Reed Travel Features
HONOLULU -- Clients checking into Waikiki hotels for the first
time are faced with a bewildering array of ways to get around.
They probably will pick up a handful of free visitor
publications on the street and brochures at a hotel's activities
In newspaper ads, they will see schedules for an increasing
number of shuttle services to attractions.
Sea Life Park, Waimea Falls Park and tourist-oriented shopping
centers such as Aloha Tower Marketplace, Hilo Hattie and Maui
Divers Jewelry Design Center have shuttles, for example.
Whether plans include a dinner-cruise off Waikiki, a west Oahu
luau or windsurfing on the windward coast, transportation likely is
On the neighbor islands, probably 90% of visitors rent cars, but
Honolulu means city driving, and with free or inexpensive
transportation available, many visitors here prefer to leave the
driving to others.
Urban Honolulu extends for more than 30 miles, squeezed between
mountains and sea, with a freeway as the major artery.
Waikiki is nine miles from Honolulu Airport, and in between is
On an average day, Waikiki, with 86% of Oahu's 36,000 rooms,
houses more than 65,000 visitors.
A constant flow of motorcoaches, minibuses and vans call at
hotels and disperse visitors throughout the island.
Companies such as E Noa Tours and Polynesian Adventure offer
Big sellers are a city tour combined with Pearl Harbor's Arizona
Memorial; a 90-mile Oahu Circle Island, and the Polynesian Cultural
Center, located 38 miles from Waikiki on the north shore.
Downtown attractions include the historic district, the
waterfront and Chinatown.
To get from Waikiki to downtown, visitors can take Oahu's
islandwide bus system (Routes 19 and 20).
There also is the Waikiki Trolley, sister company to E Noa
Tours, which stops at most downtown attractions and others farther
Oahu's bus system, operated by Oahu Transit Services, a private
company, is subsidized by the city.
Called TheBus, its $1 fare (50 cents for students) includes
transfers to intersecting routes.
Clients should note that exact fare is needed when boarding.
Many routes, including those going around the island, begin at
Hawaii's largest shopping complex, Ala Moana Center, across the Ala
Wai Canal from Waikiki.
Visitors can circle the island for $1, with the trip through the
central plain and down the windward coast taking four hours.
According to Oahu Transit Services, 30,000 visitors a day -- 12%
of total ridership -- use TheBus, many to get around Waikiki.
Last summer, OTS introduced the Oahu Discovery Passport, a
visitor pass sold at ABC Stores' more than 30 Waikiki outlets.
The $10 pass is for four consecutive days.
E Noa Corp.'s Waikiki Trolley departs Waikiki's Royal Hawaiian
Shopping Center every 15 minutes between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The route provides a two-hour, narrated, roundtrip excursion,
the Old Town Honolulu Tour.
A $17 all-day pass grants unlimited on-off privileges.
Downtown stops include the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Iolani
Palace, Hawaii Maritime Center (next to Aloha Tower Marketplace),
Chinatown and Foster Botanical Garden.
Stops west of downtown are the Hilo Hattie and Dole Cannery
retail outlets as well as the final stop, Bishop Museum (the State
Museum of Natural and Cultural History).
Last summer, three shopping attractions within a mile of each
other started a free trolley shuttle.
They are the harbor's 2-year-old Aloha Tower Marketplace, with
more than 100 stores and restaurants; Hilo Hattie, specializing in
Hawaii-made products, and Dole Cannery, with brand-name
The shuttle operates every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Both Hilo Hattie and Aloha Tower Marketplace have Waikiki
Hilo Hattie's free bus transportation operates from 8:30 a.m. to
3:30 p.m. daily, with pickups every 30 minutes at nine Waikiki
Aloha Tower Marketplace has a trolley shuttle from Waikiki,
picking up every 20 minutes at 10 locations and charging a $2
Earlier this fall, Hilo Hattie started a free shuttle service
from its outlet to Maui Divers Jewelry Design Center, near Ala
The shuttle operates from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At Maui Divers, visitors can watch coral and other jewelry being
made and can return on Maui Divers' minibus shuttle to Waikiki.
Ala Moana Center started its own Waikiki bus shuttle early this
year, charging $2 each way.
Oahu's most popular attraction, the Arizona Memorial, 14 miles
from Waikiki, gets 1.5 million visitors a year.
It can be reached on a sightseeing tour, by private shuttle from
Waikiki ($3 one way) or by the No. 22 bus.
The Polynesian Cultural Center is included in tours, and it can
arrange roundtrip transportation for $15.
Several major attractions can be reached only by city bus or
Getting to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in
Punchbowl Crater means changing buses and having quite a walk
To reduce congestion at the facility, tour vehicles were limited
several years ago to driving through without stopping.
East Oahu's Hanauma Bay, a marine preserve and Oahu's most
popular snorkeling spot, is another attraction with limited access,
aimed at reducing overcrowding.
Tour operators cannot drop off passengers, and taxis are limited
to one dropoff a day.
Oahu Transit has an hourly bus service to the bay from Waikiki,
and several firms are licensed to take small snorkeling tours
Visitors can get recorded bus information, including how to get
to 80 specific attractions, beaches, museums and scenic locations,
by calling (808) 296-1818 and entering 8287.
For further information on the Waikiki Trolley, contact E Noa at