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Oahu, properly spelled O’ahu, is affectionately called "The Gathering Place" by locals. The third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands (and home to the state's capital, Honolulu), it is also one of the most densely populated areas throughout the whole of the Hawaiian archipelago. Roughly divided into regions -- the City, the Town, the North Shore, the Windward Side, the East Side, and the Valley -- Oahu is a great place to vacation in Hawaii (if you’re planning on staying here, there are several options for hostels in Oahu with differing atmospheres and settings). Not only is the island rich in history and culture, but it is also a hotbed of life with the right mix of down-to-earth local fun and wonderful "high-life" style parties that appeal to more affluent tourists.
The island's many notable historical places, such as Pearl Harbor, make it a prime tourist destination. Here you can pay tribute to the victims of the 1941 bombing and also learn about its early history as a naval and aerial base, and be witness to the history of World War II aviation. If you’re more daring, you can even take an open-cockpit flight and see things from up high. For those who want the full immersion, boarding a period combat submarine is also up for grabs!
Visitors also come to see its rich natural wonders, which are typically comprised of volcanic formations, rocky outcrops, verdant fields, and small inlets of water that are interlinked with the vast ocean. Oahu is home to a peak -- Mount Ka’ala, a mountain rising to the highest point of the whole island, more than four thousand feet -- found in the Wai’anae Range.
Oahu is also home to a diverse range of ethnicities, ranging from native inhabitants, pure descendants, intermixed descendants, and settlers all of which refer to themselves as locals, regardless of their ancestry or place of origin (as is customary in the whole of the Hawaiian islands), as a nod to unity in the light of diversity and the openness of the islands to welcome all peoples to its collective embrace. Known as the original seat of aboriginal Hawaiian aristocracy, it was once ruled by the earliest kings of Hawaii.
Hi, I'm Angelica Burrage, the Hostelz.com local expert for Oahu. Welcome.
Suggestions for Oahu:
Go Oahu Card
- Get into multiple Oahu attractions (luau, Sea Life Park, paddle boarding, etc.) for one discounted price.
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Beachside Hostel Waikiki
"Beachside Hostel Waikiki is far from making it on our list of recommendations, but sadly there are not many other options out there, so you may have no choice. The Location The location is good, taking into consideration that Waikiki is in general a horrible city to get around. Many of the main sites are too far to walk to and the bus is absolutely terrible (long and uncomfortable), but there are bus stations everywhere so there is...
HI - Honolulu - Waikiki Hostel
"The Waikiki HI is centrally located and close to the bus routes and beach. It is an older three-story greenish building with tight security on a fairly quiet street. Check-in is upstairs. There is no elevator, but there are stairs. A key deposit is required for the key. The rooms are clean (with fans) and have shelves to store your stuff. They also provide small lockers in the room for your valuables (remember to bring your own lock!)....
Polynesian Hostel Beach Club
"Accommodation is expensive in Waikiki -- one of the cheapest hostels is the Polynesian Hostel Beach Club. Located on Lemon Rd, it's next to three other well known budget accommodations. The location is awesome -- barely a block from the famous Waikiki Beach. There's also an ABC shop close by, great for self-catering options. The building is showing its age, but is generally clean and tidy inside. Wooden floors make the building feel more...
Backpackers Vacation Inn - Plantation Village
"Backpackers is an easy-to-reach-by-bus hostel. The bus stops in front of the hostel and the name appears on the screen in the bus. The Backpacker bus also picks guests up when they make prior arrangements. There are airport and hostel pick-ups and drop-offs around noon. Guests with rented cars could park at all three locations (Beach House, Main House, and Plantation Village). Kam Highway is a very busy road, so use caution when turning into...
Seaside Hawaiian Hostel Waikiki
"Seaside Hawaiian Hostel is centrally located in Waikiki. Take any Waikiki bus and get off at Kuhio and Seaside. The bus stops in front of the Trade Center. Cross Kuhio and stay on the righthand side of Seaside. The Seaside Hostel sign is on a yellow surfboard about 200 metres from the corner. The hostel offers male, female and co-ed dorms. The dorms have six bunkbeds, their own bathroom facilities, and a floor fan. The bunkbeds have...
Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging
"Absolutely the best place to stay in North Shore - Staying at Bernie and Maria's hostel was absolutely perfect, I have nothing to complain! I felt like home and simply loved the place. It's very clean and organized, more than any hotel that I ever see, people were much friendly, specially Bernie and Maria, and the atmosphere is amazing! Really liked and strongly recommend!" … "A home away from home - Maria and Bernies hostel is like no...
Waikiki Backpackers Hostel
"Waikiki Backpackers Hostel is an odd mix of hotel convenience and rooms not wholly adapted for sharing with strangers. In addition, some areas, like the bathrooms and the pool area, are very clean, while the hallway carpets may have not been cleaned since the Clinton administration. There are miniature soaps in the bathrooms, but there are cockroaches in the closets. The Location The hostel is located within a five-minute walk from the...
"… fee also includes daily continental breakfast, and DVD movies and video games that you can play on your own in-room, flat screen TV. Laundry facilities are available. Since we are also a hotel, our lobby is attended 24 hours per day. There is no curfew. All rooms have private baths. Guest rooms also feature wireless Internet access, available DVD movies and video games, telephones, irons and ironing boards (upon request),...
HI - Honolulu, University Hostel
"HI - Honolulu, University Hostel is lovely; it's clean and quiet, yet social and easy to meet people, located away from busy Waikiki. The Location Although it's set back from the road, the hostel is easy to locate, as its mail box on the sidewalk of Seaview Avenue (off University Avenue) is labelled with 2323A and the HI symbol. There are bus stops within a few minutes' walk of the hostel with fairly frequent buses going downtown, to...
Tree House Rocky Point
"… or WI-Fi for your own laptop. We are on a very private acre on the mountain side of the Hwy. with a 2 minute walk to the famous spot, "Rocky Point". A few more minutes to Sunset Beach and Pipeline. You can walk or bike ride to several eateries. Walk to all Surf Spots. Bikes and Boards available. Dorm style or private rooms, studios and 2 bedroom available. Watch Sunset Beach and Rocky Point break from the large viewing deck or...
"… not included in price. We have a 72 hours cancellation policy Check in: 16:00 Check out: 11:00 Tax is not included in the rate and there will be a $10 amenity fee for each night of stay for the following: 1. Continental breakfast 2. Wi-Fi 3. Access to Wi-Fi anywhere in Honolulu 4. Unlimited DVD movies 5. Unlimited Playstation 2 games 6. Daily newspaper 7. Use of our business center We have a 24-hour registration...
Kahumana Community Center - Waianae
"Very relaxing - First time staying in a hostel. Was very impressed with the upkeep and staff was very nice. Makes me want to come back." … "… for those 18 years and older. Conveniently located on the Honolulu City Bus route. Comfortably accommodates 14 people. All rooms have single beds and share 2 full baths. There are 11 rooms - 8 single beds, 3 double beds. A microwave & refrigerator provided for your convenience. There are...
Makiki Heights Drive
"Best place in Honolulu - Great place to stay, very accommodating the experience from check in to check out was great very simple and hassle free. Location is quiet and drama free, best part is they offer queen size beds for best price in Honolulu. Full kitchen access is always great with a foodland down the street." … "Not as bad as I thought - I will admit, I was expecting pretty poor conditions, I mean it is a hostel. But to be...
Sharks Cove Rentals
"It was a wonderful experience but I like adventure. - These are transitory accommodations and problems arose but were addressed within a reasonable response time. Other than being closeted in a soundproof hotel room, there will be noise and nothing is as loud or exciting as the pounding surf across the road. People from all over the world were there to see the international surfing contests with 10 to 35 foot waves. For 2-weeks my girl-friend...
"Excellent! - This accommodation is not expensive, safe, quiet, and clean. Moreover, the staff is very friendly and you feel at home. I'm eager to go back!" … "SATISFACTION GUARANTEED ALWAYS - I HAVE VISITED HERE MANY TIMES FROM AUSTRALIA. The hospitality, friendliness of staff and above all cleanliness is amazing. i am elderly and disabled and yet have never never had reason to complain. There is nowhere else in the world that I enjoy...
Oahu Travel Tips & Suggestions
This is such a special place even though it is a tourist place. I loved being just a few steps away from the beach and people were very friendly. Buy everything you need from one of the many ABC stores that pop up everywhere. Do go on some of the tours. Have fun.
— A solo traveler
Oahu is great because there is so much to do, and most spots are not more than an hour or two away from Waikiki (if that is where you are staying). I recommend staying away from there as it is so busy, but each to their own. Kailua is beautiful and quaint. Everyone should go to Hanauma Bay at least once -- the snorkeling is fantastic! And the North shore is very quaint and beautiful (this is where you will see expert surfers, waves are massive here). I'm going back to Oahu for my fourth time, and plan on returning to this wonderful island as many times as I possibly can!
Oahu is a beautiful Island. Many beautiful places to stay. But I stress that you should venture out of Waikiki. Haleiwa and the North Shore are the places to be. Such a wonderful part of the Island even if you are not a surfer. Book accommodation early though on the North Shore if you intend to go December through to February. So many travellers I've spoken to only do Honolulu and this is not what I believe Hawaii is about. East Coast is great too. Have fun.
Great place! I spent a week here last March (2005) and had a fantastic time. Make sure to get out of the city and enjoy some of the countryside and northshore too! The western side of the island is nice as well as its not too touristy due to the fact that the coastal road dead ends near the northwest corner of the island. If you've never been to the island before I would suggest one of the many circle island tours to get a feel for the place. When you've done this you can spend the rest of your time going back and seeing the things you liked. You can get a 4 day bus pass good for any bus on the island for $20 or buy a month pass for $40.
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