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1st time to Honolulu

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cisco, tx
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1st time to Honolulu

My husband and I are taking our two daughters (ages 20 & 22) to Hawaii next week. We are staying at Outrigger Beach. Want to go to a luau, dinner cruise, Pearl Harbor, and snorkel. There is so much information out there and so many different options, I just need suggestions. We have traveled to the Caribbean several times, this is our first time to Hawaii. Help!

Comox, Canada
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1. Re: 1st time to Honolulu

You will likely get a lot of suggestions. I'll just give you a few of my own.

We've done the Polynesian Cultural Centre for the Luau. It is any all day affair as they have mini-villages representing a number of polynesian islands. You can do just the villages or you can stay for the day and also do the luau and watch the Horizon show. We loved it. Some people don't like it as much because they don't serve alcohol (run by Mormons). It is a longer drive from Honolulu than the others. This year, we are doing Paradise Cove.

With Pearl Harbour, you have to go early in the morning. They only give a certain number of passes out each day and often run out before noon. It is free.

The two most popular areas for snorkelling seem to be Hanuama Bay and Shark's Cove. You have to pay to get into Hanuama Bay and parking is limited, so again get their early. Some people like to go as early as 7:00 am. You must watch a short film before heading to the water. You can get equipment rentals right there. There is also a tram down to the water and back, for a fee. Shark's Cove is on the North Shore. Not quite as touristy as HB. More rocky as well.

We found the tour desk at our hotel to be very helpful. There are so many different things to do and they seem to know them all. Also, look for coupon books throughout Hawaii. They can be found at the airport, on the street corners and in some of the hotels and they have offers for lots of different activities.

We too, are arriving next Sunday. Hope you have as great a trip as we hope too!!

Washington DC
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2. Re: 1st time to Honolulu

I too am in my early 20's and will be on the island next week with my mother also. We have read alot of posts and asked a few questions too.

Germains $58.00 ea (includes transportation, meal, and drink vouchers) seems to be the way to go as far as Luau's go. For snorkeling Hanuama bay, but I have heard to ask your the travel desk at the hotel about BT Tours for the snorkeling there. They pick you up and are extremely cost efficient, only about 19.45 per person for 4 hours at the bay this includes gear.

There is so much to do you will find alot of useful information by reading several of these forums.

Have a good time


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3. Re: 1st time to Honolulu

I prefer & recommend the Royal Hawaiian Luau at the Pink Palace. But more importantly is the why? It's convient to walk to, you can leave anytime-come & go freely, as I do it all the time as a local. You're stuck there at other luau places with a bus driver. There's no sand under your feet, just nice thick plush grass. You're under a large banyon tree and enclosed courtyard grounds of the beautiful romantic historical Royal Hawaiian Hotel grounds. You can later walk off that Luau food by getting some ice cream next door at the Hale Koa Hotel-ground floor street side upon returning back to the Outrigger or continue touring Waikiki streets & sights. Luau food is an acquired taste, not naturally born with, so you can leave whenever you want to or don't have to eat everything that is offered on the menu that night. Very flexible and convient for your personal tastes and freedom of movement. Can't say that about the other luau places.

Dinner cruise? Don't recommend it. Nothing special about the food. Personally it's JUNK. Also being shuffled around like a cattle call in a small compacted boat setting. Want good food and a view? You're better off at John Dominis at 43 Ahui Street, or Orchid's at the Halekulani Hotel.

Pearl Harbor. Go first thing in the morning so you can get thru it and finished by mid-morning. Don't be discouraged by th very long line in the norning. It goes by really fast. It'll free up the rest of your day & night.

Snorkeling. More $ costly and crowded at Hanauma Bay, than at Shark's Cove. If going to Hanauma, go early for best parking and beach sand accomodations. Shark's Cove is more Open Water than Hanauma's enclosed Bay & Reef. Seeing Marinelife is more inconsistent at Shark's Cove than at Hanauma.

For your girls. The legal age is 18. Checkout website (pubclub.com) for bars & clubs and nightlife. They will be safe together. Waikiki is absolutely very safe during both day & night.

The Carribean & Hawaii are very similar in terms of friendly Island people, love of life, beautiful scenery and hidden treasure spots, tasty local food, warm and clear water, clean sand, and lots of sun.

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4. Re: 1st time to Honolulu

(What about Oahu... this should keep you busy...)

Royal Hawaiian Hotel-Pink Palace, Diamond Head Artesian Well Tour, Hiking Diamond Head, Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Beach & the Naditorium, Waikiki Aquarium, Ala Moana Shopping Center, Kahala Mandarin Hotel with it's Paradise Cove of seaturtles, penguins & dolphins, and also Orchid Wall, Waialae Country Club, Hanauma Bay, Blow Hole, Sealife Park, Makapuu Beach, Sandy Beach, Sherwood Forest at Bellows Beach, Lanikai Beach and the 2 Mokulua Islands with the reef and seabird santuary, Kailua Beach, Byodo-In Buddhist Temple-Valley of the Temples, Kualoa Ranch for it's movie lot tours, horseback riding, atv riding & Regional Park with the ancient Alii fishpond, Sacred Falls and it's Park, Polynesian Culture Center, Turtle Bay Resort, Kuiilima Point, Waimea Bay & it's Audubon Falls & Park, Shark's Cove, Sunset Beach, Haleiwa, Matsumoto Shaved Ice, North Shore Chocolate Factory, Dole Plantation, Mokuleia Polo Fields and Waianae Ridge Peacock Flats, Yokohama Bay, the various heiaus on the Ewa side, Paradise Cove, Pearl Harbor, Chinatown, Manoa Falls, Paradise Park, Fort Street, King Kamehameha Statue, Iolani Palace, Iolani Barracks, Kawaihao Church & the Missionary Houses, Aloha Tower, Hawaii Maritime Center, Pali Lookout, Washington Place, Queen Emma Summer Palace, Bishop Museum's Hawaiian History & Culture, Punchbowl Cemetary, and Don't Forget Tantalus Drive & Lookout!

Hazel Park, Michigan
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5. Re: 1st time to Honolulu

Congrats for the "newbies"!!! The Navatek 1 Sunset Buffet Dinner Cruise. I have been on it 3 times, and LOVED it!! We went this past May, and the price per person is $66.00. That includes everything: a full buffet dinner (mahi mahi, mashed garlic potatoes, salad, grilled chicken, steamed veggies, there is fruit (assorted fresh fruit), hapapia coconut cake, I can't remember what all, there is entertainment, picture taken ($20.00 for the picture, but it is worth every penny!!), you are on the boat for a 2 and one half hour cruise. You see Diamond Head and Waikiki at sunset. It is simply stunning!!

Make sure you get a 4day TheBus pass. It cost $20.00 for 4 days instead of paying $2.00 every time you get on The Bus. So for the four days, you can ride the bus!!!!

Pearl Harbor is very emotional. Warning, no purses, backpacks, etc..because of the hightened security since 9/11. Go to Cheeseburger in Paradise at night there is live entertainment, and the burgers are great!!

Go to Duke's also!!

Circle Island Tour, Polynesian Cultural Center. Etc... Just to name a few places!!


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6. Re: 1st time to Honolulu

2 paradisetreker

Drinking age is 21 not 18, even on HI. While it is up to the state the federal government will not sponsor any highway construction if the state will establish drinking age below 21.

I'm sorry but it is 21.

laguna niguel, ca
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7. Re: 1st time to Honolulu

I will give my preferred list

Dining all have ocean views

Cheeseburger in Paradise across from the pacific hotel, Dukes, Hula Grill, Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawiian, Orchids at the Halekulani, Shorebird at the Reef, Tikis at the aston waikiki beach hotel

Activities off of Waikiki Beach Right in front of your hotel so you can't miss them-

Surfing Lessons --everyone needs to try once, get a picture

Outrigger Canoe ride

Catamaran sail

3.99 inflatible floats

Other Places

Waimea Bay, Hike Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay


Roxy, Honolua Surf Co, Hollister at Ala Moana


6:30 show at dukes statue, evening cocktails at the halekulani, sunday afternoon at dukes

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8. Re: 1st time to Honolulu

May I also recommend renting a car (at least for a few days) and get to explore the natural beauty of the island of Oahu for your own..... pick up a copy of Oahu Revealed and let that be your guide. Visit the North Shore, the wonderful beaches of the windward coast (eastern shore) -- you will not go wrong, and you'll get so much more out of your trip!