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October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

Indianapolis...
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October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

Hello everyone,

My fiancé and myself are trying to plan our 2 week long honeymoon in early October of this year and Hawaii has made our short list. (Bali and Maldives are also on our list) I am very into saltwater reef fish tanks and have dove the Caribbean on past vacations. Im very interested in diving in Hawaii or the South Pacific because 95% of what I see in my fish tanks are from these regions. My fiancé is going to get padi certified this summer to dive on our honeymoon. There are a few things that we want out of our trip and I was hoping someone could help me start some planning.

1. Diving:

All 3 of our options have great diving so this is already a plus.

2. No crowded beaches:

It's our honeymoon so we don't want to stay on a big beach that has hundreds of people packed into a small area.

3. Mobility:

We are pretty adventurous and would love to rent a vehicle (a jeep would be awesome) so that we can explore any place that we end up at.

4. Good food!,

Even if we need to drive a little ways, we want have some good restaurants. We want to cook ourself a few nights but most evenings we want to eat out. We love to eat at the smaller fun places and not the 5 star hotels.

5. Mini trips:

We would really like to split our trip up in 2 or possibly 3 destinations. Maybe 10 nights in one area. 3 nights in another and 1 final night in another area.

6. Price:

We don't have a unlimited budget so we are are going to price all 3 options and decide what one will be best.

7. Language and safety:

The language and safety in some areas have us a little concerned. We only speak English but I'm not afraid to try my best at the native tongue.

Is Hawaii for us? Any recommendations on a island or area?

Thank you so much for your responses.

Ross and Alisa

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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1. Re: October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

If you are really into diving, then the Big island would be the Hawaiian island you want to spend most of your time on. It isn't like the Caribbean though - water is a bit cooler and you won't see the soft corals either.

Hawaii is a wonderful destination for several reasons:

English is spoken and you don't need to change your $$.

You can drive almost anywhere and you don't need a jeep, though you can rent one - it will cost more $$.

You can see perhaps one other island - a good rule of thumb is a week per island - otherwise, you mostly see the airports and car rental desks.

Hawaii can be done on any budget - low budget to high budget, but we can't help you will lodgings without knowing your budget in $$ amounts - and any specific amenities.

Great food - and an amazing culture to experience. I love Hawaii! :)

Edited: 06 March 2014, 22:28
Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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2. Re: October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

OK, well, as a diver who has traveled extensively to the world's best diving destinations (although I've never been to the Maldives), I am going to caution you about your expectations in Hawaii. While there are some very unique and worldclass diving opportunities, it is indeed very different from many of the other places you might have gone diving, particularly in the Caribbean, and quite a few well-traveled people come away disappointed with Hawaii diving if they have not managed their expectations. First, the good news:

As you've noted Hawaii has a large number of endemic fish species. It's a very safe, English-speaking destination and has a very unique and interesting culture.

The Big Island of Hawaii has superb and unusual diving experiences, particularly the manta ray night dive and blackwater diving, aka "pelagic magic". It has pretty good "big animal" action (hammerheads, mantas, occasional whale shark, turtles, eels). You should be able to find hammerheads commonly in October with a reputable dive company. Aside from the big stuff, it's also a good location for "reef crawlers" :-) Plenty of shallow reefs with plenty fish in good visibility. The BI is also the quietest of the major four islands, by a lot. It has several excellent restaurants. Because of its size it can be thought of as almost two islands, with a stay the majority of the time on the west side (I recommend the Kohala Coast which is the beach district) for diving, beaches, and sun and 2-3 nights on the lush east side to visit Volcanoes National Park, botanical gardens, waterfalls, etc. It's the most diverse of the islands climactically and geographically.

Maui and Lana'i are the second best islands for diving in the state. It's a fair step down from the BI but I would still classify them both overall as "good".

Oahu is not great diving EXCEPT the wreck diving which is very interesting if you like that sort of thing, which I do.

The not-so-good:

Hawaii is mostly hard corals and you will not get the brilliant coloration you see in Caribbean, French Polynesian, or many Indian Ocean reefs. Visibility on the Big Island in particular is good but not world class. Many reefs have suffered from overuse and so it's important to seek out dive boats going more off the beaten path. For instance the Kona Coast gets most of the play on the Big Island as having the best diving and has the vast majority of dive operators, however outside of the manta ray and pelagic magic speciality diving, I find there is much better diving overall on the Kohala Coast.

Kauai is a spectacularly beautiful island...but not very good diving.

So basically with 14 nights, if you choose Hawaii, I'd look at spending 5 nights on Maui, doing a day trip or even possibly an overnight to Lanai, and then spending 9 nights on the Big Island, split 7 nights west side and 2 on the east side.

Just from a diving perspective and also wanting to experience a unique culture, I'd also look at Tahiti/French Polynesia. If you decide on Bali, which I love but is a bit too crowded for my tastes, consider Lombok.

Wisconsin
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3. Re: October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

I would do 2 islands, maybe 8 or 9 nights on the Big Island and 5 or 6 on Maui. I love Maui best but I don't scuba dive. If you hike and like adventure do the road to Hana on Maui and maybe bike down Haleakala.

Edited: 06 March 2014, 23:02
Chicagoland
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4. Re: October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

Shea has given you GREAT information. You will find specific information on this forum that you will never find in some "Guide To Hawaii".

The Big Island of Hawaii is your best bet on the *sealife* part of your equation -- and Kauai and Oahu are the least good. Big Island is also really BIG, meaning you will be driving more. It's the only island where we routinely rent a mid-size car. (BTW, you do not need a Jeep in most parts of Hawaii. You will not need to go off-road to see the sights, and doing so would be in violation of most rental agency contracts.)

For the casual snorkeler, I prefer Maui, with its' abundance of easy-access beaches. It also has many condos and hotels to fit many budgets, lots of restaurant choices -- more 'man made' conveniences than less developed Big Island. I like Shea's suggestion of how to split your time between Big Island (two locations) and Maui.

Think about how you'll get to Hawaii. We often fly ORD-HNL and stay within airport security until we 'hop' to another island, having through-checked our luggage. I look for a widebody aircraft and a nonstop on the log leg. I avoid 757's and west coast connections.

We can help more if you'll give us your budget for lodging.

Keep in mind that this is a *honeymoon*, not an expedition, and that people come to Hawaii to get on Island Time and soak up the Aloha. You don't want to be constantly on the move -- between islands or hotels. A condo for some of your time would work well. Many honeymooners enjoy "home away from home" in a condo, then have a 'grand finale' at a grand hotel!

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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5. Re: October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

If you decide on Bali, be prepared for EVERYONE to accost you to sell you things. Even tiny kids. Some of the resorts do keep vendors off their beach, but any time you go out you will be accosted. I actually got mobbed by about 5 people selling sarongs, to the point where DH had to step in. Hawai`i is not like that. Bali is beautiful, and I loved it, but be warned.

California
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for Oahu
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6. Re: October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

I'll help with a few of these. I caution you not to compare Hawaii with Mexico or the Caribbean. They are not the same. Nice beaches, yes ...

Always count your nights at your destination, not your weeks or days.

<<2. No crowded beaches:>> Hawaii has wonderful uncrowded beaches and wonderful crowded beaches. It depends when you go and where exactly you go.

<<3. Mobility:>> You don't need a Jeep in Hawaii. You can rent one if you want to, but you don't need one. Jeeps are hyped in photos and ads, but they are not necessary. You will need a car, though, on any of the major Islands with the exception of the City of Honolulu on the Island of Oahu.

<<4. Good food:>> Not a problem. It depends on your taste and budget. Honolulu (Oahu) is considered #1 for food, although I think that Maui is a VERY close second.

<<We want to cook ourself a few nights but most evenings we want to eat out.>> So you want to rent a condo. Good to know.

<<5. Mini trips: We would really like to split our trip up in 2 or possibly 3 destinations. Maybe 10 nights in one area. 3 nights in another and 1 final night in another area.>> What do you mean by "destinations" or "areas?" Do you mean changing Islands? I would stick to 2 Islands and split your nights in half. You will lose at least a 1/2 day with each Island transition. You will need to fly between the major Islands.

<<6. Price:>> No one has an unlimited budget. Maybe if you are a billionaire. You need to establish an overall budget and a nightly accommodations budget to move your planning along.

<<7. Language and safety:>> Hawaii is the USA. Has been a state for 50 years+ and decades upon decades as a territory. Approach Hawaii as you would any other state: American health and safety standards and English.

It would be unfair of us to recommend anything to you at this point. All of us can toss random ideas at you until your head spins. If you are serious about Hawaii, pick up a copy of "Hawaii for Dummies" - a highly-recommended travel guide that covers all the Islands. And pick up a good map of Hawaii as well. Pull up www.gohawaii.com. It's terribly commercial, but helpful for first-timers. There are great things about Hawaii that will surprise and thrill you. Don't start booking accommodations or choosing Islands until you have a good overview of your options. Each Island has commonalities and special features.

7. Re: October honeymoon. Is Hawaii for us?

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