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Pros and Cons -- Maui or Kauai for first time?

wheaties

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Have been to Oahu and the Big Island before and wanted to see either Maui or Kauai, but Maui is first preference. Have a week scheduled for Kona in Nov. 2009 and have had a request in for a Marriott Maui Ocean 2 BR for 8 months to piggyback -- nothing yet. Now trying to decide if I hold out, what my chances are of getting it, or adding the Kauai Marriott to the exchange pool. I also show availability with RCI for the week I want at the Wyndham Kauai Beach Villas using another trader. Any experience with this resort? How close is it to the Kauai Marriott t/s? Decisions, decisions. Thanks for any advice you have!
 

DeniseM

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The Pahio Kauai Beach Villas are probably a 10 - 15 minute drive from the Kauai Marriott. The Marriott is in Lihue and KBV is between Lihue and Kapa'a - closer to Kapa'a.

We own at KBV and like it a lot, but a lot of that is because we own ocean front - the view is what really makes this resort. It is right next to the Kauai Hilton and they used to be part of the same resort.

The Marriott is of course very very nice, but it is a HUGE resort and we are not really the huge resort, types.

Click here for KBV PICTURES

Don't forget to check out the TUG Resort Reviews...

For lots of info. about Maui and Kauai use the "Search this Forum" button and search for "Maui" and "Kauai."

Kauai is our favorite. Maui is getting a bit to busy for us - but it is a beautiful island with lots of things to see and do.
 
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aliikai2

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Where to start...

Getting a 2 bedroom at MOC is almost unheard of as owners split these to get 2 deposits. Same problem in Kauai at the KBC, now the newer Marriott Waiohai (MAW) on Kauai is all 2 bedrooms, you have a much better chance.

The KBV units are large, they are next to the Hilton, located around 5 miles from the KBC and 12 miles from MAW. If the Marriott experience is essential to your vacation enjoyment, then the KBV may not be your cup of tea. We like it, but being in Hawaii in a condo that is clean and well equipped is all we ask.

jmho,

Greg

Have been to Oahu and the Big Island before and wanted to see either Maui or Kauai, but Maui is first preference. Have a week scheduled for Kona in Nov. 2009 and have had a request in for a Marriott Maui Ocean 2 BR for 8 months to piggyback -- nothing yet. Now trying to decide if I hold out, what my chances are of getting it, or adding the Kauai Marriott to the exchange pool. I also show availability with RCI for the week I want at the Wyndham Kauai Beach Villas using another trader. Any experience with this resort? How close is it to the Kauai Marriott t/s? Decisions, decisions. Thanks for any advice you have!
 

LisaRex

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When I think of the Hawaiian islands, I envision Oahu as the city, Kauai as the country, and Maui as the suburbs. Big Island is like Montana to me. (Big and unknown.)

I've never been to Kauai, but my understanding of it is that it's a nature lover's paradise. It's green and lush and has great hiking and snorkeling. It's romantic and beautiful and low key. There are tons of timeshares on Kauai, so that might give you an idea of the vibe: self-sufficient folks chilling out.

Maui is many things. It's crowded in places and isolated in others. It has plenty of touristy things to do (e.g. putt putt golf, horseback riding) and plenty of free do-it-yourself activities (e.g. snorkel, take a drive, take a hike, climb a mountain). If you go in late November, you might also see a whale. It has movie theatres and t-shirt shops, hoity toity restaurants, roadside stands, it has a one red light hippy surfer village, it has cows. It has some of the most breathtaking scenery I've ever seen. I've been to Maui three times and still have a list of things I want to do.

Hope this helps!
 

gstepic

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My take on where to go

We can hardly say we are experts on which island is best and of course it will depend on your preferences. Two years ago we hit the four main islands just to get a feel for which ones we would like best. We spent 4 days on the BI, three on Kauai, three on Maui, and four on Oahu.

I think for any island the resort can make or break your stay and there are many more qualified on this board to talk about resorts. My wife and I picked Kauai last out of the four mainly because we enjoy getting out at night. We are not party people by any means but we really do not spend much time in the evening just hanging around our room. I think a lot of people on this board enjoy spending as much time at the resort as possible, and if it is a really nice resort it is easy to understand.

We really like Lahiana in Maui for going out at night. It is easy to get around and it has tons of charm and a very interesting history. As far as I know there is not much as far as towns to hang out in Kauai, but three days is not enough time to judge. There a lot of romantic charming resteraunts to go to in Maui.

In Albuquerque we rarely go out to eat other then have lunch after church. Maybe this is why we really value a place with a lot of charming choices to hang out at night other then just staying at the resort. We will be traveling with another couple this year to Maui so maybe having some friends will change our dynamics a little and then hanging around our resort may be more in our plans.

We do want to spend at least a weak in Kauai and do a lot of hiking next time we visit. If we can find some nice night spots then this will be important to us. We stayed at a B & B and the owner was not very friendly so that probably tainted our visit to Kauai. We were in Koloa which is near Poipu and I did not find the Poipu area that charming. When we go back we will use our VI system to stay at Kapaa.

We really want to spend more time seeing Waimea canyon. We did eat at Dukes something or other (Canoe Club?)in Lihue and like the general area of where we ate.

For us we thought there was a lot more to do in Maui. Last October we spent 6 days in Maui and we are going back for 8 days this October and we can hardly wait. I would buy the Revealed books for an idea of the places to see.

I think a lot depends on how you like to vacation. I don't think you can go wrong no matter what island you pick!
 

hibbert6

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Depends...

I think a lot depends on how you like to vacation. I don't think you can go wrong no matter what island you pick!

When I was single, I would have hated Kauai.:zzz: As a married man with kids, I now love both islands.:)

Gstepic hit the nail on the head. Kauai is a pretty mellow place. There's plenty to do, as long as you like snorkeling, too. The underwater experience at most Kauai beaches is incredible, as long as you're either North or South - not much in Kapaa (the east coast.)

Both islands have their internal differences, too. On Kauai, the north end (Hanalei) is a lot more rainy, but is therefore more lush, too. For beach lovers, the south end - Poipu area - is much sunnier and the snorkeling is always good. On Maui, the Lahaina/Kannapali area is more "hopping", and then there's Kihei, which is more mellow. But the beaches there are often covered with seaweed, depending on time of year. Check reviews.

Best of luck!

Dave
 

MOXJO7282

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To me, Maui has it all.

You want some nightlife?, Front St in Lahaina is fun and lively.

You want nature at it's finest and beautiful, lush verandas?, take a drive to Hana, and stay the night.

You want good food?, many, many to choose from.

You want your kids to have more to do than just beach and sun?, See all of the above.

Honestly I am very pro Maui when it comes to the islands. Don't get me wrong, I know every Hawaiin Island is spectalur, but Maui to me, just has it all.

I've been to Kauai and Oahu as well, and would love to go back some day, but I just can't seem to override my desire to go to Maui everytime, and spend as much time as possible there. Someday when we have more than 2 weeks to take at a time, we'll do the other islands, but until then its Kaanapali Maui for my family. Next trip Feb 2010.
 

Kauai Kid

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Six of one, half a dozen of the other. You go to Maui on this trip then you'll go to Kauai the next or vice versa. Mute Point.

Sterling
 

Bill4728

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MOXJ-- said:
You want some nightlife?, Front St in Lahaina is fun and lively.
This is so true. I not talking swinging club, out till 4am but just something to do at night. Kauai has almost no real retail district, where you can walk from shop to shop or choose between 4-5 restaurants all within a short walk of each other.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. You go to Maui on this trip then you'll go to Kauai the next or vice versa. Mute Point.

Sterling
So true!
 

DeniseM

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This is so true. I not talking swinging club, out till 4am but just something to do at night. Kauai has almost no real retail district, where you can walk from shop to shop or choose between 4-5 restaurants all within a short walk of each other.

So true!

How about Kapa'a? Not as active as Lahaina, but it has a little main street with shops and restaurants.
 

WalnutBaron

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My wife and I have been to Maui three times and Kauai three times over the past ten years. (We've also visited Oahu twice and the big island once.) After a lot of deliberation, we chose to invest in our first TS purchase at Kauai.

Here are the pros and cons of Maui and Kauai, IMHO:

Kauai Pluses

* It is easily the most beautiful island. I know that is purely subjective and many here will disagree with me, but Kauai has an amazing diversity of spectacular natural beauty--from Mt. Wailele to the matchless Napali Cliffs to beautiful Hanalei to Poipu to Waimea Canyon.

* It's lush and green and made for adventure. If you like horseback riding or hiking through lush and pristine habitat, I think Kauai is unmatched. Kauai also has the only navigable river in all of the islands and kayaking the river is a wonderful adventure. The Napali Cliffs cannot be accessed except by trail or by boat, and either way of visiting is utterly exceptional and unforgettable.

* If you prefer quiet and pristine, the north end of the island is fantastic and the golf at the Prince Course is outstanding (the Prince Course is routinely rated among the 50 Best Golf Courses in the world by Golf Magazine). If you like beautiful beaches, the beaches at Hanalei and Poipu are spectacular.

* Three restaurants that offer truly exceptional meals in very romantic settings: 1) The Beach House at Poipu. It's run by the same owner of the famous Roy's franchise and both the food and the view of the sunset are unforgettable; 2) Tidepools at the Hyatt in Poipu; 3) Cafe Hanalei at the Princeville Hotel...the view of Bali Hai is enough to bring a tear to your eye!

Minuses of Kauai

* If you want nightlife, it's hard to find on Kauai. Kauai does not have anything similar to Lahaina, which Maui has. Of course, the major hotels do have nightclubs and there's nothing better than a walk on the beach after dinner. But the exciting night life is not to be found on Kauai.

* If you're bringing young children, Kauai does not have the kitschy kinds of activities like mini-golf or video games like Maui has at Lahaina. Even finding a movie theater on Kauai can be a challenge. On the other hand, if your kids like snorkeling with sea turtles or seeing whales up close and personal, either island is great for that.

Pluses of Maui

* I like what a previous poster stated here: "Oahu is the city, Maui is the suburbs, and Kauai is the countryside". That's a pretty good summary. Maui does have a nightlife and strolling the streets of Lahaina after dinner can be very enjoyable. The art galleries on Front Street are very nice and there are lots of diversions there that you can't get anywhere else outside of Honolulu.

* The golf is also spectacular, especially at Kapalua.

* The world-famous road to Hana is something not to be missed. It's beautiful, wild, stomach-churning. You need to do it once. Just make sure you have someone who can do the driving on the return, because you won't be able to have your head on a swivel to see the scenery if you're doing the driving.

* Haleakala Volcano is a fascinating national park, and a true highlight is getting there early enough to see the sunrise and then taking the bike ride down the mountain.

* The shopping at Whaler's Village on Kaanapali beach is great if you're into that. I'm not, but my wife is (and how many women aren't?). There's nothing comparable to it on Kauai.

Minuses of Maui

* It's become a little too commercialized, a little too crowded, a little too noisy in Lahaina, at least for my taste. This may be because I recently hit my 50's, but--to be honest--this was a negative for me when I first visited Maui in my late 30's.

* Maui isn't as lush and, therefore, is not as beautiful IMHO.

As I said at the outset, my personal preference is Kauai for the reasons stated. Your tastes may (and probably do) differ, so you really need to explore both to make up your mind. I hope this helps, and enjoy your first visit to what is truly Paradise. Ultimately, all of Hawaii is truly magical and I have every confidence that you will fall in love with it as we have.
 

sailingman22

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I had the same dilemma between Kauai & Maui so I bought a timeshare in each location. The Kahana Beach is EOY so that I can visit other islands during even years. The first week in Maui for fishing, swimming and restaurants and the 2nd week in Kauai just laying on the beach.
 

MuranoJo

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Pluses of Maui

* I like what a previous poster stated here: "Oahu is the city, Maui is the suburbs, and Kauai is the countryside".

Minuses of Maui

* It's become a little too commercialized, a little too crowded, a little too noisy
I agree with all you have said except for Kauai being the countryside...honestly, it has become too commercialized, crowded, noisy as Maui over the years. We first visited Kauai about 16 years ago, and went back five years later or so and were shocked even then. Later and more recent trips further enforced this...traffic jams in Kapaa? Out-of-the-way places we used to go now have tons of people. We still love the islands, but I just struggle with calling Kauai the countryside. :)
 
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gstepic

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I agree

When we visited Kauai in 2007 I could hardly find any place to pull over. I always felt it was crowded.

Three days is not enough time to judge so on another trip we will visit Kauai again. I really thing a huge factor is if you just enjoy hanging around the resort in the evening or if you enjoy having a town with things to do and places to eat.

We really like Waikiki just because we have so many eating choices, but I really do not care to drive in the city. I am 60 and not a party person at all but I rarely go out after work other then to attend college sporting events so the nightlife at Lahiana is perfect for my wife and I. Not has crazy as Waikiki but certainly lively with a lot of places to go.

Gary
 

Beat Nick

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Maui

Maui for the first time.
Then if you are lucky enough to get to go back again, do some of the other Islands. All are marvelous but if you could only pick one and only one for a one time trip, IMHO it would be Maui.
 

WalnutBaron

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Have been to Oahu and the Big Island before and wanted to see either Maui or Kauai, but Maui is first preference. Have a week scheduled for Kona in Nov. 2009 and have had a request in for a Marriott Maui Ocean 2 BR for 8 months to piggyback -- nothing yet. Now trying to decide if I hold out, what my chances are of getting it, or adding the Kauai Marriott to the exchange pool. I also show availability with RCI for the week I want at the Wyndham Kauai Beach Villas using another trader. Any experience with this resort? How close is it to the Kauai Marriott t/s? Decisions, decisions. Thanks for any advice you have!

Just curious, Wheaties...after reading all of the posts, where did you decide to visit first? :)
 

wheaties

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Our decision has been made

After much discussion, we have decided to go to Kauai for the first of our two weeks in Hawaii. A couple of things swayed our decision. I have had a request in for a 2BR at the Marriott Maui Ocean Club since last April which is still pending. I was able to use a South African week for a 2 BR exchange into Kauai Beach Villas. We have friends who we recently found out will be at the Marriott Kauai timeshare the same week, so hopefully we'll have the best of both worlds. We can visit them and they can visit us! Maui seems to be very hard to trade into and we since we had another couple traveling with us, figured we'd go with the sure thing. Thanks to everyone for their advice. We truly looking forward to a fabulous trip!
 

CharlesS

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Hooray

After much discussion, we have decided to go to Kauai for the first of our two weeks in Hawaii.
Hooray. I hate to tell people which place or resort is better than another since we all value different things. However, in your case I believe you made the right decision. You can get a good taste of both islands (and you couldn't go wrong with either) and on your next trip you can decide which island you really prefer (if either) and if there is no next trip, then you will have experienced both. You will enjoy!!!!

Charles
 

cgeidl

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We go 4 weeks a year

Oahu is our favorite resort as it offers more to do than the other Islands and also has inexpensive golf at the military courses which anyone can play on a space available basis at very fair rates. About $30 and 4 star courses.
We always go to at least two islands. This year will be the Big Island and Oahu.
We have bone besides Oahu to the Big island the most frequent, We like the varied geology, the volcano park, and the large resorts with 2 bedrooms.
 
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