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Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

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Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

Hello, am looking for any and all advice/suggestions/help with my upcoming itinerary. We are planning on spending time on both Oahu & BI and would like advice on how to split time on activities. There are 2 adults, we will have a car on both islands, I have been before, but this is my husband’s first time, so I want to do some iconic, must-see things in both locations. We are super chill, not looking for nightlife on this trip, just want to relax and see cool stuff. TIA!

-FEB 23 to MAR 1: OAHU—staying at Marriott Ko’Olina; will have car

1. Activities planned for Oahu:

a. PCC

b. Pearl Harbor

c. Hanuama Bay

d. North Shore/Haliewa

e. Waikiki/Diamond Head

• Any suggestions for how to plan these days out? Combine activities? Did I miss something crucial for my husband to see?

-MAR 1 to MAR 4: BIG ISLAND—Here’s where I need the most help! (I know the consensus is to spend more time on the BI, but we are getting free lodging through Marriott and can’t come to the BI any earlier than 3/1.)

2. MAR 1: HNL→ ITO—will have car, plan on driving to VNP that evening & staying at a B&B

3. MAR 2: Visit VNP all day; drive to Hilo & stay the night

• Should we stay another night in VNP? Should we make the drive all the back to the West Coast?

4. MAR 3: Sight see the Hamakua Coast & drive back to Kona or Waikoloa that night

• What are some must-see’s in this area? I was thinking Akaka Falls, Valley of Kings, Black Sand beach. Suggestions?

• We have the option of staying at Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel or Marriott Waikoloa Beach Resort. Opinions on which one to pick?

5. MAR 4: Sight see the West Coast; KOA→Mainland (evening flight)

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1. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

1a. Waikiki Beach morning. Lunch and shower, then to PCC for a fun afternoon/evening. Try to go in time for the canoe parade (I think 3 pm, but check) then visit all the huts and displays, IMAX, the better luau (that has entertainment), then stay for the evening program. A bathroom stop and Dole Whip at the Dole Plantation is a must do for me on the way:)

b. Pearl Harbor, early morning visit the Arizona Memorial (no bags are allowed inside, but they have lockers you may rent to leave valuables in), museum and the WWII veterans who usually sit at a table by the store. At the store, i buy a couple of foags that have flown over the memorial and give as gifts to veterans or history buffs. Then go take a docent tour of the USS Missouri and have a BBQ sandwich at the mess hall, then go tour the Bowfin submarine or If you go on Wed, Sat, or Sun, you may leave off the Bowfin and pair this with a short visit to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. Fun place to buy souvenirs and check out interesting food items and people.

c. Take some water and snacks in a cooler plus a good book. I take my own snorkeling gear. They have lockers you may rent to store your valuables while you snorkel. Walk down, but pay to ride the trolly back up. Don't go out beyond the marked areas. Many have been scraped and bloodied. Lifeguards are on duty here. Please float, don't stand on the coral!

d. This can be your circle island drive day and beach, with another bathroom/Dole Whip stop along the way. Take your cooler and lunch. Head to Haleiwa Beach Park for turtles, water sports or just people watching. Waimea Beach is next, crowded usually, but cool to check out. For us, though, we move on to Laniakea for the turtles. (Check with the forum to see if this is open and if these are in the right order) Next, plan to stay a while, at Sunset Beach. Take your grass mat or a larger sarong to sit in the sand and watch the surfers. We stay here a long time usually. Continue around the island, checking out Turtle Bay Resort, shrimp trucks, more beaches, cliffs and vistas all amazing. I don't remember all the names, as I'm not as familiar with this side. Others will advise.

e. I started you with a morning on Waikiki Beach and will end the same way. Waikiki is the generic term for this area. For me, a day at Waikiki Beach wouldn't be complete without a few hours on Kahanamoku Beach that fronts the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Two chairs and an umbrella, a good book, my trusty cooler, and I'm set for a

day of relaxation and rich people watching. LOTS of people, but that's part of the fun.

There are so many "crucial" things to see and do on each island, I'm not even going to mention them. Your itinerary is very full with little time to just be engulfed in aloha....my very favorite "activity" on each island.

As for the remainder of your trip, to the BI. Not a good idea to spend so much time moving around. I pair these two islands many times or just go to the BI. Getting ready to do it again this August. With only 4 days, just for a glimpse, I'd go to the Kailua-Kona Marriott so I'd be closer to the things I prefer to do. Everyone else will tell you to go to Waikoloa for the "best" beaches and "best" food. Toss a coin. With only 4 days on this magnificent island, just stay close to the area you pick and see and do the things in that quarter of the island and you'll STILL just scratch the surface...it'll keep you from spending your entire 4 days in your rental car, though:) Happy travels!

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2. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

Just returned from Kona Hawaii 5 nights there , very relaxing pace , stayed at Royal Kona Resort - awesome place great location walk to everything (check out 2nd flr poncho leftys for breakfast 4blk walk) . They have a natural ocean wave pool good for kids , snorkel and see fish , fun in the waves.

**Important to note - VNP Lava is not flowing down to ocean , we were told it can only be seen from air or private property (long hike) . Helicopter from Hilo $200ea , later i saw one offered at $170ea incl all fees.

Historic park upper west coast Lapakahi state historic park ,walking trail around old village, we saw a Humpback Breach a couple hundred yards from shore here. Might be good to combine with trip to "A Bay beach" near the Marriot resort.

Great Snorkel trip offered by Expedia counter at Royal Kona Resort by Sea Quest , we did the $100ea 4 hr tour (2 snorkel locations) but I think the noon 3hr $80ea trip would be great too as the 1 snorkel loc is at Kealakekua bay (capt cook monument) with tons of fish there.

GordieHowl

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3. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

Just a few bits and pieces.

Get your free tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial, on line in advance. There is a fee of 1.50 per ticket. Otherwise you have to get there early in the morning and stand in line to get a ticket.

Everything you want to do is going to be far away from Ko Olina, be prepared for traffic. Don't leave that area until 8:00am and go back either early afternoon or after 7:00pm.

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4. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

Wow! Thanks for all the great advice!

Bips: Thanks for the super thorough itinerary, we are set for the Oahu portion of our trip thanks to you! I am in LOVE with Dole Whip, it will be a must stop for us too!

GordieHowl: sounds like your Kona trip was amazing! Thanks for all the great tips, we will look into your suggestions, especially the snorkel tour!

msfuzz: SO glad you mentioned this, otherwise we wouldn't have known! Is Ko'Olina considered an inconvenient location?

Four days on the Big Island is not enough, and some other kind folks on the BI forum also informed us about the lack of lava. So now I think we're going to just stay on the west side somewhere (still deciding between Kona & Waikoloa) and explore from there. Any other suggestions and/or advice are welcomed, we are getting super excited for our trip!!!

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5. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

Here is another thing I like to consider when choosing my accommodations, other than being close to all the things I like to do... the proximity to the ocean. Here are the aerial views of both properties you are considering:

Kona:

hawaiirevealed.com/free-travel-info/big-isla…

Waikoloa:

hawaiirevealed.com/free-travel-info/big-isla…

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6. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

I personally wouldn't want to stay in either Kailua-Kona or Waikoloa, but if you're working with Marriott points, that does limit you to those two locations.

Kailua-Kona and Waikoloa are both zoned as resort areas. The Kailua-Kona hotels are in the vicinity of "Kailua Village" (the new marketing terminology) which has some cute funky shops and numerous tourist-oriented restaurants. On the outskirts of Kailua-Kona are all the big-box stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Sports Authority, etc.) and a fairly grungy industrial area. But the King Kamehameha (Courtyard Marriott) is a very acceptable hotel that has recently had a nice upgrade, although they upgraded the prices higher than warranted, IMO. It fronts a tiny but very historic beach area, Kamakahonu, and is adjacent to a significant heiau, Ahuena Heiau. You can walk all around the village tourist area from here. Kailua-Kona does suffer from vog (volcanic haze), which can get really bad on some days.

Waikoloa Resort is fairly low-key as resorts go, and the Marriott there has very lovely grounds. The rooms are smallish. Anaeho'omalu Beach doesn't have good snorkeling, but it's nice for swimming and beach walking. But from this site you are close to all the great Kohala beaches and excellent snorkeling, and day trips to Waipi'o and Pololu valleys are easy.

It really depends on your interests. Waikoloa will be better for proximity to beaches (there are no beaches to speak of in the Kailua-Kona area and the Kohala ones are 45 minutes drive minimum), consistently good snorkeling, clear air and sunny days.

Kailua-Kona would be preferable if you enjoy strolling around a tourist village and shopping. (Waikoloa has shops, too, but they tend to be on the pricier side).

The two hotels are pretty comparable. The King Kamehameha has nicer rooms but no grounds; it's right up against a busy road. The Marriott has smaller rooms but really nice grounds.

If you do stay at the King Kamehameha, try to take the opportunity to go out on an outrigger canoe with Kona Boys - they have a shack right there on the beach where you can arrange to go for a paddle.

Back on O'ahu - yes, Ko Olina is inconvenient if you get trapped trying to drive to anywhere during rush hours: 6:30-9:30 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. I have been stuck in the most horrendous traffic between there and Honolulu so many times that now I carefully plan any trips out there to avoid those hours. But if you never need to travel at those times, it can work just fine.

Edited: 06 February 2014, 04:37
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7. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

Thanks Wahineo…you guessed it, we are confined to Marriott choices and are getting free nights. Your explanation of the two areas really helped confirm our decision to stay in Waikoloa. The proximity to snorkeling and other things we want to do makes it a better location for us, and we won't miss the tourist village/shopping. And thanks to your advice, we now know when Oahu's rush hour is (longer than I expected) and will avoid accordingly. Thanks a bunch! Can't wait to get out of this concrete jungle of LA and be in paradise!

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8. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

Ko Olina is out a bit and could be considered inconvenient if everything you are doing is in Honolulu. Some like to be out there without the big city hassles. Purely personal choice.

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9. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

Thanks fishdiva, we are getting free lodging and the Ko'Olina location was our only option for Oahu.

I was worried at first about being so far from Honolulu, but it's going to work out better than I thought. I have been to the islands several times, but this is my hubby's first time, and knowing his personality, he will enjoy the seclusion. Plus, we will be spending a lot of time on the North Shore anyway, and we like that the KoOlina room is a villa with separated rooms and a nice kitchen.

Thanks for the clarification!

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10. Re: Itinerary Help--Oahu & BI

You'll be much better off in Waikoloa than in Kailua Kona, so good choice, and I also think it's a good plan to confine your activities to that area with only four days. Feel free to post your ideas of an itinerary back on the Island of Hawaii forum if you have additional questions. It will be excellent whale watching on the Kohala

coast, where our humpback marine sanctuary is. Ocean conditions depending, the best snorkeling will be at the Mauna Lani and Waialea Bay about 10-15 minutes north.

So I assume you have arranged to fly in and our of KOA instead of ITO?