Blue convertible on Oahu
March 23, 2019
| by
Maria Mancuso

Visiting Oahu: How to Get Around Oahu

Oahu is a true tropical paradise. There is so much to do and see but what are the best ways to get around the island? Our article, ‘How to Get Around Oahu’ will give you all the best options.

O.k., you have booked your tickets, your hotel is reserved, hopefully you will be staying with us here at Ambassador Hotel Waikiki, but either way, you’re probably thinking whether you should rent a car during your stay, part of your stay, take a taxi, bus or Uber. 

This article, ‘How to Get Around Oahu,’ presents you with all the options and tips for getting around the island most efficiently and cost effectively.

There are several options for making your way from the airport to your hotel, from Waikiki to the North Shore, from one end of Honolulu to the other and there is not one option that is best for all your transportation needs.

Whether budget is an issue or not we will assume you want to save as much money as possible, but without dramatically limiting your fun and access to the island.

Here we go, here are the top tips for ‘How to Get Around Oahu:’

Getting from Honolulu Airport to your Waikiki Hotel:

  • Taxi: You can choose from number of flat rate Taxis and the rate averages $25 to $40.
  • Shuttle: You can choose a shuttle bus that will take from 4 to 12 or more people and they will stop at several hotels along the way. This is not a bad option if you are one of the first 2 or 3 hotels on the route. Rates for these shared ride shuttles are about $12+ per person.
  • Bus: You can take TheBus from several pick-ups in Waikiki/Honolulu and the rate at publication time was $2.50. It is very inexpensive, but ride can take 45 min to an hour.
Blue Convertible on Oahu
You can choose to rent a car for your entire trip, or just  the 1 or 2 days that you plan to visit the North Shore, or to do an ‘Around the Island Tour’ or to go to other places on the island like Ko Olina.
  • Car Rental: Almost all major Car Rental companies offer service on Oahu.  They each have shuttles from Honolulu Airport to their offices near the airport where you can pick up your car. Rates for Car Rental varies widely based on the class of car that you rent, coverage, number of days, etc.  We recommend booking your Car Rental in advance of your arrival. You do not need to book a rental Car for every day of your visit. You can choose to rent a car for the 1 or 2 days that you plan to visit the North Shore, or to do an ‘Around the Island Tour’ or to go to other places on the island like Ko Olina.This is our preferred mode of transportation.  Yes, it is a bit more expensive and in addition to the daily car rental fee you will have daily parking fees/valet fees depending on where you park the car overnight or when it is not being used, but we look at it this way, having access to a rental car during all or part of your stay gives you complete freedom to see and enjoy parts of the island that you may not otherwise get to experience.
  • Uber: Uber only recently was granted permission to pick up passengers at the Honolulu Airport.  A of the publication date of this article, Uber drivers can only pickup on the Departure level on the center median. The price from the airport to mid Waikiki, depending on the time of day and any price surges due to demand ranges from $20 - $35 but you can see an up to the minute price quote on the Uber App.
  • Private Town Car or Limousine: If you are ready to treat yourself to a private Town Car or Limousine ride from Honolulu Airport to most Waikiki Hotels the rate averages $165 one way at the time of publication. Of course, it is best to arrange this service in advance of your arrival and your hotel concierge may be able to arrange the most reputable service and best price.
Hale'Iwa Sign on Oahu's North Shore
There are several stops directly in the North Shore area and the town of Haleiwa where you can enjoy shopping, beaches, Activity rentals, food, and all the activities offered in the North Shore area.

Getting from Waikiki to North Shore:

  • Bus: TheBus does travel from Waikiki to the North Shore.  There are a couple of transfers needed.  The trip will take quite a long time based on time of day, day of the week and traffic. The upside is that in between your transfers you can explore the area around the bus stop, the beaches, restaurants, shops, etc., then take the next bus on the route to the North Shore. There are a lot of restaurants close to the stops where you can grab some food to go and sit on the beach and enjoy a beautiful lunch with an ocean view. There are several stops directly in the North Shore area and the town of Haleiwa where you can enjoy shopping, beaches, Activity rentals, food, and all the activities offered in the North Shore area.
  • Tour Bus: There are several services offering all day tours to the North Shore with pick-ups at many of the hotels in Waikiki/Honolulu.  These various NorthShore Tours give guests the opportunity to explore the North Shore area and beaches. Guests can rent Kayaks, snorkel, hike to the waterfall, and watch the surfers at Pipeline, and Banzai Beach and other beaches. You can also spend some time at the town of Haleiwa and enjoy some Shave Ice and buy some souvenirs to remember your visit. The rates for this all-day tour varies from $125 - $165 per person.  Some of the tour operators are Roberts Hawaii, Viator and North Shore Tours.  It is best to consult your travel agent or hotel Concierge to choose the best service for your needs and budget. 
  • Uber, Taxi, Town Car: Each of these transportation options are available of course but they are really cost prohibitive and the rates vary based on season, time of  day, day of the week, availability and demand on the services, especially with Uber and Taxi. If you prefer to use an Uber or Taxi, it is best to get a price quote the day of, or just before you are ready to depart.  You can use the Uber App or for Taxi you can call any of the local services directly or ask your hotel concierge.
  • Rental Car: Yes, this is our favorite chose again.  Yes, it is more costly, but you have ultimate freedom to come and go as you please, stop at the road side fruit stands and enjoy the best tasting fruit you have ever tasted. You can stop one of the Shrimp Trucks for lunch. Enjoy the occasional empty beach along the way.  Essentially, Rental Car = Freedom.
Red Trolley on Oahu
The Trolley has over 40 stops and it travels to many popular Oahu Attractions like Honolulu Zoo, Ala Moana Shopping Mall, Diamond Head, Downtown Honolulu and as far as Pearl Harbor.

Getting around Waikiki/Honolulu:

  • Bus: TheBus is a great option for getting around Waikiki and Honolulu.  You have several options. A one-way fare is $2.50. A 1-Day Pass is $5.50. A Monthly Pass for unlimited rides is $70.00.Children 5 years old and younger are free with paying adult.
  • Taxi: Taking a Taxi is good option for getting around Waikiki/Honolulu.  There are many Taxi’s around the hotels, malls, and along the streets.  The fares will vary based on the location, time of day, demand and of course the distance to your destination.
  • Uber:  Uber is a great option for getting around Waikiki/Honolulu.  The upside is that by using the Uber App, you can know the total cost of the fare and time to pick up and drop off.  Uber can be a bit costly if you use it for all your travels but most likely you will not use Uber for every trip.
  • Waikiki Trolley: We love this option for getting around Honolulu/Waikiki.  The Trolley is open air and now there is a Double Decker Bus too.   The Trolley has over 40 stops and it travels to many popular Oahu Attractions like Honolulu Zoo, Ala Moana Shopping Mall, Diamond Head, Downtown Honolulu and as far as Pearl Harbor. The Trolley has a 1-Day Pass for $45.00 and there are discounted options for 4-Day and 7-Day Passes.
  • Bike:  What better way to enjoy a day than riding a Bike around Honolulu/Waikiki?  There are many Bike Rental Services in Honolulu/Waikiki, and guests at Ambassador Hotel Waikiki have access to our Bikes free of charge during your stay. For other Bike Rental options, it is good to know that Honolulu has a Bike-share system called, Biki. The Biki Bike-share system makes renting and using a Bike very easy.  The Biki Bikes are located at the many stops throughout Honolulu. A renter simply downloads the Biki App, and they can rent a Bike to ride for a one-time trip for $3.50, a Monthly Program for $15.00 for unlimited 30-minute rides, or $25.00 for unlimited 60-minute rides. Either way, the Biki Bike Rental program is a great option for getting around town.
  • Walking: Perhaps the transportation option you will use the most is also the most enjoyable and it is FREE! Walking.  What is a better option to get around our island paradise for short trips than taking a walk? There are many shops, beaches, attractions and restaurants in Waikiki, and all are easily within walking distance from most Waikiki hotels. You can walk the length of Kalakaua Avenue, the main beach front street in Waikiki in about 30-minutes (that is if you don’t stop at any of the great shops or restaurants along the way).

You have a lot of options for getting around Oahu, we hope our article, How to Get Around Oahu’ has given you some insight on your best options.

The best recommendation is to consider all the things you want to accomplish during your visit. Create a reasonable budget. Then determine which transportation option is best for you and your planned itinerary.

Always be sure to contact your Hotel Concierge prior to booking your travel and see if they have any discounts, programs or inside advise.  Most Concierge are more than willing to help their guests make the most of their visit to Oahu.

See our Oahu Visitors Guide for more recommendations on all there is to do, see and experience during your next visit to Oahu!

See our latest Special Offers for the Best Rates Guaranteed for our Oahu Hotel!