(Closed) Oahu or Big Island?

posted 5 years ago in Travel
Post # 3
89 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

@RedPandas:  I’ve been to both Oahu and the Big Island twice now. My first trip to Hawaii, we went on the Pride of America, so we got to see all the islands for a shorter amount of time. The second time, I went to the Big Island and stayed at the Marriott in Kona before heading to the Hilton Hawaiian Villages in Waikiki.

My advice is that it depends on what you are looking for. I tend to be someone who needs activities and entertainment at night. If you are a person who loves to relax on vacation and are perfectly content with a book for x amount of days, then the BI may be great for you.

If I’m correct, the places to see in the BI are Kona and Hilo. I visited Hilo on the cruise (though I did not stay overnight, so I can’t make a judgement about hotels). To be quite honest, from what I could tell, it was boring. I found myself back at the ship after about 1.5 hours. There is a black sand beach (since the island is mostly volcanic rock), and a tiny town area to eat and maybe pick up some trinkets, and I would not go back. The only reason Hilo was a port of call for the cruise was the volcano, which was not active at the time due to the tsunami in Japan (I went in Aug of 2011). I would do some research if you hope to do a helicopter ride over the volcano as an excursion.

Kona, is beautiful, and has a very laid back vibe to it. I loved it the first time I went so much I swore that it was my favorite place in Hawaii, but the reality is that there isn’t as much to do at night than I had initially thought. Additionally, the resort I stayed at is in Waikoloa which is almost a bit sterile for my taste- I am not a fan of strip malls on vacation. This has a very different feel than Kailua (the beachy town I was talking about earlier). The beaches are gorgeous, but there is very little nightlife in Waikoloa. It’s definitely a relaxation spot. We also went to visit a coffee farm, the Kona Longboard brewery and went snorkeling while in Kona. I felt that there was so much to do during the day and not as much at night, so I might rather spend time in Oahu. Again, personal preference. 

Since you’ve been to Oahu, you know what to expect. I would suggest that if you are looking for a more lively atmosphere (but also more crowded!), then Oahu is your best bet. If you don’t mind a very quiet night, I would visit Kona since you’ve never been. Oh, and to answer your question, rent a car for sure!

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions, and enjoy!!!

Post # 4
351 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

My husband and I absolutely love the Big Island but as the previous poster said, it is about what you want.  We love it because we love the outdoors.  We were so busy on the Big Island with hiking, snorkeling, etc that we didn’t have time to worry about going out to eat or anything like that.  We hiked the volcano.  We snorkeled with manta rays which was the most amazing experience of my life. We kayaked and ran into a school of dolphin and snorkeled alongside them.  It was gorgeous and fun, and was so awesome we have rented a condo in Kailua for two weeks for Christmas.  You definitely need a car.  But if you want a more traditional vacation seeing different beaches, going out to dinner and clubs, as the previous poster said, then Oahu may be better.

Post # 5
507 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@namarie:  Ditto!!!!

I loved the Big Island for the exact same reasons.  We spent a lot of time exploring the island – 3 days on one side, 3 days on the other.  You definitely need a car but there are a lot of really interesting places to see. 

We also rented kayaks and kayaked right next to a school of dolphin.  And then snorkled in a beautiful area.  It was really cool to have all the dolphins jumping right around us. 

At the volcano, we hiked out to the lava flows and have some awesome pictures of us “playing” with the lava using sticks. 

It was one of my favorite vacations of all time…despite that it was my honeymoon with my now ex husband 🙂

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