We had a great time in Waikiki last week (see pictures
), and I thought I'd pass on what we learned. That is, tips from the perspective of someone who just traveled there.
I recommend the Resortquest Waikiki Circle hotel, because it's smack in the middle of things, and you don't pay for the frills that you might not want. There's no pool, bar, or restaurant, and the rooms are small. The place is well-run and clean, however, with excellent staff and service.
A partial ocean view room cost $147 per night, and when we added the upgrade to ocean front plus the car parking, the total came to $173 per night.
WAIKIKI IS A CITY
Remember that Waikiki is a big city, so you can't expect to have it be quiet. We expected this, so it didn't bother us. Plan to hear garbage trucks, revelers, etc.
We rented a car for the full trip, but most of the time it sat in the garage below the hotel. It was nice to explore the island, but next time we'll skip the car rental altogether, or rent a car for one day only. I'm a little paranoid about having an accident in a unfamiliar car in a new place, so that will reduce the anxiety. Also, parking was tight, so I always worried that if I took the car out, there would be no space when we got back.
We chose the option to pay for a full tank of gas, allowing us to return the car with no fuel in it. The cost per gallon is somewhat cheaper that way. I kicked myself for a few days after that, thinking "The island is only 40 miles wide, how are we going to use up a full tank?" But it turned out that we did use a little more than one tank.
The waves at Waikiki are wonderful. I'll never forget that first day out during the sunrise, with a rainbow in the sky and Diamondhead in the distance.
Since the surfing is crowded here's one tip: you'll want a nice, fast long board. With a longer board, you'll be able to catch the waves earlier. With a shorter board, you'll find that there are three people already up on the wave you want, and you need to yield it to one of them.
My biggest mistake, in going from wetsuit surfing to no-wetsuit surfing, was wearing only a bathing suit. The first day out I wore a speedo and no top. As a result I had bloody rashes on my thighs (from going from sitting to lying) and chest. From then on I wore longer board shorts and a T-shirt. My wounds are still healing.
I bought a $5 watch before the trip, and it worked great until it fell off while catching a wave. I talked to someone whose friend snorkels in the surf breaks, and has a box of 400 watches.
I had planned to paddle out before sunrise each day, but it's a little cold at that point.
I generally went out at about 6:45 AM.
We did well in avoiding sunburn, but I got a little more sun than I intended. Even with SPF 50 sunblock, three hours of surfing around midday made my nose a little red. You can see in the pictures that I got pretty dark by the end of the week. We used RIT Sunguard on our clothes for extra protection, and that worked well.
Immediately get rid of the maps that the rental car company gives you, and buy a real map at a gas station. We weren't impressed with the signage in Oahu. There are a lot of street signs where the lettering has worn off, for example. You might want to take a compass.
The total cost of the trip was $3,103. Because we took a red-eye flight back, that was for eight days and seven nights. The airfare, hotel, and car package (with the upgrade and parking) came to $2,482. The rest was restaurants, groceries, gas, etc. We booked through Travelocity after having some problems with priceline.com.
Hope that helps!