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Help me decide which island for December!

Independence...
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Help me decide which island for December!

This is a dream trip we are planning as a result of a little thing called fate. We are huge University of Cincinnati fans which happen to be playing Hawaii in Hawaii in December. As luck has it, I have earned some airline vouchers as a result of voluntary bumps which are making this trip possible! Thank you Delta!

With this being said, I have lurked the boards and researched the islands and definitley need help from the experts here. We will be traveling December 2 - 13 with Honolulu as our landing zone. I think with this time frame, it is doable to do two islands. Obviously, we will spend time in Oahu but I am troubled with picking the second island. Thus, looking for your thoughts.

The Big Island - We would love to do VNP! I mean we do not have volcanos in Cincinnati. Is it doable to do the BI for 3-4 days?

Maui - I am guessing pictures do not do it justice. However, while we want to spend time relaxing, we also want to see things we cannot see at home.

Basically, I am asking which of these two islands would you do? This may be our one chance to go to Hawaii..:( so, I want to make the right decision.

Thanks in advance for your help on this one! Looking forward to seeing this beautiful island - and a good football game in December!

San Francisco
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1. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

The Big Island is just that, BIG! You can do the volcano in a day, but there have been some days the park has been closed so, check and go there early in your trip, if you wait to go there the last day and it is closed, that would be very sad. You can't 'do' the entire island in a few days (who wants to spend your entire vacation in the car) but, you can see lots of things you would never get to see at home. I think all the other islands fit into the big island with room to spare. Hawaii island is more casual than Maui to me. Maui is generally greener, and more resort like. Both places are wonderful and I don't think you can make a wrong choice! Good luck!

Nazareth...
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2. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

Lucky you!

That does sound like a great opportunity and I think you are right on wanting to see another Island while there.

My hubby and I have done that on each of our 5 trips there. We pick one island as a "base" and stay 5-7 days then pick an island we've not been to before and stay the remainder of our trip. Then the next trip we stay at the island we did the short trip on the last time for our main island and see all the things we wished we had time for the last trip.

That being said, we've now been to all the islands except Molokai!

Maui has great beaches, and the road to Hana is a "don't miss" with spectacular waterfalls and amazing beaches (some black sand even!)Haleakala, zip lining and some amazing hikes are to be found easily.

On the BI... trip to Volcanos National Park is amazing (hike to the lava flow was the most amazing thing I've ever done- and the hardest too!). Fly into Hilo, visit the volcano and drive later that night to Kona area at the wonderful resorts just past the airport (It'll take you about 1.5-2 hours,but the drive is amazing with waterfalls visible from the road!). You can fly out of Kona and save some time.

Hilo area is very wet, beautiful but rain doesnt make it to my list for a wonderful vacation.

Also some black sand beaches on the BI and the best beach I've ever been to at Mauna Kea and Hapuna Beaches. The scenery is totally different on the BI than in Oahu, where Maui is more like the windward side of Oahu.

My choice would be Oahu and teh BI for a few days.

Have a wonderful trip.... we're coming back in January... can't wait!

Chicagoland
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3. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

Who's the 'we' who are traveling? Ages? Interests? Outdoors-y, hikers, explorers? Prefer beaches, restaurants, shopping?

It might help to take the quiz: …about.com/od/…island_scores.htm

Don't think Oahu is 'just' Honolulu/Waikiki, although there's plenty to do there. Rent a car and get out to tour the east and north shores too. Four or five nights should be enough, given that one day will be Game Day.

I'm probably choose Maui for Island Two. It has great beaches and the widest choice of lodgings and restaurants outside of Honolulu. (A very pale imitation of the nightlife, largely in the Kaanapali/Lahaina area.) Weather in December may be cool, windy, rainy at the very top (Kapalua, Napili). Haleakala is its dormant volcano; you can explore inside it. Road to Hana takes you to its most tropical area.

Big Island may be my favorite island, but it is big and requires driving some distances to see it all. I'd give it at least a week and plan to 'move house', staying most nights NW, where the good lodging is, and a night or two in Volcano to see that area. Caveat is the volcano itself. It's been very active of late, which sounds *interesting*, but is actually problematical: The park will close if there's too much dangerous activity, and the west side of the island can be covered in VOG (gasses from the vents).

Hops between islands take up half a day overall and are running about $120 pp round trip now.

Are you ruling out Kauai? Small, gorgeous, largely vertical. THE island for a helicopter tour. Stay south at Poipu in December.

Maui
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4. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

Me...I would go to the Big island...how can you top a volocano?

I think the mai tais are better on Maui though. It's a wonderful drink to drown your sorrows with;-}

Portland, Tennessee
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5. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

Hey Bearcat fan - we are heading to Hawaii for our 3rd trip (in-laws included). Our itinerary:

1 day Honolulu - Pearl Harbor/North Shore

7 days Big Island - Resort is the Hilton. We have been there twice and really love the Big Island (please email me if you want specifics)

4 days Maui - Never been there before but can't wait.

I have reservations at the Royal Kahana - 1 bedroom condo for $239 (best price I could find for the time frame).

We have done Kauai and love it!! You will not be disappointed.

I did not know that UC will be there. Unfortunately, we will be traveling too late (12/21 to 01/01/09).

Please let me know if you need any information on Kauai/Big Island/Honolulu.

Aloha!! from UC!!

Independence...
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6. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

ChiSue -

I apologize, this was my first post. After I hit Submit, I realized that I had left out some crucial information.

My husband and I are in our mid-30's. We are active and are up to outdoor activity. There are no children traveling and no health issues. Certainly, we would like to spend some time at the beach and shopping but is not the reason for visiting Hawaii. We want to explore the beauty of the islands and all they have to offer.

Yes, certainly we have thought about Kauai. However, the notion to see a live volcano - and possibly lava is really what is drawing us to the BI.

Thanks everyone for your input!

Chicagoland
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7. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

You'll see *plenty* of lava on Big Island -- the hard, black remains of flows covers a lot of the west side. It's unlikely you will see molten lava flows anywhere except in the films at the ranger station in the park. If that's your major motivation for visiting Big Island...maybe it's not the island for you.

OTOH, if you are interested in exploring all the *other* interesting micro-climates there, B.I. may be great for you.

IMO, people who enjoy the Volcano Nat'l Park most are geology majors. I was impressed, yet happy to be out of there after a few hours in the heat on the dusty, barren ring road. (That was long ago, before I got *old*. LOL) DH, DS and I did the helicopter tour over the volcano and saw much more. I'm trying to express that, for me at least, this is far from being THE compelling reason to go to B.I.

I really like Maui's Haleakala better because it's evolved more and its 'other-worldly' crater is interesting to explore. You still experience the sheer mass. Maui is a small island, more easily toured in a shorter time.

Suggest you post on the "Island of Hawaii" forum to hear from locals.

It sounds as though you will be 'done' with Oahu in short order, given your desire for more exploring and less big city stuff. I'd do three nights there: Game Day, then out of the city and off to the shores.

California
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8. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

I agree with ChiSue ... before you make your decision, make sure that you will actually be able to see flowing lava. My guess is -- no. Folks can't just mosey out to the seashore and watch the lava drop. Your shoes would melt.

I prefer Maui unless you have alot of time on your hands.

Maui
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9. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

I've been to the Big Island lava flows and you can walk right up to the lava flow. You can literaly touch it...but...DON'T.

You need to time the flow so you can start out in late dusk or earlier and hang around until the evening/night time. This way you get two different perspectives.

It's easily the most awesome thing I've ever done and I've been to yellowstone, the grand canyon, yosemite, etc.

At one point I was watching a small pool of lava sort of congeal and build. I really wanted to see it break through it's self and drip...just like you see in the movies. I have no idea how long I was there(hour+?) but I finally saw it happen. I hopped off of where I was siting and started to leave but noticed the faint pink/red glow was all around me. I was literaly in the middle of a flow. There was a brief second of panic but all I had to do was look behind me.

The two fingers hadn't quite connected and the smaller finger, the one I wasn't paying attention to was at its widest about a foot across but for most of it's length was only about 6" wide. A normal footstep would have got me over it had it actually connected.

I also got to see the lava pour, actually more like a plop, into the ocean. I would say another 1/2 mile away it was literally pouring. I wanted to go there but I couldn't see how to do it without crossing the flow I was at. I saw flashlights but I didn't go. Maybe they had gotten there from the backside.

I would love for you to come to Maui but if the volocano is erupting...every human being on the planet should experience this.

10. Re: Help me decide which island for December!

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