How to Get Around Oahu

Are you planning a visit to Oahu and want to know what transportation options are available? Chances are there are more than you expect and here I tell you in detail what you need to know about each of them.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

7 min read

How to Get Around Oahu

©Princess of the Sun

Although Oahu is one of the largest islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, the island's land area is only 1,545 square kilometers. There is plenty to see and do on Oahu, so you don't have to limit your vacation to the Waikiki area.

The only problem is that the predominantly mountainous terrain lends itself to transportation not always being easy, but as the most visited and populated island in the archipelago, transportation alternatives are numerous and tourists visiting this tropical paradise find new ways to get around.

Organized tours and excursions: the best way to get around Oahu

Oahu Highway| ©Deb Nystrom
Oahu Highway| ©Deb Nystrom

The most recommended option is, without a doubt, to hire organized tours on Oahu, especially if you intend to explore destinations beyond the Waikiki area. The island is located in a predominantly mountainous terrain, so you will need a properly adapted vehicle and preferably an experienced driver.

Another important aspect is that, by delegating the driving of the car to a third party, you will be able to better appreciate this new environment instead of being forced to put all your attention on the road. On a tropical island with such amazing scenery as Oahu the transfer is part of the fun.

Finally, there is the issue of language. Tour operators on Oahu are trained to offer visitors expert guides in different languages, something useful if you are not fluent in English.

Jurassic Park Tour on Oahu

Kualoa Ranch on Oahu is the location where many of the mythical scenes from movies like "Jurassic Park" were filmed.

A Jurassic Park tour from Honolulu takes travelers across the island to learn about the most famous filming locations and also about the Ranch's own history.

Pearl Harbor Tours

ThePearl Harbor tour is a tour to learn about one of the most important historical sites on modern Oahu.

Learn about the history of World War II in the Hawaiian Islands and the tragedy that took place here.

Oahu Island Tour

This is one of the most comprehensive tours of Oahu Island. When you book this luxury bus tour of Oahu you will visit all the points of interest of the island, from its virgin forests and paradisiacal beaches to its Shinto temples.

In total, it lasts 9 hours and you will be accompanied by a local guide. But the best part is that it includes a tasting of Poi Malasada, a typical sweet of Portuguese origin.

Book the Jurassic Park tour

Tourist bus or streetcar: the best way to get around Honolulu

Tourist bus in Oahu| ©boaski
Tourist bus in Oahu| ©boaski

It is a service designed exclusively for tourists. At the moment it is only offered on the island of Oahu, the most popular and therefore the most visited by travelers.

Before buying your pass for the Oahu tourist bus/tram it is important to keep in mind that it does not cover the whole island but only the Honolulu area.

Definitely, if you are visiting Hawaii for the first time it is totally worth paying for a service that will take you through the most visited attractions of the city aboard a comfortable and safe transportation.

Tourist bus/tram routes.

It is structured in 4 main routes covering the most important areas of the city.

  • Blue Line: it has 11 stops such as Sandy Beach Park or Halona Blowhole, among others.
  • Red line: it has 13 stops including Chinatown.
  • Pink line: it has 13 stops and passes by points such as Ala Moana Center or the Duke Kahanamoku statue.
  • Green line: it has 12 stops and you can visit places like iamond Head Crater Hike or Kapiolani Park.

Useful information

  • Schedule: some lines from 08:20h in the morning and others from 09:30h.
  • Price: you have the option to buy the pass for 1, 4 or 7 days and the price ranges from 27 € to 68 €.

Book the Honolulu tourist bus/tram

Oahu bus: the cheapest option

Inside a bus on Oahu| ©daryl_mitchell
Inside a bus on Oahu| ©daryl_mitchell

Public bus service on the island of Oahu is run by Oahu's City Transportation System and offers travelers visiting the island a connection to much of its territory in an efficient and safe means.

However, Oahu buses may have trouble accessing routes near mountainous areas, which are also home to many of the island's most interesting hiking trails.

In any case, the Oahu public bus is an economical and easy alternative to move between different points, so I invite you to consider it among your options. Of course, Spanish is not a very popular language and to communicate with the locals you should have an intermediate level of English.

  • Schedule: varies depending on the route, so it is advisable to check the schedules and stops before making any trip, however long or short it may be.
  • Price: approximately 1,5€ each way. You can buy bus passes valid for one or more days and thus save more on your trip.
  • Route: on the official website you will find detailed information about routes and schedules.

Renting a car in Oahu: the most flexible option

Traveling by car| ©Vyacheslav Bobin
Traveling by car| ©Vyacheslav Bobin

The private car is the favorite transportation option for locals and for tourists it represents a highly efficient form of transportation that will allow them to move around the island without major inconveniences.

If you opt for this alternative, you should know that you will have different pick-up options, whether you rent them there directly or book them through the Internet:

  • At the airport, once your flight lands.
  • Upon arrival in the city.

In addition to offering flexibility, this means of transportation is a transportation alternative that will allow you to visit the farthest corners of the island of Oahu.

Companies that offer this service

When it comes to reliable companies to rent a car in Oahu, the best alternative is usually to use the services of an international company and make the reservation well in advance of your trip.

Although I recommend that you do your own research, here are a few suggestions

Some useful information

  • Price: varies depending on the company you choose, but it is around 80€ per day.
  • Type of car: the best choice of car is an SUV, this way you will be able to access those off-road places that barely have dirt roads.

Taking a cab in Oahu: the most expensive option

Cab| ©Andrew Wertheimer
Cab| ©Andrew Wertheimer

It is a means of transportation widely used by tourists and locals and you can easily find it around all the tourist spots on Oahu.

Besides being an easy and comfortable option for the traveler, cabs in Oahu have an impeccable service policy. Like almost all services in the islands, cabs are characterized by their friendly and highly focused on satisfying and helping travelers.

The only drawback you should consider is the price. If you plan to use this single transportation option during your entire stay, your travel budget may increase considerably.

  • Price: in Oahu they use taximeters and the official price table says that the first 200 meters cost about 3€, increasing 0.40€ for each ⅛ of extra mile traveled. As for waiting time, a rate of €0.4 per minute is established.

Companies offering this service

On your trip through Hawaii you will find many companies. Here is a list of some of the most popular ones. Some of them allow you to check prices for routes directly on their website.

  • Charley's Taxi: their offices are located at 1451 S King Street #300 in Honolulu. The contact number is +1 808-233-3333.
  • Royal Hawaiian Taxi: with offices located at 2421 Tusitala St. in Honolulu. The contact number is +1 808-223-1773.
  • Honolulu Cab Hawaii: located at 2211 Ala Wai Blvd # 2903. The contact number is +1 808-429-1119.
  • Honolulu Taxi: located at 718 Ekela Avenue in Honolulu. The contact number is +1 808-953-4449.

Airplane: the best option to move between the islands of the archipelago.

Airplane in Oahu| ©KurtClark
Airplane in Oahu| ©KurtClark

When it comes to a simple, safe and economical method of travel between the different islands of Hawaii, the predominant option is the airplane. While Hawaii also has a ferry service, it only connects the islands of Oahu and Maui and is usually more expensive and slower than flying.

Flights on Oahu depart from and arrive at Honolulu Airport (HNL), which is also the largest airport on the Hawaiian Islands. It is the best alternative if your vacation in the archipelago includes a visit to the Island of Maui and the Big Island.

  • Duration: Due to the proximity of the different destinations a direct flight usually takes about 30 minutes each way.
  • Price: usually around €70 per trip.

Companies offering this service

A total of 8 companies offer direct flight service between the main islands of the Hawaiian archipelago.

Below is a list of the most popular and those that offer the most flights every day. If you want to save money on your travels it is best to check all the companies in order to get the best possible deal.

  • Tours and Excursions
  • The best option
  • Price: From 68€.
  • Schedule: Varies according to the excursion.
  • Tourist Bus
  • Honolulu Sightseeing Tours
  • Price: Starting at 27€.
  • Schedule: From 08:20 h.
  • Oahu Bus
  • The cheapest option
  • Price: From 1,5€.
  • Schedule: Varies depending on the route.
  • Rent a car
  • The most flexible option
  • Price: From 80€ per day.
  • Schedule: Not applicable.
  • Cab
  • The most expensive option
  • Price: 0.40€ for every 200 meters.
  • Schedule: Not applicable.
  • Plane
  • Inter-island tour
  • Price: From 70€ each way.
  • Schedule: Varies.