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Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Paris, France
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Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Hi all,

I am about to make a solo trip (male, late 20s) in September and I would like it to be something mostly relaxing involving bit of surf (total beginner), swimming, meeting people and a nice landscape. I will be in California before that, so I was thinking to go for a week in Hawaii and stay in a hostel.. Problem is, I saw Honolulu pics with the Skyscrapers etc, and I didn't really like the feel. Seemed too touristic and commercialized. Is the whole city like that? The whole island? Is there any other place in the islands that is better for me? I'd like to see some traditional small towns etc..

I am also going to NY, so I was could easily go to the Caribbean from there instead (Jamaica or Dominican Republic). Is it a better option for me? Or should I just stick to the Californian coast and forget the islands?

Many thanks!

Edited: 25 June 2013, 20:53
pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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1. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Honolulu is indeed a city, the only big city in the islands. The rest of O`ahu is much more rural. More rural yet is Kaua`i. Know that you will need a car anywhere but in Honolulu.

La Mirada...
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for Kauai
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2. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Are you planning on renting a car? If not, then you're pretty much stuck with Honolulu. Public transit is pretty minimal on the other islands and not set up for tourists (no bags/back-packs, etc).

If you can rent a car, consider Kaua‘i. No high rises at all (Marriott Resort is the exception and reason there are no others). There are two hostels in Kapa‘a. I've never been in either so I can't tell you anything about them, but both are close to restaurants, shopping, surf board rental, etc. You'll need to drive to get to the surf spots.

http://kauaihostel.com/

http://kauaibeachhouse.net/

3Chihuahuas

California
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3. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Hawaii has only one high-density area of high-rise resorts: the Waikiki neighborhood of Honolulu on Oahu.

There are other parts of Oahu that aren't touristy at all. Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu comes to mind.

But you have two problems:

1. You want to "meet people" while also getting away from the crowds (i.e. "people")

2. You're thinking of a hostel

The only hostels I know of in Hawaii are in the touristy area. The quiet areas are mostly houses and condos where vacationing families stay and keep mostly to themselves. They're not out mingling with others much.

So you have to decide whether you want isolation or socialization. Yes, there may be some compromise: Again, Haleiwa comes to mind. But I sincerely doubt you will find a hostel in a place like that.

California
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for Oahu
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4. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

We can't answer this. We have no idea how many nights you plan to be in Hawaii.

Are you familiar with your options in Hawaii? As pzp mentioned above, you will need a car on any of the major Islands with the exception of the City of Honolulu on the Island of Oahu. This is key.

Oahu is the most populous Island by far, and has the most developed areas. That doesn't make it touristy, though. Most of Oahu is rural.

Understand that the flight to Hawaii from LA or San Francisco is about 5.5 hours.

You need to do some reading and get a good understanding of your options ... so you can make an informed decision. Pick up a copy of "Hawaii for Dummies," a highly recommended travel guide that covers all the Islands. And get a good map of Hawaii as well. Pullup www.gohawaii.com. It's a terribly commercial website, but helpful for first-timers.

I would not go to the Caribbean during hurricane season. And the Caribbean and Hawaii are very, very different.

The California Coast is wonderful in September. I'd stay out of the LA area - but Santa Barbara north ... their best season. San Francisco's best weather.

Paris, France
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5. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Thanks for the answers!

So, some clarifications.. I could rent a car if I need to. I would prefer not, but its not terribly expensive and I do not plan to visit again anytime soon so it will be worth spending a bit more. I have 8 days for San Francisco and Hawaii together, before I get to LA and stay another week there and around (Vegas, San Diego, Grand Canyon etc). I ll be flying from SF and then back to LA. So I was thinking to rush SF a bit and have 5 or 6 days for Hawaii.

I want to live in a hostel so I can get to meet some people. It is not a budget requirement, I could live somewhere else, as long as I can meet some people around.

Should I maybe let it go and do the road trip from SF to LA instead? On the other hand, you don't have often the opportunity to visit Hawaii..

Healy, Alaska
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6. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

I would do Hawaii over a road trip any day! :)

California
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for Oahu
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7. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Thank you for the additional information. It truly helps. Realizing that you will lose a full day flying back and forth to Hawaii, I would save it for another trip. I'm so sorry to say this.

Your trip to Hawaii will be very costly in time and money, and you will be cutting your time in California short. If you fly to Hawaii, you won't have the time you need in Hawaii OR in California.

And you don't want to rush San Francisco. See the City --- and drive to the north and down south along the California Coast.

<<Should I maybe let it go and do the road trip from SF to LA instead?>> I would.

Again, you can do what you suggest and factor in Hawaii - it's just not a good idea in my opinion.

If you do visit Hawaii, I think that you would enjoy the Island of Kauai. I'm not sure if they have a hostel. You will need a car.

LA
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8. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Do you realize there are actually 6 different islands?

Oahu, which contains Honolulu and Waikiki is the most populated.

California
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9. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

You need to:

1. Change your "touristic" aversion.

2. Book a stay at a hostel in Waikiki

3. Use a rental car to experience fabulous NON-touristy sites like this http://bit.ly/134uNPQ and this http://bit.ly/12ikOoa and this http://bit.ly/14vQ9Tg

A hostel is the only place you're likely to meet people. Most of the people who go to Hawaii are families and middle-age and older couples, with a few honeymooners mixed in. They're not there to mingle. It's not like San Fran and L.A. where you can find places where young people gather. So the one place you're most likely to be around other outgoing single travelers is in a hostel. There are two in Waikiki, which is very touristy. But I really think that's where you should be.

Also: The drive from San Fransciso to Los Angeles is SO boring and ugly. "Touristy" parts of Hawaii are about a million times better than anything you'll see on those six neverending hours. (Though there are some notable smells along the way -- if you're into that.)

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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10. Re: Hawaii - something not too touristic?

Kauai has the 2 hostels that 3chis listed above as well as this one:

www.rosewoodkauai.com/category/kauai_hostel/

I also think you would love Kauai! To me, it is one of the least touristy in that it is very undeveloped. :)