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Need help in making a decision

Discussion in 'US - Hawaii Timesharing' started by mclyne, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. mclyne

    mclyne TUG Member

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    Hi All,

    We are taking our 17yr.old grandson to Hawaii on a surfing vacation. Our problem is we can't decide where is the best place for that. We also want to take him to see the sights. I can't imagine him surfing all day. A luau, the Arizona, volcano, Road to Hanna etc. It's a special trip and we are not opposed to take a daily plane flight to another island.

    We plan to go Christmas week but not sure of the weather that time.

    I would really appreciate any input you can give us.
     
  2. tschwa2

    tschwa2 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    The weather is nice in Hawaii year round. Christmas week will be very busy and crowded and generally more expensive. There is two ways to go about this and it depends on how you are booking. If you are renting and sky is the limit for accommodations, activities and airfare, you can decide what you think would be of the most interest to you and your grandson. You can plan now or fairly last minute but the longer you wait you may have options cut out and the prices could continue to go up.

    If you aren't renting and are booking through your own resort or resort system or using an exchange system, you will be limited to availability at the time of booking and that could help you target specifics. If you are using an exchange company your options will be limited or non existent for Christmas week.
     
  3. WalnutBaron

    WalnutBaron TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    For the best surfing, I recommend the North Shore of Oahu--but only if he's a better than beginning surfer. The winter surf can get pretty high there, but surfers love the waves. If he's more of a beginner, the surfing at Waikiki is also good, but can be a little tame as the surf is gentle.

    Since you're willing to do inter-island flights, I recommend using either Oahu or Maui as your base of operations since those airports are best for inter-island schedules. I would not recommend taking the Road to Hana unless you're using Maui as your base of operations, since the drive to and back is a full day and a lot of slow driving on very twisty roads. It is beautiful, but might not be appreciated by a 17-year-old.

    One great thing to do is seeing the sunrise at Haleakala on Maui. You have to get up very early, catch the bus tour that will take you to the top of the mountain to see the sunrise, and then bicycle down the mountain. It's incredibly beautiful and an unforgettable experience.

    I'd also recommend taking a helicopter flight over Kauai. Of special signifigance is the Na Pali Cliffs on the island's west shore. Simply breathtaking.

    Once you decide which island you're going to use as your base, I think your fellow TUGgers can come up with more specific recommendations for excursions, restaurants, and things to do.

    Aloha!
     
  4. mclyne

    mclyne TUG Member

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    Thank you both for your responses. I will look into Maui and Oahu. glad the weather will be good that time of year
     
  5. Tamaradarann

    Tamaradarann TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I second the thoughts about surfing but would add that the North Shore surfing during the winter is for very experienced to expert surfers. At times the experts don't go out when the surf is very rough. The Waikiki surfing can be tame, but there are many surfers out there that seem to enjoy the surf and not getting hurt.

    You don't say how many days you will be here so it is difficult to plan how much you can do. Trying to do too much and not enjoying Oahu can be a mistake. With goals of Surfing, a Luau, and the Arizona Oahu seems to be the best for a base of operations. We did a day trip to the Volcano on the Big Island the first time we were in Waikiki. It was a long day, but worth it during a short trip to Hawaii. We have never done Haleakala sunrise, but I don't think that it lends itself to a day trip. If you do plan to do Haleakala in December bring winter clothing. It can be in the 30's.
     
  6. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I say do Oahu and the Big Island.You really should spend a week on each, and/or maybe even throw in a couple of days on Kauai or Maui also if possible.

    Oahu has some great sightseeing, including Honolulu, Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center and Diamond Head. Lots of surfing- just be careful- some spots are dangerous. We didn't go snorkeling there, but I imagine there are some nice beaches for that. We did our snorkeling in Kauai.

    The Big Island is a fascinating place. Visit the petroglyphs. The rain forest side. The desert side with the smoldering cones. Hapuna Beach.

    Go to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and also take a tour up Mauna Kea at sunset and for star gazing (not to be confused with Mauna Loa). Expensive but you won't regret it.

    https://maunakea.com/
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  7. controller1

    controller1 TUG Member

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    If you wish to do the Polynesian Cultural Center as an educational tour, I say go for it. Do not waste your money on the Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was our first Hawaiian Luau and definitely the worst we have attended.
     
  8. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    You've typed a mouthful here: "A luau, the Arizona, volcano, Road to Hanna etc." That's three different islands. Setting aside the expense, each time you change islands you lose the better part of a day - packing up, checking out of the hotel/resort, turning in a rental car, getting to the airport, going through security, waiting for and then taking the interisland flight, claiming baggage on the other side, getting another rental car, driving to and checking into another resort/hotel -- you can see the time it takes to do all that. Depending on how long you plan to spend in Hawaii, and how much driving you're willing to do, you may want to do some research, and decide exactly where/how you will spend your time. A day trip to another island can be a huge time and money expense, for limited return on the investment.

    I love Hawaii, and visit there often. I'm going back again this Spring. But it takes planning and effort to make the most of what you'll want to do with your time, and you can easily waste your vacation dollar if you aren't aware of your options. There is no way to see everything in one trip, and the best you can do is learn what is available and where, and make smart choices.

    Now, here's what people will not tell you: Weather can be a great equalizer. If you live in a cold climate, yes, the Hawaii weather in December will most likely be nicer than your home state. But December in Hawaii can also be windy and rainy as much, or more than, it may be sunny. Daytime temps may be warm (mid-70s on a good day), but it can also be stormy and downright cold. A bored 17 year old may not have a very good time if he's forced to stay indoors on those days.

    Surfing in Winter in Hawaii can be very dangerous. The big waves on the North Shore of Oahu can be well above the skill level of even very good surfers, and if your grandson isn't a great surfer, I'd rule those beaches out. Fun to watch the waves, but not safe to go in the water. (I've seen 40-foot waves at Waimea Bay in December. Incredible surf, but treacherous.) The South Shores of Oahu, (Ala Moana, Waikiki, Diamond Head Cliffs, Sandy Beach, and around to the south end of the Windward side, (Makapu'u, Waimanalo, even Lanikai or Kailua Beach), can be great beaches at that time of year, and they can easily occupy the recreational surfer. Waves up to six feet are common on the south beaches in winter, most days likely something lower, but fun for your grandson at any height. He's bound to find plenty of surf to occupy his time. Water temperatures will be cooler than in Summer, and will feel even colder if it's a rainy, stormy day.

    The Polynesian Cultural Center offers an educational experience into the lives of South Pacific Islanders, but it can be expensive, and of limited value if you don't plan your day. The Park doesn't open till Noon, and it closes at 5:00, so they can start getting ready for the Luau and evening show. In that five hours you have to plan every minute, or you'll miss the demonstrations they perform at each of the seven villages. It isn't so much a casual place to walk around, if you want to get the most from the experience. I agree with others, that the luau food isn't all that great. Food is industrial and bland, on a good day. There are better luaus to visit.

    After all that, is it worth your time and money to visit? Absolutely. You just need to plan ahead.

    Now, here's what I'd suggest: Pick two islands. If you want to see the Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor, see Diamond Head, witness the surf on the North Shore, and do those South Shore beaches, then Oahu needs to be one location. It can be a perfect first trip vacation that will provide plenty of memories. Fly into Honolulu, stay wherever you plan to stay, do as much as you can on the island, and enjoy every minute.

    Then fly to the second island. At that time of year, I'd suggest the Big Island. You can tour Volcano National Park, see something you can't see on any of the other islands (or even on the Mainland) - flowing lava is pretty amazing to see, and the evening glow of Halemaumau Crater from the Jaeger Overlook inside the Park can be the sight of a lifetime. Beaches on the Big Island are more family-friendly, even if more rare than the other islands, but the time spent will be more fun. If surfing isn't in the cards, snorkeling certainly can be. There are many great snorkeling beaches on the Big Island. See as much of the BI as you want, and at the end of your trip, fly home direct from Kona. You'll only have to change islands once, and you'll have two very different experiences.

    I don't suggest Maui for two reasons: 1. Yes, there are nice beaches, but they're no better than on Oahu. 2. The Road to Hana is three hours of extremely winding road, on days that could easily be pouring rain. If your grandson isn't driving (and in a rental car, it's doubtful he would be), it can be a really long drive. Then, when you finally get to Hana, you spend a bit of time, and then turn around and repeat that drive all the way back. Once you've done it, it'll be, "Wow, nice, but I'm glad that's over with." Otherwise, Maui can be a non-starter for an active teenager.

    Go online and check into the Oahu Revealed and Big Island Revealed books by Andrew Doughty. They are the best bang for the buck travel books you can get. Worth every penny. They also have a phone app you can download that will give you "What's near me right now" kind of information while you're driving around. Very worthwhile.

    Questions? Ask away.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
    mpumilia and TXTortoise like this.
  9. TXTortoise

    TXTortoise TUG Member

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    "We are taking our 17yr.old grandson to Hawaii on a surfing vacation."

    If this is your priority, you or he need to determine what his true skill level is. If he's qualified and has experience with big waves, he'll know the breaks he wants to try. That said, with only one week on the islands you're pretty much dependent on weather and swells. While the big competitions may be going off on the North Shore, even they are weather/wave dependent...but December can be exciting. And a whole day of surfing should not be unexpected if the surf is up.

    I'd actually suggest Maui, as it does offer a lot of surfing and activity options depending on the weather. More importantly it's small enough to move between the west side with Honolua Bay and easier breaks and Paia side with Ho'opkaii and other local breaks, that seem to be somewhat tourist friendly. One side can be flat and the other going off. And if Pe'ahi (Jaws) is going off and you can get to the bluff...well, just bring some good binoculars for a show of your lifetime. A few other good state and county beaches on both sides for easy to more difficult surfing.

    http://www.ralphmawyerphotography.com/Sports/Sports-Ocean/Surfing

    If you want to cram a bit more in, what we've done without to much drama is fly into Honolulu and take Hawaiian over to Maui. For your return, schedule a late night flight out of Honolulu, but arrive from Maui early morning. Rent a car and either do Pearl Harbor early and/or head straight to the North Shore for lunch and then hit Pipeline to watch the competitions and/or locals. From there, we've easily circumnavigated the island checking out various views along the way; ending up late afternoon in Waikiki in time to have malasados at Leonards and make our way back to the airport for a 7-11pm flight.

    http://www.ralphmawyerphotography.com/Personal/Travel/Hawaii

    If he's a good surfer, but maybe wondering is Hawaii is a stretch, it might be worth checking the Net for the local surfing rental/lesson places...he's going to need a board anyway. ;-)
    Some solid guys work these and having someone that knows the local breaks and politics might be worth having at his side, for recommendations and a local fixer, though Maui is heavy on tourist, so shouldn't be an issue.

    Other Maui stuff... Luau's are in the evening, so no conflict. We love Warren & Annabelles magic show, with outstanding food and close-up magic He might like Fleetwoods on Front Street in Lahaina for late evening music, etc.

    Lastly, as Dave mentioned above, definitely pick up a copy of the Oahu Revealed and Maui Revealed books. The new phone app is good, but it's hard to beat having a hardcopy for easy reference.

    You're making a really long trip for just one week. If at all possible I'd strongly suggest at least 10 days, just to deal with the travel time and jet lag alone.
     
  10. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I agree with Dave. No way would I do just a day trip to another island. Each island is a full vacation experience in and of itself.

    And- yes- then there is the jet lag. I personally don't care for luaus and the food, but you have to go at least once for the experience.

    I prefer the Discovery Channel Insight travel book on Hawaii. In fact, for all our traveling I use their books.
     

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