Sep 12, 2008

Explore Hidden Hawaii

Ray Riegert's Hidden Hawaii published by Ulysses Press incorporates full-bleed photos ranging from the Pacific Ocean to lava flows on the outside and inside of the book. I claimed this travel guide from the Mini Book Expo for Bloggers because my husband and I have been talking about a vacation to Hawaii since before we got married six years ago. Ideally, that would have been our honeymoon of choice, but money was unavailable at the time for that kind of vacation, so we went somewhere closer for our honeymoon--Jamaica. Now that we are older and wiser and are willing to plan ahead, we are looking toward our goal, Hawaii, and hopefully, Kauai.

This travel guide is larger than I would like to take along with me on the streets as a handbook for exploration, but then again I carry a large SLR and other photographic equipment. However, this book does have a lot to offer tourists interested in a trip to the island chain.

The white and green pages provide readers with a crisp, clean page to read, and the contents are broken down by island--Oahu, Big Island, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kauai. One of the best parts of this travel guide is that it not only tells the reader the touristy locations that are "must see," but also the hidden aspects of the islands. For instance, in Waikiki, one of the most well-known attractions is Diamond Head. One of the hidden treasures of Waikiki highlighted in the book, which peaked my interest, is Queen Kapiolani Hibiscus Garden where tour buses do not have a place to stop, but tourists can spend the day picnicking in splendor.

Hidden Hawaii not only describes the major hotel chains in Hawaii, but also some of the smaller hotels and bed and breakfasts. It contains green and white maps broken down by particular regions and various coastlines, which will help tourists orient themselves. Some of the maps outline streets, and many of them are dotted with attractions.

I would love to see the Star of the Sea Painted Church on the Big Island for myself, which is another of the hidden treasures that can be found in this book. According to the book, a Belgian priest painted murals of religious scenes inside the church, which reminded me of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling in Italy painted by Michelangelo. This church must be a sight to see.

From outdoor activities like kayaking in the ocean to hiking to tennis, this book has something for everyone, even those just interested in lying on the beaches and getting a suntan. There are favorite tourist night spots and those that are hidden.

My husband and I enjoyed looking through the book and picking out the hidden spots and the more well-known spots we would like to see on our trip someday, but we were a bit disappointed that there weren't too many photos of the islands, the parks, destinations, museums, activities, and the like. All of the photos in the book are at the beginning. If I had to pick a drawback, that would be it.

This book is for tourists interested in the hidden side of the islands and the tourist attractions. I would recommend it as a starting guide for a trip to Hawaii.

***Please do not forget to enter the Mrs. Lieutenant Contest, Deadline is Sept. 14.***

***Diary of an Eccentric has a contest for The Almost Moon and The Choice; Deadline is Sept. 30.***


Anna said...

That stinks that there aren't more pictures. I probably wouldn't buy it as a tour guide for that reason alone. Still, it seems that if you're not hung up on pictures that it has a vast amount of great information! Great review, btw.

Serena said...

There is a great deal of information about the well-known spots and the "hidden" attractions. I like that aspect, I just wish it had more photos of some of the places, and not just the well-known attractions either.

Dar said...

Great review of this travel guide Serena! I think pics of these hidden spots would have been nicer to have too-that way you get a better idea of whether you want to visit it or not. Glad you and your hubby enjoyed browsing and planning though!

Serena said...

Thanks for stopping by my review. Have you checked out the contest for Mrs. Lieutenant?

Dar said...

I'm going to be doing that today for sure Serena. I'm so behind I think I'm first most days. lol.

Serena said...

No worries...I just wanted to provide you with a reminder since the contest closes on Sunday! Thanks for stopping by again!

I am so far behind in other blog reading as well. I hope to catch up on some tonight!

Karma Bennett said...

Hi Serena,

Thanks for reviewing our book! I would like to point out that we have the same amount of full-color pictures as Lonely Planet and Frommer's guides. The other leading travel guides( Moon, Fodor's, Rough Guides etc.) don't offer a full-color signature at all. Please keep this in mind: we have as many or more glossy photos than any other travel guides.


Karma Bennett
Ulysses Press

Serena said...

Karma: I have not seen a lot of travel guides about Hawaii. This is our first one. However, compared to other guides I have seen for Boston and other respective places, many of those guides have far more photos. I like photos, but I also noted that this is the only drawback to your guide.

I really enjoyed the hidden and main attractions for each island, as well as the maps with city streets on them and the attractions. Also I noted the clear and crisp appearance of the green and white pages, which helps the reader stay focused on the information about each attraction. I also noted the wide breadth of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other places to stay listed in the guide.

Overall, I liked the guide and would recommend it to others. I usually do not buy guides from Frommers or Lonely Planet. I guess I am not the norm. I just don't find their guides helpful. I'd pick up this guide rather than those.

Anonymous said...

Oh how neat! I really love the Mini Book Expo for Bloggers. It is such a cool site!

Serena said...

I discovered the Mini Book Expo just a few short months ago and this is the first book that arrived. I'm still waiting on the second book.

Thanks for stopping by J. Kaye!

Sherry said...

I found your blog through My Friend Amy's BBAW, and I wanted to invite you to contribute links to your reviews to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon ( You're welcome to contribute anytime.

Serena said...

Thank you for the invitation, Sherry. I will explore your site and check it out. Are there any particular rules about posting reviews there?

AmandaSue said...

sorry to hear this book wasn't very useful, and didn't have much for pictures (which is my favorite part) the cover is pretty though.

Serena said...

It was useful. I just prefer guides with more photos.

Serena said...

Sherry: I'm not sure how to contribute to Is there a specific procedure?