Oahu Island Hawaii HolidaysReference WW38905
Book your Oahu Island holidays in Hawaii and see for yourself why it's known as the Heartbeat of Hawaii – a tropical island paradise that effortlessly blends together everything that makes this archipelago a beautiful must-visit.
Oahu is a vibrant Hawaiian Island that has it all – fantastic beaches, soaring mountains, awe-inspiring natural wonders and sublime restaurants. Oahu effortlessly blends modern life with ancient Hawaiian traditions. South-east along the coast from Waikiki is the area's most famous landmark, the extinct volcanic cone of Diamond Head. Just 3 miles west of Waikiki is Hawaii's capital, Honolulu. It has a fabulous setting, ringed by extinct volcanoes and backed up lush valleys. Visit Pearl Harbour, still the base for the US Pacific Fleet. Explore the metropolitan capital of Honolulu, where you can shop all day, and dance all night in an urban blanket that rivals even that of NYC or Los Angeles. Or spend your afternoons dipping your toes into the warm turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean and discovering why surfing and other watersports are one of the most popular pastimes of the locals. Then head inland away from the sparkle of its capital and snorkel in the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, or hike to the top of the iconic Diamond Head State Monument for stunning panoramic views of Waikiki and Honolulu. Whatever side of Hawaii you’re hoping to see, you’ll find on the island of Oahu.
Top hotels in Oahu
Top 5 things to do in Oahu:
Oahu Holiday Highlights
When to Visit
- Currency US Dollars ($)
- Flying time from the UK 10 1/2 Hours
- Primary Language English
- Passport & Visas Brits must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
Oahu had the best of both worlds for us, with bustling city life to laid-back surf towns, we found plenty of options for exploring what Oahu had to offer. Honolulu had a great fusion of sandy shores and city streets, nestled between rugged cliffs to the north and beaches to the south of the island, Honolulu is Hawaii's largest city. Hanauma Bay was the place to be for snorkelling in Oahu, with a gorgeous stretch of golden sand to relax on afterwards and there's a short hike on the bay to the bottom of the crater and enjoy the cool, clear water. Local Hawaiian food is an absolute must, the diverse selection satisfied our hunger after a day's adventures each and every time. Make sure to try the laulau and kalua pig before heading home! Honolulu Chinatown had a thrilling market feel to it and we found brilliant Filipino & Thai restaurants here. Don't miss Char Hung Sit, a takeaway that sells local cuisine, Hawaiian style Cantonese dumplings and baozi.
Nearly all of the millions of people who holiday in Hawaii each year come to Honolulu. Home to the state's largest airport and its largest port, Honolulu is the transport hub of Hawaii. Far from the quiet and isolated resorts that many associate with the islands, Honolulu is a bustling city of nearly a million people.
Honolulu is Hawaii in microcosm. Visitors can spend their morning paddling a kayak or taking a surf lesson, shop 'til they drop in the boutiques of the Ala Moana Center, and attend a luau or take in a show at the Polynesian Cultural Center in the evening. The city itself has many attractions, and visitors will enjoy visiting the Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo (both in Kapiolani Park), peering into Diamond Head Crater, and having fun on one of the many stunning beaches in Waikiki.
Honolulu is home to many excellent restaurants, a lively nightlife, and enough souvenir shops to satisfy even the most avid bargain-hunter. The hustle and bustle of the city may not be everyone's idea of a romantic holiday in Hawaii, but a few days in Honolulu is a must on any island getaway.
Getting around Honolulu, and Oahu in general, involves familiarising yourself with local directions. Visitors may be told to go makai (toward the sea) or mauka (toward the mountain); the famous Diamond Head crater is also an important landmark and reference for the east, and the town of Ewa stands in for the west. The main public transport system is simply called The Bus, and serves Honolulu and most of Oahu. The bus network is comprehensive, with about 100 fixed routes and more than 4,000 stops allowing travellers access to all parts of the island. The most popular route runs between Waikiki and Ala Moana Center every 10 minutes. Single tickets are $2.50, or 4-day visitor passes are available for $35. The Waikiki Trolley is also a fun way to get around Honolulu, looping around 12 key locations every 40 minutes with commentary by the driver. Taxis are also available, and provide a good means of getting around at night; they are locally regulated so fares are standard across all companies.
While many tourists think of Hawaiian nightlife as resort luaus with hula dancers and roast pigs, Honolulu offers a much more diverse experience for the adventurous visitor. Waikiki has a number of bars and restaurants ranging from friendly pubs to upscale nightclubs, and some host live music on various nights of the week. Chinatown is also a bustling neighbourhood after dark, with a number of underground bars. Other great nightlife hubs in Honolulu include The Aloha Tower Marketplace, which has more than 60 restaurants and bars, and the Ala Moana Shopping Centre.
Honolulu sees many visitors coming from across the globe to enjoy its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, shopping districts and tropical climate.
The city is made up of three areas, Waikiki, Downtown and Pearl Harbour. Waikiki is a main tourist hub, drawing travellers with its exquisite stretch of beach and picturesque shoreline. If in Waikiki, a visit to the Waikiki Aquarium is a must; not only is it one of the oldest aquariums in the US but it is also home to more than 3,500 plants and animals. The Downtown neighbourhood is geared more towards history and good museums, historic buildings and landmarks provide interesting sightseeing fodder. The USS Arizona Memorial is a must-see when in Honolulu, allowing for a look back in time to the tragedy of Pearl Harbour and America's entry into World War II. Another unique attraction, of a very different sort, is the Diamond Head Crater; this extinct volcano is one of the most famous landmarks in Hawaii.
Exploring Honolulu's Chinatown is a novel option and illustrates just how multi-cultural the Hawaiian islands are. Markets and restaurants in this vibrant neighbourhood sell all sorts of delicacies and visitors can view art, a dragon procession or even make an offering at a Buddhist temple.
Honolulu offers diners anything and everything, from the local and delightful, to many exquisite international cuisines. If home-grown and unassuming cuisine is what you're after then you will find it in and around the city without too much effort.
Classic dining spots offering regional food at its best are the likes of Helena's Hawaiian Food, a famous eatery in and around Honolulu established in 1946 and still producing firm favourites for tourists and residents alike. Another popular spot in Honolulu is Uncle Clay's. Friendly staff, a relaxed atmosphere and original snow cones are what keep people coming back.
If you want a truly luxurious experience, Honolulu happily caters to that too; many high-end restaurants are always abuzz in the city. Sushi Sasabune offers visitors a unique and upmarket sushi experience while La Mer ensures a breezy and romantic oceanside evening in a restaurant known for its impeccable service and French cuisine.