Oahu holiday highlights

Honolulu is by far Hawaii’s largest city. Birthplace of Barack Obama, it’s home to attractions including Pearl Harbour's historic Arizona War Memorial. On the south shore of Honolulu, the urban neighbourhood of Waikiki is world-famous for its long sandy beach, big-name high-rise hotels, shops, eateries and buzzing nightlife. Its South Beach Miami vibe is popular with visitors looking to sunbathe by day and wine and dine by night.

Waikiki is also a great base for exploring the rest of Oahu. Head to the North Shore to discover a quieter pace of life, with miles of white-sand beaches dotted with picturesque harbours and big waves. This is a surfer’s paradise with some of the biggest annual surf competitions held here. Go snorkelling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, gliding through a clear underwater paradise of colourful fish and pristine reefs, and journey to Nuuanu Pali Lookout to take in spectacular views of the dramatic Koolau Cliffs and Windward Coast. Shop till you drop in Oahu's open-air malls and boutiques, and watch divers leap off the cliffs in Waimea Valley National Park. For an insight into the spirit, culture and people of Polynesia, visit the Polynesian Cultural Centre, where you can see authentic island villages and join in with traditional activities.

Oahu key facts

Time difference

GMT -10 hours


US dollar

Flying time to destination

17¼ hours to Honolulu


English and Hawaiian

Passport & visas

•  Brits must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
•  You'll also need a USA visa or waiver form/ESTA. Apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before travelling (http://esta.cbp.dhs.gov).

Oahu good to know


Dialling code
+1 808

•   No vaccinations are compulsory but it's recommended you have one for tetanus.
•   For more information, contact your GP or a specialist vaccination centre.


•  If you're happy with the service, tip 15-20% in restaurants, bars and taxis.
•  Porters can expect anything between $3 and $5 per case – there's normally a Union Rate displayed in reception.
•  Give tour guides about $5 per day.

Food & drink

•   A popular local dish is 'plate lunch' - rice, macaroni salad and meat or fish such as kalua pork, chicken katsu and mahi mahi.
•   'Pupu' means 'appetiser', and restaurants serve up sumptuous platters of them for you to enjoy.
•   Hungry types should tackle a 'loco moco' - a filling feast of a hamburger steak, an egg, rice and gravy.
•   Cool down with a refreshing 'shave ice' - a snow cone on top of ice cream or azuki beans.
•   When you fancy something sweet, visit a bakery for a hot malasada or Portuguest doughnut.