Ultimate Guide to your Honolulu vacation

Hey there, fellow traveler! Are you planning a trip to Honolulu and wondering what to expect? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about this beautiful Hawaiian city. So, let’s dive right in and get the lowdown on Honolulu!

1. What’s the best time to visit Honolulu?

Truth is, Honolulu is a tropical paradise all year round. However, if you want to avoid the crowds and score some sweet deals, you might want to visit during the shoulder seasons – April to June and September to mid-December. Just remember that the peak tourist season runs from mid-December to March, so things can get a bit crowded and pricey during those months.

2. What are the must-see attractions in Honolulu?

tours in Honolulu
tours in Honolulu
  • Waikiki Beach: The iconic beach with golden sands and turquoise waters – perfect for sunbathing, surfing, and people-watching.
  • Pearl Harbor: A historic site that offers a sobering reminder of the 1941 attack and its impact on American history. Don’t miss the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri.
  • Diamond Head: A volcanic crater offering stunning panoramic views of Waikiki and the surrounding coastline after a moderately challenging hike.
  • Iolani Palace: The only royal palace in the United States, offering a glimpse into the Hawaiian monarchy’s history.
  • Hanauma Bay: A nature preserve and marine life conservation area, ideal for snorkeling and witnessing vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine species.

3. What are the best Honolulu tours to try?

Scuba diving in Honolulu
Scuba diving in Honolulu

There’s no shortage of amazing tours in Honolulu. Some popular options include:

  1. Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure: Explore the ocean depths on an underwater scooter while observing colorful marine life up close.
  2. Polynesian Cultural Center Luau: Experience authentic Hawaiian culture with traditional dance performances, a sumptuous feast, and a captivating fire show.
  3. Oahu Shark Dive: Get your adrenaline pumping as you cage dive with Galapagos and Sandbar sharks in the open ocean.
  4. Manoa Waterfall Small-Group Adventure: Hike through a lush rainforest to a breathtaking waterfall, perfect for a refreshing dip.

For more options, check out Best tours in Honolulu

4. What local dishes should I try in Honolulu?

best local Hawaiian-food
best local Hawaiian-food
PokeA raw fish salad, usually made with ahi (tuna) and seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions.
Spam MusubiA popular snack made of grilled Spam, rice, and nori (seaweed), similar to a sushi roll.
Loco MocoA hearty dish featuring a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and gravy, all served over a bed of rice.
Shave IceA refreshing dessert made of finely shaved ice, topped with flavored syrups and often served with ice cream or sweet azuki beans.
MalasadasDelicious Portuguese-style donuts, deep-fried and coated with sugar – a must-try sweet treat!
local dishes you should try in Honolulu

5. How’s the public transportation in Honolulu?

Public transportation in Honolulu is pretty decent, thanks to “TheBus” system. It covers most of the city, and a single ride costs $2.75. There’s also a four-day pass available for $35, which comes in handy for exploring the island. Alternatively, you can rent a car, bike, or moped to get around at your own pace.


6. Is Honolulu safe for tourists?

Generally, yes! Honolulu is considered a safe destination for tourists. However, like any city, it’s essential to stay vigilant and take common-sense precautions. Keep your belongings secure, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid poorly lit or deserted areas at night.

So there you have it, a quick and handy guide to make your Honolulu adventure an unforgettable one. Grab your sunscreen, pack your bags, and get ready to soak up the sun and fun in this Hawaiian paradise!

7. Are there any beaches I should avoid in Honolulu?

While most of Honolulu’s beaches are fantastic, there are a few that might be less than ideal, depending on the season or conditions:

  • Sandy Beach: Known for its strong currents and powerful shore break, it can be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers or surfers.
  • Waimanalo Beach: Although a beautiful beach, it’s prone to Portuguese man o’ war sightings, so be cautious when swimming.
  • Ala Moana Beach Park: It can get crowded, especially on weekends, so if you’re seeking tranquility, this might not be the best choice.

8. What are some unique souvenirs to buy in Honolulu?

Take home a piece of the Aloha spirit with these one-of-a-kind souvenirs:

  1. Ukulele: The iconic Hawaiian musical instrument, perfect for strumming island tunes back home.
  2. Koa wood products: Unique and beautiful wood carvings, bowls, or jewelry made from native Hawaiian Koa trees.
  3. Hawaiian quilts: Handcrafted and intricately designed, these quilts are a gorgeous reminder of your trip.
  4. Macadamia nuts: Delicious and versatile, they make great gifts for friends and family, or a tasty snack for yourself!

9. What are some nearby attractions or day trips from Honolulu?

There’s so much more to see on the island of Oahu. Here are a few day trip ideas:

  • North Shore: Famous for its massive waves and surfing competitions, it’s also home to charming towns like Haleiwa.
  • Kualoa Ranch: An adventure-packed destination with zip-lining, ATV tours, horseback riding, and more, set amidst stunning landscapes.
  • Byodo-In Temple: A serene and picturesque Buddhist temple nestled in the lush Valley of the Temples.
  • Lanikai Beach: Often ranked as one of the world’s best beaches, Lanikai boasts soft sands and turquoise waters perfect for a relaxing day.

10. What are some eco-friendly activities to enjoy in Honolulu?

Experience the natural beauty of Honolulu while minimizing your environmental impact with these eco-friendly activities:

  • Hiking: Explore the lush landscapes and stunning vistas of Oahu through hikes like the Manoa Falls Trail, Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, or Koko Head Crater Trail.
  • Snorkeling: Discover the vibrant marine life and coral reefs at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a protected marine conservation area dedicated to preserving the local ecosystem.
  • Biking: Rent a bike and ride along the scenic Ala Wai Canal, or take a guided bike tour through Waikiki or the North Shore.
  • Botanical gardens: Visit the Foster Botanical Garden, Waimea Valley, or the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden to learn about native Hawaiian plants and their significance in local culture.

Now that you’re armed with insider tips, FAQs, and recommendations, you’re ready to embark on your Honolulu adventure. Soak up the sun, explore the vibrant culture, and create lasting memories in this Hawaiian paradise. Aloha!