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Vacation Help

We’re in the early stages of planning a small vacation for August or September. We’re thinking either Mexico or Hawaii. Airfare from San Francisco to Cancun and Honolulu are about the same. The only thing I’m trying to avoid is lots and lots of tourists. In Thailand we were able to stay at a secluded beach on Phi Phi Island that was so relaxing compared with the crowded touristy beaches on Phuket. My question is does anyone have any recommendations of hotels or resorts that are a little bit off the beaten track? I’m imagining fruity drinks and quiet white sand beaches.

  1. Calie Anderson, C.I.D.

    July 5, 2007

    Yes, I grew up in Hawaii on Oahu. Oahu is a beautiful island, but if you want to stay away from the touristy stuff, Iā€™d avoid Waikiki all together. I grew up on the windward side of the island – Lanikai Beach. Lanikai is a sleepy neighborhood located in the town of Kailua. You could rent a cottage, some beach cruisers and kayaks, and just enjoy the ocean. I also love the north shore where it still feels like country. There is a great website Vacation Rentals by Owner, where you can find wonderful deals on condoā€™s or houses by the beach. I have a ton of more information, so just email me if you have any questions,

  2. Jessica

    July 5, 2007

    I don’t have any specific recommendations, as I’ve never been to either place. But I did want to recommend checking out I’ve been able to do tons of vacation research there, and it’s great because it’s all based on traveler reviews. You can view candid photos taken by guests, which is on of my favorite aspects, since hotels can be pretty controlling in what they’ll present to you.

  3. Anonymous

    July 5, 2007

    I live in Kailua and would second the opinion that a Lanikai or Kailua Beach rental would be perfect! Kailua is a fun little town away from the craziness of Waikiki. Plus there are cute stores and good restaurants.

  4. Mrs. Bryant

    July 5, 2007

    My family goes to Kona every year and we are planning on going in November. We flew into Honolulu and spent the day there before heading to the big island but the beaches on Oahu were sooooo crowded. Every beach we went to (including quite a few resorts) on the big island were quiet and we had the entire beach to ourselves. Another thing I’d recommend is sailing. I don’t know how expensive it is to hire someone because my dad paid the last time, but it was a dream. I loved it!

  5. Matt

    July 5, 2007


    HI! I lived in Hawaii for three years for school, and a lot of my siblings were there with me. We would go island hopping a lot (it’s cheap). One of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had was when we went to the island of Molokai. It is a VERY small island off of Maui. We had to take a ferry from Maui to Molokai (about a 2 hour ride). There is only one main road on the entire island. There are some small hotels, but we lucked out by renting a house. It was one of the coolest houses ever! The shower was literally outside, surrounded by a fence or tropical plants! There was a great grassy back yard that ran into the sand, and then the ocean. It was amazing! This is also the island where the leporsy colony still is. There are GREAT hikes with waterfalls and GREAT beaches. The main little town there is SUPER old….never been updated since about 1930, and you can get the best bread in the world from their town bakery if you knock on the back door at 2am. Anyway, it’s fun but quaint. Good luck! P.S. There are some really cool places on the Big Island as well. One side of the island is all jungley, the other is volcano!!!!! If you want pictures or anything, just e-mail me:

  6. michelle

    July 5, 2007

    Culebra Island off the coast of Puerto Rico (it’s a 2 hour ferry ride from Puerto Rico). As secluded as it gets, the beaches are blow-your-mind perfect. I’m not sure what the weather will be like in August or September – it could be hurricane season. I’ll email you pics Jordan.

  7. Erin

    July 5, 2007

    I love Hawaii. My brother teaches surfing lesson on the southwest coast of Oahu, you should take some:
    We stayed in a house on Oahu, definitely wasn’t touristy. Good luck with your plans.

  8. TheMoncurs

    July 5, 2007

    I second island hopping..Oahu is awesome (my in-laws live there and I LOVE it), but it’s also super touristy and the beaches get crowded. If you stay there, definitely get away from the Honolulu and Waikiki area.

    Pretty much any other island in Hawaii is going to be way less crowded. Island hopping is fairly inexpensive and you’ll probably be able to find cheaper accommodations on Molokai and the big island than on Oahu.

    If you stick with Oahu though, the North Shore rocks. There’s a lot to do and see. If you’ve never done the PCC, that’s always worth a visit too.

  9. Bree

    July 5, 2007

    My husband and I stayed in a rental from in Pupekea on the North Shore of Oahu. I highly recommend using VRBO, as we stayed in a nice two bedroom house for about 150/night. If you do decide to go to Hawaii, stick to the North Shore. But even then, you are probably going to run into lots of tourists in August.

  10. Whatever Dee-Dee wants

    July 5, 2007

    If you want Hawaii with out the tourists then you should go to Kauai. It is beautiful!

  11. MissEm

    July 5, 2007

    I stayed at the Blue Parrot Inn in Playa Del Carmen (just down the road from Cancun) many years ago. I heard that the town is a lot more developed, but the beaches and food are wonderful.

  12. Summers Camp

    July 5, 2007

    All I know is that everyone and their dog has been to Cancun this year! However, if you’re going to Mexico and you want your own place, I suggest Rocky Point and staying at the Mayan Palace. You have your own beach and the town (and tourists) are at least 15 minutes away! Seriously amazing. As for Hawaii, I’d go there any day over any place in Mexico, because I love it there… those are my two cents.

  13. poodle

    July 5, 2007

    if you want something secluded, i would recommend roatan island in honduras. i think we were at the north beach, but i’m not positive. at any rate, it is the most beautiful beach i’ve ever seen, not touristy at all, and very secluded.

  14. veeda

    July 5, 2007

    Go to Hawaii, Hawaii, Hawaii! I can tell you all the places to go when we are out there next week. Plus, if you want to island hop, you can find fares for $39 one way.

  15. Anonymous

    July 5, 2007

    September would be better than August. Either destination would still have great weather in late September. Many people must vacation in August because they have to be back at work in September.

  16. laura

    July 5, 2007

    When an a trip to Cancun fell through – I ended up heading to Cabo San Lucas for a week. It was the best vacation of my life. The food and beaches are amazing. I stayed at the Marina Sol resort which was a tropical paradise that was SUPER inexpensive. good luck!!!

  17. Casey

    July 5, 2007

    My husband and I went on our honeymoon to Kauai, Hawaii. This island is much quieter, a lot less tourists, and lots of natural beautiful surroundings… (even a hidden waterfall you can jump from!) We stayed in a bed and breakfast :
    It was great. The owners are a young couple, that know a lot about the island, and can give you tips on where to go. Also, we took a day trip to Honalulu, it was only like 30-45 min. plane ride, and not that expensive. –Now THAT place has tourists. But, it was still great to see it.

  18. Jamie Meares

    July 5, 2007

    caneel bay!! its $$$ but so worth it.

  19. Bille

    July 5, 2007

    I live on the North Shore of Oahu in Laie. Turtle bay is pretty nice if you want luxury and seclusion, plus it is not too far from Haleiwa where there are lots of great little shops, famous shaved ice, and world famous beaches like pipeline and sunset. However, my husband and I just spent a week in Kauai, and it was awesome and way less crowded than Oahu. Everything was really accessible on Kauai, even the hiking and water falls, plus you have the Na’ Pali coast, and it is SO green. But if you want lava then go to the Big Island. Rob and Sharon lived there for a few years and they might have some suggestions as well. Good luck!

  20. Anonymous

    July 5, 2007

    If you want to avoid the tourist trap, don’t go to Oahu. Kauai and the Big Island are my top picks.

  21. {lizzythebotanist}

    July 5, 2007

    forget oahu-go to maui to the posh eco resort by red cinders beach! or kauai is another favorite, although i stayed with friends there so don’t have recommmendations for hotels…

  22. Queen Scarlett

    July 5, 2007

    I love Hawaii in October – but late Sept is a good bet too. Stay on the North Shore – Turtle Bay Resort… or rent out one of those condos there. Makes the beach just 2 minutes away by car. Or a leisurely walk. North Shore puts you on the side where you can enjoy Haliewa (eat at Haliewa Joe’s). If you go – find Mackey’s Shrimp Truck – best in the North Shore. You’re also close to the PCC.

    If you choose Maui – try to stay in Kapalua. You can either stay at the Ritz or in the Villas… I think they rent them. The Ritz has a great outdoor dining area that is romantic in the evening.

    Have fun!
    Love Hawaii because… it’s getting away without the hassles of leaving the country.

  23. Queen Scarlett

    July 5, 2007

    One more thing – Marriott’s Ko’Olina has it’s own private area – the beaches are perfect for kids. Calm and beautiful. They often have those deals … if you’re interested I have friends that own their timeshares. Email me.

  24. Anonymous

    July 5, 2007

    fly to Cancun – but don’t stay in cancun. stay in playa del carmen – at a little place called hotel deseo or hotel basico. if you want to check out either of the hotels…they have websites that match their names. you’ll thank me and so will your wallet. have a good time.

  25. Katie

    July 5, 2007

    The big island of Hawaii. I have stayed on several of the islands and Kona was the best place. Good luck!

  26. ashlynn

    July 5, 2007 is where we got our rental house in Hawaii too! Having a house was pretty cool – it came stocked & was on the beach.

    let’s just go on a cruise.

  27. Anonymous

    July 5, 2007

    Since you are preggers you should probably stay away from Mexico…possible sickness. I had a girlfriend go there while she was expecting and she had a horrible pregnancy…she got sick and she was miserable. just my 2 cents.

  28. Whatever Dee-Dee wants

    July 6, 2007

    I have a friend that lives in costa rica. She loves it there. She could help you plan a vacation, here is her website.

  29. Isabel

    July 6, 2007

    My husband and I stayed for a week in a little place in Southern Mexico called Tulum. It’s outside of Cancun and is fabulous. We stayed at the Cabanas Copal. It’s literally a hut on the beach….no electricity. (They did have a full bathroom inside the hut, so that’s nice!) It was the best “beach vacation” I’ve ever had. And you know, Mexico is super duper cheap!!

    Good luck and congrats on the bebe news!

  30. Kristeee

    July 6, 2007

    I would say fly to Kauai. It’s a gorgeous island that is slower-paced than the other popular islands (Oahu, Maui, Hawaii), and there is no shortage of white, secluded, sandy beaches. If you drive to the end of the highway (and then down a very bumpy dirt road) on the west-northwest end of the island you hit Polihale State Beach, which is the most gorgeous one ever, and was the setting of “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair” scene in South Pacific. So yummy. As is the rest of the island – and the Princeville resort is gorgeous. We went in August last year and almost regretted it – it’s their hottest, most humid season. Sept would be way better. And Cancun is one big tourist trap.

  31. Kersten

    July 6, 2007

    Hurricane season ā€” stay away from Cancun and the Caribbean. Kauai is incredible and not too crowded, and I second what others have said about waiting until mid-September to avoid “I have to go on vacation right before my kids start school again” crowds.

  32. steph

    July 7, 2007

    I have to say south of Cancun about 1 hour there is a place called Tulum. It is our # 1 beach destination… o.k. we haven’t been to that many beaches outside of Mexico,or the US. But it is fabulous! You know the Corona beer commercials? Well,they’re shot there and that is exactly what it is like! We love it there…Happy travels

  33. Kely

    July 8, 2007

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  34. heather

    July 9, 2007

    If you are looking for a beach with no tourists that serve cold drinks Mexico is more that style. But, don’t go to mexico in sept., Hurricanes. Plus, cancun is too touristy. Playa del carmen is better. You should really just go to hawaii though. Kauai is the best island without getting too remote, like Lanai, and not as touristy as the other islands. After seeing all the islands we still love the north shore on oahu but that’s not the place for solitude.

    oh, you should post that city tour of paris you told me about.

  35. Patti

    July 9, 2007

    I have never been to Hawaii because I love the beaches of the Yucatan too much. Tulum is unbelivable and very secluded. Yes you run the risk of hurricanes but we go every year at that time and haven’t had any problem. Plus, that is what travelers insurance is for. I would would not recomend Playa del Carmen (touristy) but instead Tulum or Akumal. We rented a house in Akumal for our honeymoon (we are more of the off-the-beaten path types)but during our babymoon we stayed at an all-inclusive. I had the worst case of morning sickness and I liked having meals and activites at my leisure. good luck!

  36. Anonymous

    July 10, 2007

    I’d recommend Mexico, but not in August or September. It’s hurricane season.

  37. Anne

    July 13, 2007

    We went to Big Island Hawaii for our honeymoon and it was awesome. Although you really dont’ get the nice white beaches there unless you want to stay in a resort.
    I used and The Big Island Revealed book (book was awesome!) to plan our trip.
    Stayed on the Kona side 7 nights at Hale Kona Kai (in a condo I found online for like $79 a night I think) and then we stayed at The Old Hawaiian Bed & Breakfast in Hilo for 3 nights. It was great. The room we had there was beautiful and had a nice tub in it and the owners were really nice.

    Looking back, I would maybe throw in a night in the Volcano area if you are wanting to do something in that area.

    You have to rent a car on that island because it is huge. Super fun though.

    Dolphin Discoveries was a great snorkeling tour.

    Have a great time on the babymoon! šŸ™‚

  38. vicky

    July 13, 2007

    try the keiki bungalows in North Shore, beautiful and seclueded! and the bungalows are cute and comfortable.

  39. Anonymous

    July 16, 2007

    I highly recommend hotel basico in Playa del Carmen the beaches are beautiful

  40. Kell & Nick

    July 17, 2007

    We just got back from Ko’lina the Marriott Resort on Oahu and we loved it! However I work for the Fairmont and I heard the Fairmont Mayakoba is amazing in the Mexican Rivera

  41. Kell & Nick

    July 17, 2007

    We just got back from Ko’lina the Marriott Resort on Oahu and we loved it! However I work for the Fairmont and I heard the Fairmont Mayakoba is amazing in the Mexican Rivera

  42. Kell & Nick

    July 17, 2007

    We just got back from Ko’lina the Marriott Resort on Oahu and we loved it! However I work for the Fairmont and I heard the Fairmont Mayakoba is amazing in the Mexican Rivera

  43. Jamie Meares

    July 23, 2007

    did you guys decide where to go?

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