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Old Mar 25, 10, 12:20 pm   #1
 
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Red face Is Hawaii laid back like the Carribean?

My trip is finally close to 3 1/2 weeks out. Have never been to Hawaii and am planning on spending 4 days HNL, 8 days Kona, 8 days Kauai. We booked our flights BF with Continental to try to a more relaxing way to send hours on a plane. (I've never flown BF on CO but have flown FC on US many times hence why we decided to try the BF experience). We've enjoyed beautiful beaches with facilities, great beach cocktail service, wonderful restaurants. (not to mention great jewelry shopping on SXM). How will this compare? I have read, and read, and read, but I really can't get a 'feel' for Hawaii. I am wondering if we will get the feeling of being in an 'exotic' place or will we get the feeling of being in the carribean? Sorry if this seems so basic but just curious as to the 'feeling' you get when you are in Hawaii.
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Old Mar 25, 10, 12:43 pm   #2
 
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I love Hawaii. I like it better than the Carribean. Kauai is very laid back. HNL, not so much. Food is great (do your research). And there is just enough to do if you want to. I feel very welcomed. 20 days in Hawaii, lucky you!
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Old Mar 25, 10, 2:15 pm   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liwarren View Post
just curious as to the 'feeling' you get when you are in Hawaii.
Like walking down the street of any large city with your purse/wallet wide open.
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Old Mar 25, 10, 2:29 pm   #4
 
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The question that you ask is very tough to answer. I'll give it a shot. As a caveat, please note that I have spent far more time in the Carribean than Hawaii. I have only been to Oahu and Maui in Hawaii. I have been to numerous islands in the Carribean. (Mostly based upon geography, living on the East Coast. It is much easier to get to.)

I think that the answer depends upon where in the Carribean you are comparing Hawaii to. You mention SXM. I think the restaurants in St Martin (and over in Anguilla) are superior to what I experienced in Hawaii. Nightlife wise, St Maarten stacks up quite well. The nice thing about the Carribean, is if you leave the resort, you get to experience terrific culture. Whether it is Spanish (ie: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic), French (St Martin, Guadelope) Dutch, British...plus the unique island cultures (not to mention food)...I feel like I have actually gone somewhere on vacation. In Hawaii...I feel like I am in America (because I am)...just with nicer beaches.
Having said all of this, would I go back to Hawaii again...and see and stay on the other islands? I sure would. However, the feel is very different from the Carribean.
Enjoy your vacation!
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Old Mar 25, 10, 3:05 pm   #5
 
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Hawaii laid back vibe? Yes. IMHO. One of the reasons we have been making the trip for over 12 years now. We love the Shaka sign, hang loose, cool, smooth. . . vibe of the locals. Find it true, sincere and part of the Aloha spirit. Enjoy!
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Old Mar 25, 10, 5:29 pm   #6
 
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The part of Hawaii that reminds me most of the Carribean are the beaches near Lahaina that are frequented by the locals and the homeless. Most of Maui reminds me of suburban USA with a glorious view.
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Old Mar 25, 10, 5:42 pm   #7
 
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The biggest key in visiting Hawaii is to remember that you get what you give. if you go with a "serve me" attitude, you'll get service laden with contempt. if you go in with respect, you'll get to experience what's known as the "Aloha spirit".

Hawaii's great because there's something for everyone. if nightlife, great dining and shopping are your thing, then Waikiki/Honolulu are going to be right up your alley. if you're looking for resort style lounging with spas, beaches and maitais on delivery, then any number of world class resports on most of the islands can fill the bill. if you want to get out and explore, experience the culture, and see the islands, that's available on all the islands as well.
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Old Mar 26, 10, 8:19 am   #8
 
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"if you go in with respect, you'll get to experience what's known as the "Aloha spirit".

Or not. Depends entirely upon who you are dealing with, like almost everywhere else. (The "aloha spirit" isn't around like it used to be. Some even have the reverse attitude.)
You can be as laid back as you want to be, or you can scurry around looking for restaurants, shopping, sights to see, things to do. The weather, water, beaches, mountains are gorgeous. You should be able to have a wonderful time.
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Old Mar 26, 10, 12:45 pm   #9
 
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Oahu/Kaui Restuarants

If you want to experience great food on your 20 day trip I would recommend:

Oahu

Alan Wongs (absolutely the best)
Roy's Waikiki
The House without a Key

Hula Grill and Dukes are fun....good food. The top 3 are really terrific.


Kauai

Roy's Poipu
Red Salt in Poipu (new and excellent)
Donderos at Grand Hyatt Poipu
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Old Mar 26, 10, 2:13 pm   #10
 
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Sure, I'd call it laid back. Easy to notice in attitudes on beaches, at businesses, in traffic. I'm intrigued by your itinerary - you'll find plenty of activities to fill 4 days on Oahu and 8 days on the Big Island. But after 8 days on Kauai, you'll be wigging out. If it's possible to do 4 packed days on Oahu, followed by 8 days of vegging out and total relaxation on Kauai, then 8 days with more to do on the Big Island, I think you'd be much happier.

Don't get me wrong, Kauai is perhaps the prettiest of the islands. But the one highway is seriously congested at times, you will quickly tire of the few restaurants available, and the roosters may drive you crazy. Not that much to do.
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Old Mar 27, 10, 10:47 am   #11
 
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The Welcoming Islands of Hawaii

Having been to Hawaii (all Islands)...many times over the years...Mostly Big Island & Kauai of late...I would say that they just seem to call you back to their shores.
WE have visited the Caribbean as well..probably about 6 or so different locales..and what I can say that is definitely missing in Hawaii are the" No See'ems !!" That's a good thing. No snakes either. Weather will vary from island to Island, time of year and of course your location on each island.
Your Eastern location in N.America...as you mentioned often influences the Vacation location....we being located in the central time zone will often lead us in either direction.
I'm assuming you are flying Business Class on Continental. Have you checked their Seat map plan for best choice at Seat Guru.com. Just click on the equipment type..if you're not already familiar.
What resort on Big island & Kauai have you choosen?. Sounds like you are in for a terrific time. Everytime we visit the Islands it is for a minimum of 3 weeks...yes Kauai too! Our first visit found us exploring roughly 30 different Beaches...often being the only ones there. So your stay will keep you busy, yet entertained.
The previous poster's Recs for Kauai restaurants were excellent. We also like the super Casual local spots of Hamura's Saimin in Lihue on Kress St...and Sueoka's takeout window in Koloa town (South shore)
Best Pizza on the Big Island is :Patz Pies in Kealelakekua across from Discovery Antiques...just a take-out Joint. We have never had such delicious thin NY style pizza!...anywhere..
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Old Mar 27, 10, 2:36 pm   #12
 
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Mr. Gal and I enjoy the Hawaiian Islands so much that we are likely to relocate there in the next month or so. I have visited all the islands except Molokai

Oahu is big city, especially Honolulu, but the North Shore is such a beautiful contrast. Even with the big city skyline, the local attitude is pleasant and laid back, but different than Jamaica, St. Thomas or St. Barts.

We eloped to the Big Island / Kona side and this is truly an area with the more laid back, vacation, aloha spirit. You can take a few full-day trips to the Hilo side to see Black Sand Beach, or Volcano Nat'l Park. The drive is so beautiful!

Kauai is much smaller scale and the pace is super-chill.
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Old Mar 28, 10, 11:37 pm   #13
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You might want to read some of the many Trip Reports of FTers covering Hawaii on Community
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Old Apr 6, 10, 1:03 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liwarren View Post
My trip is finally close to 3 1/2 weeks out. Have never been to Hawaii and am planning on spending 4 days HNL, 8 days Kona, 8 days Kauai. We booked our flights BF with Continental to try to a more relaxing way to send hours on a plane. (I've never flown BF on CO but have flown FC on US many times hence why we decided to try the BF experience). We've enjoyed beautiful beaches with facilities, great beach cocktail service, wonderful restaurants. (not to mention great jewelry shopping on SXM). How will this compare? I have read, and read, and read, but I really can't get a 'feel' for Hawaii. I am wondering if we will get the feeling of being in an 'exotic' place or will we get the feeling of being in the carribean? Sorry if this seems so basic but just curious as to the 'feeling' you get when you are in Hawaii.

I don't know about Caribbean, but Hawaii is definitely laid back, as far as I am concerned!
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Old Apr 6, 10, 5:43 am   #15
 
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Thanks for the replies. Executrip-we are staying on the big island at the Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort in a 2 bedroom presidential suite. On Kauai we are staying at the Point at Poipu in a 3 bedroom presidential suite. We are also staying at the Wyndham Waikiki Beach Resort in HNL. Yes we are flying Continental BF. We are very excited to be within 2 weeks of the start of our journey!! I can't wait to actually see the beauty everyone writes about. Thank you all for the suggestions.
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