Touring Hawaii – Discover Hawaii Tours? Book through hotel?

posted 3 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
457 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I wouldn’t book tours at all. Hawaii is very easy to explore on your own. There are some very amazing deeply cultural experiences that you can book directly with the Native Hawaiian operators; I can provide some links if you like. But commercial tours like “Discover Hawaii” are overpriced, often offer a lot of incorrect information, make you feel like you’re on a cattle car – I wouldn’t bother.

And DEFINITELY don’t book through the hotel; they will only offer you the tours that give them a big cut of the action.

Post # 5
Member
457 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Well, it really depends on your travel style.

I would avoid the Polynesian Cultural Center, personally. I’ve been there several times with relatives who insisted on going, and they were disappointed every time. It’s overpriced and not very evocative of true Polynesian culture. Although the BYU students that work there are bona fide Samoans and Tongans that work at the Center to pay for their education, the presentations are all show-bizzed up in the way they think tourists want to see Polynesia. Total waste of time, IMO.

You can rent a car for a day for about $25 if you book far enough in advance, and even if you use the full tank of gas (which you probably wouldn’t), that would be $50. And then you are free to make your own timetable, linger in the spots you like, make your own discoveries, shop in some of the cool funky North Shore towns, get a feel for the real Hawaii beyond the fake-y packaged tours .

But I do understand that some people love those tours.

Post # 6
Member
652 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@MrsGatito:  

When I was in Oahu I just rented a car and drove myself around the island for the day! It’s nice because then you can move at your own pace. If you like the sounds of the tour then I’d say go for it! 

I’ve never really done driving tours before, all of the excursions I have done have been on the water (sunset cruise, whale watching cruise, snorkeling cruise/took us to the place with the bunch of tours, day trip to the island on lanai-from maui). I don’t know if “land” tours are necessary. You might enjoy an evening sunset cruise around $30 each more and you could always pay to go to a Luau if that interests you. I haven’t ever been to a Luau, but I usually happen to come across some kind of free hula dancing- I definitely feel like I’ve seen enough of it, without intentionally trying to!  

The only reason I think I would ever do a “land” tour is if it involved going somewhere I wouldn’t be able to do on my own. For example, driving to the top of Mauna Kea on the big island or possibly the road to hana in Maui. I am not used to driving conditions like that, plus it’s nice to sit back and enjoy the view rather than focusing on the road like crazy. The driving in Oahu isn’t like that though, so it should be fine to drive on your own.

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