As of August 2018, this article (content, links, suggestions) are being updated. Thank you for being patient! — Bruddah Ron
Enjoy the tourist experience in Waikiki!
Waikiki is a great place for you to either stay in or visit during your trip. It is geared for visitors and offers a lot to eat, drink, see, and do in the area (tip: for those on a budget, please see my article about Where Can I Find A Cheap Place to Stay in Hawaii).
About Today’s Plan
The first step in your Hawaiian vacation is arriving and then going to your hotel in Waikiki (for most of you). You should check-in to your hotel and pick up supplies.
Don’t plan on traveling around the island today because you will find plenty of entertainment and good food around your hotel. Most of you will probably spend most of today at the beach. Waikiki has so much to do that you can easily spend 2-3 days here and not be bored.
A Local's Advice
Watch your valuables at the beach! Hawaii is a safe place, but petty thieves like to target tourists. Leave your wallets at your hotel if you can. If you do bring them and need to leave them unattended, cover them with a hat or put them under your beach mat.
Transportation from the airport
Use Uber. Uber is an amazing alternative to a taxi. I’ve tried being a driver myself in Honolulu. I would not want to do it full-time, but it was a nice change to my regular job, and I was able to chat with a lot of fun tourists. Anyway, this is the new best method I recommend. It’s great for airport trips, times when you want to drink and not drive, plan to stay out late, or if you want to go somewhere far from a bus stop. It’s also INCREDIBLY cheap when you have 4 people and split the fare. For example, going from Waikiki to the airport might be as low as $12 for Uber X (a sedan, and not counting traffic or high demand aka “Surge”). However, note that that same route from the airport to Waikiki costs around $35. This is due to airport rides from the Aiport having a surcharge. Sign up for UBER with my link and get a discount on your first ride. Also great is that with the app, your credit card is associated, so you won’t need to worry about carrying cash.
• 1-800-387-1831 (toll-free US/Canada)
• 24-hour service
• airport to Waikiki = $30 (flat-rate)
• make reservations from 9am – 9pm
Use a shuttle bus. Shuttles can be cheap, but the fare is per person and it is slower than a taxi because the driver must wait for all passengers and there will be multiple stops along the way. If you do take a shuttle, I recommend making a reservation with Roberts Hawaii airport shuttle for $12 one-way or $20 round-trip, per person.
Use the public bus. The cheapest method (and slowest) is to use The Bus. However, no luggage is allowed on The Bus. Bus fare is $2.50 for adults and $1.25 for kids. The #19 and #20 buses go through downtown and into Waikiki.
Here are some things you should consider buying as soon as you arrive. If you’re staying in Waikiki, you can find all of these items at the ABC Stores, which are EVERYWHERE and open 24/7.
- rubber slippers (official footwear of beach-goers)
- straw beach mat or beach towel
- floaties / inflatable water tube/ inflatable beds
- body board
- snacks and refreshments to bring back to your room
Entertainment and Activities
For those of you staying in Waikiki, there is plenty to see and do. Here are just some things that you can do in the area.
Relax at Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach is a short walk from every hotel. There are a lot of nicer beaches than Waikiki (which I will tell you about), but you will be happy with this one. If you have kids with you or you want to relax in your floaties, you should swim behind the wall, which is a rock wall that shields the beach from waves. During high tide, the deepest section is only about 5 feet deep.
Hike up Diamond Head Crater
Diamond Head Crater
• $5 entrance fee (by car)
• $1 entrance fee (walk-in)
See penguins in Hawaii.
UPDATE 8/2018: The penguins are gone! Sorry!
Did you know that there are penguins in Hawaii? If you walk past the main lobby of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, you can see penguins and flamingos hanging out in their hotel habitat. The chubby, little fellas go into their caves at night, so visit during the daytime.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village also has a beautiful man-made lagoon. You are free to see it, but you must be an actual guest to rent equipment from them.
See other animals.
• 9am – 4:30pm
• adults = $14, kids = $6
• 9am – 4:30pm
• adults = $9, kids = $4/$2
If you have children with you, you can see visit the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium. Both are a short walk away from the main Waikiki area, towards Kapiolani park. The Honolulu Zoo also offers a night tour.