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Q: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284 ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   6 Comments )
Subject: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284
Category: Sports and Recreation > Travel
Asked by: vka2b-ga
List Price: $8.00
Posted: 18 Apr 2006 11:46 PDT
Expires: 18 May 2006 11:46 PDT
Question ID: 720244
Based on my past experience, I wanted cynthia-ga to answer this, but I
am of course open to any other suggestions.

cynthia, if you recall (see the link below if you don't), I had
written about a year ago asking about a honeymoon spot.  You had
suggested Costa Rica, and even suggested a website to find travel
packages for Costa Rica.  I took you up on both suggestions and ended
up having an amazing honeymoon.

Well, the time has come for a one-year anniversary trip!  I am
basically looking for a similar travel package as the one you
suggested, but this time for Hawaii.  I am willing to look in other
places (Carribean, Florida Keys, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico) but my
first preference is Hawaii.

Any suggestions from you would be greatly appreciated.

Here is my original post:

Thanks in advance!

Request for Question Clarification by cynthia-ga on 19 Apr 2006 01:38 PDT
Well, for something truly exotic, have you considered Aruba? The black
sand beaches are said to sparkle at night! I'll check and see what I
can find in Hawaii..

By the way, I'm so happy you had a wonderful trip! Give me a couple
days, I'll come up with something for you.

Clarification of Question by vka2b-ga on 19 Apr 2006 09:52 PDT

I am eagerly awaiting to see what you come up with for Hawaii, Aruba, or otherwise.

BTW, sorry for my delayed reponse to yours and others comments --
usually I get a notification alerting me to the fact that there has
been activity on my question, but I didn't this time -- I just
randomly checked and saw all the comments!

I appreciate everybody's suggestions.  The main thing I was looking
for though was a travel package for any of these places similar to the
"Costa Rican Trails" package that Cynthia-GA found for me last time. 
It was a perfect mix of luxury and adventure, and it took all the
headache out of planning -- transportation, lodging, etc. was arranged
in advance.

Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing the suggestions!

Request for Question Clarification by cynthia-ga on 19 Apr 2006 20:14 PDT
There's been some trouble with the Clarification (and Answer) email
notifications for awhile, the Google Team is working on it.

I'm looking for you in between my day job duties. May I ask when you
are thinking about going? Give me a window of time.


Clarification of Question by vka2b-ga on 20 Apr 2006 07:51 PDT

I can give you a pretty exact time window -- mid June 2006.  I would
say anywhere between June 9th and June 23rd would be fair game.

I took markvmd's suggestion and started looking into Puerto Rico. 
Since he gave me some specific areas, I was able to find some pretty
decent travel packages.  I am going to use what you give me and what I
found and do a comparison and just see what makes sense.  Either way,
a trip to Hawaii will happen at some point, so I look forward to
hearing from you!  Thanks again for your help.
Subject: Re: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284
Answered By: cynthia-ga on 20 Apr 2006 12:02 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

I got to thinking, and I remembered who I used on my vacation packages
to Hawaii. I used these folks twice:

Pleasant Hawaiin Holiday - Dream Destinations
..."With its majestic volcanoes and palm-fringed beaches, Hawaii holds
some of the most superb scenery on earth. Firmly established among the
world's greatest vacation playgrounds, it combines top-quality hotels
and restaurants with almost unlimited opportunities not only for sheer
self-indulgence, but also for activities such as surfing, diving, golf
and hiking. Visiting Hawaii does not, however, have to be expensive;
budget facilities on all the islands are listed throughout this guide,
together with advice on making the most of your money..."

Try this:

Pleasant Hawaiian Vacation Finder

In Hawaii, besides the beaches there are two MUST DO activities:

Polynesian Cultural Center
Arizona Memorial

Second choices:

I also went on a Dinner Cruise (fun)
Snorkling (magical)
Luau (ok, but not my favorite)
Parasailing (exhilarating)
Jet-skiing (ok, but not my favorite)

Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays Press Release
..."Pleasant Holidays is now offering a variety of Hawaii?s most
popular activities for purchase before customers leave for the
Islands, the company announced today. The activities range from luaus
and stage extravaganzas to helicopter and submarine tours, and the
pre-purchase option allows customers the convenience of having these
activities arranged for in advance..."

For more information and reservations, call the Pleasant at (800) 242-9244.

Then, I found this:

Hawaii Travel Bureau
Custom Design Your Ideal Hawaii Vacation Package: Luxury, Moderate,
All Inclusive, or Anything Else

..."Hawaii Travel Bureau offers customized Hawaii vacation packages
for 10-65% less than published rates. Whether you are looking for a
beach vacation in Waikiki, romantic getaway to Maui, or a multi-island
vacation, we can put together a Hawaii vacation package that fits you.

   As a company with perfect BBB record, we offer high-quality
customer service that you can rely on. Our detailed reports on the
islands and hotels can save you hours of online research. Our prices
are clear and have no hidden fees, and our booking process is easy and

Let me know if you'd like me to find more options...


Search strategy:
Personal experience
"Hawaii Vacation Packages"

Request for Answer Clarification by vka2b-ga on 21 Apr 2006 08:03 PDT

If you have the time, I wouldn't mind a few other options.  I filled
out that quiz, and it came up with, "No destinations available."  Then
I tried to vist the "Hawaiian Travel Beaurau" site, and I got a "Host
Not Accessible" error (I tried it multiple times and I know my
Internet connection was working at the time).



Clarification of Answer by cynthia-ga on 22 Apr 2006 13:58 PDT
I'll be looking again this weekend...

Clarification of Answer by cynthia-ga on 25 Apr 2006 17:15 PDT
Hi again vka2b, 

Got sidetracked, but today I found more information for you, Deciding
which island to visit is a major consideration, one I can't make for
you. In this round I selected agents and companies that make a point
to mention they will help you decide and plan a vacation based on your
interests, the ambience and experience you want to have. I'd use any
of them, they are all reputable.

First, start by reading about the differences in the islands...

Island of Hawaii forum: which island??
This is a forum thread that offers some unique insights and contact information.

I found that here:

HOME PAGE: Island of Hawaii Vacations - Island of Hawaii Tourism

..."offers the best Hawaii travel deals in vacation accommodations,
Hawaii hotels and condos, airfare and reservations to the Hawaiian
Islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kauai. Paula Simpson, an
experienced Hawaii travel agent offers personal service, custom
tropical vacation packages, Hawaii travel tips and tourist information
for a Hawaii honeymoon, family vacation, or romantic island

Hawaii Vacation Packages from Cheap Hawaii Tickets
..."We're able to produce a Hawaii vacation package that is best
suited to your own specific needs at a rock bottom price because we
live here and know how to save you money.
on a vast array of Hawaii vacation properties as well as having access
to a wholesale bulk Hawaii airline ticket source that enables us to
beat the larger brand name websites selling Hawaii airline tickets
online. Having contracts with local travel suppliers that we have
developed throughout the state as well as living in Hawaii for over 30
years allows us to provide our valued customers an insiders view
before making their final decision to buy the Hawaii vacation package
they select..."

Vacation Discounters
..."is a Hawaii vacations destination specialist.  Our agents have
experienced each of the spectacular Hawaiian Islands; Oahu, Kauai,
Maui, Lanai, Hawaii and Molokai.  Whether your travel plans include a
family Hawaii vacation playing on the white sand beaches of Maui; or
an indulging yourself at an elegant beachfront resort; or a Hawaii
Honeymoon or a golf package on the "Big Island"; or a Hawaii cruise to
all of the islands; we can create a custom Hawaii vacation with a
significant discount tailored just for you and your budget..."

Let me know if you'd like more!


Request for Answer Clarification by vka2b-ga on 26 Apr 2006 11:51 PDT

I don't want to make you keep searching, so if you want to stop,
that's okay with me, because I already have my vacation booked for the
summer (will get to get in a moment).

However, if you're up to looking, let me try to clarify more of what
I'm looking for (for future vacations).  Basically, all of the sites
you pointed me say something to the effect of "Tell us what you want
to do and we'll give you a price estimate."  I don't know if it's more
that I'm lazy, don't have much time, or just that I trust people that
do this for a living rather than myself to do the planning, but what
I'd really like is something similar to that Costa Rican site you
pointed me to -- where they say "Here are the packages we offer.  This
is what the package contains.  Here is how much you will pay.  Click
here to book."  And what the package contains is an itinerary of
activities in different regions of the country, transportation,
lodging, etc.  The reason my Costa Rican honeymoon was so successful
was that I spent about 10 minutes on the site you sent me to, said,
"Oh, that package looks like fun," gave them my credit number, and did
nothing else.  A few months and a few thousand dollars later, I was
being carted around various regions of Costa Rica doing various
activities and did not have to worry about absolutely anything other
than having a good time.

Granted, such a site may not exist for Hawaii, and if it did, it is
probably pretty pricey, but that's essentially what I'm looking for. 
I completely understand if the dollar amount of this question is not
worth it to you for a third go-round (although, if you found exactly
what I was looking for, I would surely tip you accordingly).

That being said, I decided that for this summer, I would choose Puerto
Rico, only because I was essentially able to do what I mentioned above
based on a tip from markvmd (thanks markvmd)!  I was mainly interested
in exploring, so I did a search for Guanica Dry Forest and came across
the Copamarina Resort.  They have an all inclusive package that
includes, lodging, meals, water sports, and can arrange trips to
nearby places (a bioluminescense bay, the forest, etc.).  I thought
that was the way to go, because it involved little planning on my

I will surely do my duties as a faithful GA user and report back on
how this trip goes!

Thanks for all of your help!

Clarification of Answer by cynthia-ga on 26 Apr 2006 15:24 PDT
And the winning search string was:

Hawaii "all inclusive" vacation OR package

Here's a site with 5 all inclusive packages:

Hawaii All Inclusive Packages
..."For the discriminating traveler who wants only the best "high end"
experience, Hawaii Aloha Travel offers the perfect getaway for you and
your family. We bring you Hawaii like no else has before. We're in
Hawaii and as a result have chosen the best tour operators to work
with in Hawaii. Our packages have been carefully selected to give you
the BEST Hawaii has to offer. Our all inclusive packages and tours
will make sure you leave the world behind and enjoy Hawaii as it is
meant to royalty. Mahalo! ..."

All Inclusive Hawaii Vacation Packages
Click on the left to view any of the 5 packages.
Don't miss the FAQ's:

This is a single offer of the type you are describing, it sounds fabulous:

Hawaii All Inclusive Vacations  (click to see the activities)
..."The perfect nine-day Hawaiian getaway. Journey to Oahu, Kauai and
Maui, three of the most beautiful islands on this all-inclusive,
first-class Hawaiian package. Pristine white beaches, crystal waters
and friendly people await you..."

vka2b-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
That's what I was looking for!  Thanks again cynthia-ga.  The winning package was:

I will certainly look into this for my next vacation!

Subject: Re: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284
From: markvmd-ga on 18 Apr 2006 14:14 PDT
Puerto Rico always gets my vote. Go to the west end of the island
(Rincon for surfing, Joyuda and south for swimming) and the
southwestern coast (La Parguera for diving and Guanica dry forest for
exploring) and save a TON of money. US dollars, US laws, no passports
(yet), and glorious weather. You'll want to buy there before long!
Subject: Re: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284
From: sonoritygenius-ga on 18 Apr 2006 14:31 PDT
I know you been to Costa Rica.. but why not? Try Caymans Islands!! I
went there for over 2 weeks, and had the most amazing time, keep
dreaming about it since and dying to go back!!  Great climate, perfect
for outdoor (and indoor;)) actitvities, and wasnt THAT expensive!
(college budget!!)
Subject: Re: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284
From: markvmd-ga on 26 Apr 2006 17:59 PDT
Plan to visit the bioluminescent bay on a NEW MOON or cloudy night.
Don't bother during the three weeks the moon is waxing to full or
waning from it. Take the boat from La Parguera Divers so you can go
swimming. Be nice and tip. The same boat and crew will take you out
during the day snorkeling (you can rent equipment or mail your own
ahead, as I do).

Plan on visiting the Cabo Rojo lighthouse, about an hour drive from
Copamarina through a fascinating natural preserve and past active sea
salt harvesting flats. Beautiful, stunning, incredible location for a
lighthouse, and standing on the cliff is breathtaking. I wrote a
series of letters from 1992 to 2001 urging the restoration; dunno if
it had any effect, but it's fixed up now.

Feel free to ask any questions.
Subject: Re: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284
From: cynthia-ga on 01 May 2006 21:15 PDT

Thanks so much for the kind words, the 5 stars, and the tip!

Subject: Re: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284
From: vka2b-ga on 22 Jun 2006 11:23 PDT
As promised, here is the report of my vacation to Puerto Rico...

As I mentioned, we stayed at the Copamarina.  For the most part, it
was a really well-organized visit, except for the very beginning. 
There was supposed to be somebody waiting to pick us up from the
airport, but it took about 1 hour of waiting and a ton of phone calls
before anybody showed up.

The resort itself was beautiful though -- great service, great food
(even for strict vegetarians), and beautiful surroundings (right along
the sea, nicely landscaped, pools, jacuzzis, etc.).  A tip for anybody
planning on visiting -- the all-inclusive package is the way to go --
VERY cost-effective.  One other tip though -- you may not want to pay
the extra rate for the ocean-view room, because the garden views are
probably a lot nicer -- you essentially overlook the resort, and THEN
the ocean from your room with the ocean-view room (as I did).

As for what we did -- we spent a day just lounging around the resort
-- went swimming, ate, hung out on the beach, etc.  We spent another
day doing water activities -- sea kayaking, snorkeling, etc.  The only
complaint about this day was that we took a trip out to the famed
"Gilligan's Island."  It certainly was not a deserted island -- it was
PACKED with kids yelling their heads off.  Maybe it was a school
field-trip or something (we experienced the same feeling at the
resort, which was a little too kid-friendly)!  Anyhow, another day we
spent exploring the Guanica Dry Forest, which was AMAZING!  Imagine
seeing a normal forest with deciduous trees interspersed with cacti,
all along cliffs overlooking the sea, packed with amazing birds flying
all over!  The final day we took another snorkeling trip (out to a
reef, much more exciting than Gilligan's Island) and visited La
Parguera at night to see the bioluminescence.  Unfortunately, the moon
was in its full glory during our entire trip, so the luminescence
looked more like clouds in the water rather than lights, but cool

All-in-all a great trip, very relaxing, great weather, and got to do
some cool stuff.  Thanks for the recommendation markvmd, and be on the
lookout for my review after giving out your suggestion a try,
Subject: Re: Question specifically for cynthia-ga related to question 448284
From: markvmd-ga on 22 Jun 2006 12:14 PDT
I'm very glad you enjoyed my suggestion! I love going to Puerto Rico
regularly and can usually count on finding something new even after a
dozen visits. Guanica is one of the more unusual places a person can
visit anywhere and La Parguera is is such a delightful, sleepy-looking
village by day that turns into a packed party town by night. As i am
always looking for another spot to visit, would you be kind enough to
tell me where you were snorkeling?

For others considering a visit (or for Vka2b, if you are considering
returning), think about going during the middle of winter. Airfare is
higher, but for some weird reason, the locals-- Puerto Ricans from San
Juan and environs, that is-- seem to vacation along the south and west
during the summer only. I have no idea why they don't just go their
own beach [but then my wife's aunt wants to go to Hawaii; I took her
the 1.7 miles from her house to Joyuda and gave her a Blue Hawaiian
instead of her usual Pina Colada, explaining "This is exactly what you
would see and hear and taste in Honolulu, but with more Japanese
tourists."]. Except for weekends and new moons, Parguera is nearly
deserted as is Guanica, Combate Beach, Joyuda, Rincon, and Boqueron
Beach. Daytime temps don't get too much above 27C (80F) and night
bottoms out around 19C (65F) in late January and much of February.
Prices are phenomenally cheap for basic, non-chain hotels (where you
will often meet the owner).

As for Hawaii, skip Honolulu and go just about anywhere else in the
chain. If you've never heard of the destination island, it is even

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