Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Oahu
Breathe, slow down, get in the slow lane of life. You live in the fast lane back home.
There’s a reason why this far-flung archipelago of tropical islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is considered a surfer’s paradise: big waves! Swim with caution.
What to pack: Shorts/T-shirts for anyone, sundresses for ladies if you like ... or capris. Most everyone wears slippers (flip flops/thongs). Weather is plenty warm. You will want a light jacket or sweater for the evenings as the weather can be cooler, esp with a breeze. (But not cold, mind you.) Jeans for the plane, and if you are planning to hike or do a lot of walking you might want tennis shoes. Dress is super casual.
Sample the cuisines influenced by various cultures -- Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Korean -- you can find all of it and more here on the island!
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes for a day of exploring...don't wear your flip-flops like the locals unless you are used to it!
In the words of those who've been there before ...
Oahu is a place for all people to slow down, relax, decompress. There are numerous things to do on the island. Tastes from around the world to enjoy, and golf as well as shopping. Sitting on a rock under a palm tree on the North Shore and watching the big surf is something you cannot do in Cleveland.
Oahu offers something for everyone. From the hot tourist attractions, to the authentic Hawaii - Oahu has it all for every type of vacation wants.
Hawaii is truly a world class vacation destination that can offer you some of the greatest experiences of your life if you know what to do and where to go.
Honolulu is a vacation paradise. Waikiki presents some of the finest beaches for sun and people watching. Food options are plentiful for all categories. A nice libation can be had as well. There are many activities for all ages and energy levels.
What is the best way to get there?
Honolulu is served by the Honolulu International Airport, a 15-minute drive from downtown Honolulu.
Do I need a visa?
If you’re visiting Oahu from overseas, use the State Department’s Visa Wizard to see if you need a visa.
When is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit Oahu is during a shoulder season: from mid-April to early June or between September and mid-December. Attractions are less crowded, rates are lower, and there are lots of festivals taking place. Expect temperatures in the low 70s (21°C) to high-80s (31°C) in either season.
Renting a car is essential for those who wish to independently explore the island. Rentals are available at the airport and various locations downtown.
Biki is a bicycle-sharing program on Oahu. Visitors can purchase passes for a one-way trip or for multiple stops.
The public bus service oh Oahu is called TheBus, which runs services around the whole island, including the North Shore. If you are planning to make multiple journeys, you can purchase a day or monthly pass. Note that transfers and large luggage are not allowed.
Hailing a taxi on the street in Waikiki is usually easy. In Honolulu, it is easiest around Ala Moana, Downtown, and Pearl Harbor, or the nearest hotel. Elsewhere, call ahead.
Uber and Lyft are readily available in Honolulu on your smartphone.
On the ground
What is the timezone?
Hawaiian-Aleutian Time Zone
What are the voltage/plug types?
The standard voltage in the United States is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. The plug has two flat parallel pins.
What is the currency?
The U.S. Dollar.
Are ATMs readily accessible?
Are credit cards widely accepted?
How much do I tip for...?
$1 a drink or $2 for a more labor-intensive cocktail
$1 to $3 per bag
$2-$3 per night
$1-$2 per person
Are there local customs I should know?
The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 21 years old.
Allow others to disembark before boarding, don’t take up more than one seat, and stand to offer seating to the elderly, pregnant women, or someone with a disability.
Take your shoes off
In Hawaii it's customary to take your shoes off before entering the home..
Practice beach etiquette
Malama ka ʻaina, or, “take care of the land.” Dispose of your trash properly and keep your distance from turtles and other wildlife.
It’s considered rude to ignore others. Smile and say hello, or “aloha” to passersby.
You’re on Hawaiian time, and it is considered improper to show impatience in line or to honk your horn.
Dropping in (taking off on a wave when you don’t have right of way) is a big no-no in Hawaii. The surfer who is closest to where the wave is breaking has priority.
Hawaiians typically have great respect for their kupuna (elders). Let older people go in front of you and hold doors open for them.
Give wildlife space
Be respectful of Hawaiian wildlife, keep your distance from sea turtles, monk seals, and anything else you may come across.