not), I think there's a higher likelihood of panicking and reacting to instinct. The things I know I should do often just flies out of my mind if I've never trained or practiced for these types of unusual situations.

    The Kauai Parks dept has signs at some beaches warning of undertows. Hope beach goers are noticing these and heed the signs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  25. Kapolei

    Kapolei Guest

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    I would be very careful sending kids off into the ocean on a paddle board in Hawaii. While there are few places that are low risk, you better know what you are doing and not be afraid to ask.

    Currents, winds, location of reef, sharks ..... the ocean is not forgiving.

    And don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
     
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