While Oahu’s public transportation is limited to island-wide bus service, the routes and frequency of buses make it a reliable option, especially in urban Honolulu. Car rentals are favored for the areas near the coasts and for those imagining the wind in their hair as they explore beaches with the top down and boogie boards in the trunk.
Your transportation decisions will depend on where you’re staying and what you want from your time on the island. If you’re based in urban Honolulu, Waikiki or at the Ko Olina resorts, hotel parking costs $16 to $43 a day, though a few hotels do offer it for free. With so much right near your hotel, you might not even get your car out of the garage every day. Many visitors opt to rent a car by the day if they plan to venture beyond Honolulu, and then return it before they have to face the hotel’s sky-high parking fees. Most hotels can arrange a rental car for you, and many providers have satellite offices in Waikiki. Elsewhere around the island parking is typically inexpensive or free.
For those staying farther afield — Windward Oahu, the Leeward Coast or the North Shore — a rental car will make life much easier and more convenient. Remember to reserve the car before you leave home, and you can pick it up at the airport upon arrival. Rates can vary wildly based on season and car availability. The same car that rents for $30 a day right after the December holidays might go for $130 between Christmas and New Year’s.
The Bus, Oahu’s public bus system, offers routes across the island with many convenient options to get to the most popular destinations and beaches. Most routes are wheelchair accessible. Drivers are friendly and helpful, getting you safely aboard and into the wheelchair-only space. The adult fare is $2.75 each way, with a one-day pass for $5.50.
Oahu Transit Services operates a daily paratransit service, TheHandi-Van. It uses wheelchair-accessible vehicles to provide curb-to-curb service to individuals with disabilities for $2.
Ways to save: For those 65 and older, the bus fare drops to $1 each way, or a one-day pass for $2.
Taxis/ Ride sharing
Uber and Lyft both offer service, more reliably in urban Honolulu but increasingly available in less-traveled areas. Taxis are prevalent throughout Waikiki, but are harder to get in other spots around the island (particularly farther-flung areas like the North Shore and Kailua). For both car services and taxis, inquire about getting a return ride when arranging your trip.