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7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

Va. Beach, VA
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7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

We arrive in Honolulu at 9:50 am on April 18 from Hilo and depart for home at 4:45 pm. I have read 6 pages of “layover” posts and conclude that we have about 4.5 available hours (deplane and luggage by 10:30 and back at airport by 3:00). We do not want to see Pearl Harbor on this trip, but we would also like to end our 2 week Hawaii trip (Kauai and BI) on a high note. So, where should we go for lunch, shopping and/or beach? Thanks in advance.

California
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1. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

Take a cab to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Get some good romping around before the long flight. There is a food court on the bottom level and some nice restaurants on the top level, in the major department stores and scattered around.

Pahoa. HI
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2. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

And if you want to go for a pleasant walk, cross Ala Moana Blvd and walk around Ala Moana Park. And yes, everything is named "Ala Moana" (="Ocean Road") in that area.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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3. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

Look into renting a car...

One can be had for less than $30 for the day, which will be much less than round trip cab fare to/from anywhere. Cab to Downtown R/T will be $50, to Ala Moana $60, Waikiki $70 (plus tips).

Also, with a rental car, you will have a relatively safe place to stash your luggage versus having to schlep it around everywhere.

Ala Moana Shopping Center is a fairly safe place to park your car, as long as you don't go into the trunk to place things in it or get things out, you never know about prying eyes.

Personally I would take a drive through Downtown, up to Punchbowl and the National Cemetary (very inspiring), up Tantalus Drive to the lookout over the city, through Waikiki, and around Diamond Head Road to the lookout over the beach/coastline. At both lookouts you will never lose sight of your car.

Then I would head into Waikiki and valet the car at the Moana, go out onto the Banyan Terrace for a drink and to soak up some ambience, then take a stroll along Kalakaua Ave and Lewers St to do a little shopping and people watching. Grab some lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area.

After, head back to the Moana to sit on the front porch in one of the oversized rocking chairs and relax while they are getting your car, and finally head back to the airport.

Pahoa. HI
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4. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

True - you can certainly save money with a rental car, and if OP wants to visit a number of different places, definitely the way to go. Personally, if I had that amount of time between flights, I would most definitely choose convenience over cost. Renting a car would eat into the available time at both ends. With a taxi, no such waste. Time is money even (or maybe especially?) when you're on vacation.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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5. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

Uhhhh, what about the luggage?

IF they can check it through, great, then a cab may be the way to go. If not, the cab is a total non-starter unless they want to borrow a cart from some homeless guy to push around their things.

Plus, while there are always cabs on-line at HNL, there are not always cabs at Ala Moana, and even less so at any other destination they choose apart from a major Waikiki hotel.

Renting a car at HNL is super easy, and at that time of day the agencies are totally dead (before the west coast flights come in starting at around 11:30). Plus they can have someone head straight to the car rental shack while another grabs the bags. Strong probability the rental car driver will beat the luggage to the curb.

Renting a car at HNL is one of the smoothest and quickest for any major international airport, easily accomplished in the 40 minutes the OP is allowing to deplane and gets the bags.

Edited: 25 January 2010, 01:35
Saint Cloud...
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6. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

ditto to what amberloo said.

Rent a car.

Go to National Cemetery of the Pacific & the lookout there. drive up Tantalus & go to the state wayside on Roundtop Drive.

Drive through the historic area including past Iolani Palace.

Drive through Ala Moana Beach Park. Walk out to Magic Island.

Drive through Waikiki. Drive to lookouts on Diamond Head Road.

wellington, fl
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7. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

Just got back from my 1st time ever renting a car on Oahu and even though the rental part went pretty fast (for Aloha time), navigating those streets downtown just wore me to a frazzel (they all sound the same and lots of them are ONE WAY!).

If I had only a few hours, I'd either take a taxi to Ala Moana Shopping Plaza where I'd hit a few shops, have lunch at Alan Wong's Pineapple Cafe (upscale food at reasonable prices!) on 3rd floor at Macy's, maybe walk across the street to the beach (this is all assuming you checked your luggage after deplaning from Hilo) and chill. Personally, I'd take a cab to the La Mariana Sailing Club (between the airport & downtown) and experience Hawaii of the 50's & 60's Tiki Bar/Restaurant style...maybe walk around the harbour awhile and go back to the airport for a bit of airport shopping...I'm wearing the lei I bought there for $12 right now...it smells heavenly!

I know it's corny; but, I love my bottle of Hawaiian water...the packaging looks great and the water tastes wonderful...only place I could find it at the airport was Starbucks...no worries, lots of Starbucks past the security checkpoint.

Just my 2 cents...Aloha, and have a wonderful trip...I love the Big Island too...don't miss Jackie Ray's Restaurant (small but a really good feeling of Ohana and the food was terriffic!!).

Honolulu, Hawaii
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8. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

Wow, never thought of La Mariana as a "destination" for a brief visit....

And the joint just hasn't been the same since the wonderful owner Annette (a true character) passed away in 2008 at the age of 93. At night it can still rock, but during the day it's just a curio.

But it is an interesting idea, not too far from the airport and you will certainly get hammered spending four-plus hours. There is zero else to see in the area unless you want to stop in and see my pal Rob at his warehouse.

Unless you get an ol' time cabbie they might not know how to get to La Mariana, and you will definitely have to get the bartender or hostess to call one in order to get back (no cabs ever hang out there).

Not sure why someone would want to spend their brief time on Oahu shopping at Ala Moana, just another big mall. But I am a guy so lacking the shopping gene.

If you want to take a cab and shop, go to a major Waikiki hotel on Kalakaua Ave, have the bell man hold your bags, and shop around in Waikiki. At least it has a vibrant real Hawaii flavor, a beautiful beach promenade, and you get some sunshine before the journey home.

California
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9. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

A few things: never had a problem grabbing a cab at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. If you have never been there before, you may want to ask where the taxi stand is ... the Center is a big place.

Taking a cab to Waikiki would be more expensive - but also another great way to use your hours. Personally, I don't think you would have enough time for the driving tour mentioned - plus a meal and shopping/romping.

I also agree that as a newbie, renting a car - then touring - then going into Waikiki would be tough in that timeframe ... not knowing the lay of the land. That being said, if you can't check your baggage through (and have to bring it with you) - a rental car is the best way to go ... just keep your plans simple. The time will go very quickly.

are new to theNever

Honolulu
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10. Re: 7 (4.5) hour layover - what to do (NOT Pearl)?

per hawaiipalms, convenience over cost is the best way to go.

With limited time (4.5 hrs), if you are interested in a private driver to give you a Little Circle Island Tour for approx. 3 hours, PM me and I will refer you to a local born island driver that can give you a narrated tour of the east portion of the island of O'ahu.

Visit with a drive through Honolulu, Waikiki with visit to Diamond Head Lookout. Drive and witness Kahala, Hawaii Kai with a stop at Hanauma Bay. Next visit the Halona Blowhole, Sandy Beach, Makapuu Lookout, drive along Waiamanalo shorelines, up the mountain range (Pali Hwy) to the Pali Lookout. With what remaining time, the local born driver will give you options as to what you might want to see on your way back to the airport.

Don't waste your time going to get a rental car (45 minutes from time you arrive) and worry returning the car after you are done (15 minutes) and the worst getting lost or trying to figure out where and/or how to get to the next destination.

You decide ............ "Live Aloha"