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Hawaii Vacation Tips
kongtiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 26, 2002
Posts: 68
From: Chicago
Posted: 2002-05-14 3:37 pm   Permalink

For the discerning tiki traveler in Hawaii, does the community have any recommendations as to "can't miss" spots to visit on the island? Mysterious, exotic, hard-to-find, unspoiled spots you'd feel foolish having gone all that way without stopping in for a visit?

 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2002-05-14 4:29 pm   Permalink

I have been to 2 islands (Oahu and Hawaii) so I'll stick to those.

Oahu:
1. The Polynesian Cultural Center. Forget that it's run by the Mormon Church. It's lots of fun to wander around and see the various exhibits and shows and the evening show is amazing (don't miss it)! The luau was OK but not that great.
2. The La Mariana Sailing Club in Honolulu. It's a hard-to-find polynesian restaurant and bar with many items salvaged from old defunct tiki bars.
3. The Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Lots of original polynesian artifacts.
4. Have a Mai Tai at the New Otani Hotel in Waikiki under the Banyan trees and try to imagine Arthur Lyman playing (as he used to every week). It's a gorgeous beach front spot even without the sounds of Mr. Lyman and the Mai Tai is pretty good.
5. Have a drink at the House Without a Key bar on the beach in Waikiki at sunset preferably.
6. See Don Ho if you want to but expect crappy drinks and a terrible seating arrangement at cafeteria-like tables for lots of money.
7. Wander the grounds of the Royal Hawaiian hotel and stay there if you can afford it, or stay at the Hawaiiana Hotel, a much less expensive smaller 50's hotel in the heart of Waikiki with lots of tikis and 2 pools. I highly recommend it.

Hawaii (the big island):
1. See the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, including a restored temple with many tikis.
2. Hike a volcanic crater at Kilauea and maybe see lava flow at night (from a distance)
3. Go to the beach at the Mauna Kea resort. It's open to the public and it has the best velvet soft sand and excellent snorkeling at each end and it's not too crowded. It's the best beach I have ever been to.
4. See the historic town of Hilo on the east side with many waterfalls and orchids everywhere.
5. See the Waipio valley in the northeast, an incredibly steep canyon with a black sand beach at the base.
6. For lodging, may I recommend the Tiki Hotel on the ocean in Kailua-Kona. It's small with kitchenette units (with tikis on the doors) that look out over the ocean and there's a lava rock pool. Get a ground floor unit and you have a private patio overlooking the ocean. The staff is super friendly and it's inexpensive.
7. Camping is excellent on the big island if you want to rough it. There are secluded camping places where you can pretend you're on Gilligan's Island.
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mig
Official Man-About-Town  

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 323
From: Sunnycupertoga, CA
Posted: 2002-05-14 7:10 pm   Permalink

I've been around four islands quite thoroughly: Hawaii (Big Island); Maui; Kauai; and Molokai. Camping on all of them. I've only spent a wee bit of time (half a day) on Oahu, which is kind of backwards from how most people do it. My favorite was Molokai-- it is VERY rustic.

If you want specific island tips, drop me a line on the side. Generally speaking, my tips are this: seek out the country and the locals. It's very easy. *Try* to spend very little money, and your experience will be that much better. Stay away from the touristy places (Waikiki, Lahaina)... why? because you're in freekin' HAWAII and you really have no reason to need an overpriced hotel with a pool or a fast internet connection; and you have better things to do than eat at the Hard Rock Cafe and shop at the Gap.

So forego the McDonald's when you're out there, and go instead and get the "Paniolo breakfast" from a local mom & pop. Make a stop in a grocery store to get fruits that you wouldn't see otherwise. And you can pretty much strike up a conversation with ANYONE when you're out there... it is not hard to get lucky and befriend someone enough to where they will invite you to their home and cook you a raging dinner.

Oh, major tip: call it "the mainland" and do NOT call it "the States" or some variation thereof. They get really bent about that.


 
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Wrath_of_Tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 14, 2002
Posts: 13
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Posted: 2002-05-14 8:38 pm   Permalink

If you stay in Maui, definitely stay in a Condo rather than a Hotel. Then you can buy Azeka's Ribs (cross-cut ribs you buy marinated from Azeka's in Kehei), grill them yourself , mix a big pitcher of Mai Tai's, and watch the sunset.

Other than that, I mostly recommend outdoor stuff...hiking, snorkelling, etc...
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Tiki Chris
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1543
From: London
Posted: 2002-05-15 01:40 am   Permalink

which island? i could give you a little advice about oahu (but just the honolulu area), a little more about maui, and some more substantial advice about things to do on the big island. and if you can only visit one, i recommend the big island, but since you'd probably have to fly to honolulu first anyway, you should try to stay there at least one night before embarking for another island.

 
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kongtiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 26, 2002
Posts: 68
From: Chicago
Posted: 2002-05-15 07:37 am   Permalink

Ah...this is all excellent information, and I am grateful for your assistance. Although my initial intent was to help a friend make quality honeymoon travel plans, as well as research an upcoming vacation for me and the missus, I reckon this thread could have value to all tiki travelers. I don't think you're going to get this level of detail from Expedia or your local travel agent about this sort of stuff. So I encourage others to continue to add to this. It's a good resource. And again, I thank you...

 
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MonkeyGod
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 47
From: Monkey Island (L.A.)
Posted: 2002-05-16 08:36 am   Permalink

Kauai, Kauai, Kauai!

If you don't care about nightlife but you want to see unspolied splendor and have outdoor adventures, Kauai is the place. When Hollywood looks for exotic island locales, they go to Kauai. Among others, Jurassic Park, King Kong (the remake), and Raiders of the Lost Ark were shot here.

There is no match to a boat trip along the NaPali coast, or a visit to the Fern Grotto, or a kayak trip down the Hanalei Bay River, or a hike through the magnificent rainforest to hidden waterfalls. It's out of this world.
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tikifish
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2720
From: Toronto,Canada
Posted: 2002-05-16 08:59 am   Permalink

If you go to Kauai, avoid Poipu, it's too resorty. We origianlly planned to stay 2 weeks there but changed out minds and headed for the Big Island after one week. We liked it much better there. Try staying in Hanalei instead.

Big Island: The Place of Refuge (Pooonaaah, oh Honononaaa.... ahh, I can't spell it, sorry) mentioned in an earlier post is SPECTACULAR. It was my favourite thing.

When we were there last year there was some extremely noisy and disruptive construction of a hotel or something going on across the street from the Tiki Hotel, so call before you go to make sure that's over. We stayed at the Sheraton a little further down the coast and it was pretty spiffy. A great little beach for snorkeling, and some historic sites on the grounds of the hotel.





 
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Tiki Chris
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1543
From: London
Posted: 2002-05-16 11:00 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2002-05-15 07:37, kongtiki wrote:
... my initial intent was to help a friend make quality honeymoon travel plans, as well as research an upcoming vacation for me and the missus, I reckon this thread could have value to all tiki travelers.



My wife & I had our honeymoon in Hawaii (overnight in Honolulu plus almost two weeks on the Big Island). We had an absolute blast!

If you have any specific questions (accomodation, food, etc.) feel free to email me:
chris.osburn@lycos.com

I'd say The Jab did an excellent job of summing up many of the things that I would have suggested.

Aloha,
Tiki Chris


[ This Message was edited by: Tiki Chris on 2002-05-16 11:01 ]


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Traderpup
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 1049
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2002-05-16 11:03 am   Permalink

I spent most of my Hawaiian vacation on the Big Island. I loved it! I wish I had more time to spend there. Here are some of my favorite spots on the Big Island:

The town of Kailua-Kona: a pretty much unspoiled beach town, with lots of Hawaiian history. Visit Hulihee Palace, built in 1838. Gives a good tour of the restored palace, and a look into 19th century Hawaiian royalty. Small gift shop with huge selection of books on Hawaiian history & culture. Also check out Kamakahonu Beach, where King Kamehameha the Great lived before he died in 1819. His home site is faithfully recreated with awesome Tikis guarding it. It is considered a sacred site and can only be viewed from outside its fence.

Honokohau National Historic Park: just a few miles north of Kailua-Kona, features a very creepy trail thru an arid forest, ending at a huge petroglyph site.

On the north shore of the Big Island, everybody visits Waipio Valley. I would suggest going a bit further north and take the slightly challenging hike down into Pololu Valley. You'll have an awesome descent into the valley, and enjoy a very secluded black sand beach.

Of course, you gotta visit Hawaii Volcanos National Park. If you can, try to stay a night at the Volcano House, a turn of the century resort right on the rim of Kilauea Caldera. Or, at least visit the volcano park via helecopter flight from Hilo.

Some of the best stops weren't in any of the tourist guides. We just followed some of the local signs and met some of the local artists, visited tiny gardens & coffee plantations, etc. And just ask the locals aabout those off-the-beaten-path sites.....



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[ This Message was edited by: Traderpup on 2002-05-16 11:04 ]


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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2002-05-16 11:42 am   Permalink

tikifish wrote of the Big Island:
"We stayed at the Sheraton a little further down the coast and it was pretty spiffy. A great little beach for snorkeling, and some historic sites on the grounds of the hotel."

That Sheraton in Kailua-Kona also has some great record-size marlin, swordfish, and sailfish mounted on the walls and there is a small but impressive museum with Hawaiian artifacts.

Another good lodging choice in Kona is Uncle Billy's Kona Bay Resort. It's a clean 50's hotel with large rooms and has a friendly Hawaiian staff and it's right in the heart of town. There is also an Uncle Billy's hotel in Hilo that I spent a few days at. It was cheap but very nice with a central garden with ponds full of koi and our room had a lanai that looked out over the lava rock gardens (with old rotting tikis) next to the hotel and beyond to Hilo Bay. They had some tiki mugs in the gift shop for sale and you could get drinks in ceramic bamboo mugs in the bar.
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Tiki Chris
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1543
From: London
Posted: 2002-05-16 12:02 pm   Permalink

Quote:




There is also an Uncle Billy's hotel in Hilo that I spent a few days at. It was cheap but very nice with a central garden with ponds full of koi and our room had a lanai that looked out over the lava rock gardens (with old rotting tikis) next to the hotel and beyond to Hilo Bay. They had some tiki mugs in the gift shop for sale and you could get drinks in ceramic bamboo mugs in the bar.




can't vouch for the accomodation at uncle billy's in hilo, but i gotta recommend the free hula show and the bar w/ the giant pineapplde hanging from it!


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2002-05-16 12:05 pm   Permalink

traderpup wrote:
"On the north shore of the Big Island, everybody visits Waipio Valley. I would suggest going a bit further north and take the slightly challenging hike down into Pololu Valley. You'll have an awesome descent into the valley, and enjoy a very secluded black sand beach."

We actually didn't go into Waipio but hiked into Polulu Valley as well. It was incredible and there were very few people there. However, the road ends at Waipio and it's actually quite a ways around the north end to Polulu. You should take the whole day if you can and visit all the places in the North like the aforementioned Kamakahonu Beach and Polulu Valley.

I also remember visiting a shop in a town near the Waipio Valley that had a huge collection of tikis and other polynesian and nautical items for sale. I mean large old tikis up to 8 feet tall or more. The man who collected them had been collecting for over 50 years and he had died so his wife was running the shop. She is a native Hawaiian. No prices were posted on the stuff but I think they were expensive.
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Tiki Chris
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1543
From: London
Posted: 2002-05-16 12:05 pm   Permalink

for excellent accomodation on the big island get in touch w/ michael sisk (& tell 'em chris & emilia from nyc/london - bob & joe's friends - told you about him!):

http://www.blackbamboohawaii.com/index2.html



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weirduncletiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 756
From: Grape Town, California
Posted: 2002-07-31 1:33 pm   Permalink

Aloooha!

I'll be in Honolulu next week for the whole week. TheJab had some fine suggestions for things to do. Anybody have any more recommendations for not-to-miss-experiences? Food, music, shows, sights, etc. Let me know here or at:
weirduncletiki@yahoo.com

Mahalo!

-Weird Unc


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