Arriving in Honolulu International Airport (HNL)

Local transport in Honolulu

Getting around by bicycle

Getting around by air

Getting around by boat

 

Arriving in Honolulu International Airport (HNL)

Car Most car-rental agencies are on-site. Drive takes 25 to 45 minutes to Waikiki via Hwy 92 (Nimitz Hwy/Ala Moana Blvd) or H-1 (Lunalilo) Fwy.

Taxi Metered, around $40 to $50 to Waikiki, plus 50¢ per bag and 10% to 15% driver's tip.

Door-to-door shuttle Costs $16/30 one way/round trip to Waikiki; operates 24 hours (every 20 to 60 minutes).

Bus TheBus 19 or 20 to Waikiki ($2.50) every 20 to 60 minutes from 5:30am to 11:30pm daily (large baggage prohibited).

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Local transport in Honolulu

The best way to roam in the city of Honolulu is in a car. You may rent a car or hire a taxi as the rental rates are lower. Other options to roam are the public bus or trolley.

Car

Major car-rental companies are found at Honolulu International Airport and in Waikiki.

Traffic jams up during rush hours, roughly from 7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm weekdays. Expect heavy traffic in both directions on the H-1 Fwy during this time, as well as on the Pali and Likelike Hwys headed into Honolulu in the morning and away from the city in the late afternoon. Some major roads are 'coned' during rush hours to add lanes to the directions that are busy.

Parking

Downtown and Chinatown have on-street metered parking; it’s reasonably easy to find an empty space on weekends but nearly impossible on weekdays. Bring lots of quarters.

Pay parking is also available at several municipal garages and there are a lot scattered around Chinatown and downtown. On the outskirts of the downtown core, the private Neal S Blaisdell Center offers all-day parking from $6, depending on special events.

Most shopping centers, including the Ala Moana Center, provide free parking for customers.

Bus

Just northwest of Waikiki, the Ala Moana Center mall is the central transfer point for TheBus, Oʻahu’s public-transportation system. Several direct bus routes run between Waikiki and Honolulu's other neighborhoods.

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Getting around by bicycle

Cycling around the islands is a great, nonpolluting way to travel. As a primary mode of transportation, however, cycling can be a challenge. All islands have narrow roads, dangerous traffic and changeable weather. Long-distance cycling is best done with a tour group, but if you're adventurous and in good shape, it can be done on your own. Hawaiʻi, the Big Island, is the toughest but also most popular destination for cycle touring.

Rental

  • Tourist resort areas and specialty bicycle shops rent beach cruisers, hybrid models and occasionally high-end road and mountain bikes.
  • Rental rates average $20 to $45 per day (easily double that for high-tech road or mountain bikes). Multiday and weekly discounts may be available, so ask.
  • Some B&Bs, guesthouses and hostels rent or loan bicycles to guests.
  • Public bike-sharing programs have been popping up around the islands, including in Kailua-Kona and possibly Honolulu in 2017.

Road Rules

  • Generally, bicycles are required to follow the same rules of the road as cars. Bicycles are prohibited on freeways and sidewalks.
  • State law requires all cyclists under the age of 16 to wear helmets.
  • For more bicycling information, including online cycling maps for Oʻahu, search the Hawaii Department of Transportation website (http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/).

Transporting Bicycles

  • Bringing your own bike to Hawaii costs $150 or more on flights from the US mainland, while interisland flights charge $50 and up to transport your bike.
  • You can usually check your bicycle at the airline counter, the same as any baggage. It needs to be in a box or hard-sided case with the handlebars fixed sideways and the pedals removed or enclosed in plastic foam.
  • Many island buses are equipped with front-loading two-bicycle racks. Let the driver know before loading your bicycle on or off the rack. If the bicycle rack is already full, you may have to wait until the next bus comes along, which can be problematic, especially on the Big Island, Maui and Kauaʻi.

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Getting around by air

The Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is the largest airport in the State of Hawaii and is located in Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. From Honolulu you can fly to all of the Hawaiian islands. There are also departures daily from HNL to Anchorage, Atlanta, Belllingham, Brisbane, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Guam, Haneda, Houston, Incheon, Kansai, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Nagoya, Narita, Newark, Oakland, Pago Pago, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle-Tacoma, Seoul, Sydney and Vancouver.

Hawaii's airports handling most interisland air traffic are Honolulu (Oʻahu), Kahului (Maui), Kona and Hilo on Hawaiʻi (Big Island) and Lihuʻe (Kauaʻi). Smaller regional airports served mainly by commuter airlines and charter flights include Lanaʻi City (Lanaʻi); Kaunakakai and Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi; Kapalua and Hana on Maui; and Kamuela (Waimea) on Hawaiʻi (Big Island).

Interisland Flights

Hawaii's major interisland carrier – reliable Hawaiian Airlines – offers frequent interisland flights in jet planes, as well as turboprop service through its new subsidiary brand, ʻOhana by Hawaiian. Three smaller, commuter-oriented airlines – Island Air, Mokulele Airlines and Makani Kai Air – provide scheduled service daily in turboprop planes.

Smaller turboprop planes fly so low that their flights almost double as sightseeing excursions – fun! The only drawback to turboprop planes is that carry-on baggage limitations are usually much more strict, so you may end up paying extra to check all of your bags.

Expect further schedule changes and possible shake-ups in the interisland flight biz. Interisland airfares vary wildly, from $50 to $225 one way. Round-trip fares are typically double the price without any discounts. Usually the earlier you book, the cheaper the fare.

While it may still possible to walk up and get on a flight among the four biggest islands (particularly to/from Honolulu), advance reservations are strongly recommended, especially at peak times.

Airline regulations concerning surfboards, bicycles and other oversized baggage vary and can be restrictive, not to mention expensive – ask before booking.

Airlines in Hawaii

Hawaiian Airlines Nearly 200 daily flights between Honolulu (Oʻahu), Kauaʻi, Maui and Hawaiʻi (Big Island), with limited flights to Molokaʻi and Lanaʻi. Flying between Neighbor Islands often requires changing planes in Honolulu.

Island Air Flies turboprop planes directly from its Honolulu hub on Oʻahu to Kahului (Maui), Lihue (Kauaʻi) and Kona (West Hawaiʻi).

Mokulele Airlines Flies turboprop planes to Honolulu (Oʻahu); Kona and Waimea (Kamuela) on Hawaiʻi (Big Island); Kahului, Kapalua and Hana on Maui; and Hoʻolehua and Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi. Charter flights to Lanaʻi City (Lanaʻi) available.

Makani Kai Air Flies turboprop planes to Honolulu (Oʻahu) and Kaunakakai and Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.

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Getting around by boat

Interisland ferry service is surprisingly limited in Hawaii. Currently only Molokaʻi and Lanaʻi have regular, passenger-only public ferry service to/from Lahaina, Maui.

Norwegian Cruise Line operates a seven-day cruise between the four biggest Hawaiian Islands that starts and ends in Honolulu; fares start at $1299 per person based on double occupancy.

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