O'ahu is the 3rd largest but most visited of the Hawaiian Islands. Known as "The Gathering Place", O'ahu attracts people from all over the world because of it's historic sites, scenic beaches and beautiful landscapes.
Currency: United States Dollar (USD)
Official Language(s): Hawaiian and English
Best Time to Visit: April-October
O'ahu only has one international airport, Daniel K. Inouye, which is located in Honolulu. To get from the airport to the city centre, which is Downtown Honolulu, it only takes about 15-20mins. There are a few options to get to the city centre. The easiest way would be a taxi, but the average price for taxis is around $40-$45, plus extra for tip. The good thing is that taxis go by the meter. Another option would be to take the bus. If you take bus #19 or #20 Eastbound, you can get dropped off downtown Honolulu, Ala Moana Shopping Centre or Waikiki. This option takes about 40 mins yet costs only $2.75. A popular option, especially when travelling with a group is get a shuttle bus. However, shuttle buses vary depending on where you are going and if you rent the whole car. If you want to take a shuttle bus I suggest you buy a Groupon or a discounted package from Viator.
Once you are in Honolulu is it very easy to get around. TheBus is O'ahu's public transportation system. There are buses that can get you from one side of the island to another, so you don't need to worry about renting a car. One way fare is $2.75 and a day pass is $5.
What to See
O'ahu is a great island because most of the attractions are pretty close to each other. First, I would recommend getting a Go Oahu Card. You have the option of choosing 1,2,3,5 or 7 day passes. With this card you are able to see select attractions virtually for free. Another great thing is that some of the attractions offer free transport as well! It actually saves you quite a bit of money as some of the attractions can be quite expensive.
With the Go O'ahu Card you can visit many of the popular sites. One of the most popular attractions is Pearl Harbour. Here you can learn about the history of Pearl Harbour from WWII. Iolani Palace is the only royal place in USA! Most people don't even know USA had any royalty. Even if you are not active, you cannot leave O'ahu without doing one of these hikes; Diamond Head, Makapu'u Lighthouse, Pillbox Hike or Kuliouou Ridge Hike. All of these hikes have amazing views of the islands. Of course there are water activities like snorkeling, surfing, swimming, diving, etc. Make sure to head up to Northshore to visit the Polynesian Cultural Centre. You can also tour the Jurassic Park filming location on ATVS!
What to Eat & Drink
I'm not sure where to start. Oahu has some AHHHH-MAZING food! There are so many must eat dishes that it is overwhelming. There are lots of famous food trucks that draw crowds from all over the island. People will wait almost an hour to get their hands on one of these meals. Here are some must try foods and where you can get them!
Popular Hawaiian Foods:
Where to Stay
Generally nice accommodations in Oahu can be pretty pricey. However, you get what you pay for, so I wouldn't suggest searching for the cheapest places. I also do not suggest doing airbnb or renting an apartment or condo as there are so many hidden fees like property service charge and daily cleaning fees. However, there are some affordable hotels to stay at like Stay Hotel, Queen Kapiolani and Vive Waikiki. The earlier you book your hotel the cheaper it'll be.
Depending on what experience you are looking for it's hard to say where you should stay. The most affordable places would be in Honolulu/Waikiki area, because it is the most populated and popular area to stay. Northshore is another popular destination, however hotels are scarce, so they are more expensive. Even trying to rent a house or apartment is more costly than hotels. Leeward Coast is another costly area. It is more secluded which means better views and more privacy which equals to more dollars. If you are looking to be closer to attractions then your best bet would be to stay in Honolulu. It is easy to get around the area and there is public transportation. This area has lots of bars and restaurants as well, so it is pretty lively.
Molokai-- While hiking Makapu'u lighthouse trail you can actually see this island on a clear day. It is the 5th largest island has a growing tourism market.
Lanai-- Just a short ferry ride from O'ahu, Lanai is the 6th largest of the Hawaiian islands. This island offers more scenic views as it is a less inhabited island.