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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Travel Kauai vs. Big Island?
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Kauai vs. Big Island?
spycygrl
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 08, 2005
Posts: 70
From: El Segundo, CA
Posted: 2012-09-18 11:11 pm   Permalink

Hello Tiki Friends!
I'm asking the impossible: I need help deciding between Kauai & the Big Island & would love your input. We are planning on going in December.

Here's the background:
1) I have only been to Hawaii once in my whole 44 years and it was to Kauai in 2002. Stayed in Poipu in a condo for 6 days with a girlfriend. Hiked Waimea Canyon, hung out at Ke'e Beach, snorkeled, took a boat round to the the "lost coast" part of the island.
2) Husband has NEVER been to Hawaii at all.
3) Regardless of which island we go to, we would like rent a house as opposed to stay at a hotel.
4) We do not like resorts & neither of us surf.
5) We prefer activities like hiking to just laying on a lounge chair.
6) We love cocktails, music & good food.

Since I've been to Kauai, I know what to expect and think the husband would love it. That said, a friend who is Hawaiian told me I should really go to the Big Island since there is so much to do there. I have to admit that the lava beds are intriguing & seems like it has good hiking, but wonder which the two of us would enjoy more.

Open to anything, honestly, and know a lot of folks on this board have had fun on both islands. I don't think we can really do both islands in this trip (even though I'd like to) due to the cost of flights from Kauai to Big Island.

Thanks, everyone!


 
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Hibiscus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 22, 2008
Posts: 210
From: Boston-ish
Posted: 2012-09-19 06:40 am   Permalink

Aloha, and what a lovely dilemma to have! :^)

Kauai is probably my favorite island of the 4 I've been to so far for reasons I can't quite put my finger on (the quiet? the small scale?), but since you've been there already, my natural inclination is to say go to the Big Island. LOTS to do and see beyond the volcanoes - an incredible array of scenery from lava desert to rainforest (in some cases only a few miles from each other) to pasturelands to lush valleys. If you're a hiker you'll probably really enjoy it. The Kona side is sunnier, dryer, and has some wonderful cultural offerings, and the Hilo side is wetter, more lush and closer to the Waipio Valley area, which I haven't been to yet but is supposed to be beautiful.

Kona has Don the Beachcomber's for good cocktails overlooking amazing sunsets. You can take a stargazing tour to the top of Mauna Kea, or just drive yourself around Kilauea's crater at your own pace. You can take a lava boat out at sunset to see the lava spill into the ocean, or see the waterfalls around the Hamakua coast. Good snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay and Place of Refuge. Like I said, lots to do. Also it's a low-key sort of island, compared to say Maui or Oahu, so it's great for just hanging out and looking at the ocean with a cocktail in your hand.

Here's a link to our trip a few years back where we went to both Kauai and the Big Island. It's heavier on the tiki/cocktails aspect of the trip than scenery, but it'll give you a bit of an idea what's there -
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=30561&forum=16&hilite=Hibiscus

Just my $.02. Either way, I'm sure you'll have a great time.


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Rum Balls
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Oct 04, 2004
Posts: 877
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2012-09-19 07:14 am   Permalink

Another vote for the Big Island...for many of the same reasons listed by Hibiscus
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spycygrl
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 08, 2005
Posts: 70
From: El Segundo, CA
Posted: 2012-09-20 3:37 pm   Permalink

Thanks, Hibiscus & Rum Balls!

I was leaning a little toward Big Island since I'd like to explore another island besides Kauai. However, since Husband had been to neither, I wanted to make sure he would enjoy Big Island just as much! Hooray!


 
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TikiSan
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 29, 2003
Posts: 252
From: O.C., SoCal
Posted: 2012-09-20 7:17 pm   Permalink

I highly recommend this book / iOS App:

Hawaii The Big Island Revealed
The Ultimate Guidebook
http://www.hawaiirevealed.com/books-apps/hawaii-the-big-island-revealed

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Kon-Hemsby
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 17, 2003
Posts: 1272
From: Andover, England
Posted: 2012-09-21 04:28 am   Permalink

Big Island.
Great varied scenery. Also take a drive over the Saddle Back road, it's amazing.
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Hibiscus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 22, 2008
Posts: 210
From: Boston-ish
Posted: 2012-09-21 08:35 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-09-21 04:28, Kon-Hemsby wrote:
Big Island.
Great varied scenery. Also take a drive over the Saddle Back road, it's amazing.




Are they letting rental cars go up Saddle Back road now? Didn't rental agencies used to frown on that because the road was so rough?


 
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bamalamalu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 550
Posted: 2012-09-24 9:01 pm   Permalink

I haven't fully researched, but it sounds like at least some are allowing it now.

I'll second the suggestion to try the Hawaii Revealed books. You can pick them up for about $13 each on Amazon - I say pick up the books for each island and see which has more things that grab you. I'm a really big fan of both islands, but they do each have a different feel. As others have said, the Big Island may have more activities, etc.

I'd think the hard part about doing both islands in one trip would mainly be time limits; the cost of interisland flights shouldn't be too bad?


 
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Kon-Hemsby
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 17, 2003
Posts: 1272
From: Andover, England
Posted: 2012-09-25 04:36 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-09-21 08:35, Hibiscus wrote:
Quote:

On 2012-09-21 04:28, Kon-Hemsby wrote:
Big Island.
Great varied scenery. Also take a drive over the Saddle Back road, it's amazing.




Are they letting rental cars go up Saddle Back road now? Didn't rental agencies used to frown on that because the road was so rough?



I wasn't advised that I couldn't, so I did.
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2012-09-29 3:21 pm   Permalink

The Big Island does not offer sandy beaches, except for the "A" Bay, near the Hilton.
Also, one will need to do a lot of driving , if one wants to go see the Volcano, Black Sand Beach, Place of Refuge, etc.

To see 2 islands, fly into HNL, stay in busy Waikiki for a night or two, enjoy the magnificent beaches, Tiki's or La Mariana and then head to your ultimate destination for R&R.


 
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Mateotiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Feb 23, 2007
Posts: 24
From: Houston, TX
Posted: 2012-10-01 07:04 am   Permalink

"Hawaii The Big Island Revealed" is indispensable. I don't recommend staying in one central location like Kona, though. That island is too big to do all of that driving and your experience will be somewhat rushed. If you have, say a week, then try to spend a few days in each major section. In my case, I stayed in Kona for 3 days, Volcano for 2 days, Kohala for 2 days.

 
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Rum Balls
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Oct 04, 2004
Posts: 877
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2012-10-01 07:47 am   Permalink

Quote:
The Big Island does not offer sandy beaches, except for the "A" Bay, near the Hilton.



Ummmmm, I beg to differ...lot of great beaches on the Kona side, and I've been to many of them, like Hapuna, Black Sand Beach and Kaunaoa (as well as "A" Bay):

http://www.gohawaii.com/big-island/guidebook/topics/beaches
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lunavideogames
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: May 09, 2012
Posts: 1089
From: San Diego
Posted: 2012-10-01 2:19 pm   Permalink

Yes, there are very many sandy beaches. A lot of them are more difficult to find. They don't have road signs that say "sand beach." Ask the locals. They will tell you where they are. I loved the one that is about half hour north of Kona, it is just a road with parking at the end. There is a cemetary sign pointing in the opposite direction. Up north from there is a huge beach by some resort I can't recall. It is where the Iron Man starts and it is a huge sand beach.

South of Kona there is the black sand beach which is really nice with many sea turtles and if you go further south there is a green sand beach that is tough to get to but amazing.

So there are lots of nice beaches on the big island, you just have to look or ask where they are.


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2012-10-02 08:06 am   Permalink

True enough. However, the issues with the location of the sandy beaches illustrate that one has to be careful when selecting where to stay if one wants to be able to walk out from one's rental onto a sandy beach. This is true for both Kauai and the Big Island, although much moreso on the Big Island.

To find that rental, you may wish to search Tripadvisor/Vacation rentals or Sellmytimeshare/rentals.


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2012-10-02 08:12 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-10-01 14:19, lunavideogames wrote:
Yes, ther
Up north from there is a huge beach by some resort I can't recall. It is where the Iron Man starts and it is a huge sand beach.

South of Kona there is the black sand beach which is really nice with many sea turtles and if you go further south there is a green sand beach that is tough to get to but amazing.

So there are lots of nice beaches on the big island, you just have to look or ask where they are.


Waikiloa, I believe is where the "A" bay and the iron man is located. Near the Hiton and Maua Lea resorts.
The black sand beach is breathtaking, but is about a 2-hour drive south from Kona.


 
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