Transportation to and from Pearl Harbor
Transportation to Pearl Harbor and other hot spots
The most affordable option to go anywhere on Oahu is always TheBus, the City and County of Honolulu's transit service. Public transportation here is better than in most mainland states.
You can take the bus to interesting places around Oahu. Connections to the airport, Waikiki, and Pearl Harbor are very frequent. However the more you stray away from Honolulu, the less frequent bus connections are. Even if you are in town but your hotel isn't in Waikiki, you may have trouble getting a good bus connection without transferring several times. Many beaches and other outdoor activities that are situated away from the main roads cannot be reached on the bus.
To go from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor you can just wait at one of the stops along Kuhio Ave or at Ala Moana Center. Simply tell the driver that you want to go to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. To go from another part of the island to Pearl Harbor, you should be prepared for a longer ride with multiple transfers.
The upside of taking public transportation to Pearl Harbor is the very low price. There are also downsides: the trip can take well over an hour, since the bus has many stops along the way. Plenty of tourists and local commuters use the bus to get around so during rush hours it's packed. The route to Pearl Harbor is also the route to the airport, so it gets extra crowded when visitors with big bags board the bus. In the worst case, you may have to let one bus pass and wait for the next one. This may interfere with your plan to show up bright and early, as is advisable to get into Pearl Harbor.
Taking a taxi is a good idea when you're staying in central Honolulu, but not in Waikiki. There are several taxi companies that will send a driver right to your front door to take you directly to Pearl Harbor. A taxi is one of the most expensive options.although there is a huge convenience factor to be considered. You won’t have to worry about directions and you can leave whenever you like. But you're still on your own when it comes to buying tickets, getting around between the sites at Pearl Harbor, and finding information.
It's not advisable to use a taxi to Oahu attractions that are not in the urban area. A Honolulu driver will rarely agree to take you around the North Shore or windward side, and if they do the cost of it will be sky high.
If you ask the concierge at your hotel about transportation, they will most probably set you up with a shuttle service. Shuttle services usually provide mini buses or vans to collect groups of like-minded visitors from various hotels. This option is usually affordable and reasonably quick. If you're unlucky, you will be one of the first guests to be picked up. In that case, you'll have to spend time waiting in front of other hotels while other guests get ready to go. Many shuttles will take you directly to the Visitor Center. From there on, it’s yours to figure out how to get from one attraction to another.
Shuttles are a convenient way to visit the most popular sights on Oahu such as Pearl Harbor, Haleiwa on the North Shore, the Dole Plantation, and Hanauma Bay. If you wish to make several stops, do some exploring, or participate in an outdoor activity, it’s better to find a more individual solution.
This is an option that offers you all the freedom you need. The huge plus of a rental car is that you can make as many stops as you like, combine activities as you wish, and be comfortable and in control the whole way. The downside is that you will be completely on your own with finding directions, figuring out parking, and other driving dilemmas. Since one of your party will have to drive, you won’t all be able to appreciate the scenery as much as with a hired driver. And as with the other options so far, you will lack some guidance when it comes to the actual sightseeing, especially at Pearl Harbor.
Visitors who seek a special thrill or who are short on time should consider booking a helicopter tour. Various types of helicopter tours are available, many of which include Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, and other main attractions on Oahu. Sure, from up above you won’t be able to see the museum exhibits or the inside of the memorial, but you will get a new perspective and panoramic view of the whole area, which is quite spectacular by itself. Helicopter tours typically include an expert guide who will provide you with all the information, background history, and local stories you need.
Of course, visits to Pearl Harbor and other Oahu sights are also available the old fashioned way. Guided tours include transportation, including pickup from your hotel, and a guide who will not only take you to Pearl Harbor, but also around the museums, the memorials, and other attractions in the area. Many tours combine a visit to Pearl Harbor with other Oahu sights. A guided tour may not be the cheapest option, but it's certainly the least complicated one. Let other people worry about directions, parking, tickets, and planning so you can just enjoy your well-deserved vacation!