March Honeymoon/Babymoon in Hawaii
December 28, 2015 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Hi, everyone. Last year I asked a question about moving back to my home state or keeping my cushy job. You encouraged me to move home and I'm so glad I did. I find myself both engaged and pregnant! We are thrilled. It all happened fast and we need your help planning a dream honeymoon/babymoon to Hawaii. Our timing is mid-March 2016!

Relevant details:
-I will be about 20 weeks pregnant in mid-March.
-My fiancee and I are in our early-mid 30s.
-Normally we are very active and adventurous, but would obviously be looking for a lot of relaxation for this trip. But we'd still like to experience Hawaii!
-We will likely be there for about 10 nights. Our budget, not including airfaire, is about $5-6k. We will be coming from the east coast.
-We are interested in: whale watching, natural beauty, waterfalls, easy nature hikes, shopping, the beach and maybe snorkeling and kayaking. He would also like to try surfing. I'll watch!

Here are my questions:
-Which island should we go to? I'd prefer to stick to one island. I hear Hawaii can be rainy in March, depending on the location.
-Where should we stay - region and/or hotel recommendations? It's a honeymoon so luxury/spa treatments/lovely pools are ideal. We are OK with either big hotels or small boutique ones.
-Will we want or need to rent a car? We're fine with that.
-Also, what else would you recommend or recommend against, given our particulars?

Thank you so much for your help!
posted by curtains to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

We traveled to Oahu for a wedding a few years ago when I was 29 months pregnant. We rented a car (a convertible!) and had a blast driving around the island, stopping to shop, eat, and visit different beaches. I didn't really have any problems hiking Diamond Head - just went early and took it slow, but there weren't any bathrooms on the trail so I had to rush back. We stayed in Waikiki; it's pretty touristy, but there are lots of neat markets, a really great variety of restaurants, and it was just great for walking around. I'm sure you could easily find a hotel with a nice spa there.

We had planned on renting bikes while we were there, but all the shops we stopped at wouldn't rent them to us because I was pregnant. I'm not sure if that will be the same with a kayak, but keep in mind that it is a possibility.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:32 AM on December 28, 2015

I've heard that Kauai is the Garden Island, and therefore the best destination for whale watching, natural beauty, waterfalls, and nature hikes. There is snorkeling and flat river kayaking, and apparently the helicopter tours of the island are not to be missed. And for those reasons, I fly there tomorrow :) I've heard that the Hyatt there is the best, most luxurious place to stay (and out of my budget, so we'll be at the Sheraton, which is only okay, or so I've read).

You will undoubtedly want a rental car wherever you go.

Excited for you!!!
posted by Capri at 8:06 AM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Kauai is lovely, but it does tend to get more rain. When we were there, it would be raining on Kauai and sunny and dry on the other islands. I'd recommend Maui or Oahu.
posted by mogget at 8:27 AM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Kauai is very nice, but not a touristy destination. It's much more "unspoiled beauty" that takes a ten mile hike to see a beautiful waterfall. There isn't much development on the island, so there isn't as much to do (although the helicopter tour we did was fantastic.) If you do stay in Kauai, this boutique hotel is lovely and has an amazing restaurant Red Salt.

We really enjoyed the Big Island the best - lots of snorkeling at relatively easy to get to beaches, lava hikes, shopping and great restaurants. We stayed at Marriott Waikoloa Resort and Spa and were VERY happy with our stay there. You can also go to the top of Muana Kea and view the starts and watch the sun set - a very cool experience. The beach front at the Waikoloa is very mild, so no need to worry about getting knocked around by waves - but it is easy to find surfing spots for the hubby to learn.

Regardless of whatever island you pick, you need to rent a car. Costco gives discounts through its travel site - be wary of Alamo on the islands - i have heard nothing but complaints. We had great experience with Enterprise.

Enjoy your honey/baby moon!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 8:41 AM on December 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Use for rentals (anywhere)
posted by sandmanwv at 9:05 AM on December 28, 2015

Check out the Hawaii Revealed book series. My favorite islands were Maui and the Big Island. Have fun!
posted by FireFountain at 9:39 AM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Maui! I went there on my honeymoon and it was awesome. We stayed on the Wailea side of coast and the beach there is beautiful (in the Four Seasons which may be over your budget but there are many other hotels to choose from). There's a nice shopping mall nearby.

In terms of adventures, you can most definetly go on whale-dolphin watching tour as there are many places that do this, also many nice snorkeling options. The definite MUST DO in Maui is to rent a car for a day and do the Road to Hana which is a roadtrip you do along most of the island's west coast and there are lots of places to stop at. Waterfalls, beaches, picnic areas, etc. You can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours one-way depending on how many stops you make and how long you stay at each place. Definetly doable if you're pregnant and know your own limits. Take a change of clothes and comfortable shoes.

Another MUST is to go up to the Haleakala Crater to watch either the sunrise or sunset. There are tours that take you up there but we rented a car for two days and did the road to Hana one day and Haleakala the next. We decided to go in the afternoon to catch a bit of light and walk around first, then stay for the sunset and a bit of star watching. I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY STARS IN MY LIFE. It is truly an awesome sight. There are some important big-ass telescopes up there but I couldn't tell you which ones. But yeah, clear skys and a beautiful sunset. Be careful as it does get super super super cold up there. Like freezing cold. Take gloves and a hat plus however many layers you can. Some hotels let you borrow blankets if you mention you are going up to Haleakala.

The rest of the days in Maui we spent lounging on the beach and we went to Lahaina one day for dinner. This book is VERY helpful and I highly recommend you look at it to help you decide if Maui is your choice of island. There's a kindle version now too. It has all the tips on hotels, food, tours, roadtrips and such. MeMail me if you want any more info.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:45 AM on December 28, 2015

If it matters, I've been to both the Big Island (Waikiki) and Maui before, and Maui definetly wins in terms of we're on our honeymoon vibe. Waikiki seems more like a tourist city near the beach, much more crowded.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:51 AM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

we went to the big island in March. snorkeling was by far the best part of the trip and two step was the best place we snorkeled. we used this book for snorkel advice and it was great, they also have books for the other islands. we planned on a boat tour for snorkeling but it turned out we were fine on our own.
we did a whale watching tour and i got violently seasick and i wasn't even pregnant.
posted by katieanne at 9:53 AM on December 28, 2015

I recently went to Maui and have not been to the other islands, though I've heard from several people the same as above about Kauai (beautiful, less developed, can rain a lot). Since not much has been said about Maui (no longer true, on preview) I'll add my two cents. In March, on Maui while you may not have blue skies all day, every day, you are very unlikely to be rained in. The west side only gets 12-13 inches of rain total in a year. If you want some rainforest action, you can drive up to the west mountains or do a long driving day to the east (Hana, Kipahulu and bamboo groves). Definitely rent a car -- we got ours for a reasonable price through I can't recommend specific hotels (we camped and did airbib), but along the whole Ka'anapali coast there is a string of nice big hotels right on the beach. We did a snorkeling boat trip with Four Winds and the captain showed us a picture of a whale breaching right next to his boat the past winter and he said that bay is unbelievably busy with whales mating during whale season.

My favorite activity on the island was doing the 11-mile hike in Haleakala. Both sunrise and sunset are beautiful, but depends on the day (and yes cold). If you are doing the Road to Hana, I recommend getting the Gypsy app guide. Other things I liked... stopped in Makawao and Paia, Ke'anae Arboretum (beware of mosquitoes), Garden of Eden arboretum, Waianapanapa State Park, camping at Kipahulu, swimming and snorkeling along Ka'anapali, exploring Lahaina history and art galleries... Oh and there is some really good surfing there, but we didn't get into it.
posted by bread-eater at 9:54 AM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I live on Maui and I think it would be great for your trip. I'd avoid the Big Island because there's a Dengue Fever outbreak going on right now and I wouldn't risk it w/ the pregnancy. I'd stay on the West side, Lahaina or Ka'anapali. You can do the Road to Hana (depending on your propensity for motion sickness), the trip up to Haleakala (sunrise and sunset are great, but it's also cool other times and then you don't have to drive a windy road in the dark; early morning before 11am-ish is usually the least cloudy at the summit). There are some easier hikes you can do - Iao valley, Twin Falls, maybe Bamboo Forest (I've seen pregnant women on the trail and have done it with a 6 year old, but ymmv). March is perfect timing for whale watching - you can do a charter and combine it with snorkeling or just try to see them from shore.

You'll want to rent a car. Discount Hawaii Car Rental is good and usually has a discount of at least a few dollars a day at the major places. I've rented from Avis and Enterprise on island and they're both fine. Maui Revealed is a great guidebook.

For flights, consider looking at a two part flight with an overnight between, depending on where you're coming from. From NYC you can get a one-stop flight with decent times, but from smaller regional airports it might be an expensive ticket with weird layovers. Flying into a California coastal city (San Diego, LA, San Fran, etc), staying overnight and then flying early morning direct to Maui might be a better plan and actually cheaper. Especially if you develop any circulation issues or sciatica. Virgin Atlantic has started direct flights to OGG for next year, and they have some decent discounts. Hawaiian Airlines is also doing some promos if it's not Easter week.

Have fun and congrats!
posted by melissasaurus at 9:57 AM on December 28, 2015


I'll echo a bit of what has been said above. Currently on our fifth trip to the islands right now. :)

Whale watching is actually best on Maui followed by the Big Island. This is because the humpback whales love the warm Auau channel formed by Maui, Lanai, and Molokai. Whale watching is much less of a thing on Kauai and Oahu. Whereas it's "whale soup" on Maui.

All the islands have natural beauty -- rent that car and get out and see it! You'll want to drive to the wetter side of an island for some hikes and seeing waterfalls, but stay at a resort on the drier side for beaches and better chance of good weather. Yes, March is winter on Hawaii but each island has a drier side and a wetter side. This will maximize chances of good weather. Also rain doesn't necessarily mean a wash-out. It could just be scattered showers with sun, resulting in rainbows.

Shopping is best on Oahu followed by Maui. Kauai and the BI are not really shopping destinations.

Snorkeling is best on the Big Island due to water clarity but the winter time can have big swells at the good spots; snorkeling is next best on Maui. Ocean conditions do change daily, so snorkelers move around a lot.

Given your interests of whales, snorkeling, etc and wanting to relax at a nice resort, I think you'd really enjoy Maui. Most tourists stay West Maui (Lahaina, Kaanapali, and points north of there up to Kapalua) and South Maui (Kihei, Wailea, Makena). These are both the drier sides of the island. Wailea and Kaanapali are the two main resort areas, with also the Ritz in Kapalua. You'd probably be happy in any of these areas. Hawaii does not really do the small boutique hotel thing (more of an urban trend), but the Andaz in Wailea is more adult oriented than other resorts on Maui.

Also Chase has a great introductory credit card offer where you can get two free standard nights at any Hyatt after a minimum spend, and this includes the Andaz on Maui.

If possible, I would avoid the week leading up to Easter, as there will be lots of families on spring break. You might end up running into them anyway, though.

For activities, you may enjoy a whale watch (on a more stable boat like a catamaran, my favorite company is Trilogy), snorkeling from shore, surf lessons from Goofy Foot or Maui Wave Riders (for the husband), going to the Feast at Lele (Polynesian review dinner show, luau-esque but with an amazing Samoan fire dancer), visiting Iao Valley, seeing Upcountry, shopping at the Saturday morning Swap Meet, seeing Nakalele Blowhole (safely from above) or hiking (part) of La Perouse Bay.

Watch out for altitude sickness at Haleakala Crater Summit (10k feet above sea level) and talk to your doctor beforehand. Also beware the Road to Hana if you are prone to motion sickness. The road is set up such that the second half has the better sights, and there's a very very curvy stretch without interesting stops from about mile 5.5 to 11 that makes me feel quite sick. Don't feel like you HAVE to drive the whole thing, or go on the RTH at all.

From your MeFi profile it looks like you're in NJ? United flies EWR-HNL non stop, and then it's just a quick connection HNL-OGG. I prefer the non stop to HNL, as I usually cannot wait to get there. It also makes trying to sleep on the way back easier (east coast flights are usually a red eye). Though a West Coast stopover may not be so bad either.
posted by kathryn at 7:14 PM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

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