Travel Guide for O'ahu
What is your favorite travel guide to O'ahu? I have never been to Hawaii and would like plan a trip so I need something for a knowledge base of zero. I would like to visit Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, snorkle at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and take in a Luau. Also, tips for getting around and transportation options. I really like the "Unofficial Guide" books but the Hawaii one did not get such good reviews. I am looking for one that has an edition date of 2010 and up. Thank you in advance for all your help!!
We have been twice (1990 and 2010).
1. A rental car gives you a lot of freedom to set your own schedule
2. Waikiki is a big city with a lot todo.
3. Pearl harbor- go early. Be there early. My wife and inlaws left Waikiki for Pearl harbor at 7am and were on the first boat out to the memorial.
4. I was really amazed at the WWII submarine musuem (USS Bowfin). You pay extra to walk thru the sub but it is interesting. My wife could not believe they made 75+ guys live in the small space.
5. We went to Germaines Luau back in 1990. It was okay. The table next to us had a confrontation between some single girls flirting with a guy who had a girlfriend. Drinks were thrown, people got soaked with alcohol.
6. We were amazed at the traffic jam back to the airport. Leave early to allow time for the extreme traffic.
7. Check out the Saturday swap meet across the street from the Arizone memorial.
8. We prefer Maui for a more relazing vacation
I prefer not using a guide book and more personal recommendations for Hawaii. I've been to Oahu 5 times and Kauai twice. I have used: virtualtourist.com to meet locals online for info and I've used the internet. I do different things each time I go.
- I agree with the above post about a rental car. There is a lot to do in Waikiki but there are so many beautiful places around the island. We like to drive to different beaches for snorkeling. There is a lot of traffic, be prepared.
- USS Airzona and Pearl Harbor are must see's in my opinion. I am a veteran so I enjoy military history. I did an all day tour once that was phenomenal.
- The bookze cruise right off Waikiki beach was really fun.
- best Mai Tai's at the Pink Palace; cheapest Mai Tai's at the barefoot bar
- LOVE Dukes for amazing fish tacos
- LOVE Nicos on pier 38 for fresh gourmet fish deals
- I did a boat out snorkel trip out of Ko Olina and it was amazing.
- The windward side has a few great snorkeling beaches.
- Love the North Shore small town feel
Keep asking around and make your own experience from other's tips and your own things you happen onto.
We had a rental van so getting around wasn't hard. A lot of people complain about the traffic but being from the Chicago suburbs, it's was normal for us. If you rent a car, I suggest bringing a GPS.
We stayed at the Hyatt on Waikiki Beach. There was a bar type restaurant in the basement that was really good and reasonably priced. They had great pulled pork sandwiches.
There's a web cam aimed at the Duke Kahanamoku statue on the beach so it might be fun to set up a time with people at home to "see" you in Hawaii. ;)
Hanauma Bay is BEAUTIFUL! Get there early because parking is a problem and you have to sit and watch a video before you're allowed to go down to the beach.
Pearl Harbor was also very nice. We went there twice. DH and my other DD's wanted to do the tour of the MO so we went back a second day. Since it's not wheelchair accessible, I stayed at the memorial with DD.
Laniakea Beach on the north shore is a great place to see sea turtles. They often come right up on shore or you can snorkel if you'd like. The beach is pretty short but it wasn't very crowded when we went. We stopped at Dole on our way up there.
We went to the Paradise Cove Luau. It was nice but the food at the restaurant in hotel was better. They have a bus stop right behind the Hyatt so it was really easy for us. They did have an amazing drink called a Lava Flow. I still crave them!
DD had a dolphin encounter at the Kahala Resort. Boy is that a beautiful hotel!
If you rent a car, be prepared to pay for parking. I think it was about $35 a day at the Hyatt.
Be sure to get any gifts you want before heading to the airport. We were shocked that most of the shops there were already closed by 3pm. I guess we're used to O'Hare. ;)
Lastly, have a GREAT time!
Perfect timing for this post. I'm planning our honeymoon for Oahu in October. We're staying at Aulani, or planning to, as long as we can get a reservation at the 7 month mark.
A good place for free travel information is tripadvisor.com.
Oahu Revealed is probably the best guide out there. I couldn't find my copy, so I just ordered another one for our trip this summer.
I also suggest the Revealed books.
Luau - we did Germaines on our first trip and Paradise Cove on the second one. I liked them both equally. I like the pre-dinner festivities and Paradise cove a little better though.
Snorkeling- find somewhere other than Hanauma Bay. It's very touristy and crowded and the coral is not pretty at all.
Pearl Harbor - agree with get their early. Be there at opening preferrably. DD17 loved the Bowfin. Shocked me actually!
If you go in the winter, definately make time to go to the North Shore to see the huge waves. You can also go to Turtle Bay Resort and wark around.
Duke's Canoe Club in the Outrigger on O'hau - Must go even if just to have the Hula Pie.
We swam with the dolphins at Sea Life Park. You get a decent amount of water/dolphin time. They also have a Sea Lion enounter and some others.
We stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki on our first visit and had a great ocean front room. Last Christmas we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiin Village. I liked the Sheraton a lot but I LOVED HHV!
Also, make time to go visit the PunchBowl Cemetary.
Oh, the Lava Flow drink is at every bar and restaurant. It's a pina coloda with strawberry stuff in it.
We read the Frommer's book and I spent a lot of time on Tripadvisor.com boards doing research for our trip. Tripadvisor members really don't like the Revealed books because some of the places highly recommended are private property and not meant for visitors.
Pearl Harbor - I bought tickets on-line before we went. Based on advice I booked early in the morning. I got the tickets so we could see the Bowfin and the Missouri.
On the way back to our resort we stopped at Nico's which someone already mentioned - great food.
On another day we hiked up Diamond Head (do early in the day, it is not an easy climb and it gets hot). After that we continued along the coast, tried to go to Hanauma Bay, but it was WAY to crowded. We stopped at a blow hole and a few beaches.
Saw a poor St. Bernard get rescued by a lifeguard and a two other surfers :worried:. He had got knocked down by the waves and everytime he tried to get up another wave would knock him down. The owner didn't know what to do and the poor dog kept getting a muzzle full of water with each wave. It was at a dangerous beach (can't remember the name). Awesome waves after the dog was safe.
We also went and saw some birthing stones where the royality would give birth and stopped at the Dole plantation on the day I was sick.
We rented a car and liked being able to get around when we wanted to. Driving wasn't too bad and Google maps on our phones was our friend.
Ultimate Oahu Guidebook by Andrew Doughty. Known as the Blue Book.
Love this series. Great photos, maps and tips.
Have also used the one for Kauai.
No one has mentioned the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Spend the whole day there, and don't miss the show at the end of the day - Hā: BREATH OF LIFE
Expensive, but I wouldn't miss it in the world. You can do a Luau there too.
Other then that, many great sightseeing spots and places that are one of a kind. Like Valley of the Temples or Waimea Valley
Just Google "101 things to do in Oahu" and find what's most appealing to you.
I downloaded Oahu Revealed to my Iphone, it was about $6
Another vote for the Revealed series.
I don't have the one for Oahu, but have used the Maui Revealed multiple times!
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