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Depending on how adventurous you want to be during your vacation to Hawaii, the island of Oahu offers tons of transportation options to get you from Town to Country. Whether you’re looking to explore the entire circumference or simply want to stay in Waikiki, it’s good to know what your choices are so you can be ready for any opportunity. There’s nothing like getting out of the crowds of Honolulu to the quiet of Haleiwa, or visa versa and explore the lively nightlife of Waikiki after a few relaxing evenings at Turtle Bay on the North Shore.
Here are 10 ways to get around Oahu, which range both in price and convenience. Since there is so much to see and do here on Oahu, I recommend trying out at least one transportation option to get you around! You don’t want to miss anything in this Gathering Place!
Jeep- Looking to get off the beaten trail and do some 4×4 exploring? Then a Jeep is your best bet! You can either rent one, or book a tour through Hawaii Jeep Tours. They’ll show you to the best and least-visited locations on the island, including waterfalls, hiking trails, scenic overlooks, turtles and more. Depending on if you rent a Jeep yourself versus booking a tour, the price can range from $150 for a one-day experience to $500 a week for personal rentals.
Private Shuttle- This is most economical option if you have a group of 5 or more people in your group, or if you’re traveling with someone who has mobility disabilities. Chartering a private shuttle is a wonderful way to tour the island or get to that late night luau, but keep in mind it is one of the pricier options. Renting a shuttle for an entire day can be anywhere from $800 – $1500 a day, but stay tuned for a more affordable shuttle bus option coming to a town near you on Oahu!
The Bus- Oahu’s public transportation, The Bus, operates 7 days a week from 5:00am to 12 o’clock midnight. Keep in mind it is not a 24-hour service! The cost for a one-way trip is $2.50 per passenger, which allows roughly 2 hours of travel time. Don’t forget to have exact change for the machine, other wise you’ll have to forfeit that $10 bill. You can get anywhere, to any side of the island using The Bus, but just remember it takes twice as long as a rental car or taxi. But of course, it is the cheapest option.
Taxi- I only recommend using taxis if you’re planning to stay in and around the Waikiki area; otherwise they’re just too darn expensive. However, Uber has made its way to Hawaii, so if you’re a familiar Uber user you’ll be happy to know you can utilize this option now. Taxi rates are roughly $3.10 per eighth of a mile (or fraction of a mile) and 45 cents per each additional eighth of a mile (or fraction). There is also a charge of 45 cents for 45 seconds of waiting time. To give you an idea, if you wanted to get from the HNL airport to the Honolulu Zoo in Waikiki, (which is 9.5 miles) it would cost approximately $50.00.
Rental Car- Probably the most widely used option for vacationers on Oahu, rentals cars make it easy and convenient to get around the island. A standard rental car that seats five people costs around $250 and $400 for one week and of course the bigger the vehicle, the more expensive it gets. But again, if you’re planning a family vacation and want to get some sightseeing in, this is probably the most economical way to do it. There are tons of rental car companies on the island however, so pricing is competitive and varies based on the season (with summers and winters being high-time for tourism and rentals).
Foot- Obviously this transportation option only makes sense if you plan to stay in one area, like Waikiki or Haleiwa. But if you’re feeling up for the exercise, it’s not unheard of to be staying in Honolulu and foot it around the Waikiki area. From the west end of Honolulu (Aloha Tower) to east end of Waikiki (Kapahulu Ave.), it’s only about 5 miles. So if you enjoy sightseeing in a slower-paced way and aren’t intimidated by long walks, then you’ll be just fine!
Bike- Biking is a great way for adventurous couples or groups of friends to get around, but don’t expect to be getting from one end of the island to the other (that is unless of course you’re a serious road biker). Bikes are great transportation options for the smaller areas of Waikiki or Haleiwa, but can be dangerous in the high traffic zones of Honolulu. It might be best to enjoy a bike ride with a tour company, so you can get the lay of the land through the eyes of an experienced local who knows the bike routes.
Moped/Scooter- An increasingly popular mode of transportation, mopeds and scooters are great if you’re looking for quick, easy and affordable transportation. You can find deals on scooters like 24-hour rentals for $30, 3-day rentals for $80 or one-week rentals for $150. So you can see how it’s a fraction of the cost of a rental car. However, mopeds and scooters are notoriously dangerous and not acceptable modes of transportation for children. It’s best to rent a moped or scooter only if you’ve had experience with the vehicles in the past or are somewhat familiar with the roadways of Oahu. I would recommend the North Shore as a safer area to enjoy cruising around in a moped over Honolulu!
Trolley- The Waikiki Trolley cruises in and around Waikiki and is a fun way to sightsee the town. With four different colored lines (pink, red, green and blue) you can get around to a variety of pinpoints and stop-offs in Honolulu and Waikiki, including the Iolani Palace, State Capitol and Ala Moana Shopping Center via the red trolley; Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium and Diamond Head Surf lookout via the green trolley; Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole and Hawaii Kai via the blue trolley; and a Waikiki loop via the pink trolley. The pink route costs $2 per ride, so anytime you get on and off the trolley, you must pay each time. To ride on the red, green and blue trolleys, a pass must be purchased in advance, which costs $35 for adults and $19 for kids, and provides a full day of riding. If you plan to use the trolley as your main mode of transportation, you can buy multiple day passes for a discounted price on their website, waikikitrolley.com.