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Advice Sought for First-Time Trip to Maui in February/March

Advice Sought for First-Time Trip to Maui in February/March

Old Jan 2, 16, 1:17 pm
  #1  
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Advice Sought for First-Time Trip to Maui in February/March

Will be a first for me, any recommendations. Which Island to go to, what to do, and where to stay. Aiming for a ~6 night trip. Is Kahului or Honolulu a better destination for a first timer?

Will be going late February or Mid March.

Thanks!!

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jan 5, 16 at 4:12 am Reason: Thread Re-Titled to Match Topic
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Old Jan 2, 16, 1:42 pm
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It is very difficult to answer your question unless you give us an appreciation for what you like to do on your vacations: City Life? Nature? Shopping? The more you share, the better we can advise...

And I hope that you have a nonstop from SAN, because landing options are not good midway...
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Old Jan 2, 16, 2:43 pm
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Will be me and my gf, both 30, we like to hike, enjoy nature, snorkel , etc.

I read about amazing hikes, nature, and taking a jeep ride, maybe horseback riding?

Our flight choices are:

San Diego to Kahului on Alaskan

or

San Diego to Honolulu on Hawaiian

Last edited by coolone119; Jan 2, 16 at 6:36 pm
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Old Jan 2, 16, 6:50 pm
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http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hawai...olidated+which
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Old Jan 2, 16, 7:04 pm
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Originally Posted by coolone119 View Post
Will be me and my gf, both 30, we like to hike, enjoy nature, snorkel , etc.

I read about amazing hikes, nature, and taking a jeep ride, maybe horseback riding?

Our flight choices are:

San Diego to Kahului on Alaskan

or

San Diego to Honolulu on Hawaiian
I would opt for San Diego to Kahului on Alaskan. You will find all of the activities you enjoy on Maui and flying to Maui non-stop on AS will be a real treat.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 7:43 pm
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Originally Posted by coolone119 View Post
Will be me and my gf, both 30, we like to hike, enjoy nature, snorkel , etc.

I read about amazing hikes, nature, and taking a jeep ride, maybe horseback riding?

Our flight choices are:

San Diego to Kahului on Alaskan

or

San Diego to Honolulu on Hawaiian
Maui it is...Haleakala, Road to Hana, Iao, Molokini. That should give you your nature and snorkel fixes. Aloha.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 7:57 pm
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For a first trip to Hawaii there is only one thing that MUST be done. That is the Arizona Memorial. Lots of your other things can be done on Oahu, but the Arizona cannot be done on any other island.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 10:48 pm
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Wow, I have been searching expedia, these deals are so expensive. The hotel prices and resort fees are the highest I have ever seen.

I am looking to stay at a 4* resort in Kaanapali or Kapalua. On average the prices are more than $300per night in addition to a $40 resort fee per day.

Is there anyway to get a better deal, I did check hotwire and priceline, but still so expensive.

Thanks.

Last edited by coolone119; Jan 2, 16 at 11:32 pm
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Old Jan 2, 16, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by coolone119 View Post
Wow, I have been searching expedia, these deals are so expensive. The hotel prices and resort fees are the highest I have ever seen.

I am looking to stay at a 4* resort in Kaanapali or Kapalua. On average the prices are more than $300per night in addition to a $40 resort fee per day.

Is there anyway to get a better deal, I did check hotwire and priceline, but still so expensive.

Thanks.
You are dealing with supply/demand. Might want to check out places in Kihei. Or, perhaps Oahu, where there are many more options (higher supply.)

On Oahu, there are lots of nature things to do, as well as historical...

Last edited by 747FC; Jan 3, 16 at 1:16 am
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Old Jan 3, 16, 10:25 am
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We are definitely going to do the Road to Hana, do most people rent convertibles for this journey? Do you make it all the way around in a single day (Is that that like a 6 hour trip)?

Or do you guys stay the night in Hana? We were thinking to buy that CD along the trip that explains the stops/significance. I heard you can swim under a waterfall, jungle hike through a bamboo forest, visit the Nahanu National Tropical Botanical Garden, view the Hawaiian flora and fauna at the Garen of Eden, see the black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park, and lastly get to Hana Bay.

We were also considering the Old Lahaina Luau on the other side of the island for a night.

How close to the crater can you get regarding Haleakala?

Other things we considered are Mau Tropical Plantation, Iao Valley, Makena State Park, seeing the Banyan Tree, possibly the Nature Center, Ocean Center, and Pineapple Tour?

Any recommendations on hotels?


Last edited by coolone119; Jan 3, 16 at 10:32 am
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Old Jan 3, 16, 11:03 am
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Originally Posted by coolone119 View Post
We are definitely going to do the Road to Hana, do most people rent convertibles for this journey? Do you make it all the way around in a single day (Is that that like a 6 hour trip)?

Or do you guys stay the night in Hana? We were thinking to buy that CD along the trip that explains the stops/significance. I heard you can swim under a waterfall, jungle hike through a bamboo forest, visit the Nahanu National Tropical Botanical Garden, view the Hawaiian flora and fauna at the Garen of Eden, see the black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park, and lastly get to Hana Bay.

We were also considering the Old Lahaina Luau on the other side of the island for a night.

How close to the crater can you get regarding Haleakala?

Other things we considered are Mau Tropical Plantation, Iao Valley, Makena State Park, seeing the Banyan Tree, possibly the Nature Center, Ocean Center, and Pineapple Tour?

Any recommendations on hotels?
Renting a convertible is a great way to see Maui, especially on the drive up to Haleakala. By the way, the drives brings you right up to the crater traihead.

Be very careful in driving to Hana and to Haleakala. Keep you eyes on the road...and watch for leaving valuables in your car when you park....

You can do a back and forth to Hana in one day, but hey, why not stay overnight there?
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Old Jan 4, 16, 3:54 am
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My favorite island is Maui

Hubby & I have been to Hawaii many times. Our favorite island is Maui. Although Oahu and Kauai are awesome too.

February is prime whale season. March is pretty good as well. We like to stay in Kaanapali (Lahaina area). We love the long sidewalks and walkable dinner choices. In the past we found good deals on Costco Vacations (membership is $50 a year). I just ran a search for Maui and there are several options. Most include a rental car.

If you decide to fly into KAHULUI airport in Maui, make sure you take the drive up to Kaanapali during the day. The views are BREATHTAKING!

If you take the road to Hana, there's a wonderful winery along the way with a tasty little rustic restaurant across the street.

If you get a chance, drive over to Front Street near Lahaina/Kaanapali. There's AWESOME shopping and our favorite restaurant "Fleetwoods". Mick Fleetwood owns it and he's often there. Be sure to go all the way up to the rooftop bar for a meal/appetizers. Just gorgeous.

There's lot's of waterfalls in Maui. Easy to drive to and swim in. Get yourself a Maui ebook with directions and descriptions of the waterfalls. We usually pick our waterfalls on the long flight to Maui and plan our itinerary.

Our favorite snorkeling excursion is the "Gemini". You board from the beach right in front of the Westin Kaanapali. You'll definitely see whales along the way to the snorkel area (about a 1 hour sail). You then snorkel for about 1 1/2 hours, given a hot lunch and all you can drink adult beverages.

If you just want to rent snorkeling equipment and head out yourself, here's a link to a great snorkel spot we like: https://www.mauihawaii.org/sights/mile-marker-14

If you want to pick up some authentic, local keepsakes, visit the local Maui swap meet on Saturdays. Here's the link http://www.mauiexposition.com/MAUISWAPMEET.html I've gotten awesome deals here. If we buy a little too much to fit in our bags, we just mail the stuff home at the USPS in Lahaina.

We're headed to Maui in February. As you can see, I'm EXCITED!!!

Aloha!
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Old Jan 4, 16, 7:05 pm
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Thank you so much for your tips and advice, this is very helpful! I am very excited too!!

I want to ask you, regarding the resort selection.

I am finding so many options at different levels.

We were thinking of staying at the Hyatt in Kaanapali.

Can you recommend any particular resort?

Is it worth to spend a little extra for a nicer property, or does it not matter much since you will be outside most of the day?

How about renting a convertible and doing the trip to hana. We definitely want to do a lot of hiking.

Thanks so much!
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Old Jan 9, 16, 2:52 pm
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I've been to Maui 3-4 times, most recently on my honeymoon in fall of 2014. Definitely my favorite island (although I became more partial to the Big Island after visiting for the first time in a long time in 2013). Honolulu is not bad, but to be frank Oahu is the island I have visited the least, in large part because it is so much more populated / crowded than the others. It's definitely worth going to at some point, but I would make Maui your first stop since this is your first trip to the islands. Flights - others can probably recommend better if you are flying out of SAN.

In terms of what to do there: Road to Hana is a must since it's your first time. This is a LONG drive (don't get confused by the short distance - it is a ton of curves and winding), and given how popular it is, I would definitely head out on the earlier side. I think OP mentioned above, but if it's your first time, get the CD that goes along with the drive - very informative, points out good places to pull over and do some sightseeing and walking. If you head out early, I would also go to the Seven Sacred Pools, which is just beyond Hana. AND if you are feeling adventurous / rent a car that can handle a little rough road, I would drive along the backside (i.e. southeastern) side of the island. Extremely peaceful and serene, with very few cars or traffic as well. If you're rolling the dice on a rental car that doesn't technically allow offroading, it's really only the first ~10 minutes past the pools that can be a bit challenging, but the rest is not a problem.

Haleakala, as others have mentioned, is a must as well. A lot of switchbacks while you drive up the mountain, but it's not too bad, and you park right at the crater. How much you want to hike into the volcano is really a matter of how long you want to be out there. I would also recommend going up for either sunrise or sunset as well if you aren't looking for a long hike - I've been up there for sunset (it was a day when the summit was through the clouds), and it was a gorgeous sight to behold.

If you're looking for a very scenic - and mildly challenging (especially if it's raining / misty, as it was when we did it) hike, I would recommend the Waihee Ridge trail. You get great views of central Maui and the northern coastline as you ascend, and you have a great view of waterfalls and the valley (I am told - again, hiked this on a day with really poor visibility) at the end of the trail. Nakalele Blowhole is also a bit of a challenge to get to if you decide to make it a rock scramble, but that's also cool to see on the northern edge of the island.

Iao Valley is worth visiting as well - the needle is a great natural spectacle to look at - but that won't take as much of your time. If you are into snorkeling, definitely make the trip out to Molokini...I went with Trilogy, and while I would pass on the super-sweet cinnamon rolls before getting in the water, they do a great job, and you get to see tons of fish. We saw quite a few dolphins in the water as well. Upcountry is worth a visit, if to see a bit more of the rustic side of Maui. If you are into farm-to-table at all, O'o Farms is a fantastic mid-day activity - pick some of your own vegetables and enjoy a fresh meal made at an outdoors kitchen. Your views (facing west) will be very expansive of the rest of the island. The winery listed above is towards the end of upcountry (where you would actually loop around the back end coming from Hana). I wouldn't make a trip just to go out there; to be frank, the wine is not anything special, and their pineapple wine (which is the main unique thing about them) isn't all that great, IMO.

With regards to accommodation, I have NEVER stayed in Lahaina / Ka'anapali when I am on Maui, with the main reason that it feels much more jam-packed and touristy than the Kihei / Wailea region of Maui. I don't mind visiting Lahaina when I go to visit - checking out the crafts market under the banyan tree is a must, and if it's your first time, I would also recommend seeing Ulalena as well (if it is still there), but Kihei and Wailea are much more relaxing, chill parts of the island to stay at. While it's not that far anyways, staying in western Maui will add a little bit of time on to your trips, as most of the scenic stuff (Haleakala, Hana) are on the eastern side of the island. I stayed at the 4S in Wailea last time I was there, but the Andaz and the Fairmont (which are on the same coast and adjacent) are also very good properties (with the Andaz having the best dining, IMO, with Ka'ana Kitchen). They are all west-facing, so you will have great sunset views (same with any at Lahaina / Ka'anapali as well).

As for a car, we rented a convertible last time from one of the local places. While the condition wasn't great, there is nothing like cruising around Maui with the rooftop down. Do it!
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Old Jan 10, 16, 1:42 pm
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I snickered when I read the OP mentioning that he wants to stay at a 4-star resort and then saw the price. Some of the resorts out here are very expensive.

I personally am on the other side of the equation. I decided for my trips to always seek out the less expensive places to stay. (The first trip I stayed at a B&B and made life-long friends here). That left me more time and money to enjoy the

To pay hundreds of dollars a night for a room, and then spend most of the time elsewhere just doesn't seem very cost-effective to me. The flip side of this is the woman who came to the Big Island and stayed a week at a resort. She never left the resort to see the volcano, waterfalls, black or green sand beaches, etc. She could have stayed on the mainland for a resort stay.
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