When I have visitors come stay with me, one of the first questions I’m asked (after, “should I rent a car?”), is “how long will it take me to get to…?”
Travel time is one of the most talked-about issues in Hawaii. We have one of the worst traffic cities in the U.S. (Honolulu), and it can be hard to guage just how long it will take to get from Point A to Point B because of our unusual terrain and outdated roads. And, lets’ face it: Travel times on Oahu are uber-important — if you get it wrong, your whole itinerary could be shot!
So, we’ve put together estimated travel times for several popular routes, so you can plan your visit right:
Honolulu Airport to Ko Olina: If you’re staying in Ko Olina, prepare for a bit of a haul when you land in Honolulu. The 16.9 miles of highway (H1)will take you about 43 minutes to travel. However, if it’s between the hours of 3 pm and 6 pm, add another hour to your commute.
Waikiki to Pearl Harbor: It’s 26.1 miles from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor, and it will take you an estimated one hour to get there — in moderate traffic. You’ll find the most congestion as you leave Waikiki to get on the H1 and more when you close-in on Pearl Harbor. Between the hours of 7 am-8 am and 3 pm to 6 pm, make sure you add another hour to your commute.
Waikiki to Laie (Polynesian Cultural Center): The drive from Waikiki to Laie, where you’ll find the Polynesian Cultural Center, is 34.6 miles. So, you can expect to spend one hour and 17 minutes in the car. But, the drive takes you through some of Oahu’s most beautiful rain forests. So, the commute will seem much shorter, thanks to the scenery.
Waikiki to Kailua: You have two choices when it comes to traveling between Waikiki and Kailua on the Windward Side of Oahu: Take the Pali Highway or the Likelike Highway. Either will get you there in about 35 minutes (14.3 miles). However, if you take the Pali Highway, you’ll have the opportunity to stop at the Pali Lookout and enjoy the view!
Diamond Head to Downtown Honolulu: No highway routes from Diamond Head in Waikiki to Downtown Honolulu. Instead, you’ll take the busy side-streets for 2.7 miles, which will set you back about 17 minutes.
Downtown Honolulu to Waimanalo: After a day of sightseeing in Downtown Honolulu, you may be ready for some R and R in Waimanalo on Oahu’s Windward Side. Expect to spend about 38 minutes in your car (14 miles) to get there. However, if you take Kalanianaole Highway as your primary route, you can enjoy the spectacular views along the Ka Iwi Coastline. Totally worth it the drive!
Honolulu Airport to Turtle Bay: We have good news and bad news: The good news is Turtle Bay in Kahuku is a fantastic resort nestled in the heart of rural Oahu. The bad news is it will take you a while to drive there once you land at the airport. Expect to spend about one hour and 11 minutes in your car once you get started. The commute is 37.4 miles, some of which is highway driving, but other roads are smaller, thinner, and less well-maintained. So, if you get a bit nervous around country roads, add another 30 minutes to your travel time.
Waikiki to Haleiwa: The 32.2 miles from Waikiki to Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore is likely to take you about one hour and seven minutes to get there. Along the way, stop by the Dole Plantation and get lost in the maze!
Waikiki to Ko Olina: Expect to spend about 55 minutes in your car during the 23 mile trip from Waikiki to Ko Olina, especially in traffic. If you plan to spend the day soaking up the sun in Ko Olina, stop at the Wal Mart in Kapolei and stock up!
Of course, there are other ways to get around Oahu, including taxis, Uber, and Lyft. Plus, many reputable tour companies like Hawaii Aloha Travel offer complimentary hotel pick-up to many excursions, such as Pearl Harbor, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Sea Life Park.
We’ll make sure to follow-up this post with travel times on the neighbor islands. So, stay tuned!