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First Trip to [Oahu] Hawaii - any tips?

BillandSusan

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Going to Hawaii in April, 2009. Staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We've never been there before. Should we rent a car? Any must see recommendations? Thanks.
 

lprstn

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If you are flying into Hawaii, take the opportunity to go to Ohau/Honolulu by booking a package deal, then take an Island hopper to your next Island. You can fly direct from the Island your timeshare is on to home. That way you get to experience 2 Islands during 1 trip. Also, give yourself about 2 days to recover when you come home....I think I was tired for 1 week, cause I went to work the next day when I returned. I've been to Hawaii 3 times and it just dawned on me it would have been a great oppoturnity to do that the next time.
 

falmouth3

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Yes, you should get a car if you want to see more of the island. I'd also strongly suggest getting a copy of "Big Island Revealed." It will enhance your visit to the Big Island immensely.

Sue
 

Luanne

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Yes, you should get a car if you want to see more of the island. I'd also strongly suggest getting a copy of "Big Island Revealed." It will enhance your visit to the Big Island immensely.

Sue
Isn't the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu? The Waikoloa Hilton is the one on the Big Island. ;)
 

DaveNV

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The Hilton Hawaiian Village is on Oahu, right on the edge of Waikiki. Prime location, and a beautiful resort. It's close to a lot of Waikiki activities, restaurants, and shopping. You'll have a fantastic vacation there.

If you plan to hang out on the beach all day, you probably won't need a car. But if you want to drive around the island, see the North Shore surfing beaches, and maybe tour the Polynesian Cultural Center, you may want to rent a car, at least for a day or two. The concierge desk at the hotel can help you with that.

Buy the "Oahu Revealed" book. It has a ton of things to see and do on the island. No way you can see and do it all in one trip, so pick and choose the things you think you'll like best.

About the only thing I recommend a first timer should be sure and do is visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. It's a bit of history every American should understand. After that, you're on your own. Do what you like, and have a fantastic time.

Dave
 

DeniseM

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I edited the title of your post because "Hawaii" is also the name of one of the other islands and the first 2 responses you received were regarding the island of Hawaii (AKA the Big Island) and of course, you are going to the Island of Oahu.

I moved your post to the Hawaii Board where you will find a wealth of info. Be sure you use the search function (Search this forum button) to search for "Oahu" - there is a ton of info. already here.

I also suggest that you get at least one good Hawaii Travel book right away. I like Driving and Discovering Oahu - and yes, you need a car if you ever plan to leave Waikiki.
 
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Fletcher921

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If you plan on hiking diamond head - it's nice to go the first day you wake up on Oahu since you need to get up there early to obtain a parking spot. Also - it's nice to do while your body is still on mainland time. We didn't budget time properly and didn't get to do this...

I also really enjoyed the Home of the Brave tour.
 

BillandSusan

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Thank you so much. DH is on a business trip, so he's working. It will just be me and my 13 year old DD doing the tourist thing during the day. Also, we want to stay another couple of days and can't do it at the Hilton. Does anyone know which Wyndham property would be the closest to the Hilton? Or should I post that question in the Wyndham forum?
 

sandesurf

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Hi Susan,
For a first time visitor, I would always recommend a "Circle Island Tour". I would do this tour on your 1st or 2nd day. There are many companies that offer it. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and you'll learn a lot of history along the way. We did this tour on our first time, in 1987. We've been back a dozen times and are so happy we remember and know some of the things we learned that we still wouldn't know about unless we took that tour. I would definitely rent a car, at least for a few days, to go back to the places you want to re-visit after the Circle Island Tour.
Another "tip", Don't miss the Swap Meet at the stadium that's right next to the Arizona Memorial. Many great souvenier bargains! :) Combine it with an early morning Arizona Memorial tour! You HAVE to get there VERY early anyway! The Swap Meet is held on Sat., Sun. and Wed.
For a couple of nights, at a good price, we've been staying at The Beachcomber Waikiki. A nice place, in a GREAT location, at good prices.
Have a wonderful time!
Aloha,
Elena
 

CATBinCO

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Two summers ago we stayed in Waikiki for a few nights. It was far too crowded and humid for us, of course, that was in July and you're going in April. I think we stayed in Waikiki for 3 nights and 3 nights on the North Shore, which we enjoyed far more than Waikiki.

On Oahu we did Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial (get there really early because the line is ridiculous), Sea Life Park to do a swim with the dolphin thing, snorkeled at Hanauma Bay, hiked Diamond Head, ate at the shrimp trucks on the North Shore and played in the beach at Turtle Bay (also on the north side) and one very long day/evening at Polynesian Cultural Center which was probably our favorite. We splurged and got one of the guided packages and their evening show Horizons was the best show we saw in Hawaii. There is also a HUUUUGE flea market at Aloha Stadium. We picked up a cute red hawaiian floral wheeled carry-on suitcase for only $20. This is also where you can pick up some size 5x and 6x shirts :) - I don't think I've ever seen these sizes here in the mainland US!

I highly recommend getting the book OAHU REVEALED for all sorts of tips and things to do. You don't have to spend a huge amt. of money unless you want to!
 

pianodinosaur

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We loved our stay at Hilton Hawaiin Village. I would suggest the Atlantis Submarine ride. The beach is fantastic, the swimming pools are fantastic, and the food is fantastic. There is a rainbow almost every morning.
 

Hawaiibarb

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Another vote for a car

Unless you explore the island a bit, and primarily just see Waikiki, you will miss so much. Do drive up to the North shore; it's apretty drive along the ocean....take a picnic lunch, poke in the shops in Haleiwa, take your time. You at least would get a feel for the scenery if you drive to the Plynesian Cultural Center, but there's a lot to be said for take a bus tour up there, as you would be returning at night, if you stay for the evening show (and you should!)....so you'll probably be ready to leave the driving to someone else.
Absolutely see Pearl Harbor. If you have a rainy day, the Bishop Museum is fascinating.....really gives you a picture of all the ethnic groups which have come here. Plan ahead by reading the books that have been mentioned....you won't be sorry!
 

UWSurfer

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Something else to know...

Hilton Hawaii Village is a swath of property owned by Hilton with several high rise towers on it. There are two towers which are HGVC, another with some floors as HGVC, the remainder of the floors and remaining towers as Hilton Hotel rooms. The entire place is a large mixed resort with shopping and traditional hotel facilities. Parking is via a parking structure and is $25/day self park, a bit more if you valet.

Unlike every other timeshare we've stayed at, there are NO BBQ's on the property. We had planned on bbq'ing when we were there and were lucky enough to ask before we went shopping.

It's a very grand location. It's also very crowed and felt a lot like being in NY or LA, except for the weather and sites. :)

Honestly for us, while it's a nice place I now tend to favor Waikoloa or Maui as they are simply less crowded and less dense, by and large. Tastes and opinions will vary.
 

alanraycole

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A car is a necessity to make the most of your visit, but...

I couldn't see renting a car and then pay more for parking it at the resort than I paid for the car. But, I am a wierd one, some have said. Although I like the best, I am always looking for an angle to save money.

My angle on car rentals on Oahu is to rent it by the day and return it to the rental company the same day to avoid paying for parking. The other half of the angle is to rent the car on Priceline. This will mean that you will have to walk several blocks to the rental location that is affiliated with Priceline... the one at the resort is not, or at least was not when I was there, affiliated with Priceline. If you don't like the idea of walking to the alternative rental site, it is probably still cheaper to rent and return the car the same day at the resort rental car counter... unless they countered this strategy with extra high daily rates. You can rent a car on Priceline for about $20/day... or at least you could when I was there last. I usually rent a car about half the days I am there.

Even though I am not particularly fond of Waikiki, I can't help but love the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Still, there is soooooo much more to Oahu than Waikiki. Definitely, you will want to experience the rest of Oahu.
 

GrampyBill

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The submarine ride is neat and the pier is right at the Hilton Hawaiian Village (HHV).

One day car rentals are the way to go like one of the other posters said but if you need to park overnight, use the large parking complex across the street. It's part of Fort DeRussy's Hale Koa (your next door neighbor resort).

Be at the Hilton for the Friday night fireworks. Ask the conceirge where the flagpole is that the King and his guard march from and you can march to the stage with him. He gives a little speech at the flag pole then takes a short parade through the grounds.

There is an excellent free military museum on the grounds of Fort DeRussey. It's the big bunker between the Hale Koa and the Outrigger Reef. Very well done and a close by activity if its rainy or HOT. Don't miss it.

Take a morning walk through the yacht harbor and watch some og the early surfers.

Don't miss the Food Court at the Ale Moana Shopping Center. It's an experience. Also at the shopping center, Shirokiya, a Japanese store is very interesting place - especially their food department.

Diamond Head hike is fun but another is the climb at Makapu Point - an easier climb but still a great view.

The Yardhouse and Senor Frog's are two fun restaurants in the new Beachwalk area that a 13 year old would enjoy.

Visit the Lobby of the Moana Hotel - upstaairs there is an intersting little museum. Outside is the tree that Robert Louis Stevenson always sat under. We often go up there for coffee, danish, and fruit and sit oceanfront and watch surfers - Great Location and No Charge except for the coffeee and danish.

The Acadamy of Arts is an excellent museum and if you have time you can take a guided tour of Doris Duke's Shangri-La.

Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Art are fun.

The Judiciary Building has a museum inside and the Capitol can be toured.

Chinatown is interesting.

Oh Well, enough rambling - there is so much to do and you will never get it all done. Have Fun!
 

Kauai Kid

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Watch the movie Tora, Tora, Tora before you go.

We took an all day Roberts of Hawaii tour of Oahu, you'll see far more with them than by yourself the first time.

Be sure and visit the Arizona Memorial.

Ride a Hawaiian war canoe.

Absolute money back guarantee. This will not be your only trip to Hawaii.


Sterling
 

LisaRex

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If you haven't already, sign up for the Hilton Platinum AMEX card! It earns a boatload of HHHonors points for each $ you spend, plus you'll get complimentary silver membership in HHHonors. If you spend more than $20k (I think) per year, you're upgraded to gold. If you can swing that prior to April, you may be very pleased with the upgrade you might receive. (If nothing else, you'll be able to get into the HHV line at check-in and bypass the long line for non-HHV members.)

When I was a mere silver member, I stayed at the HHV. I booked two rooms on a Friday night for me and my friends, on points. A few days prior to arriving, I sent a very courteous msg to the manager asking if my friends and I could be placed in the same tower. Well, when I arrived, I was thrilled to see that not only were we both in the same tower, but we were both given ocean view rooms on the 7th floor of the Rainbow Tower. And I was given a corner ocean front room with 2 lanais facing the ocean!! We were so thrilled with our room that we never left! Since it was Friday night, we showered, got in our robes, ordered room service and watched the fireworks right from our lainai. :)
 

travelnut

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Oahu musts

Definitely the Bishop Museum. Puts your visit to Hawaii in perspective.

The zoo is much improved and well worth a visit. Also the aquarium.

Hike to Diamond Head

The Lyon botanical garden. Gives you the feel of a tropical rainforest. Maybe you'll see some cockatoos!

The former botanical garden at Waimea has been turned into an adventure park. A turn-off for me, but could appeal to a 13-yr old boy.

Check the Advertiser (local paper) for free walking tours of Honolulu. Sometimes you can get lunch included for a small fee.

Be sure to try some snorkeling. Check your guidebook for places in Waikiki.
 
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