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Honolulu, Hawaii may be a paradise to some: a surfer’s dream with palm trees and breathtaking beaches. Unfortunately, paradise does not come cheap. Visiting Hawaii Enjoy Oahu on a budget

The island of Oahu is among the most expensive places in the United States. What do you do if you’re a tourist or visiting family on a tight budget? These tips can help you get the most value for your money:

Take TheBus – Oahu’s public transportation system has stops throughout the island.  Fares as low as $1.25 for children and $2.50 for adults. TheBus is a great, low-cost way to get around Oahu and enjoy the sights.

Hawaiian cuisine – There are a lot of places to get a cheap local meal. Haili’s Hawaiian Foods — winner of the Healthy Plate Lunch Contest run by Hawaii’s Department of Health — offers a variety of Hawaiian dishes under $10. Kalua Pork, anyone?

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet – The state’s largest open-air flea market is a great place to pick up souvenirs for the return home. Open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, the swap meet has local crafts, t-shirts and macadamia nuts at prices well below those in Waikiki.

Visit Pearl Harbor – This is a must! There is no charge to visit the Pacific National Monument or tour the USS Arizona Memorial. You can reserve tickets online in advance for $1.50.

Climb Diamond HeadDiamond Head Crater, one of the most iconic sites on Oahu, was formed over 300,000 years ago after a volcanic eruption. Allow yourself 1 ½ - 2 hours for the climb. There is a small admission fee of $2.00 per person. 

Surf! Or not? – Oahu is a surfer’s paradise but also home to the most dangerous waves in the world. The North’s Shores Banzai Pipeline is most popular. Have fun surfing or just watching.

Eat shave ice – While on the North Shore, stop and enjoy Oahu’s famous snow cone. Expect to spend $5 - $7, depending on the size and add-ons to your treat.

Tour the Dole Plantation – The Dole Plantation is an attraction that pays homage to the island’s most iconic foods—the pineapple. Admission to many parts of the plantation is free. You can splurge and access the world’s largest maze for $5.

Not only are the above places very kind to your wallet, you can get to all of them on TheBus.

About the author

Lezlie St. Germain

Lezlie was born and raised in Hawaii. A Crown employee for 14 years, she started as a freight coordinator and became Hawaii’s GM in 2006. Lezlie is the 2004 recipient of the Jim and Sadie Thompson Award.

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