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Hawaii versus The Caribbean

TravelMamma

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Anyone have an opinion about Maui/Kauai versus a Caribbean Island vacation? It is so much more to fly to a Hawaiian Island for us (living in New England) than it is the Caribbean, so we have always chosen the Caribbean. But, I am wondering, if it so amazing/different in Hawaii, should we spend the extra money or just keep going to Caribbean for cheaper? Is Hawaii comparable to say, St. John or St. Lucia or is it so different? (It's about $4000 to fly to Maui or Kauai versus $1600-2500 for the islands we like in the Caribbean for our family). Thanks for any feedback.
 

Luanne

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We're on the west coast so it's always been Hawaii for us. The only time I've been to the Caribbean was on a cruise years ago. My opinion is, you may want to go to Hawaii once, just so you can compare, then do whatever is easier/cheaper from then on.

That said, we love Hawaii, own a timeshare on Maui, and went every summer, then every other summer for years.
 

siesta

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I love the islands of hawaii, they are beautiful, lush, and serene, and the aloha spirit is alive and well. If I lived in California, I would go every year.

That being said, the reality is i live in chicago and flights are twice as long and nearly twice as much, but the main reason is: As much as I love the hawaiian islands (I learned to swim in Maui as a child), the fact is that it is part of the US, and it sure feels that way when you are there (like one big California convention!) That is the main reason I choose to go to the Caribbean more often, because I enjoy the more diverse feel and different cultures of the different islands.

Now comparing beauty, its a tough call depending what Caribbean island you are comparing, some are prettier islands than others (think st lucia compared to aruba). As for beaches, i think the white and pink sand beaches and clear carribbean water are prettier than hawaiis golden sands and blue pacific waters (there are also unique green and black sand beaches) but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Of course the Caribbean has the reef and is far superior for divers and snorkelers alike ( think cozumel, cayman islands, curacao). Hawaiian sunset is something special.

People on the west envy the east for proximity to nyc, florida and caribbean, people on the east envy the west for proximity to vegas, cali, and hawaii. Grass is always greener ....
 

MOXJO7282

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For us it so well worth it, but I must declare we've always done it in 1st class, but even in coach I know it would be well worth it because there is just nothing like Maui for us.
 

rifleman69

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I prefer Hawaii over the Caribbean. We are west coasters so it doesn't take us a full day and a half (don't want to do red-eye's on the way there) like it would the Caribbean. I love visiting other cultures and countries but if given the choice (and I was on the east course or midwest making travel more even), I'd still head back to Hawaii.

If given another chance however, I'd love to head back and stay a week or so on Saba though, fantastic little island. St Maarten isn't bad either.
 
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TravelMamma

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I love the islands of hawaii, they are beautiful, lush, and serene, and the aloha spirit is alive and well. If I lived in California, I would go every year.

That being said, the reality is i live in chicago and flights are twice as long and nearly twice as much, but the main reason is: As much as I love the hawaiian islands (I learned to swim in Maui as a child), the fact is that it is part of the US, and it sure feels that way when you are there (like one big California convention!) That is the main reason I choose to go to the Caribbean more often, because I enjoy the more diverse feel and different cultures of the different islands.

Now comparing beauty, its a tough call depending what Caribbean island you are comparing, some are prettier islands than others (think st lucia compared to aruba). As for beaches, i think the white and pink sand beaches and clear carribbean water are prettier than hawaiis golden sands and blue pacific waters (there are also unique green and black sand beaches) but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Of course the Caribbean has the reef and is far superior for divers and snorkelers alike ( think cozumel, cayman islands, curacao). Hawaiian sunset is something special.

People on the west envy the east for proximity to nyc, florida and caribbean, people on the east envy the west for proximity to vegas, cali, and hawaii. Grass is always greener ....

What a nice description, thank you for your reply.
 

hypnotiq

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I prefer Hawaii over the Caribbean. We are west coasters so it doesn't take us a full day and a half (don't want to do red-eye's on the way there) like it would the Caribbean. I love visiting other cultures and countries but if given the choice (and I was on the east course or midwest making travel more even), I'd still head back to Hawaii.

If given another chance however, I'd love to head back and stay a week or so on Saba though, fantastic little island. St Maarten isn't bad either.

Anguilla I heard is amazing. I think thats where Im headed next. :)
 

DaveNV

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I've been to both, but own two t/s in Hawaii. The Caribbean culture is much different than Hawaiian culture, and has never felt as welcoming to me -- it always seemed more of a "driven by your dollar" attitude. Tourism aside, there is also a feeling of "coming home" I get in Hawaii that I've never felt in the Caribbean. It may be the USA vs. Other Countries mentality, but I just happen to prefer Hawaii better. That I live on the West Coast only makes it easier to get there. :shrug:

Dave
 

jestme

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I live on the east coast and travel the long route to Hawaii every year for about 3 weeks, to us, the extra expense and flying time is worth it. We have done most of the Caribbean and find that the food is very expensive there, the atmosphere in some countries varies from safe to dangerous, and the service in most cases is slow, working on "island time". Hawaii has both expensive and reasonable restaurants, your choice, they drive on the proper side of the road, and your cell phone bill isn't massive from roaming when you go there.
 

siesta

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Anguilla I heard is amazing. I think thats where Im headed next. :)
we like to stay in st martin(gourmet food capital of the caribbean) and take the ferry for day trips to Anguilla, its a short ride and staying on st martin gives you alot of nightlife and food options.

Last trip we rented a beautiful 4 br home overlooking oyster pond and st barts in the distance.

http://stonehouse-stmartin.com/villaPictures.html
 

slip

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I go to Hawaii every year and the duration of my trips gets longer all the time.
I'm getting close to my limit at work though.:D I've only been to the Bahamas
But I did go there twice. While I did like it, to me it doesn't compare to Hawaii.

I agree with Dave's post of Hawaii just feeling more like home. I love the culture
There. If I were you I would definitely spend the extra money once and see for
Yourself. I think if you did do a Maui/Kauai trip you would get a good idea of the
Different islands.

I'm from Wisconsin and I don't mind the flight at all. I usually get my tickets at
Around $800 to $900.
 

travelguy

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Hawaii!

We are East Coast and have traveled the five islands of Hawaii many times and most of the Caribbean islands at least once. We favor Turks & Caicos and Caymans in the Caribbean.

We used to travel once per year to Hawaii for two weeks and then to the Caribbean for a week or two later in the year. We now travel only to Hawaii twice each year.

IMHO, I've believe that the "feel" of the Caribbean has changed over the years due to increasing poverty, crime and instability of some governments. Even the US territories are not as friendly as they once were. As stated in previous posts, many Caribbean islands feel to me that they out for my tourist dollars and are not welcoming. The hospitality factor is waning in the Caribbean.

The different islands of Hawaii give us many different types of resorts, landscapes and experiences. There is an advantage in staying within the US and the quality of products and lifestyle that entails. We feel it's worth the extra time, effort and money to go to Hawaii.

Two tips that we've found helpful when traveling to Hawaii from the East Coast - Take two weeks to make the trip worthwhile and fly first class if possible (it's worth it!).
 

MichaelColey

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They're BOTH great, but we prefer Hawaii.

If you're flexible on your dates, watch for airfare sales. It's not uncommon for fares to go on sale for half of what they normally run. From here in DFW, they're usually about $500-$800 per ticket. We caught a sale on year and went for $273 each. Last year, we bit the bullet and paid about $600 each. This year, we're using frequent flyer miles (and flying first class), which is something we've done several times.
 

Kauai Kid

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I prefer Hawaii over the Caribbean. We are west coasters so it doesn't take us a full day and a half (don't want to do red-eye's on the way there) like it would the Caribbean. I love visiting other cultures and countries but if given the choice (and I was on the east course or midwest making travel more even), I'd still head back to Hawaii.

If given another chance however, I'd love to head back and stay a week or so on Saba though, fantastic little island. St Maarten isn't bad either.

When we lived on the East Coast we went to St Maarten once and ended up buying 2 weeks in Princeville at the Alii Kai II. We have no interest in vacationing in the Caribbean after seeing Hawaii. Best things about Hawaii are the people #1 and the scenery #2. :D


Sterling
 

artringwald

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We've been to Jamaica, Antigua, St. Thomas, Grenada, Barbados, and Puerto Rico, but still prefer the natural beauty of Hawaii. Nothing I know of in the Caribbean can compare to watching the lava flow into the sea, waterfalls tumbling down 2000 foot cliffs, standing on top of a 10,000 foot volcano as the sun rises over the edge, hearing the thunder of 30 foot waves crashing on the North Shore, or flying in a helicopter through Kauai's Waimea Canyon then over the rugged cliffs of the Napali Coast. What's even harder to describe in the aloha spirit that's an attitude of kindness and patience, a philosophy of mutual regard and affection that extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. The Caribbean is closer and less expensive, but we still keep going back to Hawaii.
 

MommaBear

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Being from the East Coast, if I only have one week, I go to the Caribbean or Mexico, if I have two or more weeks I go to Hawaii. Hawaii is hands down my favorite place on earth. I love the beauty, the convenience of the shopping, the lifestyle. When I go on vacation I want to be part of that world and when I go to the Caribbean, I feel like I am part of the resort, even on safer islands such as Aruba. The goal is to work up to 4 weeks a year on Hawaii.
 

elaine

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I agree with PP. For one week from East Coast, Carib. For 2 weeks, Hawaii. Travel with kids--Hawaii. We love Hawaii, love the culture, feel very safe and truly relax. If I lived on the West Coast, I would go every other year. I do not feel as safe in the Carib. and it is harder to find free/low cost things to do with a family. I really wouldn't feel safe getting in my rental car and hopping out at a secluded beach to snorkel with my kids---I have no issues doing this in Hawaii. The flights are a bear--but we have 2 weeks in paradise.
In the Carib., we love St. John (safe, but very $$$), and Curacao.
 

daventrina

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I agree with Dave's post of Hawaii just feeling more like home. I love the culture There.
Also agree with Dave's post ... mostly :ponder: .... But for us Hawaii IS home :clap:
 

Egret1986

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Also live on the East Coast, and this thread has me persuaded to bite the bullet

30th anniversary coming up at the end of the year. We've considered Hawaii, but started re-thinking the possibilities for two weeks in the Caribbean due to shorter flights.

I'm going to start working on Hawaii as the destination. Now, more decisions....one island for two weeks or two islands. If two islands, Kauai and Maui or Kauai and the Big Island.

Anyway.....the posters on this thread gave some really good and convincing reasons for Hawaii.

"....watching the lava flow into the sea, waterfalls tumbling down 2000 foot cliffs, standing on top of a 10,000 foot volcano as the sun rises over the edge, hearing the thunder of 30 foot waves crashing on the North Shore, or flying in a helicopter through Kauai's Waimea Canyon then over the rugged cliffs of the Napali Coast. What's even harder to describe in the aloha spirit that's an attitude of kindness and patience, a philosophy of mutual regard and affection that extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. "

Wow!
 

slip

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Don't rule out two weeks on one island. Which island or islands you choose
Depends on what you like to do or see. The Big Island is big so to see a lot
You will have to do a lot of driving. I would choose Kauai for two weeks or one
Week on Kauai and one week on one of the others depending on what you want
See. Don't stress too much though, you can't pick a bad island.:D
 

MichaelColey

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Don't rule out two weeks on one island.
Even better is two weeks AT ONE RESORT. On our last trip to Hawaii, we spent a week on Kauai followed by two weeks on the Big Island. We were in a single resort for those two weeks, and it was AWESOME not having to plan around that weekly move -- whittling down the perishables, packing up, loading everything up, checking out, driving to the new resort, checking in, unpacking, grocery shopping, etc. It was probably the most relaxing two weeks we have ever had.
 

slip

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I agree with the one resort!! That's what we do. Much more relaxing not having
To pack up and move after a week. Next year we're doing Maui and Kauai.
We'll have to put up with a move but I have to wait and see if I can get another
Week off at work.:D
 

TravelMamma

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I agree with the one resort!! That's what we do. Much more relaxing not having
To pack up and move after a week. Next year we're doing Maui and Kauai.
We'll have to put up with a move but I have to wait and see if I can get another
Week off at work.:D

When you go between two islands do you have to fly or is there a ferry or something?
 

artringwald

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When you go between two islands do you have to fly or is there a ferry or something?

You can get a ferry from Maui to Molokai or Maui to Lanai, but any other inter island connection would have to be by air. Airfare can be as low as $75 one way per passenger.
 
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