Please sign in to post.


Hello Everyone!

I am planning on visiting Hawaii before Christmas. I have never been. Any tips on where to stay / what to do for a first timer would be great! Are 3 star resorts a bad idea? I was thinking Maui but open to all ideas

Thank you

Posted by
374 posts

I think Maui is a good island for a first trip. How long will you be there? We spent a week there two years ago (it was our second visit). We arrived, picked up a car, and drove to Hana where we stayed two nights. We then drove to a B&B part way up Haleakala so we could get up early to see the sunrise from the top of the mountain. We ended with 4 nights at a small condo resort on Napili beach. You can stay in a large resort, but you can also find many condos in smaller buildings. I'd suggest getting a guide book to see where you want to be based.

Posted by
8839 posts

How long do you plan to stay? Have you decided on an Island?
There is a lot of time between now and Christmas.... just when were you planning to go?
What sort of budget do you have? "High" season starts Dec 15 for many places, meaning a SIGNIFICANT jump in price for lodging.

Please provide a bit more detail and the answers will get better and more useful

Each Island has its unique charm, so there is no 'bad' choice.

Posted by
381 posts

On Maui, the Big Island and Kauai, there are more condos than regular hotels. You'll get the best price if you rent through, but you should book very soon as many people visit Hawaii year after year and rebook their favorite places 8-10 months in advance.

The "resorts" are far and away the most expensive places to stay in Hawaii and not a good deal at all as they make you pay extra for everything you'd usually get along with your condo rental, such as daily amenity fees PLUS renting boogie boards and beach chairs. Some don't even have a real beach.

All beaches in Hawaii are public and free, so there's no need to stay at a resort to get beach access.

If you're into nature, I suggest a week on Maui and a week on the Big Island.

If you're interested in history, then visit Oahu, as the museums at Pearl Harbor are one of a kind and very meaningful.

Posted by
74 posts

Aloha - I am a Maui resident for over 35 years. Maui is a good choice for beginners; has a little bit of everything and beaches galore! I don't know which 'resort' you are looking at - stars don't mean much. You have to decide what's important to you.Consider location, accommodations, amenities, etc. A hotel room will imply just a room & you have to purchase your meals elsewhere; a condo will have kitchens. I have met all walks of life with varying opinions. You can PM me with more details and I will be happy to offer suggestions.

Posted by
1858 posts

hey isabelle
do you know your exact dates and how much before christmas? i'm from the big island and lots of things to do there on both the west side (kona area) and east side (hilo area). it will be a busy time of year for traveling on any island since it being high season as joe32F says.
don't know your budget, how many people or exactly what you're looking for, hotel, resort, condo. the 3 stars rating doesn't mean much since we don't know what you want. ocean or mountain view, pool, on the beach, restaurant on sight, will you have car and if free or paid parking, resort fees, cleaning fees, taxes, alot to think about.
by coincidence, checking today for a friend to go between june and october, airfare from san francisco bay area was over $550RT or a package deal was from $2100 for 2. to say the least i was floored at the airfare. usually fly home in january or february for about $400, not worrying about places to stay since my family is there, we just rent hotel for 2 nights in kona for a getaway.
please give more info about what you want or hoping for, check and get info about the different islands and what they offer.

Posted by
524 posts

Your question is very open-ended and I agree with most who have responded. We would need more information about your interests, how long you want to stay and your budget to properly advise you. I just returned from Maui on a solo golf trip, having been there four other times with family in the last six years. We have also been to the other major islands several times and loved all of them for what they each have to offer. If you're into activities such as the beach, Maui is probably the best. We have rented a condo in Lahaina two blocks from the harbor and Front Street and condos in Ka'anapali and a golf Villa in Kapalua. The further north you go on West Maui the longer your drive to see the rest of the island. You can also do horseback riding, hiking, driving the Road to Hana (a must if you have 4-5 days) and seeing the sunset at the top of Haleakala, its biggest volcano (recommend the sunrise Bike and Zip adventure). The Big Island is huge by comparison to the others and rugged. Volcanoes National Park is a must see there, and you can drive Saddle Road across the island from Hilo to Kona in a few hours, going from sea level to 6500 feet (7200 if you go to the visitor center half way) and back to sea level. My favorite for relaxing is Kauai, with a different look on the north and south sides of the island. Waimea Canyon (aka "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific" is spectacular and if you go there spend the money with Blue Hawaiian and take the hour long helicopter tour of the island. If you do be sure to purchase the video of your flight.

All that being said, you want to go at the busiest and most expensive time of the year and it will be crowded on Maui. Kauai is less and the Big Island is big enough to absorb the crowds with little effect. Going that far I would try to do two islands if you have a week to ten days. You can easily fly between islands on Hawaiian Airlines, and Southwest recently started service from the west coast to Hawaii and also inter-island flights. The best guidebooks are the Revealed series (Maui Revealed, etc.) and in addition to their web site they also have an app for your phone that works well when you are there. The authors live in Hawaii so their information is more up to date and accurate than some others I've seen. Make a list of all the things you want to do and then find out which islands provide them. If you can do all of them on one island, go there. You can only see a live volcano on the Big Island. Good Luck.

Posted by
4 posts

Each island is different, depending on what you like and what you want to do.
Maui is the typical Hawaiian resort island that most people picture when they think of a getaway in Hawaii. It's relatively sparsely populated, and if you rent a car there are limitless options for what you can do. There's great hiking, water-based activities, drives, food, resorts, etc. Oahu, the island where Honolulu is located, is the main population island, and that's where most of Hawaii lives.

If you are more of an urban tourist with the occasional urge for adventure, this is the island for you. Great eats, sights, and shopping, and when you get bored of that there are still tons of hiking spots, scenic drives, and gorgeous beaches. Many of the oh-so-iconic Hawaii destinations are on Oahu.

Never been to Kauai, but if you're looking for the exact opposite of urban adventure, then Big Island is what you're looking for. It's a massive, sparsely populated and undeniably beautiful island. If you're a nature buff looking to trek a tropical paradise, then here's your opportunity.