What to do in Oahu, Hawaii

What to do in Oahu Hawaii

The world-famous holiday destination

Hawaii is the only island state in the US and located miles away from North America in the Pacific Ocean. This magnificent state is all alone in this vast ocean where it offers incredible turquoise waters and fine white sand beaches. 

When it comes to beaches and clear waters it always takes me back to my childhood years in the Philippines where I swam in clear blue waters and bathed in the sun. After a year of COVID travel restrictions, we finally have the go signal to travel to Hawaii. My husband and I were all in and ready to fly. Surprisingly, he was more excited than me as he has spent 5 years of his life in Hawaii when he was young. It was like coming back home to something familiar for both of us.  Let's go!

Hawaii Itinerary  March 26 - April 1

We were able to book cheap flight tickets to Oahu, Hawaii with Skyscanner.  This is the platform where I  compare prices from different airlines.  For our accommodation, I've always relied on Booking.com to give us affordable deals with our stays. It's easier to maneuver their sites when it comes to location, nearby attractions, and activities. Also, most of our activities were booked with GROUPON, where they provide the best deals in town.


THINGS TO DO BEFORE FLYING TO HAWAII: COVID REQUIREMENTS

Things to do before flying to Hawaii Covid Requirements

1. Schedule your COVID testing with partnered airlines.
2. Download Safe Travel App ahead of time. https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/
     Upload the COVID Results on the app and fill out the health questionnaire before the flight.
     Make sure to screenshot the QR Code before check-in.
3. Online check-in the night before for flight and screenshot boarding pass.
     For convenience, avoid any check-in baggage which makes checking-in easier at the airport.


FIRST DAY
March 26, Flight, Check-in Hotel and Groceries

How to get to Honolulu Airport to Downtown

Flight: Hawaiian Airlines: Los Angeles to Honolulu
6 hours and 30 minutes
10 am - 1:30 pm
Price: 598 USD for two-person

How to get to Honolulu Airport to Downtown:
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to Ohia Waikiki Studio: 20-30 minutes
Lyft ride: 35-45 USD

There are buses available outside the airport vicinity but the travel time is longer and we wanted to save time. As Saul keeps saying, "Time is Gold."


Ohia Waikiki Studio Suites

Address: 2280 Kuhio Avenue, Waikiki, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
March 26 - 29, 4 days 3 nights 
330 USD

Most hotels have a resort fee with Ohia Waikiki Studio the resort fee includes:
· Essential Aloha Snack Pack (1 box per room) with complimentary hand sanitizer and disposable face masks
· Complimentary coffee, iced tea, and water station in the lobby
· Free Bag storage (the staff secured our bags when we check-out early and headed for our tour)
· Parking fees apply and security deposit upon check-in

Our studio has a balcony, stovetop, and a kitchen. Make sure to request ahead of time for a microwave, frying pan, and utensils. The suite has a great location but the service is average and you can hear the noise from the street. Breakfast is not included and most restaurants open late so we decided to get some groceries.


For groceries, 2 options:  Across the street from Ohia Waikiki Suites are two small grocery stores
1. Dukes Lane Market and Eatery
2. ABC Store
Groceries: 20 USD ( breakfast items includes water, eggs, dish soap, and clementines)
We purchased ahead of time our favorite Seeds of Change Organic Quinoa and Brown Rice for breakfast.

If you're on a budget here are Local Meal Favorites: All below 10 USD
Dukes Lane Market and Eatery:
Loco Moco 
Pork Adobo 
Salt and Vinegar Chicken Wings

ABC Store:
Chicken Teriyaki 

Dinner in Marukame Udon Waikiki
1 minute walk away from Ohia Waikiki Studio
Address: 2310 Kūhiō Ave. #124, Honolulu, HI 96815
Dinner: 22 USD for two persons


Pork Adobo  and Loco Moco
Pork Abodo and Loco Moco

Pork Abodo
I was surprised to see Adobo as a local favorite in Hawaii, as this dish is also a famous Filipino food in the Philippines. This is what happens when East meets West and boom Hawaiian-style Filipino pork adobo.

Loco Moco
I'm not a fan of pairing up my burger steak with rice but this Hawaiian Comfort food is a must-try. Traditionally, the loco moco is made of white rice, topped with a hamburger, a fried egg, and brown gravy.


SECOND DAY
March 27, Chill Day, Food Trip and Explore the beach

Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach

Nearby Attractions

Beaches nearby:
Ohia Waikiki Studio to Waikiki Beach: 10 minutes walk
Ohia Waikiki Studio to Hilton Lagoon and Kahanamoku Beach: 25 minutes walk or 7 minutes by car

Hikes nearby:
Ohia Waikiki Studio to Diamond Head: 15 minutes by car
Ohia Waikiki Studio to Nu'uanu Pali Lookout: 20 minutes by car

Nearby Malls:
Ohia Waikiki Studio to International Market Place: 4 mins walk 
Ohia Waikiki Studio to Royal Hawaiian Center: 6 mins walk
Ohia Waikiki Studio to Waikiki Beach Walk: 10 mins walk


Famous Foods to try:

Leonard's Bakery
These malasadas are another must-try local food, best when eaten fresh from the bakery. I loved the original malasadas with no fillings on it, then pair it up with some local coffee, oh yeah! heaven by your side.

Leonard's Bakery, 30 minutes walk or 7 minutes by car from Ohia Waikiki Studio
Address: 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
1 dozen malasadas puff and two malasadas: 25 USD


Ono Seafood
A few minutes away from Leonard's bakery is a popular local food favorite. Saul went crazy for their fresh poke, one of the best he has ever tried, considering he lived in Japan for 9 years he knows when he found a hidden gem. I on the other hand had to pick a cooked poke as I'm happily pregnant, hearing him having foodgasm was good enough for me, ahahaa.

Ono Seafood, 28 minutes walk or 6 minutes by car from Ohia Waikiki Studio
Address: 747 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Two poke bowls  with drinks: 20 USD


More foods to try:
Kono's Northshore, 1 minute away from Ohia Waikiki Studio
Address: 2310 Kuhio Avenue #1-A, Honolulu, HI 96815
Two sandwiches and a smoothie: 40 USD

Paia Fish Market, across the street from Ohia Waikiki Studio
Address: 2299 Kūhiō Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815
Two fish plate: 45 USD

A cheaper dinner option:
Me Bar-B-Que 
Address: 151 Uluniu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Two meals: 20 USD


THIRD DAY
March 28, 8:00 am - 5 pm
Full-Day 16 Location Island Tour 

Hawaii Island Tour with Groupon
Island Tour Including Snorkeling, Tour Guide, Snacks, and Beverages with Grand Tours Around Island
Price: 60 USD per person


Free Pick up and Drop Off. Tour Pick-up is in front of Ross Dress for Less Outlet (2 minutes walk away from Ohia Waikiki Studio)

If you rented a car you can follow this list for the road trip. However, you'll be missing some great stories about Hawaii. Our tour guide, Jake, was an excellent storyteller, he told us the myths and legends of the places we went to, local intriguing facts, and captivating Hawaiian secrets.

1. DIAMOND HEAD LOOKOUT
2. HALONA BLOWHOLE
3. SANDY BEACH
4. MAKAPUU BEACH
5. WAIMANALO
6. MACADAMIA NUT FARM
7. CHINAMAN HAT
8. SHRIMP TRUCKS
9. FRUIT STANDS
10. SUNSET BEACH
11. BANZAI PIPELINE
12. WAIMEA BAY
13. LANIAKEA
14. HALEIWA TOWN
15. DOLE PLANTATION
16. COFFEE FARM


Here are my highlights for this island tour which include trying out local food and swimming at the beach:

Macadamia Nut FarmFree Coffee Tasting and Free Macadamia Nuts Tasting

6. MACADAMIA NUT FARM - Tropical Farm with good coffee and flavored selection of Macadamia Nuts. I got Kono Coffee Glazed Macadamia Nuts for 10 USD.


North Shore Shrimp Trucks

8. SHRIMP TRUCKS - Lunch was enjoyed at the North Shore featuring their Shrimp Trucks in the area. We ordered the Coconut Shrimp and Lemon and buttered Shrimp.


Fruit stands in Honolulu

9. FRUIT STANDS - Afterward, we dropped by a local fruit stand that offers local fresh fruits and vegetables. I bought some Mango slices for 4 USD and "Turon" ( a sweet Filipino banana dessert rolled in spring roll wrapper) for 1 USD.


Turtle Bay

Just across the street from the fruit stands we went swimming at Turtle Bay.  Snorkeling gears were provided. Hubby and I and my little one who is already swimming inside my tummy tried to check the waters but it was too murky and the waves were not helpful at all, so instead, we just dipped in the waters for a few minutes then allowed enough time to dry and changed before heading back to the bus.


Dole Plantation Oahu’s famous historical pineapple farm.

15. DOLE PLANTATION - This is Oahu’s famous historical pineapple farm, which reminds me that we also have a Dole Plantation back in the Philippines. Hubby loved the pineapple ice cream, the lady gave us the wrong order instead she gave us the premium ice cream but with a big smile she gave it to me with no extra charge. My favorite is this chili hotdog with pineapple bits on its toppings, we paid less than 20 USD for both snacks.


Oahu’s first Coffee Visitor Farm.

16. COFFEE FARM -  Last stop of the tour. This is Oahu’s first Coffee Visitor Farm where they roast coffees daily on-site, offer free coffee tasting, and sell awesome coffee t-shirts for souvenirs.


FOURTH DAY
March 29 Check-in Hilton and Turtle Snorkeling

Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach

Address: 2330 Kuhio Avenue, Waikiki, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
March 29 - April 1, 4 days 3 nights
530 USD

Our room has a city view, a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator, a microwave, a water heater kettle, and a Keurig coffee machine.  Parking fees apply and security deposit upon check-in.

The hotel is just 2 minutes walk from Ohia Waikiki Studio. It's more expensive but you can never beat the comfort and ambiance. There was a building construction nearby and we barely hear a thing, plus the bed smells fresher and the bathroom was immaculate. We wanted to pamper ourselves more for the fourth night, so we decided to go to Hilton Garden Inn.  

This day is a very special day for me as we're going for our Turtle Snorkeling activity. I've swum in waters in different countries but still, I've never seen a turtle underwater. But this day is different as my wish finally came true!

The turtles were cool like a refreshing drink on a hot summer day. They never mind our presence and simply swam gracefully underwater. It comes out for a breath of air a few times and everyone's smile was from ear to ear. 
Turtle Snorkeling Adventure with Pink Sails Waikiki
March 29, 2 pm - 4 pm
Turtle Snorkeling Adventure with Pink Sails Waikiki
2 hours Snorkeling adventure at the Infamous Turtle Canyon with equipment, food, and beverage.
Price: 50 USD per person

We purchased our  Turtle Snorkeling with GROUPON: Save on activities, spas, restaurants, and events near you.

Meet-up at the Harbor 10 minutes by car or 30 minutes walk from Hilton Garden Inn
Address: 1651 Ala Moana Blvd #600 a, Honolulu, HI 96815

Bring: Towel, sunscreen, slippers, change clothes, camera, and windbreaker jacket


After the turtle snorkeling check out nearby beach and attraction:
Hilton Lagoon and Kahanamoku Beach (1 minute away from the Harbor)

Hilton Lagoon and Kahanamoku Beach
Hilton Lagoon and Kahanamoku Beach
Address: Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815


Cafe Glace at Waikiki Beach Walk
Try the Cookies and Cream Gelato, and Mahalo Crepe ( cheese, spinach, and bechamel sauce): 17 USD

We walked a lot for this trip and this how we find hidden gems in the city. A small cafe at Waikiki Beach Walk that offers one of the best crepes we've ever tried, what makes this crepe interesting is that it's filled with spinach and bechamel sauce - it's like having pasta in dessert style!

Cafe Glace at Waikiki Beach Walk (4 minutes by car or 17 minutes walk from Hilton Lagoon)
Address: Lewers Street, 227 Lewers St #115, Honolulu, HI 96815


FIFTH DAY
March 30, Couples Hawaiian Massage, Souvenir Shopping and Lu'au Dinner with Ka Moana Lu'au

Souvenir Shopping at ABC Stores Honolulu

11 am Couples Hawaiian Massage
Lava Massage and Day Spa, 4 minutes by car or 23 minutes walk from Hilton Garden Inn
Address: 1750 Kalakaua Ave # 2502, Honolulu, HI 96826
Price: 130 USD for two-person


Souvenir Shopping at ABC Stores
Board shorts 25 USD
Turtle and Flower Silver Earrings 25 USD
Chocolates 12 packs 40 USD
Macadamia Nuts 8 packs 30 USD
Fridge magnet 4 pieces 20 USD
Wooden Tiki Decor 9 USD
Hula Girl 1 piece 7 USD
Turtle Stickers 4 pieces: 20 USD


Lu'au Package for Two People Hawaiian Dinner

March 30, 5 pm 
Splash Lu'au Package for Two People with Ka Moana Lu'au
Address: 41-202 Kalanianaʻole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96795
Price: 216 USD
Optional: for pick-up additional 18 USD per person

We purchased our  Lu'au Package for two with GROUPON: Save on activities, spas, restaurants, and events near you.

Pick-up at 4:20 pm in Hyatt Regency Waikiki (5 minutes walk from Hilton Garden Inn)
Address: 2424 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815

Splash Lu’au Package includes:
Deluxe shell lei 
Moana Splash Seating 
2 drink tickets per person
Cultural activities
Buffet dinner (served by the staff)
Admission to Sea Life Park (Up to 40 USD Value) - Can be used when the park reopens.

My husband was excited about this Lu'au night package for two. Lu'au is a traditional Hawaiian party with lots of foods and entertainment like Hawaiian music, fire dance, and stories about Hawaii presented with vibrant costumes and hula dance moves. Due to COVID restrictions, ukulele lessons, and Lei making was not included in the event. Despite that the lively music still made the night special, the Aloha spirit is still in the air.


SIXTH DAY
March 31, Chill Day, Ice Cream, Coffee, and Fun at the Beach

Waikiki Beach via Sheraton Hotel
Waikiki Beach via Sheraton Waikiki 

There are no private beaches in Hawaii, all the beaches are open to the public. We learned this important information during our Island Tour with Jake. So we walked to the other side of Waikiki Beach where it seems less crowded and went through the Sheraton Waikiki to the public beach area. We even thought the Hilton Lagoon was owned by Hilton and only accessible to Hinton guests, but it's open for the public.


Honolulu Coffee Sheraton Hotel
Honolulu Coffee Company for 7 USD inside the Sheraton Waikiki 

After dipping in the waters of Waikiki Beach it was time for a coffee break. The Hawaiian Kona coffee is mild, clean, and smooth to the palate. I usually prefer my coffee dark and bitter but this one was an exception, it's a nice break from my usual coffee preference.


Hawaiian Shaved Ice Cream
Hawaiian Shaved Ice Cream for 9 USD near Royal Hawaiian Center

The Hawaiian shaved ice was a refreshing treat during a hot day in Hawaii. It was just right the sweetness and the fresh fruit toppings made it tastier.


SEVENTH DAY
Flight back to Los Angeles

Dashboard Hula Girl Hawaii Souvenirs
Last-minute souvenir shopping at the airport. Dashboard Hula Girl 2 pieces for15 USD

Flight: April 1, American Airlines: Honolulu to Los Angeles
5 hours and 30 minutes
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Price: 278 USD for two-person

If arriving late in the afternoon at LAX the taxi fare will be expensive. Lyft from the Airport to the Valley is around 70 USD. Another option from the Airport to the Valley or to Van Nuys is via Flyaway Bus then afterward from the bus station you can take the Lyft home. Bus fare: 10 USD

Hawaii was definitely an awesome experience, and if we're given another chance to explore this beautiful state we'll be visiting Maui next time. Oahu is still a must-see for first-time travelers, as you get to experience the vibrant city with its iconic beach and delectable fusion of cuisines.


Check out my travel resources: This Is How I Travel On A Budget

"Some links on this site might earn me a commission if a product/service is purchased." ^__^


1. AIRFARE


2. ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com






4/18 HB&W


Have fun and be safe  ^__^


Do you want more adventure?
Where am I going next?
My next adventure is going to be in California as I'm in my third trimester now and traveling that far is not recommended. 

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