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Maui vs Other Islands

Cloverdale, Canada
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Maui vs Other Islands

Our 13 days have come to an end almost, we are packing up and on the red eye tonight.

Of course, as any true Hawaii lover, already planning the next trip back. My mom and I will be on Maui in feb. for a week.

My husband, son and I are planning on coming back to Hawaii for 10 days during spring break next year. Our daughter will be in Europe on a school trip. We do want to check out other islands, and since we love Maui so much, I'd love to hear what Maui lovers have to say about visiting Kauai vs TBI.

Considering Kauai because I've heard many great things about it from frequent travelers there, and it seems totally low key, which we like.

Considering TBI because VOLCANOS and also I've heard the snorkeling there is the best out of all the islands.

Our trip will be this time next year, if weather is any issues on either island.

We like the Kihei area because of the friendliness, and like condo's that have good snorkel beaches out front and restaurants and shops within walking distance. If we could find a place like the Kam2/3 area on another island we'd enjoy that.

I will be posting a similar thread on Kauai/TBI forums when I get home, but wanted to hear from my fellow Maui junkies first.

Pittsburgh, PA
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1. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

I've been to all 3 islands you are inquiring about. My favorite is Maui and a close second is Kauai. I really liked the Big Island, but not nearly as much as the others. Keep in mind that if you go, there is no guarantee that you will (or even can) see lava. The Big Island is big and you'll do a lot of driving to get to various places. Also, the snorkeling is much clearer on the Big Island. I don't necessarily think you'll see any more fish, but the water is crystal clear.

For Kauai, it is my wife's favorite and a close 2nd to Maui for me. I think the difference is that Kauai is very low key and almost not enough night life for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a party animal, but I'd like to go out somewhere and walk around past 9 o'clock and still see life. I haven't got the feel from Kauai. However, as far as beauty, you cannot touch Kauai. It is the most beautiful place that I have ever seen. If you want tropical, then Kauai is your place. If you are going the same time of year, you may be better off staying south for nicer weather. Kauai is in a transition period right now from Winter to Spring. Winter can bring a lot of rain to Kauai, but that also means lots and lots of waterfalls and very lush tropical settings. Most people say that North is better in the summer and South is better in the winter. Spring and Fall can be iffy. However, we were in Kauai in February our first visit and the weather was beautiful all but one day, so you just never know.

As far as where to stay, the West side of the Island, particularly Kona, would give you more of the Kihei feel. It's not like Kihei, but it's more like it than Waikoloa. Kona is also much better for nice weather. For Kauai, the east coast is probably the closest thing to Kihei, but again, not really the same. Poipu has more shops and restaurants, which is in the south, and the North Shore is where you will really get that tropical feel. It's a real difficult decision, but definitely one that you won't be disappointed with no matter what you decide.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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2. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

I haven't made it to the island of Hawaii yet, but one of these days………….I would go for the volcano's and snorkeling also. I've been to Kauai a couple of times (went there during my very first trip to Hawaii) and it is absolutely gorgeous. Me personally, I wouldn't go any other time other then the summer months. I want to spend some time on the north shore, but like almost any north facing shore, the winter months is just too hazardous due to large waves and nasty currents.

I would love to be able to visit the neighbor islands more often but when the dh and I are lucky enough to have a budget that says we can go, we go to Maui. It will always have my heart.

San Diego...
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3. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

What PensFan says could probably be put in a travel book.

Kauai is the most northerly and oldest of the main islands.

Catches more of winter weather. We usually stay in Poipu, which is south and during the summer.Several nice condos there and a couple of hotels, Sheraton and Hyatt.

I have done scuba and snorkeling. In my opinion not as good as Maui and certainly not as good as the BI.

The Hanalei area on the east side is spectacular.

Kauai is the only island with a navigable river. You can kayak on the river.

Waimea canyon is a great visit. It is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

You can also take a snorkel boat ride up the Napali Coast and go into the sea caves

Tempe, Arizona
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4. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

you may start a long thread here, or maybe not- this has been an ongoing discussion forever in each of the islands forums, and think the bottom line is always going to be that the islands are really all different from each other and all special in different places, and what makes them special is what you personally enjoy.

We loved the BI- but split out time at Volcano and up northwest (forget the name) and none in the resort places or kona where most people go. The snorkeling is the best I have found though in the south of the Kona area

In Kauai we loved the quiet northshore- for hikes, people, fish markets, swimming and then our split took us south into a neighborhood which again was perfect for us to see the canyon and south shore.

for us it is the scenery/hikes/exploration, comfortable beds, accessibility to fresh foods we can't get anywhere else that makes for a good vacation.

I think if you decide what makes you vacation a good one- you will find it on any of the islands....

We are coming to Maui this year- not to compare, but to see what it has to offer. From your posts of things you liked though I would recommend Kauai, Volcano/Hilo and northwest shore of BI That did not narrow it down at all though, did it! :)

I have really enjoyed your TRs

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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5. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

I think Pensfan71 summed it up pretty good - my most favorite island is Kauai, followed by the Big Island. I like them both for being less commercial, less crowded. While the north shore of Kauai has my heart (it is truly one of the most beautiful places I have seen), I don't think I have encountered more friendly people than on the Big island. However, I don't think there is an equivalent of Kihei on Kauai - Kihei has some great beaches and most of the beaches on the east side of Kauai are not swimmable. The Big island does take lots more time to explore - I was there for almost 2 weeks and still didn't get to several parts of the island. Maybe pick the island to see based on the time you have - if you have one week, so explore Kauai. If you have 2 weeks, go explore the Big island. Man - is Hawaii addicting or what??!! :)

Portsmouth, New...
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6. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

We stayed in Poipu 2 years ago during mid March and loved it. It is quiet at night but we found a few places that were open until about 10:30, that was enough for us. We liked how small the island is, we stayed for 10 nights and managed to see all the highlights and still had plenty of down time too. The hiking was incredible, weather was great. We are going to Maui for the first time next week and it has a lot to live up to in order to beat Kauai in our eyes. We also went to the BI 5 years ago, stayed in VNP for 2 nights, enjoyed seeing the volcano, did some great hiking but it was chilly. After that we did 5 nights at the Hilton Waikoloa, we liked it much better than Hilo/VNP area but honestly we stressed about trying to cover too much ground on the BI and never ended up relaxing as much.

Good problem to have I guess but somehow the smaller islands are better for us.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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7. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

Correction to John's post: Hanalei is not on the east side of Kauai, it is on the north shore. As well, there are 2 rivers to kayak. :)

Kauai, Hawaii
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8. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

Snorkeling is an afterthought on the Na Pali boat tours. The best snorkeling on Kaua`i is right off the beach. And I don't believe that Kaua`i gets more winter weather due to its location in the chain. The north/east sides of any island here will have worse weather in the winter.

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9. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

We've been to Oahu, the Island of Hawai'i, Kauai and Maui many times now, with Maui and Kauai being our favorites. Our vacations are times to relax and those are the two islands we enjoy best because their size is just right for going everywhere, but not feeling like we are driving too much.

We will be on Maui for eight nights and Kauai for eight nights, starting tomorrow. Maui has our heart most because we went there first together and while some have the perception it is busy, crowded, expensive and too developed, the Maui we enjoy is not those things. We play on the least crowded beaches, stay in a budget friendly condo we feel at home, go during low season to save money and stay longer and avoid the busy. We can find action, if we need some on Maui.

Kauai's north shore is heavenly and we will stay in a cottage in Hanalei, with the ability to walk and ride bikes, where we want to be. I have no idea how much exploring we will do, and that is always dependent on the weather. We like to follow the sun and feel more confidant about weather and ocean conditions being good this time of year.

Our last visit was in January 2013 and we had rough oceans for swimming, but very little rain! Hanalei is our dream town and on Kauai we do not need oceanfront. It isn't as easy and inexpensive to find the way we can on Maui. We are happy to drive, walk or ride bikes to the beach. Ecstatic actually.

Oahu is such fun in small doses for us and so overwhelmingly many things to do! The Island of Hawai'i can wait until we have more time to explore and give it the time it deserves. My ten days there was spent less as a vacation and more helping a family member. It was enjoyable, but we stayed very close to the condo for the most part. And I admit that I am more interested in beaches for our vacation time. Some day we will see the volcanos, but they can wait.

Safe travels home. Sorry I missed you by a day cause it would have been fun hanging out in a beach for an afternoon! Deb

San Carlos...
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10. Re: Maui vs Other Islands

I'll try and redeem myself after the Kihei thread.... LOL!

We rotate through the islands and enjoy each for what it has to offer. My favorite is the BI followed closely by Kauai and then Maui and Oahu (not been to Molokai or Lanai yet).

Kona is somewhat analogous to Kihei, but has a lot more history and older buildings like Lahaina has on Maui. It has lots of condos available that are reasonable also there are many reasonably priced restaurants that cater to the tourist crowd especially the cruise ship visitors. Unfortunately Kona doesn't have any great beaches in the immediate area to speak of. It can also be very muggy and tends to be much more overcast and likely to experience VOG than the north part of the island. Kohala has the best weather, best condos and best beaches, but it doesn't have any town at all on the ocean. Kamuela (Waimea) is a great town, but is up on the Kohala mountains. South Kohala is a long way from Kona ( 40 minutes ), so unless you like the quiet isolation it may not be your cup of tea. Snorkeling is by far the best on the BI. For us, it's perfect and we will be back there in September. The BI has a primordial feeling to it even though it's the youngest of the islands.

Kauai is beyond beautiful. For a tropical polynesian experience it blows away the other islands, especially the north end of the island. Kapaa is similar to Kihei. Lots of condos, less expensive resorts etc. Shopping, restaurants are close at hand. There are good beaches, but the currents can be very strong on the east side of the island so beware. Being centrally located is a big bonus for Kapaa. You are about 30-45 minutes away from the north or south areas. Poipu in the south is a great alternative with many condos that are priced higher. The weather is better especially in the winter months than the east or north shore. Poipu doesn't have too much a beach town atmosphere although the town of Koloa is cute and only a few minutes away. The north shore in the summer is spectacular and Hanalei is so freaking cute it's just amazing to behold. There are also some great beaches up there. It can be a zoo in high season with tons of people. The Princeville area also has lots of condos, but they are on a bluff so beach access is very limited. We've stayed in all three areas and each have their pluses and minuses.

Although I still enjoy Maui, both Kauai and the BI give a much more old Hawaiian feel for the most part and are very relaxing comparative to both Maui and of course Oahu. People are people and I don't notice one island being materially different in their openness and friendliness. Seeing that you like Kihei so much I think Kapaa on Kauai may be the closest thing you will find that will give you the experience you are looking for. We stayed at the Kauai Beach Resort in Kapaa last year and had a blast. There are condos next door to the hotel for rent that look lovely. It's on a great mile long walking beach but it's not for swimmers.