Oahu, Hawai’i – Honolulu, North Beach, Waikiki and more!
Oahu, Hawai’i is a popular vacation spot for American’s and international guests alike, it was a matter of time before we ventured to the sliver of US soil surrounded by water. With only a few days there, we wanted to make the most and engaged in a lot of fun activities (and celebrity sightings).
Score Card: 7.5/10
- Transportation: 5/10 (if you want to get around in the morning or late evening, the roads are clear. Most other times you’ll find yourself in traffic. Public transit was available but generally inconvenient and slow.)
- Price: 6/10 (some things are inexpensive like snorkel and surfboard rentals but other things are slightly above average like hotels and car rentals)
- Safety: 5/10 (we were warned about theft on several occasions and heard about crime on the news but didn’t see anything ourselves)
- Food: 8/10 (there was food around every corner and there was something for all pallets and tastes)
- Culture: 8/10 (Hawaiian experiences were plentiful but most of the time they were paid experiences)
- History: 7/10 (Pearl Harbor was the center historical experience but the geographical history was abundant as well)
- Excitement: 7/10 (there were many outdoor exciting experiences to take part in)
- Awe Inspiring: 8/10 (beauty was there to take in if you took a second to look around)
- Technology Equipped: 9/10 (we had service in most areas and traveled around most of the island)
- Female Friendly: 9/10 (It’s a safe and friendly city for women)
- Solo Travel Recommended: 9/10 (everyone is friendly and there are a lot of solo outdoor activities to take part in as well)
- Language Barrier: 10/10 (if you speak English you’re good to go, if you speak Japanese it’s the second most popular language)
Where to go:
- Renting a car from the airport is more economical than elsewhere, from our experience.
- Hotels get pricey but Airbnb has lodging options that are much more affordable if you can book in advance!
- There are a lot of deals in Waikiki for excursions elsewhere for up to 50% off. If possible, shop online for deals or wait until you get there an get an even better deal on shark dives, turtle snorkels, etc.
- There are a lot of cool things to see and do in Oahu but you’ll need a car to get around OR take advantage of the shuttles many of the excursions provide from Waikiki.
Description: Contrary to the name, Sharks cove isn’t home to any sharks (that we’re aware of) but is home to a lot of turtles, little seas creatures and fishies! There is a spot across the street from it where you can rent snorkels for $15 for the day (North Shore Surf Shop).
Location: 59-712 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Cost: free – $15
Hours: sunrise to sunset
Website / Tickets: n/a
Notes: It’s less popular than some other locations BUT we think the wildlife and just as plentiful if not more and because there are fewer people, it’s a more peaceful snorkeling experience.
Hawaiian Style Rentals
Description: Grab a scooter and breeze around town!
Location: 2556 Lemon Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
Hours: they have rentals until 5pm (when the venue closes) and longer
Website / Tickets: HawaiianStyleRentals.com
Notes: They push a $25 insurance fee, unless you’re returning it past business hours — we felt like our scooters were safe when we locked them up as were instructed
Description: Go surfing, go scuba diving, do snorkeling, enjoy the nightlife, etc. — it’s the lively place on the roughly 39sq mile island
Location: Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, HI 96815
Website / Tickets: n/a
Description: This secret spot is right off the main road, only a 1/2 mile hike in and will breath life into waterfall jumpers hearts. Park in the cemetery parking lot near the back. You’ll notice a trail that starts where the building and the parking lot meet — follow it back and after a few minutes you’ll see the waterfall. Walk across the stream and then follow the train up to the top – jump at your own risk
Location: 2302 Pali Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96813
Hours: Before the cemetery closes
Website / Tickets: n/a
Description: If you want a beautiful tandem or fun jumper parachuting experience — this is your place. It’s along the ocean so you’ll have breathtaking views as you hurl toward earth.
Location: 68-760 Farrington Hwy, Waialua, HI 96791
Cost: $149+ for tandems, $30+ for fun jumpers
Hours: they open at 6am with the first group going up before 7am (weather permitting)
Website / Tickets: PacificSkydivingHonolulu.com
Notes: Their staff is very nice and they do a good job accommodating people that are staying in Waikiki with a free shuttle at least twice a day with online reservations. Get there early if you are walking in as the winds pick up as the day goes on and it’s common for them to be done on or before 11am due to strong winds.
Costs: $1750 for 2 people for a 4 night, 5 day Oahu trip
- $800 ($400 round trip flight from SFO to HNL (Honolulu International Airport) x 2 people)
- $30 ($10 x 3) Haleiwa Bowls Acia Surf Bowl shared
- $45 car rental for the day
- $188 Hotel rental for the night
- $105 scooter rental for the day including theft insurance
- $16 Breakfast shared
- $30 ($15 x 2) Snorkel Rental
- $75 ‘Fun Jumper’ costs for gear rental ($35), parachute packing ($10), and airplane ticket ($30)
- $35 breakfast at the resort shared
- $160 ( $80 each) Shark dive
- $100 Roy’s meal and dessert (shared)
- $75 Morimoto dinner and dessert (shared)
- $25 dinner in Waikiki (shared)
- $26 dinner in Waikiki (shared)
- $25 lunch at burger join (shared)
- $15 surfboard rental
- $ 0.00 resort cost was comp’d for 3 nights as we stayed with a friend
- 1pm Leave SFO
- 3pm land in Honolulu and head to the Resort
- 5pm: head to dinner at Roy’s for 6pm reservation
- 6am leave for the Shark Diving adventure and grab snacks on the way
- 8am Shark Diving Appointment, go in cages and observe sharks
- 10am Haleiwa Bowls for a snack
- Noon Stand Up Paddle board rental
- Grab lunch at Kua Aina Burger
- 2:30pm Head back to hotel, take scenic route around east side of the island
- 6:30pm dinner reservation at Morimoto’s
- 9am breakfast at the Resort
- 10:30am go to pickup scooters and grab snacks
- Noon stop at Makapuu beach to play
- 5pm Grab lunch/dinner in Waikiki
- 6pm Spend time in the hot tub at the resort
- 7:30am return scooter rental in Waikiki
- 8:30am grab breakfast at Eggs N Things
- 9:30am check into Waikiki hotel on the beach
- 10am rent surfboards
- 12:30 head out for lunch near the hotel
- 2:30 grab a car rental
- 3pm head to Kapena falls for waterfall jumping
- 5pm head back to the hotel
- 7pm eat leftovers
- 7am leave for North Shore
- 8:30am Skydiving experience as a fun jumper
- 11am check to see if we can get another shark dive in without the cage (they were booked
- 11:15am have a Haleiwa Bowls for a snack
- 11:30am rent snorkels and go snorkeling in Sharks Cove
- 12:15pm head back to the airport
- 2:30pm return car rental at HNL and head to SFO
- 11pm land in SFO
- It rains a lot, as in almost everyday from what we noticed. However, the rain only lasts a few minutes before it usually passes and the sun comes back out. Thus, there are a lot of rainbows and why it’s so closely associated with the beautiful feature.
- Island time is thing, if you are expecting fast service change that mindset and give yourself extra time while out to eat