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Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

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San Francisco...
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Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

Asked recently about unique, non-touristy things to do and got great responses. I've read all the Top Questions and the links included over the past couple of months, since we haven't been to Oahu for 12 years.

We are staying in Waikiki soon, for a week. We're doing as much as we can via TheBus but also will rent a car for half the week.

I'm curious about others' experiences in what is best to see by car and what is easy by TheBus. Even the links don't answer all those questions. I figured out that we may be able to take TheBus from the airport to our hotel (we travel light) but will likely take Star Cab, just to make it quicker.

We like exploring Hawaiiana so we're going to the Iolani Palace and Bishop Museum and Pali Lookout and the Zoo (boyfriend insists) and Chinatown and National Cemetery and so many other places suggested in links (not PCC and Arizona Memorial and Diamond Head, as we were there last trip) --- and renting a car for half the week to drive a Circle to North Shore, etc.

We still can't figure out, from this forum and the links, which places might be difficult for parking and which places might be slow to get to on TheBus.

Trying to balance places to see by car and places to see by TheBus so looking for any personal experiences on those two issues.

Great information here (tons). Thanks!

California
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1. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

My votes: Zoo is a definite "bus." So is Diamond Head. Pali Lookout is a definite "car."

Chinatown might be better by bus, but when I went there I drove, parked at Aloha Tower Marketplace, and walked a few blocks to Chinatown.

I can't speak to the other specific destinations on your list. So I'll just share my only three notable parking experiences: 1. Wanted to go to Waimea Bay Beach one day and couldn't because there was no parking. 2. Hanauma Bay, just as they say, is notoriously bad for parking. 3. One time, while staying at another property, we drove to Hilton Hawaiian Village for dinner or lunch and ended up paying $24 to park for a few hours! (It's possible we overlooked some chance to get parking validated, so it could've been our fault. But still ...)

I know that, to get around the island, the bus takes a long time. But it's a scenic ride. (TheBus.org site can tell you more.)

If you can't get your full itinerary sorted into "car" items and "bus" items by the time you get there, your hotel concierge/front desk person will likely be able to help!

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

Great last paragraph, since that's what I'm trying to do.

I figure anything around our hotel on Lewers will be bus (we're seniors, with bad knees/backs, and can't always walk all day --- Zoo is definitely bus, but we may be able to walk there) but the info you've given me is exactly what I am looking for.

I hope others chime in with personal experiences (of slow buses or ugly parking) as my eyes are crossed lately, reading all the links. As mentioned, we will do TheBus for half the week and a car the other half, so *sorting* is a good word. Thanks.

Saint Cloud...
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3. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

Chinatown/Aloha Tower/Historic Honolulu (including Iolani Palace) - bus They are all together & you can visit all of them the same day.

Hanauma Bay - bus or car

Pearl Harbor museums (there are four museums). You may change your mind about going to one or more of them. - bus or car

National Cemetery of the Pacific - car . Also drive up Roundtop Drive & down Tantalus Drive

While parking may be bad at Waimea Bay, it takes 2 1/2 hours to get there by bus. If the parking lot is filled, just tour some other beaches in the area & try Waimea Bay later. Pupukea is about 1 mile from Waimea Bay. You can park there & walk along the beach/lava rocks most of the way to Waimea Bay. The rest is a bike path.

Any island touring - car

Any beaches other than Waikiki, Ala Moana, Hanauma Bay - car

Many hotels/lounges/restaurants in Waikiki have free or inexpensive validated parking.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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4. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

Like dusty say's, Iolani Palace, Chinatown, etc. are all very close to each other any very easy by bus. There is paid parking at the Zoo, 1.00 an hour and only fills up on weekends and some busy afternoons.

For Waimea Bay and Hanauma Bay, if you go early you shouldn't have any problem finding parking. Early is getting there no later than 9:00am. Even earlier if possible.

NORTH CAROLINA
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5. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

Very easy to get to Chinatown/Iolani Palace by bus which is what I would reccomend as Parking can be expensive in the downtown area.The Hawaii State Art Museum is also near by and it is free.

You can take the bus to the Bishop Museum but it does not stop in front I think you might have to walk a little ways from the stop. We drove and parking was very easy there.

Definitely a car for the Punchbowl the bus does go near there but you have to walk the rest of the way and it is uphill the whole way. Also car for the Pali Lookout.

I agree a car would be better for the North Shore it will definitely be more time consuming on the bus.

Seattle
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6. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

Anything in Waikiki/Honolulu is easy to do on the bus. Coming in from the airport I would use a taxi. And then a car for anything outside of the city. The zoo is a pretty good distance from a Lewers Street hotel, opposite end of Waikiki, you'll probably want to hop the bus for that too.

Are you going to Doris Duke Shangri La Estate and the Honolulu Academy of the Arts? My personal favorite tour suggestions.

aloha, suze

Honolulu, Hawaii
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7. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

If you are willing to walk a mile or two...

And Honolulu is one awesome "walking city",

The Bus is an excellent option for any spot from Pearl Harbor to the Hanauma Bay.

The urbanized 20 mile stretch along the southerly shore of Oahu.

Use a car for all other destinations.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

Thanks for answering, Amberloo --- I've followed all your food threads.

Hi suze ---- good to see you over here also (from the PV forum). We know where the zoo is as we stayed across the street from it for 3 days but never had the time to go. Boyfriend wants to go, remembering the sounds of the elephants and big cats at night. We hadn't planned on Doris Duke but thought we would try the Academy of Arts. Thanks for the recommendations. We're really into Hawaiian culture. We've been to Hawaii several times but not to Oahu since 1999 so trying to refresh our appreciation for everything Oahu, culture-and-history-wise, as opposed to just the beach.

We might need to do some exercising prior to getting there, to not wipe out on all the walking. Everything we did in 1999 entailed walking but our knees aren't as strong these days.

I seem to remember wanting to go to the Manoa Valley in 1999 but we didn't make it. That sounds like a car trip (and more research on my part).

Sounds like the idea of 1/2 the week on foot/bus and the other half the week with a car will work well and all this feedback helps to sort out when to do which.

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9. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

www.shangrilahawaii.org is the website for ShangriLa. You get free admission to the Academy of the Arts with your ticket to that tour (you meet there for a brief intro & video then go in a van with a guide out to the property). There are limited days, times, number of people each week, so if you're interested you might want to get your tickets in advance online.

I know Lewers St to the Zoo is walkable but I know Marly from the PV forum often mentions a bit of physical limitation about her self is why I suggested the Bus for her for that.

Marly, Waikiki is my other go-to vacation spot from here in Seattle. I pretty much alternate it with Vallarta these days. suze

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10. Re: Balancing TheBus with a car rental?

I'd also reccomend the Shangri La tour it's a great tour the architecture is stunning and it's in a beautiful setting very easy to get to the Academy of Arts by bus in fact the stop is right in front bus 13 if I remember right.