Car rental in Honolulu
Rent a car in Honolulu

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Renting a car in Honolulu will open up the indescribably beautiful island of Oahu. Honolulu is relatively compact and a real pleasure to drive through, and car rental is especially convenient for travellers who intend to venture outside the city. Visit the state capital to soak up its unique culture before getting out to see the rest of the paradisiacal island. Go beach hopping, explore the island's smaller towns, and visit the crater atop Diamond Head State Park.

It's your choice: Where to go in Honolulu

Given Honolulu's idyllic Hawaiian atmosphere, you'd be surprised at how large and cosmopolitan the city is. Stay in the downtown area, and you'll be a stone's throw from major cultural attractions such as the Aloha Tower and the Hawaii State Art Museum. It's also close to Chinatown and the city harbour, where you'll find the best seafood restaurants in Honolulu. Head to Waikiki, the part of Honolulu most visitors think of, for white-sand beaches popular with surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers. For a more tranquil trip, you could stay in Manoa-Makiki, nestled just below the magnificent Koolau Mountains. Far from being simply residential, the area is home to Queen Emma Summer Palace, a relic of Hawaii's monarchy, among several fascinating museums. Across Hanauma Bay, in Eastern Honolulu, are several superb secluded beaches with ideal diving and snorkelling conditions.

Things to do in Honolulu

Many travellers come to Hawaii for its unique atmosphere. In Honolulu, you'll get an amazing cultural experience alongside miles of pristine sand beaches. Surfing, diving, and swimming are all very popular in Waikiki. If you're wondering what to do in Honolulu at night, head out for a Blue Hawaiian cocktail in the bars, and for a true island experience, attend a luau, a traditional Hawaiian party with plenty of delicious food, music, and dance performances. For adventures outside the city, visit the nearby Diamond Head State Park, easily accessible by car. Hike up to the 300,000-year-old crater for unforgettable vistas across the island. For more recent local history, join a Pearl Harbor tour and learn about this famous site.

Important info about Honolulu

As you'd imagine, Honolulu's climate is pretty much perfect. Temperatures are quite steady throughout the year, averaging in the mid-20s and rising to about 27°C in August and falling to around 23°C in January. Late winter to early spring tends to see the most rainfall, although even then, it's almost always beautifully warm. Late spring to early summer is the perfect time to avoid the largest crowds at Waikiki and still enjoy the sunshine. Food-wise, Honolulu is a real delight, no matter how adventurous you are. Try poi paste, often served with fish, or laulau, which is pork wrapped in taro leaves. The multicultural city also has heavy Korean and Japanese influences, and you'll find your fair share of typical American fast food outlets, too. Similar to the sashimi you'd find in sushi restaurants back home is poke, fish served in chunky and satisfying cubes rather than thin slices.

Weather in Honolulu
Country Hawaii
Language English, Hawaiian (traditional but rarely spoken language)
Currency US dollar
Time-Zones Hawaiian-Aleutian Time (GMT-10)
Country Code +1

Good to know

Rent a car in Honolulu, and you'll open up the whole island of Oahu. It's a fantastic way to see more on your trip. The major points of interest are easy to get to, particularly if you remember that mauka means 'toward the mountain', while makai means 'toward the sea'. These terms are often used rather than 'north' and 'south'. You'll usually need to be over 21 to rent a car, and sometimes 25, depending on the rental company. Be sure to keep your passport, proof of insurance, driving licence, and warning triangles in the car. The blood-alcohol limit is 0.08%, although avoiding alcohol completely when driving is always a good idea. You'll drive on the right-hand side of the road. Speed limits tend to be lower than in continental USA due to the island's smallish size and generally slow way of life, which you'll soon come to appreciate on your holiday!

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What to visit in the surroundings of Honolulu

The city itself is fascinating and will give you a good sense of the culture of modern Hawaii, as well as its natural beauty. Renting a car in Honolulu is an excellent way to get out and see more of the magnificent island of Oahu. On the Windward Coast, to the east of the island, you'll discover far more secluded beaches than around the capital. They're perfect for appreciating true tranquillity on holiday. The North Shore is where the island gets its biggest waves, ideal for pro surfers and adventurers wanting to see the rugged side of Oahu. Visit the town of Haleiwa for a taste of traditional Hawaiian life and the treats at the nearby chocolate factory. In Central Oahu, you can see miles of pineapple fields at the Dole pineapple plantation.

What to bring to your friends from Honolulu

In such a special part of the world, you'd be amiss not to bring back a few gifts and souvenirs of your visit to Honolulu – and shopping here is an adventure on its own. Hawaiian shirts, keyrings, and magnets featuring the waves and fruits of the island are top choices. You can also find a range of shops selling 'slippahs' (flip-flops). The ring of flowers commonly placed around the necks of visitors, called a lei, can also be found – though you may have to opt for an artificial one! Tins of macadamia nuts, grown in abundance on the islands, are another ideal present. And if you have enough room in your suitcase, you could also pick up a high-quality ukulele or products made from koa (a local wood), such as jewellery boxes and statuettes.