Day 1 – Waikiki

Day 1 – Waikiki

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.


Photo by Alan LightWaikiki Beach isn’t the most beautiful on the island, but it’s a welcome sight for tourists!

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.

More Info

A8 Taxi
• 808-227-1111
• 1-800-387-1831 (toll-free US/Canada)
• 24-hour service
• airport to Waikiki = $30 (flat-rate)
• make reservations from 9am – 9pm

Use a taxi shuttle. I recommend using A8 Taxi‘s Honolulu Airport-to-Waikiki shuttle service for a flat-rate of $30. You can 4 passengers in the taxi. If you forget to reserve a taxi shuttle, you can still use a regular taxi outside the arrival area. Typical taxi fare from the Airport to Waikiki is $38, but Honolulu traffic could make it more 8O.

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.

Shopping list

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.

  • sunscreen/sunblock
  • rubber slippers (official footwear of beach-goers)
  • hat
  • swimsuit
  • straw beach mat or beach towel
  • floaties / inflatable water tube/ inflatable beds
  • body board
  • sunglasses
  • snacks and refreshments to bring back to your room
  • postcards

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.

If you’re not a strong swimmer, you can swim behind the wall, which absorbs motion from the ocean. Photo by markyeg

Hike up Diamond Head Crater

More Info

Diamond Head Crater
• 6am-6pm
• $5 entrance fee (by car)
• $1 entrance fee (walk-in)

If you take a look around while you’re at the beach, you’ll notice a big mountainous formation in the distance. That’s Diamond Head Crater. It’s a small hike and it’s not a true hike, as there are a lot of concrete steps. In total, it’s about 1.5 miles. The hike has stairs and is really tame (compared to some of the other rugged hikes I’ve been on). The entrance is over 2 miles from Waikiki, so you can take the bus, walk, or catch a taxi there. If you need more directions or want to see pictures, check out my guide on hiking Diamond Head. This isn’t a great hike, but it’s the best one in Honolulu, which has only a few hiking trails.

This is what you’ll be hiking up. Photo by Steve Jurvetson

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.

Penguins at the Hilton Hawaiian Village
A flock of penguins at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

See other animals.

More Info

Honolulu Zoo
• 808-971-7171
• 9am – 4:30pm
• adults = $14, kids = $6

More Info

Waikiki Aquarium
• 808-923-9741
• 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.

14 thoughts on “Day 1 – Waikiki

  1. I really appreciate your information about using airport shuttle services. My husband and I would like to save costs where we can, and that sounds really helpful. We will start looking into an airport shuttle service.

  2. Hey great tips on here. You’ve really helped with our upcoming holiday plans. Thanks!
    One more thing though. Can you recommend any particular Luau? My wife’s keen on the idea but from what i can gather, there’s a wide range of opinions on the various choices.

  3. Thanks for tips. Going to try them out in June. If you are ever in New Zealand, I will give you some tips.

  4. Thank you for a great post. Could anybody get that type of information in such a perfect approach of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m look for such information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *