January 12th, 2014
Previous trip reports with pictures:
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Oahu (2009)
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Kauai (2009)
-Traveling To Hawaii…With A 5 Month Old (2011)
-The Hawaiian Islands (2011)
And one of these days I really ought to write up a trip report on Maui and The Big Island.
DDF forum threads:
-Hawaii Master Thread: General Questions And Which Island To Visit?
-Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
-Kauai Master Thread
-Maui Master Thread
-Oahu Master Thread
The 2nd most popular destination that people booked with the Delta glitch was Hawaii. More details can be found via the trip reports above, but this will give a quick overview of the options.
If you’re flying to Hawaii in coach on the Delta glitch with your family you should look into the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express which gets a free checked bag (a $50 round-trip value per person per trip) for up to 9 people on an itinerary with the primary cardholder!
The revealed series of books are absolutely required reading if you are going to Hawaii. They read like a novel and are unlike any other guidebook you’ve seen before. They have great recommendations for everything there is to do on the islands, from private beaches to the best hikes. It’ll be the best money you spend on your entire trip:
-Big Island of Hawaii Revealed
Maui: A beautiful island with lots of activities that’s less touristy than Oahu. Ferry service available to Molokai and Lanai islands.
Kosher traveler info:
Please read Part 1/Oahu for tips on interisland flights, how much time to spend on an island, bringing kosher food from home, ordering kosher food from Oahu, gear that you’ll want in Hawaii, and whether you may have to keep 2 days of shabbos. See Part 2/Big Island of Hawaii for more kosher food options for Maui as well.
-Chabad of Maui can provide homemade shabbos meals with 2 weeks advance notice. There is no shabbos minyan on Maui but they do attempt to have a minyan on Monday, Thursdays, and when someone needs to say kaddish. If you want a minyan for shabbos look at the previous posts on Oahu and The Big Island.
-The Hyatt Regency Maui has a kosher menu that you can order from their restaurants or from room service with advance notice. Click here to download the kosher menu. In the past I was able to get kosher breakfast comped as a Diamond member…go for the blintzes (they are cholov yisroel) over the eggs. The beef corn dogs are a great deal as you get the whole package of 5 S’Better corn dogs for just $9 and you can request to have them served in one of the hotel restaurants or brought to your room. The box of corn dogs costs more uncooked from my local grocery store…go figure!
-Costco (Kahului), Safeway (Kahului, Kihei and Lahaina), Whole Foods (Kahului), Mana Foods (Paia), and Lahaina Farms (Lahaina) all carry kosher foods. Mana Foods is my personal favorite of the bunch thanks to their large selection and relatively low prices.
On Maui there is no need for 4WD. If you can fit into a convertible that is definitely the car of choice.
Chabad of Hawaii has passed on a corporate rate for rentals at Enterprise or National in Hawaii that provides better rates, waives underage fees, and waives different location drop-off fees.
The company name is Hawaii Kosher Weddings. The contract number is XZ36016 and the pin is HAW
Buy gas at Costco where’s it’s cheaper than at most stations on the islands.
Hotels can be found in North Maui (Ka’anapali) and South Maui (Wailea), both are on the sunny west coast.
If you’re traveling with a family in Hawaii it’s definitely worth looking into renting a private home or condo from sites like VRBO , Home Away , or airbnb.
Before I was married I nabbed $150 tickets for my family to go to Hawaii and we stayed at a great condo in Kihei found on VRBO. There are definitely many pluses and minuses of a private condo/house versus a hotel.
-The Sheraton Maui Resort is an SPG category 5 property (12K-16K Starpoints per night or 9.6K-12.8K per night on a 5 night reservation) in North Maui. There is great snorkeling by Black Rock in front of the hotel.
-The Westin Maui Resort is an SPG category 5 property (12K-16K Starpoints per night or 9.6K-12.8K per night on a 5 night reservation) right next door to the Sheraton.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express earns 10K bonus Starpoints for spending $1 and 15K bonus Starpoints for $5,000 in 6 months which would give you a total of 30,000 Starpoints.
-The Hyatt Regency Maui is category 5 hotel (20K Hyatt or Chase points per night or just 10K points+$125 per night). Very nice grounds, pools, and even parrots and swans. But you’ll want to walk up the path to the Sheraton for a better beach. Kosher dining menu is available. Service can be mixed though.
-The Hyatt Andaz Wailea is a category 6 hotel (25K points/night or 12.5K points+$150 per night). It opened a few months ago and has no kosher menu. They also charge a whopping $25 per meal per person just to heat up your food while other hotels do it for a fraction of that or even for free…not cool!
-The Grand Wailea costs anywhere from 54K-90K Hilton points per night (20K Starpoints transfers into 25K Virgin Atlantic which transfers into 50K Hilton points. 25K AMEX points with the current Hilton transfer bonus or 25K Chase or AMEX points transfers into 25K Virgin Atlantic which transfers into 50K Hilton points)
-The Ritz Carlton Kapalua is a Marriott/Ritz Carlton Tier 3 property (50K Chase or Marriott points per night or 40K per night on a 5 night reservation).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 40,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points for spending $3,000 plus 5,000 points for adding a free additional user. It offers 2.14 points per dollar on all travel and dining expenses and has no foreign exchange fees. The Chase Ink Plus and Ink Bold each earn 50,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in 3 months, offer up to 5 points per dollar spent, have no foreign exchange fees, and come with free lounge passes. Chase points can transfer into Hyatt or Marriott points instantly at a 1:1 ratio if you or your spouse holds a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Card card. Chase also has a Hyatt card which gives 2 free nights for spending $1,000 though the bonus categories on the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like Sapphire, Freedom, and Ink are generally much more lucrative than the Hyatt card. Bear in mind that Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire and are transferable while the Hyatt nights must be completed within 1 year and are officially non-transferrable.
-The Road to Hana is an epic drive that offers impossibly lush scenery, dozens of waterfalls, black sand beaches, and more. Kids prone to motion sickness may not appreciate the curvy drive cut through the side of the mountain…bring a bag!
Start this road early, try to leave your hotel by 7 in the morning so that you have time to make frequent stops to gawk at waterfalls, go on amazing hikes, and make it back so that you’re not driving on the road after dark. A convertible is perfect for this drive. Remember that the point of this drive isn’t to get to Hana, there’s nothing there! So don’t tailgate the car ahead of you and let the car behind you pass so you can drive slow and take in the heavenly scenery.
Don’t miss the 3 bears waterfall (and hike closer!), Wailua Iki waterfall hike, rainbow trees, the Nahiku road turn-off to the ocean, black-sand beach, venus pool, etc. Take a picture of you with the road cutting into the side of the mountain behind you. The Seven sacred pools are part of Haleakala National Park, so save your receipt to go up to the top of Haleakala for free over the following 3 days.
Don’t turn around, even a regular car can complete the entire loop and it gives you an entirely different perspective with amazing windswept views instead of seeing the same stuff again. The drive does get a bit more difficult on the loop around, but it’s nothing too bad.
-In North Maui don’t miss the Dragon’s Teeth, Nakalele blowhole, and the Olivine Pools. It takes a hike to get to both the blowhole and the olivine pools, but they’re both awesome and you’re sure to get amazing pictures!
-Whale watching boatride can be awesome if a whale breaches near your boat.
-Haleakala: Catch an amazing sunrise or sunset and go on amazing hikes in the park. Bring a sweater!
-Downtown Lahaina is fun to walk around, especially at night. The Warren and Annabelle’s magic show in Lahaina gets rave reviews.
-The Iao Needle is good enough for a picture though you don’t need to do it.
-Maui has incredible snorkeling and diving. It’s criminal to not try snorkeling at least once. There are great places to snorkel south of Wailea or at Black Rock by the Sheraton in North Maui.
-You can also take a snorkeling boatride out to Molokini where the snorkeling is legendary and the visibility and water clarity is incredible. Go very early in the morning.
-Ferry service and flights are available to Molokai and Lanai. Those islands are said to feel like the Hawaii of old though I haven’t yet made it out there.
-Jetski, snorkel, dive, kayak, stand-up-paddling, surf, kite-board, parasail, windsurf, you name it, you can do it in the waters off Maui.
-Other activity ideas: ATV, zipline, helicopter tour, hang-gliding (powered and traditional), golf, etc.
-Find a local fruit stand or farmers market and skip the grocery stores. The fruit in Hawaii is just amazing, don’t leave without trying locally grown Maui Gold Pineapple, passion fruit, papaya, mango, lychee, mangosteen, rambutan, etc. They just taste so much better in Hawaii and they’re much cheaper at farmers markets. Beware that you can’t bring any fruit home with you besides for Pineapple or Coconut.
And don’t forget to relax too
When we were in Maui last time with Rafi we took a sunset picture session on the beach with Wailea Photography. The pictures were stunning and many hang in our house today. If you mention DansDeals then you’ll also save $50 off the prices listed on the site. This isn’t a paid ad, I just really loved the pictures we got. We’ve taken photo shoots in Buenos Aires and Banff as well and I find that taking a photo shoot from a vacation spot is far better than any other silly souvenir from the trip.
Have more tips? Hit the comments and share your thoughts!