Honolulu: Essentials

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Airport Waikiki Express
808/539-9400, robertshawaii.com/hat.htm
The 24-hour shuttle departs just outside baggage claim and makes trips to and from all Waikiki hotels every 30 minutes. Reserve in advance for return trip. $8 one way, $14 round trip. Fare covers two pieces of luggage per person. Additional bag, golf bag, stroller, or boogie board, $3; surfboard, $12; bicycle, $18.

Star Taxi
800/671-2999 or 808/942-7827, hawaiistartaxi.net
Aptly named, this company charges the lowest rates of any on the island: $25 for up to five passengers and their luggage traveling between the airport and any hotel in Waikiki (versus $30-plus for any other taxi, plus additional luggage charges). Pickup is outside baggage claim. Book in advance and pay cash.


808/848-5555, thebus.org
A visitor pass, sold at ABC Stores, will grant four days of unlimited rides on public buses all around the island. No more than one carry-on per person permitted; bikes must go on the racks. $2 per ride, $20 for a four-day pass.

Hailing cabs on the street isn't allowed (though it's sometimes done). Call for a pickup; wait times can be up to 30 minutes. Up to five passengers; $2.45 for the first 1/8 mile and 35¢ for every 1/8 thereafter, plus 45¢ for each small piece of luggage. Star Taxi (info above) is the best of the lot. Request a taxi that accepts credit cards or one with wheelchair accessibility from TheCab (808/422-2222).

BicyclesBig Kahuna Motorcycle Tours and Rentals
407 Seaside Ave., 888/451-5544 or 808/924-2736, bigkahunarentals.com
While Waikiki is flat, not all its roads have bike lanes, and anyone who wants to cycle farther afield should be experienced with traffic and hills. Big Kahuna's mountain-bike rentals include helmets and road maps. $10 for four hours; $20 for 24 hours. Moped rentals start at $25 for four hours; scooters and motorcycles at $65. A motorcycle license is required for scooter and motorcycle rentals.


Free on the streets


At the newsstands




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  • KINE 105.1 FM (traditional and modern Hawaiian music)


Hawaii Food Tours
800/715-2468 or 808/926-3663, hawaiifoodtours.com
Tour guide Matthew Gray, a former restaurant/food critic for the Honolulu Advertiser, leads "Hole-in-the-Wall," a tour unmasking places (and dishes) tourists rarely try. Two other themed itineraries available. Call for reservations. Daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. $59, includes hotel pickup/drop-off.

Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Chinatown tours
42 N. King St., 808/533-3181, ccchi.org
Get the inside story on an exotic area that boomed after Chinese laborers came to work on Hawaii's sugar and pineapple plantations in the 1850s. Though the neighborhood has been devastated by fire twice, it still boasts the best architecture on the island. Two-and-a-half-hour guided tours depart Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. $10.

Oahu Nature Tours
808/924-2473, oahunaturetours.com
Bird-watchers and other outdoorsy types can make the uphill climb to Diamond Head Crater ($20), trek to Manoa Falls ($37), or choose from seven other fully guided hikes. Prices include hotel pickup/drop-off.

SPLURGE Wild Side Specialty Tours
Waianae Boat Harbor, Slip A-11, 808/306-7273, sailhawaii.com
Among hordes of whale-watching tours and day cruises, Wild Side's small mom-and-pop operation gets points for being one of the most eco-friendly. The four-hour morning tours involve snorkeling near Hawaii's spinner dolphins-and, from December through April, include whale-watching. There's a 16-person limit, so book ahead. $95.

SPLURGE Island Seaplane Service
85 Lagoon Dr., 808/836-6273, islandseaplane.com
Get a bird's-eye view of the dramatic volcanic terrain and a look at the two mountain ranges the Japanese negotiated to attack Pearl Harbor. Takeoffs and landings at Keehi Lagoon. $179 per person for a one-hour tour; $99 per person for a half-hour tour. Includes hotel pickup/drop-off.




  • For food deliveries by more than a dozen area restaurants


  • Surf News Network Surfline 808/596-7873
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