Just wanted to write my experience from the trip we just got back from in Oahu.
People, listen to Dusty and Jet. They know what they are talking about. I had wondered about just using the bus and they told me to consider renting a car at least for a day.
We arrived at 7:50pm on Monday. As a procrastinator I had not made prior arrangements for transportation from the airport to the Hilton Waikiki beach hotel. When we landed my wife was not feeling well so I decided we will take a cab and get to the hotel without numerous stops.
We exit the airport and sure enough there are the folks in yellow vests for the big bus shuttle. They asked if we needed a ride and I told them we were going to take a cab. They pointed me in the middle island for cabs. We walk over there and there are about 5 people already waiting. There was not a cab in site. A guy asked if we wanted a cab and I said yes. He turns to his coworker and tells her to quit texting and help out. He then calls on his walkie talkie and calls for a cab. In about 1-2 minutes one drives up. I thought it was for the group of 5 but he told my wife and I the cab is for us. Not having anything to compare it to we walk up to this old beat up Chevrolet Astro van. You had to really tug on the door to open it. This women, I am guessing about 60yrs old gets out and says she will take our lugguge, it is just 2 carry ons. I did not think she could lift them so I went to the back of the van to help her. She just throws them in the back of the van. I am surprised she did not break the extended arm on one of the carry on's since it was still pulled out. We tell her we are going to the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel. 20min later we arrive at the hotel. There was no traffic at this time of night. The fare is $34 plus tip. She was a nice lady. During the ride we heard every rattle of the van. Let me say at this point, during our stay we never saw any cab's that were this old. We saw lots of nice vans and cars. I guess Monday night was just not our night for cabs.
Tuesday, I figured we would still be on Texas time and wake up early so we would head out to Pearl Harbor. We took the bus which was about a half block from our hotel. Bus 42. The pleasant surprise here is it actually uses a turnaround at Pearl Harbor so we end up with front door service. We arrrive at 9am since I heard you need to get there early. We walk up to get our tickets/passes and the earliest they have is 12:30pm. So much for thinking we were there early. We just hung around the area going to the musuems and walking around the complex. After our tour of the USS Arizona we walk up the driveway and wait for #42 to take us back. The trip was 1hr back to the hotel. Not too bad and we got to see another part of the city.
Wednesday we decided to rent a car (great idea Jet and Dusty) for the day to go to the Swap Meet and then drive to North Shore and drive along the coast line. We started the day with the $3.75 breakfast at Seaside bar and grill. We then walk over to the Marriott and pick up our rent a car. We had asked for a compact since there were only two of us but when we got there to Hertz they said that car was not ready so they were upgrading us to a jeep. Nice! We start off to Aloha Stadium for the swap meet. At Aloha Stadium we are told to make sure and lock the doors and hide all possessions. This seems to be the theme. From there, we head to North Shore. I believe our first stop was Haleiwa Beach Park. I had been told by some of you to be aware of the homeless when we were in the Waimanalo area but did not realize to be watching out here as well. My wife went to the park restroom and I kinda wondered but did not follow her. When she came back I went to the restroom. Inside this badly maintained restroom was a guy on a bike and a girl shampooing her hair. She saw me walk in along with the guy on the bike and he told her she needed to leave. She said oh it's cool. But not for me. I was going to wait until later but I saw them walk out so I went back in.
As we drove off I saw them walk into the thick brush on the other side of the street. We continued down 83 towards Waimanalo beach. There were so many beautiful beaches along the way. We just stopped to take pictures and then continued. It rained on us a bit and was very windy.
We finally make it to Waimanalo Beach. There was a kids baseball game going on, and as someone mentioned on the forum, a cop was also at the park. This time I walked my wife to the entrance of the restroom and waited for her. We walked to the sand but it was kinda cool with the winds really kicking up and there was no lifeguard on duty so we continued with our drive. Our next stop was just a fantastic lookout point. The sign at this lookout point said Makapu'u State Wayside. If there was ever a kodak moment this was it.
Our next stop was at Wawamalu beach. I think this one was my favorite just because of the waves. I think this is also where we saw the water spew out of rocks like a whale spews water out.
Then we headed back to Waikiki. We left the Swap Meet about 1pm and it is now 7pm. Time really flew on this drive and I would love to do it again because I know we did not stop at every little place. Plus it was kinda cool and rainy so we did not get in the water. We picked up the jeep at the Marriott but returned it to the Hyatt. I guess they work together.
A couple of observations. Homeless people are everywhere and none of them bothered us. When I am in Austin it does not bother me but when I am in a strange place it can become uncomfortable. Once again, they did not talk to us and did not bother us. We saw lots and lots of shrimp shacks/trucks but I never saw it mentioned here and I think we may have missed out on some good food. I don't think the highway speed along the coastline ever went above 45mph. And almost every stop we saw signs to lock your doors and hide your possessions, even at the lookout point where I could still see the jeep. But after all that I would do it all again just for the beauty.
Thursday morning off to Diamond Head. We took the bus, about a 15min ride from our hotel. By they way, the bus driver accepted my $5 bill for the two of us. I was afraid I was going to have to keep a bunch of singles and coins.
We are dropped off just out side the driveway that leads to the tunnel. It is up hill but no big deal. We reach the tunnel and for those of you wondering, there is not a lot of room to walk in there. It is lit and does not take long to walk through it. There was not much car traffic either. For those of you driving to Diamond Head it looked like when the parking lot was full the guards made you sit in your car until a space became available so you could be sitting there for a bit. Someone correct me if I am wrong. Ok, I am not in the best of shape and knees are not that great. It took me about 40min to get to the top. The hardest part are the very steep stairs. Everyone was huffing and puffing and you really can't stop because there is no room for people to go around you on the stairs, especially with people coming down the same stairs. Just pace yourself. Another observation, the ones who were coming down were very encouraging to those going up saying things like it is worth it, take your time, you are almost there and things like that. It did make the hike a little easier and of course we did the same thing on our way down. Once we got to the top the view will make you forget about the stairs. It was beautiful!! Well worth it!
There are restrooms at the bottom before your hike but there is no water once you leave the restroom area or a restroom anywhere else. The rest of the day was beach time.
Friday was our last day so we just hung out at the beach. Oh, back to the cab, I decided despite someone promoting the cab industry or slamming Hawaii23 I decided to call Hawaii23 Thursday evening and asked them if they could pick us up at 6:30pm Friday. The guy who answered said yes and took down my phone number. I gave the time of 6:30pm in case there was an issue I still had time to call for another ride to the airport. Exactly at 6:30pm my phone rings and it is some guy named Sam. He is at the front door of the Hilton. We meet him and he takes our bags and put's them up. He was very quiet and only spoke when I spoke. I noticed he was wearing a short sleeve white shirt with a red tie. I had seen cab drivers across from our hotel next to the Marriott wearing the same thing. We got to the airport in 14min according to my wife. This guy did not mess around. I also noticed he had a meter in this very nice Toyota van but it was not running. After we got to the airport Sam said it was $23. Of course I tipped him as well. I told my wife he was dressed like some of those cab drivers we saw and she told me on top of the van there was the cab sign. I never noticed it. Anyway the only time Sam spoke was really to ask us which airline we were using. Now my soapbox, I was very happy with this service especially compared to our ride when we arrived. If this Mark guy ( I never met) was promoting his business it could easily backfire with disgruntled patrons but I have not seen any and I don't think Mark owns this website to sensor anyone. Ok, off my box.
We had a great time. A couple of last things. If you are getting a car rental I suggest bring a GPS or getting one. It is kinda tricky getting from 83 to 72 and then from 72/H1 to Waikiki. We bought more souvenirs from those who only accepted currency (swap meet and booths outside the stores) than we did from those who took credit cards. As Jet and Dusty mentioned the drive was wonderful and hope to do that again.