Arial view of Oahu beach
July 22, 2022
| by
Jenny Espinosa

Oahu Things to Do: What Does it Cost to Visit Oahu

When you are planning your visit to Oahu, one of the most important topics is, ‘What Does it Cost to Visit Oahu?’ This guide will give you current and realistic examples of what you can expect to pay for the most used items you may encounter during your dream vacation.

What a fun and exciting time it is to plan for your dream vacation to Oahu! Right now, in the planning phase everything is possible. But in order to make the most of your time and your budget you need to do your best to book activities and restaurants in advance and budget for activities, tours, entertainment, etc.

This latest Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘What Does it Cost to Visit Oahu,’ will give you realistic, current (as of the publish date of this article) costs for a wide range of items you may be interested in.

Of course, we’ll assume your air fare and Oahu Hotel (we hope you have chosen Ambassador Hotel Waikiki – see our latest Special Offers) is already budgeted for and perhaps already paid for.

Oahu, like all the Hawaiian Islands are very popular travel destinations so you can expect crowds at the most popular activities, restaurants, tours, etc., so it is highly recommended that you book in advance as much as possible.

Keep in mind that December through March is peak season in Hawaii, which means you may see prices go up on nearly everything. Weekend activities also tend to cost more than mid-week excursions.

We have broken this article down into categories to make it even easier for you to budget and plan. Let’s go!

Getting to and from the Airport:

There are many ways to get from the airport to your hotel.

Bus – The Bus on Oahu is one of the best transportation values! The Bus’s Airport route, which run to and from the airport, will cost around $3 to $6 per person to get from the Honolulu Airport to various destinations throughout Waikiki. But be aware that they do not let luggage on the Bus, so you can only bring on carry-on’s.

Uber - Uber rides into Honolulu will cost you at least $33 to $46 plus tip, per car. Most Ubers will be able to carry 4 to 5 people. There are options on the Uber app to request larger vehicles and Vans are varying rates.

Taxi - Hail a Taxi from the Honolulu Airport to Waikiki and pay around $40.00 to $48.00 per ride.

Shared Shuttle – There are a number of Airport Shuttles that provide ‘shared ride services’ which mean they will pick up a group of travelers at the airport and make stops at all the main Hotels throughout Waikiki. The rates for this Shared Shuttle option costs about $10 per person.

Private Car - Car rentals on Oahu average $50 per day (not including gas and insurance). A large private van is about $150 for a roundtrip option.

Restaurants & Food on Oahu:

This is one of our favorite topics! Restaurants on Oahu vary widely for cuisine and prices as you can imagine. You can have a fantastic, tasty meal at one of the many Food Trucks or smaller food Kiosks for $12 per person (without drinks) or you can splurge and have a 5-course meal at a beachfront, ocean view restaurant for about $125 per person (without drinks or dessert). 

Let’s look at a variety of dining options!

Food Trucks - Food trucks present the cheapest options for dining on Oahu. Many of these Food Trucks offer a complete meal, with a main dish and drink, for $15, but also be aware that some Food Trucks can offer a much more complete and higher-end dining option with dishes like Lobster Rolls, Sushi, etc., and these dishes can run up to $40 to $55 each (but they are delicious!)

Cheeseburger and Fries meal in Waikiki
Waikiki is home to a number of great spots for Cheeseburger's including; Cheeseburger in Paradise, Hard Rock Cafe, Banzai Burgers & more!

Grocery Stores & Small Markets – Oahu is similar to many cities on the mainland when it comes to availability of Grocery Stores and small markets. Most Grocery Stores offer prepared foods, cooked items and these are great food options if you are visiting for more than 3 to 5 days. You may also choose to grab items and cook some meals in your hotel room. You can purchase 8 pieces of Fried Chicken at Safeway for $11.99. Roasted Chickens are $9.99. Prepared sandwiches range in price from $6.99 - $12.99. There are several very good Food Courts within a few blocks of our Hotel, Kuhio Food Court and Dukes Food Court for example and these locations offer a wide variety of freshly cooked and prepared items, as well as packaged Wine, Cheeses, Meats, a variety of beverages, Ice Creams, Coffees, Desserts and more.

Burgers – Surprisingly, you can find some fantastic Burgers for $11 - $15 at places like Cheeseburger in Paradise (with ocean views) or Banzai Burger has a variety of Burgers but the Waimea Burger is our favorite (outstanding!) at $12.95. Banzai Burgers also has a Chicken Sandwich that is worth a try. 

Noodle Shops - There is a fantastic Noodle Shop on Kuhio Avenue, the same street as our Hotel called, Marukame Udon Waikiki. This is a very popular spot and the dishes are made to order and range in price from $11 - $15 depending on options. and you can get almost any meal to go and enjoy your meal on Waikiki Beach which is only 2 blocks from Ambassador Hotel Waikiki. Ramen Nakamura is another very popular option for a variety of Noodle dishes from $11.40 to $16.90.

Farmer’s Markets – If you enjoy fresh fruits and handmade food items, you will enjoy the various Farmers Markets that are held regularly around Waikiki. The Famers Markets will feature fresh fruits, prepared food in addition to clothes, crafts and artwork and related items. One of the popular Farmers Markets is held at the International Marketplace, typically on Thursdays. The price for the food items vary widely.

Pizza - What it Dough (Honolulu) serves up wood-fired pizzas for about $18.00 per pie. Appetito Craft Pizza & Wine Bar is a great option for tasty Pizza from $12.00 - $18.00 but the also have a Happy Hour with discounted options. Round Table Pizza is another popular Pizzeria and they also offer Vegan options ranging from $9.00 - $19.00

Steakhouses – Waikiki has a few great options for a tasty Steak dinner; DK Steakhouse has a 16 oz. New York Strip Steak for $60.00, a 7 oz. Petite Filet for $50.00 and a 22 oz. Bone in Ribeye Steak for $75.00.

Sushi – Momosan is a popular Sushi restaurant in Waikiki with a large variety of Sushi Rolls from $10.00 for a Vegetable Roll to a Soft Shell Crab Roll for $16.00

Coffee – Waikiki has no shortage of fine Coffee Shops. The popular standby, Starbucks has multiple locations around Waikiki and their prices are most likely in line with what you pay on the mainland. A standard Vente Coffee is $3.45. If you’re wanting to try a more local Coffee Shop (and we encourage you to do so), try Kai Coffee with a fresh brew cup of their Coffee begins at $3.75 to $5.25.

Coffee in the morning in Waikiki
Coffee Shops are a popular place to relax and enjoy a fresh cup of Coffee. You'll find the good old standby Starbucks, but we suggest you try one of the local shops offering delicious Hawaiian Coffee!

Entertainment on Oahu: 

Luau - Experience an authentic Luau at Paradise Cove for $125.00 per person. Chief’s Luau admission is $155.00 per person. There are a wide variety of Luau’s offering various levels of food and entertainment options. It is always best to research these options and make reservations prior to your arrival as the Luau’s tend to fill up quickly.

Night Clubs - Expect cover charges of at least $15 on weekdays, and $15 to $30 on the weekends.

Live Entertainment – Blue Note is a popular live music venue which brings in a variety of live acts, with tickets from about $36.00 and a minimum of $10.00 charge for food.

Getting Around Oahu:

Taxis – A 3-mile ride by Taxi is approximately $11.90, 5-mile ride is approximately $16.50 and a 9-mile ride is approximately $25.60.

Bus - TheBus is Oahu’s public Bus transportation system and it is a fantastic system, with many routes to take you across town or across the island of Oahu. A singe one-way fare costs $2.75 with a Day Pass option is $5.50.

Uber - Uber rides around Waikiki start at about $10 within Waikiki proper. Expect to pay up to $65 to take an Uber to the North Shore. Please know that there are many factors that will affect the cost of an Uber ride on the day of the ride itself.

Bike Rentals – Public Bike Rentals are readily available all throughout Waikiki and Honolulu. A Bike is easily rented for $4.50 for a ride of up to 30 minutes. $12 for an unlimited ride for up to 24-hours. There is also an option to pay $30 for 300 minutes which can be used for up to 1 year.

Car Rental - Car rental rates on Oahu have increased over the past year. An average daily car rental rate was $82.00 with the cheapest daily rate being $38.00. Keep in mind that at time of publication the cost of a gallon of gasoline was approximately $4.95 to $5.25 per gallon.

Sightseeing on Oahu:

Pearl Harbor - Tickets to Pearl Harbor’s Memorial are $89.99 for adults and $44.99 for children 4 to 12 years old. At time of publication, reservations are need prior to entry.

Hanauma Bay – This park offers some of the best Snorkeling on Oahu and there is now a fee for non-resident of $25 per person and $3.00 for parking. At time of publication, reservations are need prior to entry.

Byodo-in Temple - Admission to Byodo-in Temple is $5.00 per adult and $2 per child 2 to 12 years old and seniors are $4.00.

Iolani Palace - There are several options for touring the beautiful Iolani Palace on Oahu. Entrance fees are $14.75 for Adults and $6.00 for children ages 5 to 12 years old. They offer a variety of Tours as well, the Chamberlain’s Tour is $69.95 per Adult and a White Glove Tour is $99.95 per Adult.

Diamond Head Crater – There is an entry fee of $5.00 for non-residents to visit and hike Diamond Head Crater. The cost for parking is $10.00.

Beverages & Bars on Oahu: 

Who doesn’t visit Hawaii without wanting to try a tasty Mai Tai (or 2) or some other popular ‘island cocktail?’ The following are current prices for popular drinks around Waikiki. Also, keep in mind almost every bar will have a Happy Hour with lower prices and food specials.

Cold Beer at a bar in Waikiki
What could be better on a hot day by the beach than enjoying a cold beer or a freshly made Mai Tai? On average a Domestic Beer will cost between $7 to $9 and a Mai Tai can cost between $11 to $15. Well worth it!

Beer – A Domestic Beer at a Bar on average will cost $7.00 - $9.00, an Import Beer cost $9.00+.

Cocktails – A Mai Tai, on average will cost between $11.00 to $15.00. A Margarita (plain) will cost $15 - $17.00 with a Top Shelf Margarita will cost $17.00 to $21.00.

Oahu Tours:

Helicopter Tours – You can take to the skies with a 45-minute Helicopter Tour over Oahu at a rate of $295.00 to $325.00 per person.

Submarine Tour – You can explore the semi-deep sea just off Waikiki on the Atlantis Submarine Adventure, which costs $175.45 for the least-expensive package. Another similar option is a Submarine Scooter Adventure from $166.45 per person.

Honolulu Dinner Cruise – You can enjoy a memorable nighttime Dinner Cruise including the cruise, dinner, dancing and dessert for about $151.00 to $195.00 per person. Typically, cocktails are extra. 

Whale Watching Tour – Whales are a popular attraction during the months of November to March and a Whale-Watching Cruise, with optional breakfast or lunch, begins at $34.00 for adults, $28.00 for Children and $28.00 for Seniors. There are a variety of other Whale Watching Tour options that include a Dinner, longer cruise times, etc., that can range in price from $65.00 to $95.00 per Adult.

We hope our latest Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘What Does it Cost to Visit Oahu’ has given you a good idea on what you should budget for a memorable trip to Oahu.

Visit our Oahu Travel Guide for more recommendations for all there is to do, see and experience when visiting Oahu.

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