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How To Do Waikiki And Oahu On The Cheap (But Not Missing Out) Guide

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Picture of How To Do Waikiki And Oahu On The Cheap (But Not Missing Out) Guide
Welcome to SB Designs' Waikiki and Oahu on the Cheap (but not missing out) Guide.

This guide WILL SAVE YOU MONEY! It is a no frills guide to not spending much hard-earned money in the tourist haven of Waikiki, on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, U.S.A., whilst seeing almost all it has to offer. There are many free or very inexpensive attractions. Hikes, swims, cheap meals, and free entertainment! There are many tips to avoid paying too much (or at all).
You could of course buy a Lonely Planet Guide for $US20, but why pay when this is FREE and already customized to the desires of the budget traveler!

My guide also has the benefit of being prepared by a bona fide discount traveler.
I visited Waikiki in August 2007 for 7 days, and ate well, saw almost everything possible, and didn't spend a fortune whilst doing it. I got most of the information before I arrived from the Lonely Planet Guide to Hawaii (now you don't need to). Everything listed below I saw/did inside 7 days (Phew!).

I don't believe that I am a cheapskate (although some of my friends may disagree), but I don't like to pay through the nose, when a bit of pre-planning and thought can achieve the same or an even better outcome for less!

Note: This guide is NOT a front for advertising of any establishments, it is simply a guide to places I visited that didn't cost an arm and/or a leg, and tips for making your dollar go further.

Note 2: Please excuse my Australian spelling!

Disclaimer: These tips are current as of my August 2007 holiday. Things change, don't hold me responsible!

It includes:

Accommodation tips,
Must-see places, and how to get there,
Pearl Harbor,
The Lost campsite,
The original starting point for the Gilligan's Island 3 Hr Tour,
How to get around Oahu on the Bus,
10km hike through the forest canopy, with spectacular views,
A Free Signed Historical Walk through Waikiki,
Diamond Head Crater Walk,
Free Hula Show,
Free Movies on the beach,
Cheap Eats, and local delicacies,
Where to go jogging,
Free Internet,
Where to snorkel,
Shopping and Souvenirs,
Downtime at the Airport.
 
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Step 1: Getting Started

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Before you arrive:
-Google Earth your hotel before arrive in Waikiki, and get a feel for the general layout of Waikiki and Oahu.
-A paper copy of this Instructable.
-Download and print copies of documents recommended in this Instructable.
-Borrow a library, or a friend's copy of the Lonely Planet Guide for Hawaii.
-Always have a pen and paper/diary with you to note down any bargains for later in your trip.
-Pack a snorkel, mask and fins (borrow if you have to) if you plan on lots of snorkeling.

Accomodation (this one's up to you)
Although cheap, hostels are also crowded, noisy and poorly maintained. I don't know about you, but the only party I want to hear is my own! It doesn't cost much more for a private room in hotel.
There are plenty of cheap hotels around. Most places cost more for a beach view, so choose a city/mountain view room where possible (avoid facing directly down to Kuhio Ave, as there are loud buses almost 24hrs a day).
After reading through Lonely Planet and reviews on the internet at www.lonelyplanet.com, www.google.com etc., I booked online and stayed at Waikiki Grand at the Diamond Head end of the Waikiki strip at www.waikikigrand.com. From reviews, I was aware that a Gay Bar was located beside the ground floor, but I hardly heard a sound from it from my room. I simply clicked on the hotel's Book Reservations link and found a cheap room. On arrival I was upgraded to an awesome beach and Diamond Head view for FREE! by doing nothing extra. Room was nothing special, but tidy, and included a basic delivered breakfast and newspaper. Next time I'm in Waikiki, I'll book definitely there again!
So read your borrowed copy of Lonely Planet Hawaii, get online, and make your choice.
Usual Hotel Tip: Don't use the Mini-Bar. Go to an ABC store (see below) for all of your supplies.

As soon as you arrive:
-At the airport, find a brochure stand, and collect a few Free Maps and Tourist Magazines (see below), to get you started, and fill in time on the shuttle.
-Then grab a Shuttle (all pretty much the same) to your Hotel, make sure that you buy a Return Ticket, it's cheaper ($US14 vs $US8 + 8). Just remember, when arranging at your Hotel's desk to book a shuttle back to the airport to show them your ticket, so that they know which company to ring. A bus would be even cheaper, but at this stage you probably aren't exactly certain where everything is, and they don't allow much luggage on board.

Once you have checked in:
-Go for a walk up Kalakua Avenue, which is the main strip along the beach, to get to know your surroundings, and
-Visit the Visitor Information Center, located in a Gazebo at the Diamond Head end of the Waikiki strip, Corner of Kapahulu and Kalakaua.
The staff are very helpful, and have just about every possible brochure available, including individual bus route/timetables. They have a very good handout on Getting to/From Diamond Head State Park. Collect TheBus System Map, also.
-Collect many of the numerous Free Tourist magazines, (What's on/This Week in Waikiki, etc.) from stands on most main street corners in Waikiki and hotel lobbys (plus at the Airport). Collect as many different magazines as possible, so as to see all discount offers.
-Collect Free Maps of Waikiki and Oahu, from the same places as above. Again, collect many different ones.
-Avoid conversing with Booking Stands, as they often advertise more expensive versions of tours and activities, many that you can simply do on your own for free. Just look at the displays from a short distance to see what's on offer.
-TheBus System Map, (Visitor Information Centre, and some other places), has all bus routes around Waikiki and Oahu.
-ABC stores are on almost every corner. Stock up on bottled water (bulk packs), cans of soda (mixers), and alcohol. Very reasonably priced. Great place for cheap souvenirs.

A basic online starting map can be found at www.planetware.com/map/waikiki-map-us-hi183.htm or www.waikiki.us/images/waikiki-map.jpg

Step 2: Getting Around

Getting Around Waikiki and Oahu

TheBus
There is no need to hire a costly rental car (and almost zero free car parks at any hotel), as The Bus is so reliable and cheap. You may be able to get around the entire island of Oahu for $US4, depending on your starting location, and how many stops you make!
It costs only $US2 per trip, which includes one transfer. This allows you to take two bus trips for the one price. You simply collect a transfer coupon off the driver and hand it in to the next bus driver (transfers have a two-hour limit stamped on them).
All Buses are tidy, on-time, air-conditioned, and the drivers are courteous.
The main bus route hub is at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Do some shopping/window shopping here between trips.
If you have a particular place you want to visit on Waikiki/Oahu, go to The Bus website and check out the bus routes and timetables ahead of time.
Tip 1: Always make sure that you have plenty of $1 bills or coins, as the drivers don't handle change.
Tip 2: Don't forget to ask for a Transfer coupon from the driver to ensure that you get the second leg of the journey included in your $2!

On Foot around Waikiki
The entire shopping and eating area of Waikiki is fairly accessible from most hotels by foot, provided you have a moderate level of fitness. Just make sure that you have a basic map with you. It is quite easy to keep your bearings as you can usually go by the direction of the beach, the mountains/Ala Wai Canal, or Diamond Head. It does get quite hot, so take a backpack with bottled water. Also don't forget that ABC stores are everywhere and sell refrigerated bottled water.

Step 3: Free and Cheap Stuff

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FREE Stuff in Waikiki

Starting at the airport end of Waikiki (opposite of the Diamond Head end), here are a number of free attractions.
The Gilligan's Island Harbor
Remember where the 3 Hour Tour started from at the beginning of the TV show? Well, it's here at Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. Check out some rather large pleasure craft. It's at the airport end of Waikiki between Hawaiian Prince and the Hilton Lagoon. Nothing special, but well worth a photo!
US Army Museum of Hawaii
Awesome displays and artifacts from both Hawaiian wars and WWII.
Waikiki Beach
Just have a swim, paddle, snorkel, body-surf, sun bake, sleep, whatever floats your boat!
Royal Hawaiian Hotel (the big pink, old looking one)
Free tours 2pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center (In the Fountain Courtyard)
Torch Lighting ceremony nightly from 6 to 6.15pm.
30 minute Polynesian show 6.15pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Polynesian show 10 to 11.30am Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
Hula Lessons 10am Monday, Friday.
Lei-making lessons 11am Monday, Wednesday.
Ukulele lessons 10am Tuesday, Thursday and 11.30am Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Sheraton Moana Surfrider (looks like an old Plantation Inn)
Free tours at 11am and 5pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Wizard Stones of Kapaemahu
On Kalakaua, beside Police Station. They are said to contain the secrets and healing powers of four sorcerers.
Duke Kahanamoku Statue
Just Diamond Head side of the Wizard Stones. Hawaii's most decorated athlete, who brought surfing to the world.
Hula Mound
Most nights of the week there is some form of free entertainment at the Hula Mound (200m Diamond Head side of Duke's Statue on Kalakaua), at 6pm. Hula shows predominantly.
Oceanarium Restaurant
From the hotel lobby of the Pacific Beach Hotel you can easily see a massive aquarium that divides two restaurants (very expensive food). Divers feed the fish at noon, 1pm, 6.30pm and 8pm.
The Wall (and Groin)
Built on top of a storm water outlet, this is a great little walk out to the end, to get a different view of Waikiki beach. You can watch surfers and boogie boarders at very close quarters.
Sunset at the Beach festival (not August)
Every Saturday and Sunday, except in August, the Mayor throws a beach party. Queen's Surf Beach. Hawaiian bands perform from 4pm to sunset, then when darkness falls, a huge screen is set-up to watch a feature movie! Tables and chairs are set up. Food stalls galore, with nothing over $US6!
Free concerts (not August)
Sunday 2 to 3pm, the Royal Hawaiian Band, at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand.
Friday 5.30 to 6.30pm, different Hawaiian groups each week, at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand.
Kapiolani Park and Beach Park
Gorgeous, well manicured place for relaxing. On weekends, the locals relax, swim, and grill on the barbeque.
Waikiki Historic Trail
Look out for the surfboard markers with historical information about a particular area. 23 in total, you can walk it all in one day, or just complete sections whilst visiting other nearby areas. Definitely print out the text and map from www.waikikihistorictrail.com.
Walk along Waikiki beach at sunset
Sample the outdoor Hawaiian shows at the beachfront hotels. See musicians playing at Sheraton Moana Surfrider's Banyan Veranda, Duke's Canoe Club or poolside performers at Sheraton Waikiki.
Kalakaua at night
Street Performers and buskers abound. Also enjoy the antics of the mentally deranged homeless (I know that's not PC but it is free and entertaining).

Not Free, but CHEAP
Waikiki Aquarium
$US9, supposed to be quite good. A great place to identify all of the fish you will/have seen snorkeling.
Honolulu Zoo
$US6, how good is that. Just be aware that it closes at 4.30pm. Occasionally they have a jazz night after hours.

Step 4: Attractions

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Attractions near Waikiki

Diamond Head
This is a must visit, as it is so close to Waikiki, and it stares down at you every day! Make sure that you have picked up the Getting to/From Diamond Head brochure (a photocopied single sheet), from the Visitor Information Booth (see Once you have checked in) . It explains which buses and how to get to the entry booth. $US1 entry! It is a tough but fair walk, which is rewarded with some exceptional views. Take water. The return trip from the entry booth is about 1hr. Make sure you haven't overeaten, as vomit puddles are often evident during your walk! If you can't get the brochure, it is Bus 58 or 22 to the base of the access road (Diamond Head Crater Sign), walk up a tough little hill, through the tunnel and across to the entry booth. Reverse the process home. If you're feeling exceptionally fit you can walk back to Waikiki, but it'll be quite hot by that stage! As my hotel was at the Kapiolani Park end of Waikiki, I chose to walk home, and had lunch at the Diamond Head Market and Grill (Grilled 'ahi (tuna steak) sandwich, yummy!), but I was exhausted by the end. Check out my home-made version instructable of the Waikiki 'ahi SandwichWaikiki 'ahi Sandwich.

Pearl Harbor

A must see.
Catch the Bus No 42 and City Express-A, taking about an hour. The No. 20 Bus will also get you there, but it detours through the airport, costing you an extra 15 minutes.
Free entry, but get there relatively early so that you're session time (for the video presentation to start the tour) is close to your arrival time. If you arrive at noon you may not be starting the tour until 3pm (if there are any tickets left). These tickets cannot be pre-booked and must be collected in person (so as to stop tour companies snapping up all of the good ones). You are limited in what you can take on the tour with you, but lockers can be hired. I basically took my camera without it's bag. Your admission ticket is a nice memento.
Whilst waiting for your session, you can fill in time in the gift shop or adjoining museum (excellent artifacts), or for a longer time-filler walk across the car park to the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and enjoy the free displays in the park (Missile, torpedoes etc.) It costs extra to go into the museum or board the submarine, so enjoy the surrounds, and you can still get quite close to the sub.

Attractions around Oahu

The Lost campsite
Warning: Apparently all of the props from this campsite were removed in Summer 2008! Now it's just a beach with some history!

On Bus No. 52 get off at Papailoa Rd, 2km North of Hale'iwa, on the Kamehameha Hwy. Then walk down Papailoa Rd. A few houses before the massive No Entry sign at end of the road, turn right through a dirt track to the beach. Walk 500m South and there is the campsite and Mr. Eko's church, from the TV Series Lost. There are security guards so don't enter it, just go up to the nylon fencing and take your photos. By all means have a chat with the guards (who knows, they might take you through!). As I was leaving the beach a huge turtle was swimming in the shallows!

North Shore

May to October is calm, so it's a snorkeler's paradise.
November to April is Big Surf. Not for the faint-hearted. Death-wish required.
Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach are here.
Tip: Watch out for Da Hui, fiercely-defensive locals. Respect.

Island Round Trip

From the Ala Moana Center, Catch the No. 52 (Wahiawa-Circle). It goes all the way via Hale'iwa and the Nortn Shore up to Turtle Bay Resort, and then becomes the No. 55. The bus then makes its way along the Windward coast before heading under the Nu'uanu Pali Cliffs and down the Pali Hwy, back to the Ala Moana Center. The trip takes about 4 hours minimum. Depending on your stops, this should cost well under $US10.

Step 5: Recreation

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Hiking
There are plenty of hikes to do not too far from Waikiki. For detailed trail maps go to www.hawaiitrails.org . Always take plenty of water!! The 10km hike that I completed was tough, but fair. I went in an Easterly direction, but due to the splintered tracks initially, I would suggest a Westerly walk, to avoid any confusion. Catch the No. 5 (Manoa Valley) from Ala Moana Center to the furthest point of Manoa Rd then walk 500m north following signs to the start of the Manoa Falls Trail. The walk to the waterfall is relatively easy and enjoyable. The waterfall itself is quite spectacular. Just prior to the waterfall, on the left is the Aihualama Trail, so take this after having a nice rest at the falls. Head west along the Aihualama Trail for 1km, then it stops at a junction (Panoa Flats Trail), turn right, and after 500m uphill, you will come to an awesome lookout across the Nu'uanu valley. You can see the ocean to the north from here. Turn back down the Panoa Flats Trail, and return past the junction for another 200m. Turn right at the Nu'uanu Trail and follow this. Stay on this track (which includes awesome views of Waikiki and Pearl Harbor) until it reaches the Judd Trail Loop, and turn right. Follow the Loop trail until you can turn right, cross the Nu'uanu stream and exit onto the Old Pali Rd. Walk left along this road until the corner of Kimo & Nu'uanu Pali Dr/Old Pali Dr, and take the No. 4 bus back to Ala Moana Center. A photocopied version, well worth printing out is at www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw/nah/HonoluluMaukaTrailsSystem.pdf
Jogging
Go for an early morning jog along Waikiki beach, as it's deserted. Other popular morning and evening (due to the heat) areas to jog, are along the Ala Wai Canal, Kapiolani Park and Kapiolani Beach Park.

Snorkelling
Queens Surf Beach
Awesome safe snorkelling right off the beach. Heaps of colourful fish. I even saw a morey eel. If you swim out to the end of The Wall or (especially) around the end of the rock wall at the other end of Queens Surf Beach, you will be rewarded by some massive fish. You might even find the odd ring or coins in the shallows that have been lost by frolicking tourists!
Shark's Cove (May to October)
Catch the Around Island Bus (No. 52) and get off at Pupukea Beach Park. Safe, easy entry. Absolutely teeming with fish. Nearby change rooms. Then grab an 'ahi (tuna steak) sandwich at Shark's Cove Grill (little white trailer next to Foodland) opposite. Yummy!
Tip: I didn't bother to go to Hanauma Bay as it was out of the way and apparently has been loved to death by over a million visitors a year trampling on the coral.
Turtle Bay
Haven' snorkeled there, but apparently it's great. It's at the end of the No. 52, and the start of the No. 55.

Step 6: Free Internet and Cheap Shopping/Souvenirs


Free Internet
The only free internet I could find any information about was at Hula's (Gay) Bar on Kapahulu. So I cautiously, but confidently strutted in like I knew what I was doing, and ordered a beer. It was like a parody of The Birdcage and a Village People music video, combined! I then spotted the three computers and found out that No drinks are permitted near Computers. Quickly drank beer, quickly checked email, and got the heck outta Dodge!
Next time I'll just use the cheap internet available at most of the Hostels. But it was memorable!

Shopping/Souvenirs
ABC stores have everything you could think of, and cheap. But for some variety try:
International Market Place on Kalakaua Ave, my favorite. Has an enormous variety of souvenir stalls and shops. If you can't find it her, you won't find it!
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center on Kalakaua Ave
Kalakaua Ave has plenty of souvenir shops along it.
Recommended gifts:
Kona Coffee, Tiki statuettes/carvings, postcards, T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, hats.

Step 7: Where to Eat

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Breakfast

As breakfast was included (and delivered to my room), I never ventured from my balcony (did I mention the Ocean and Diamond Head View!). So I can't help you.

Lunch/Snacks

Fatty's Chinese Kitchen is a hole in the wall at Kuhio and Duke's Lane. Very popular with locals.
Aloha Sushi is in a few different locations. Try the Musubi (see Local Delicacies).
For a cheap lunch, try any of the vendors at the Food Court at the International Market Place, or at Ala Moana Center.
Rainbow Drive-In has it all, and cheap.
Diamond Head Market and Grill, a bit out of the way, but the grilled 'ahi sandwich is a taste sensation.
Shark's Cove Grill on North Shore has an awesome 'ahi sandwich.

Dinner

Keep an eye out for specials. Some restaurants have a seated before 6 special. Cut out coupons from the Tourist magazines.
For a very cheap dinner, try any of the vendors at the Food Court at the International Market Place.
Also try the Seaside Bar & Grill (not close to the seaside!) at Kuhio and Seaside. Early bird specials (before 7pm) are sensational (New York Steak - $US9.95). Sunset Dinner Special (4pm to 10pm) $11.95 for 2 items with sides (e.g.: Island Mahi Mahi and Jumbo Fried Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Herb Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Garlic Bread & Salad!!).

Local Delicacies

Saimen: Local-style noodle soup. YUMMY!
Musubi (Spam Sushi Roll): Yes, a pan-fried strip of Spam in a rice filled nori California Roll. It's YUMMY!
Loco Moco: An amalgamation of rice, fried egg and hamburger patty, topped with gravy and a dash of shoyu. AWESOME!!
Bento: A sushi lunchbox.
Shave Ice: Extreme snow cone, very sweet.
Plate Lunch: A fixed plate meal, two scoops rice, one scoop macaroni and an entree.

Drinking

As this can easily blow a budget, and is a matter of personal preference, I'll leave it up to you.
Cheap alcohol at ABC stores.

Step 8: Going Home (Boo!)

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Downtime at the Airport
After you've checked in, you will most likely have quite a wait before your flight. So head on downstairs to the beautiful, enormous, and of course free, Airport Garden. Located on the concourse level, it has three distinct areas: A Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian Garden. It is very tranquil. I spent almost one hour in there looking at all the plants and chillaxing in the meditative areas. Until a leaf-blower started up!

And finally:
I hope this helps you out. Waikiki and Oahu don't have to break your budget, in fact whilst I saw almost everything humanly possible inside 7 days, I found I spent less money than expected!
If you have any further tips or places to eat/see, feel free to comment, or email me at sbdesigns@hotmail.com, and I'll credit you on any updated versions.
Steve - sbdesigns
RonL44 months ago

Local Hawaii guy here... I definitely agree that there's plenty to do for free. Hikes and beaches are all free. I'd probably recommend a rental car if going to the North Shore -- bus wait times are kind of bad.

Here are some articles that you might find helpful:

www.thehawaiiplan.com/oahu-day1-waikiki/

and some ideas for cheap lodging:

www.thehawaiiplan.com/where-can-i-find-a-cheap-place-to-stay-in-hawaii/

Hahaha, loved the post! Very funny, and super useful! Thank you for all the tips!!!

brookexzcason5 months ago

I have always wanted to go to Hawaii! I have friends who go in January or February almost every year. It is my goal to go within the next two or three years. I'm not sure when the best time is to buy tickets. Does the time of year you go have a big influence on the amount of money you will spend? http://www.breakers-hawaii.com

ViperSRT3g1 year ago

It's been a long while since I was last home, but I think the International Market Place has since closed down.

bluecor2 years ago
HAHAHA. ABC Stores are not cheap by Hawaii standards. A better option would be to head away from Diamondhead up AlaMoana and get to Palama Korean grocery for drinks, snacks, and booze.
abadfart2 years ago
when i when i got to stay at the finest resort on the island... quins medical center... they medevaced me from a neighboring island
malweth3 years ago
Hilton Hawaiian Village has fireworks every Friday evening. You can see these from many public places.
saidthety3 years ago
A great place for 'upscale' authentic Hawaiian plate lunches is Kaka'ako Kitchen, across from Ward Center (where Dave and Buster's is). I've been there several times now, and have yet to be disappointed in anything I've had there. They have some of the best Loco Moco I've had on the island.

Also, for people that want to venture out of Honolulu and onto the North Shore, ignore the shrimp trucks. A lot of tourists swear by them, but they're really not that special, and they're quite expensive for food you're buying out of a van (expect to pay over $10 a plate at any shrimp truck for a couple of shrimp and some old rice).

My favorite North-Shore eateries are Hauula Korean BBQ, the Hukilau Cafe, and Ted's Bakery (can't believe this one wasn't mentioned already). Hauula Korean BBQ is an awesome hole-in-the-wall Korean BBQ place in Hauula- the tiny town just before Laie (where the Polynesian Cultural Center is). The Hukilau Cafe is on the opposite end of Laie from the Polynesian Cultural Center. It's off the main road, but I believe there's a sign for it. Turn onto the road opposite Hukilau beach. They have great burgers. The Kahuku Grill is also a good choice, although I like The Hukilau's burgers slightly better. The Kahuku grill blows it away when it comes to desserts though, they have an amazing banana bread sundae.

Ted's pies are basically famous here on Oahu. While I definitely recommend stopping by Ted's if you're in the area, you can find Ted's pies at many Foodland grocery stores. My personal favorite is the Pumpkin-Haupia (coconut cream). It may sound like a strange combination, but they compliment each other very well.

If you pass through Wahiawa, hit up Maui Mike's. By far my favorite 'Huli-Huli' (Rotisserie) Chicken on the island. The chicken sandwiches here are ridiculously good. I wish this place was closer to my house.
saidthety3 years ago
I've snorkeled all over Oahu, and I don't think I'd be able to recommend a better spot for visitors than Hanauma bay. Whoever told you that Hanauma Bay has been trampled to death is wrong. There's still plenty of sea life to see- in fact, the fish in Hanauma Bay are some of the largest reef fish I've seen on the island. The only downsides are that you have to watch a ~20 minute long video before they let you onto the beach (telling you not to feed/bother the wildlife or walk on the coral, etc.), and it's a steep walk too and from the beach. A trolley makes regular trips up and down the hill, but it costs money (can't recall the price off the top of my head). It's worth the price for the trolley back up the hill, especially if you have a lot of gear.

Sharks Cove is a great place to go during the Spring and Summer. The reason why it's inadvisable to go during the Winter months is because Sharks Cove is on the North Shore, and is susceptible to the swells the North Shore receives during the winter months.

Not many tourists are willing to venture out on the west coast, especially into Waianae, but for individuals looking for some good snorkeling on that side of the island, Pokai Bay is pretty good. There are a couple rock walls- one on the public side and one on the military side (you can just walk/swim across the beach to the military side if you want) that have lots of interesting sea life- fish, eels, cuttlefish- I've even seen a couple octopuses. If you're lucky, you can see the spinner dolphins jumping out of water just outside the bay too.
I am about to test out Steve's advice this weekend and contribute soon.
He did not mention the Waikiki Trolley which I think is another to way travel cheap around Waikiki. They have different lines for different destinations around Oahu. Thank you for sharing your work Sbdesigns.
sbdesigns (author)  kalvintran20113 years ago
I'd love to hear how your trip went. It would be especially interesting to see if much had changed since '07.
Mrballeng4 years ago
This is real good info. Thanks for taking the time to post this.
alspyce4 years ago
does anyone know if the go oahu card is a great value?
saidthety5 years ago
Just to add to locations to pick souvenirs- The swap meet/Flea market that's held at the stadium has a lot of the same stuff that they sell in the International Marketplace. A lot of it is cheaper too.
D4V!D5 years ago
 I grew up on Oahu and spent a lot of time entertaining visiting relatives.  this ible is awesome.  I was worried that you would give too much (you mention a lot of great places for tourists to get off the beaten path but leave plenty for the locals to have for ourselves).  I'm a little disappointed you mentioned Sharks Cove (one of my favorite places to dive)  Great Job!
tedroz5 years ago
Make sure when you are booking activities that you never go with people on the streets that try to sell you things, they are not reliable! A good place to find the best prices from various companies is http://www.oahuforcheap.com
For Oahu-Ditto the comments about "the bus".
Don't miss the Honolulu Academy of Arts...
they have a few free days; and beautiful grounds not evident from the front.

If you need supplies go to Long's Drug Store (everything from tourist stuff to staples is cheaper than anywhere else). If you need gifts Long's, Costco have better deals on stuff like Macadamia nuts, Coffee, and Guava Jam than elsewhere.

A great free destination on the "big island"=Hawaii is the seaside (at the coastline) open air, hot spring swimming hole!

Before you leave call fruit services to send pineapples, and papayas home with you..they check them in to your flight...no carrying, or paying the airport prices!
norsehorse6 years ago
Our whole marching band went to Waikiki Beach last year. We played at the Missouri at Pearl Harbor, and in the Starlight Parade. I don't know if anyone mentioned this but Puka Dogs is DELICIOUS!!! Its in the International marketplace I think.
jianqiang6 years ago
saimin*, spam musubi*. Very good 'ible, very thorough. Thought I may suggest to add zippy's(best chili in the world), L&L drive in(good loco mocos), W&M bbq burger(been around forever and cheap, next to city mill in kaimuki), and Ono Hawaiian foods in Kapahulu(but there is always a long line, but the food is awwwwesome). Swap meet at the stadium, I forgot the days they have it but lots of cheap touristy stuff. Pretty interesting, if you do get a $5 coconut to drink, after you finish, go back and have them cut it open for you to eat the meat
Dr.Bill6 years ago
I Palolo Boy
bluGill6 years ago
I think you are better off spending your money to get off Oahu. Diamond head and Perl harbor are worth visiting. Nothing else on that island. The big island was much nicer IMHO. I could spend a few more weeks in Volcano national park. Best part is almost nobody goes to the big island so there is less tourist traps to waste your time on!
darus676 years ago
My wife and I spent our honeymoon on Oahu about 10 yrs ago. We had an
advantage because she had spent a semester at HPU, so she knew her way
around. We went everywhere by bus.

At that time I think a 4-day unlimited ride bus pass was $10. Now it's $20, according to thebus.org

For a cheap meal the key words were Plate Lunch at a local drive in. Ironically
the ones I had weren't served on a plate, but in a foam clamshell.
Thank you! I went there for a cycling century and didn't get to do much on account of a bad crash. I plan to go back and finish the century and actually see more!
cubester8086 years ago
im from hawaii...woohoo!
hey when was that picture of the people on that stage taken... i was sitting right across the stage from where that was taken
sbdesigns (author)  mitchellator7 years ago
(Cue Twilight Zone music) Picture taken on 15/8/07.
TIKIWOLF7 years ago
You can also take a free scuba intro lesson at the Pacific Beach Hotel with Aquazone shop. Get the Discount Coupons in the telephone books for Buy One Get One Free deals. Bon Appetite!
Hawaii000007 years ago
Great job! A few more tips: There's a free aquarium in one of the hotels (I think its on Liliuokaiani Ave) Also, if you want to go for a snorkel you can buy some cheap gear at an ABC store and try a resort called Ko olina . There are plenty of fish in the lagoons and if you there in the afternoon you can ask security were the public beach is (It can be a bit hard to find, but if your at a beach right next to the luau company you know your in the right place) and head down for a beautiful sunset (chances are you'll see five or ten turtles feeding on seaweed). There's also a hotel in Ko Olina that has a few sharks, so you can also ask where that is. I don't know if this was mentioned in the instructable but there's also market in Waikiki and you can catch a bus to diamond head for a two hour hike up the crater (great views). There plenty to do in Hawaii so just ask around!
Thanks so much for your detailed and friendly Instructable. Spent 3(!) weeks in Hawaii on my honeymoon twenty years ago, and you make the place sound like it hasn't changed a bit. Reading your Instructable was like re-living the trip as we did many/most of the things you did, although I wish we had known about the public buses. I'm probably just being a fussy girl, but I'd skip the vomit trails to Diamond Head and/or scoping out the "mentally deranged homeless" for entertainment. OTOH, I strongly recommend taking a small binoculars to check out the views from afar. (a friend used his binoculars to scope out scantily clad women from the ocean balcony of his hotel room) That first stop at the ABC store should include the purchase of a straw mat and a couple of cheap beach towels (the thin kind.) Easy to carry along in case you have a sudden urge to go swimming or find a private little waterfall (mostly on Maui and Kauai, not Oahu) The thin towels dry really quickly in the sun, and you aren't carrying a wet, sandy towel in your pack. ABC stores were terrific for almost everything you could want while in Oahu, and we also saved a ton of money buying our drinks/snacks there, instead of in the hotel. Be careful about leaving open packages of food or leftovers in your hotel room: cockroaches are endemic in the warm climate of Hawaii. We bought almost all our souvenirs at the ABC stores, except for some silly matching Hawaiian shirts at Hilo Hattie's factory/tourist trap. We brought back nice beach towels from ABC (as well at the thin ones) and the silly shirts. The towels lasted for many years and our daughter wore my shirt during Senior Week in High School. She has the shirt packed in case she needs it in college. Thanks again, your Instructable brought back some great memories and put a smile on my face today.
Lamech7 years ago
I live in Waikiki and can honestly say you've done your research - good work!
Lamech7 years ago
Instead of the bus website, you can use Google public transit - http://www.google.com/transit - this allows you to find the nearest bus stops and the best times.
gmoon7 years ago
Good tips--many of which would apply to other destinations. Thanks!
Pyratking7 years ago
First off, I would definitely avoid jogging near the Ala Wai canal. The smell is so bad, I'd rather hang out in a Chinatown alleyway. Secondly, you forgot about Zippy's. There just about everywhere there, and they serve just about everything you're suggesting. Third, if you have a 360, play Test Drive Unlimited. Its basically a map of the entire island, with very few liberties taken. There are no condos built on Sandy Beach (yet).
sbdesigns (author) 7 years ago
Yeah, I took all but the last photo myself. Sadly with a round the island bus trip, the Pali tunnel etc aren't very accessible. The Pali Cliff Lookout is supposed to be great, but no bus stop close by that I could see. Thanks for all your feedback, it makes the effort worthwhile!
technick297 years ago
Darn, a little late, I went last year. :D It would've been nice to know, haha. Great overview for Hawaiian n0obs though!
LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
Nice! Too bad I was only 3 when I went to Hawaii
dentsinger7 years ago
Nice coverage. I was stationed on Oahu at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station on the Windward side for 6 years. So, I essentially lived there long enough to understand my definition of paradise. I would have to say, don't let Waikiki, let alone Honolulu become a tourist trap for you. Also remember, Honolulu is on the Leeward side while the opposite side of the mountains is referred to as the windward. I didn't notice any mention of the 2 main highways linking both sides. The first being the Likelike (lee-kee-lee-kee) and the Pali. Both have tunnels that go through the mountains, great views, and stop off points. They also give you a great view of the triple canopy jungle from the convenience of your vehicle. Yes, there are car rentals, but I had a car of course. Some of my favorite views were from driving around the windward side of the island. My favorite beach to go to was right outside of the base in Kailua. MUCH better than Waikiki beach IMO. I miss it so much, my GF is always tires of listening to my recollections of paradise.
=SMART=7 years ago
Nice ! Very detailed, are those your own pictures? there very good, i like the picture of the turtle the most :P