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A Guide to Honolulu
Know Before You Go
- Don't place a lei over your own head, it's always given by the greeter followed by a kiss on each cheek. It's also considered disrespectful to refuse a lei or to throw one in the bin. Once the flowers start to wilt, you should place the lei in the garden so it can return to the earth.
- Respect Honolulu's sacred sites. If you come across a sign that says kapu, it means the area is an ancient burial ground or a place where royalty lived. Show respect by keeping your voice down and not walking across the area.
- Don't take lava rocks from the island. It's believed that the deity Pele will put a curse on those who do. While it is a myth, Hawaii receives lava rocks in the mail each year from people hoping Pele will forgive them.
- Take off your shoes. If you're visiting someone's home or you see a sign outside of shops or restaurants, you'll need to leave your shoes on the racks.
- The tap water is safe to drink in Hawaii. Save money by bringing a reusable water bottle and filling up as you explore the islands.
- There is a tipping culture in Hawaii. It's standard to tip 15-20% of your total bill, USD 1 per bag to the bellhop and USD 1-3 per day for housekeeping.
Getting Around Honolulu
- The best way to get around Honolulu is with a car. Rental rates are affordable, making it a viable option even for budget travellers. It's a great way to explore the island and get off the beaten track without booking a group tour.
- The bus system on Oahu is easy to use and boasts extensive routes. Depending on the time of day, buses run every 15-30 minutes, and you'll be able to get to popular attractions like the Koko Crater Trail and Shangri La. Fares are USD 2.75 per person, and you can get a discount by purchasing a day pass from the drivers.
- A fun way to see the city is with the Waikiki Trolley. Five lines stop by the Ala Moana Center, the Diamond Head State Monument and other attractions. Day passes start at USD 45, and you can save money by purchasing your tickets online.
- If you don't mind spending the extra money, hire a taxi or use a ride-sharing service to avoid dealing with the city's traffic. The base fare starts at USD 3.50 and goes up by USD 5.88 for each mile travelled.
- If you're staying in Waikiki, it's easy to walk to most of the city's top attractions. But if you want to visit the more remote areas of Honolulu, you'll need to hire a car or use public transportation.
When is The Best Time to Visit Honolulu?
The best time to visit Honolulu is during its two shoulder seasons. From April to June and September to December, the city's attractions are less crowded, and there are plenty of events to keep you entertained. You'll also have better luck finding airfare and hotel deals.
November to December is ideal for surfers. As the rainfall increases during these two months, the North Shore swells, and the island hosts the annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Once June rolls around, the island sees it's highest influx of travellers. Visitors from the mainland and countries around the world, flock to Honolulu to take advantage of the excellent weather. While hotels and airlines will be more expensive during this period, the perfect temperatures and jam-packed events calendar make the crowds worth it.
Airports in Honolulu
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (also known as Honolulu International Airport) is the gateway to Oahu. It's one of the busiest airports in the United States and is a hub for Hawaiian Airlines and Asia Pacific Airlines.
Getting to and from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
One of the most direct and affordable ways to get from the airport is with the Roberts Hawaii Express Shuttle. The transfer rate of USD 16 includes two pieces of luggage and one carry on per person.
If you're on a tight budget, take the public bus. Three routes service the airport and terminate at stations across the city. The buses depart every 30 minutes and tickets cost USD 2.50 per person.
If you prefer having your own set of wheels, you can rent a car from the airport. There are six companies to choose from, and you'll find the desks opposite the baggage claim area.
The taxi stands are located outside of the arrival terminal. A trip from the airport into the city centre will cost around USD 40-45, and you'll also have to pay a baggage charge of USD 0.50 per bag.
What to do in Honolulu
Diamond Head Crater
All across the islands of Hawaii, you’ll find incredible hikes. One of the most popular is right in the heat of Honolulu. It is a short distance from the centre of Honolulu’s Waikiki neighbourhood. Diamond Head is an inactive volcano with a hiking trail to the top. The hike is relatively easy and takes about an hour. From the top of Diamond Head, you’re able to look out over the city centre of Honolulu, the ocean, and the bright green Hawaiian landscape.
One of the most significant events to take place in Hawaii was the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941. It was the event that brought the United States into World War II. In order to learn more about the bombing and the effect it had on Hawaii, you can visit the Pearl Harbor memorial in Honolulu. It’s made up of several memorials, including a museum, ships, and a submarine.
Attend a Hawaiian Luau
To experience a Hawaiian tradition, plan to attend a luau during your holiday. Luaus are large Hawaiian parties that include local music, hula dancing, and a feast of Hawaiian dishes. Traditional luaus are hosted by many resorts, so you’ll have no trouble finding one to attend.
Go to the Beach
One of the top activities for people who book flights to Hawaii is spending time at the beach. Hawaii is made up of hundreds of incredible beaches, so you will be spoilt for choice. Perhaps the most popular with tourists in Honolulu is Waikiki Beach, however there are plenty of other pristine shorelines to discover around Oahu.