Honolulu Travel Guide

Living in Honolulu, like in the rest of Hawaii, makes being a general beach bum look cool.

The “Sheltered Bay” (the literal translation of Honolulu) sprawls across the island’s southern beaches, so you’ll find your Honolulu travel guides recommending that you cover the city section by section, district by district.

For much of the 19th century, it was the seat of the monarch’s power. The port became extremely popular with merchant ships during this period. Beginning at the end of that century, the Hawaiian monarchy slowly became obsolete. USA annexed the islands soon after, making them a highly strategic naval base. The most important of these bases was, of course, the Pearl Harbour. The Pearl Harbour memorial remains the most important tourist attraction in Honolulu.

The island’s character seems to defy scheduling. Miles and miles of fantastic beaches (including the famous Waikiki), roads to spend hours cycling on are only the beginning. Your trip planner will find Honolulu a hard place to force into an itinerary.

From the most famous military memorial in the world, magnificent vistas that keep you enraptured for hours, jogging routes that look like they were crafted in heaven, surfing some of the ocean’s coolest waves, and of course, luaus and hula shows served up with mouth-watering island cuisine. Travelling through Honolulu, whether the city or the further inland, is kind of chaotic.

Hotels & Restaurants Honolulu


The hotels of Honolulu listed below are the most popular in their categories. If they have a Waikiki in their name, you can almost be sure that hotel is close to Honolulu’s most famous beach. 

Luxury Hotels

  • Hilton Hawaiian village Waikiki Beach: This luxury resort is located near the shore of Waikiki Beach. It has around 20 restaurants and lounges, 90 shops and boutiques and 5000 square feet family activity pool.
  • Pacific Beach Hotel: You can enjoy full service spa in this luxury accommodation of Honolulu.
  • Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel: Elegantly decored with latest technologies, this lavish hotel let you enjoy the classic Hawaiian charm. 

Mid Range Hotels

  • VIVE Hotel Waikiki: If you hate smoking, this place save you from breathing the smell of caffeine in the air. This non-smoking boutique offers free Wi-Fi access and modern guest rooms.
  • Queen Kapiolani Hotel: This hotel let you enjoy the stunning panoramic view of Diamond Head from its outdoor poolside and from the sun terrace. It’s a completely non-smoking accommodation.
  • Park Shore Waikiki: The best part of this 3 star hotel is the rooftop swimming pool and the sun terrace from where you can see the ocean. 

Budget Hotels

  • Waikiki Beachside Hostel: Located close to Waikiki Beach, this budget hostel is a great place to stay in Honolulu, especially for backpackers. Free Wi-Fi is available in the entertainment lounge.
  • Marina Tower Waikiki: This budget accommodation offers furnished studio rooms with kitchenettes and free wired internet access. It boasts about its palm tree lined outdoor pool.
  • Kuhio Banyan Hotel: This Waikiki apathotel is a great place to stay in for travelers travelling on a minimal budget. 


One of the popular eatery that has its chain spread in all corners of the city is Zippy. Their specialty is chilli served in various ways like over rice, over a burrito, over French fries and so on.

Besides, there are many more restaurants like:

  • Alan Wong’s: It is one of the fine dining space in Honolulu
  • Genki Sushi: Very popular among youngster because of its different types of sushi.
  • Helena’a Hawaiian food: If you wish to try commercial Hawaiian food, come to this place.
  • Steak Shack: One of the reasonably priced restaurants in Honolulu. 

How to reach Honolulu


  • By Plane: Hononulu International Airport – served by most American airlines and various Pacific ones. The Airport Waikiki Express ($9) is a quick trip to hotels in Waikiki, and leaves in every 30 minutes.
  • City Buses also run between the airport and the city ($2.50), though you better have the exact change. Flights to Honolulu are usually expensive.
  • By Ships: These travel very frequently between Honolulu Harbour and the USA Mainland, and are practically part of the attractions of Honolulu.


  • By Bus: The network is called “The Bus”, and it’s a neatly scheduled system. Adult charge is $2.50. You’ll get a free transfer ticket to another bus – valid for 2 hours, if you ask for it. You could also buy a monthly pass ($60), or a 4 day ($25) Discovery Pass. Buses are equipped with bike racks.
  • By Taxi: You can hire a taxi to travel around the city.
  • By Car: You can also hire a car. 

Honolulu’s roads are aligned to its geography – they follow the natural contours of the land. You will definitely need a map if you’re driving around. Keep your GPS close too. It’s best to familiarise yourself with the following terminology:

  • Mauka: Towards the mountain (roughly North on this island).
  • Makai: Towards the sea (roughly South on this island).
  • Ewa – West
  • Diamond Head: Roughly East
  • Downtown Honolulu is just called the Town.

Other things to know:

  • Roads are narrow and cars drive close to each other.
  • Speed limits are low (25 – 30 mph), but people actually drive much slower than that.

Though you can also get around on taxis and cars, use the bus or bicycles unless you’re going out of the city.

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Weather in Honolulu

Trip plans for Honolulu

Tours in Honolulu