Makalawena Beach: Everything You Need to Know (Hiking & Snorkeling)

Makalawena Beach is one of the most stunning beaches on the Big Island.

The beach requires a bit of work to get to which means that chances are you will be dealing with smaller crowds which is yet another major draw to this beach.

But how exactly do you access this beach and is it really that difficult?

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Makalawena Beach, including info on snorkeling and the hike/drive in.

How to access Makalawena Beach

There are multiple ways to access Makalawena Beach.

In this article, I’m going to focus on what I believe is the best route which is the route that we did. This is the route where are you park at Kekaha Kai State Beach and then hike about 1.3 miles in through a lava field (and I’ll give you all the details on this route below).

Another option is to hike along the coast from Kekaha Kai State Beach. The views would be amazing but this path probably has the most treacherous terrain because you will be hiking along lava rocks on what appears to be an unmaintained path.

I’m not sure if there is any kind of recognizable trail or route along the coast so that is probably best for experienced hikers. (I only know about this route because our valet driver told us about it.)

Finally, there is also the option of coming in from the north from the Makalawena Trail Head. If you have a high clearance vehicle and experience with driving on very rocky road, you could drive all the way to the beach or at least down a portion of the road.

Otherwise, you will have to hike in from this area, which could be fine because there are a couple of different hiking paths you can take including one that gives you the option of hiking on top of a cinder cone, Puʻu Kuʻili.

I personally try not to off-road in rental vehicles and off-roading here would still be almost as time consuming as hiking in from the other side, so this option did not appeal to me very much. If we return to this beach though, I would be interested in hiking from this side.

If you want to get a sense of what this drive would be like, here’s a good video:

Drving in to Makalawena Beach

As mentioned above, we took the route from the south. This meant that we would turn off Highway 19 for the entrance road to Kekaha Kai State Beach which is located near the lava flow of 1801 and at GPS coordinates (19.76945443184312, -156.02173211491825). It’s about 3 miles north of Kona International Airport.

The road that you turn down looks like this photo below.

Makalawena Beach road

As you turn off this road, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful lava fields. This was our first time driving through a lava field and it was just a stunning stretch of landscape.

Makalawena Beach road view

As far as what this road is like, it does get a little rough at spots but it’s more of your typical rocky off-road experience and nothing too risky.

Some people did choose to park at the entrance of this road and walk all the way down while others drove partially down the road and then parked on the road where it got extra bumpy.

I will say that I think a lot of vehicles can make this drive. For example, take a look at the photo below and you’ll see a smaller car along with a minivan that made it down. If you’re an experienced driver, you can probably navigate the road even if you don’t have great clearance.

Makalawena Beach parking lot

After exactly 15 minutes, we made it to the main parking lot near Kekaha Kai State Beach (formerly known as Kona Coast State Park). If you wanted to, you could keep driving down the road to Mahaiula Beach but we decided to park right by the trailhead.

Makalawena Beach parking lot

Hiking to Makalawena Beach

The hike from this side was about a total of 3 miles round-trip. It took us about 40 minutes one way.

From the Kekaha Kai State Beach side, there is virtually no elevation gain other than when you hit the sand dunes there is a little bit of it.

Overall, it’s a pretty easy hike but don’t underestimate the heat and the tiring effect of walking through sand + snorkeling/swimming. You might be a little bit more drained on your way back than you would think!

Note: If you’re sitting on the left side of the plane flying in to Kona from Honolulu, you may be able to get a great view of this beach and the entire hiking route.

I wasn’t sure about visiting this beach but after we flew over it, I knew we had to go! So I’ll show you some photos from the flight that will give you some context and inspiration to visit Makalawena Beach.

Overview of the trail

The first part of this journey is the drive in through a lava field on a rocky (but very manageable) dirt road.

Makalawena Beach dirt road

Next, is the hike to Mahai’ula beach, which is along a pretty well kept path.

Mahai'ula beach

Then, you’ll make your way through the sandy Mahai’ula beach.

Mahai'ula beach

After that, the “hardest” part of a hike is going through the rocky lava field.

Makalawena Beach lava field

Then you will arrive at Makalawena Beach!

Makalawena Beach aerial view

Step-by-step guide of the trail

The first segment of the trail is through a lava field and will take you to Mahai’ula beach. Once again, the scenery is beautiful.

Makalawena Beach trail

This section of the lava field is not as rocky as the next section so it’s pretty easy to get through. Take a look at the photo below and you can see how (relatively) smooth it is.

Makalawena Beach trail

After about a quarter-mile you will arrive at Mahai’ula beach where it is time to hike through some loose sand.

There is a turn off sooner than this that takes you to Mahai’ula beach but unless you plan on stopping there, you may want to just continue on this path to avoid the extra sandy walk.

Mahai’ula beach is a beautiful beach and could easily be your final destination if you did not want to continue with the hike.

So why would you continue on the hike?

Well, first Makalawena Beach is going to be less crowded because it takes more work to get there. Also, Makalawena Beach has more picturesque water and overall scenery, in my opinion.

Mahai'ula beach

There’s a second mini beach further down that had this really beautiful secluded feel to it with an isolated grove of towering palm trees above. We spent a little bit of time relaxing there before heading on.

Mahai'ula beach

After about .2 miles you will be out of the loose sand and it’s time for the Makalawena Beach Trail.

Makalawena Beach trail

This next portion of the lava field is much more rocky than the first.

When I say rocky, I mean small, loose lava rocks — the kind that could twist and ankle if you were careless. We decided to wear sturdy hiking boots for this reason and those allowed us to more or less fly through this section.

I did see a couple of people in more flimsy tennis shoes were going a bit slower and I’m sure some people have attempted this and flip-flops but I would not do that.

If you are doing this with kids, I think this is kid friendly even for small kids.

Makalawena Beach trail hiker

In terms of following the trail, it’s very easy to make out the trail so getting lost should not be a concern. The main concern is probably the sun as it can get quite hot with the lava rocks baking below.

Makalawena Beach trail lava field

After about half a mile in the lava field, you’ll arrive at some sand dunes covered in beautiful green vegetation and purple flowers. Take advantage of some shade if you need a little bit of a break.

Once you hit the dunes, this means you are very close and have about .4 miles left to get to your final spot but you still have to deal with some loose sand, so the work out is not quite over.

Makalawena Beach sand dunes
Makalawena Beach sand dunes

There’s a cool little mini pool as you get close to the beach that’s worth checking out. The water looked pretty stagnant so I’m not too sure about getting in.

Makalawena Beach pool

And then after you have been hiking about 1 mile from the trailhead, you will finally see the first section of Makalawena Beach!

While its turquoise waters will be very stunning, this is probably not the section you want to stay at because it has the rocky shore. You’ll likely want to keep going (while getting plenty of photos of course).

Makalawena Beach
Makalawena Beach

And then, after you have hiked a total of about 1.3 miles you should be at the section of Makalawena Beach where you want to set up and enter the water.

Most likely, this is where you will see most of the other people and potentially boats so that’s how you can know you are there. If the beach is littered with rocks, that’s not the main beach people use.

Makalawena Beach
Makalawena Beach
Makalawena Beach

You can find some trees offering much-needed shade — if you get there early enough they should be available.

Makalawena Beach

Some people did bring chairs and umbrellas which would be easier to do if you drove in from the other side.

Makalawena Beach

I did not hike in wearing my bathing suit because it is so uncomfortable to hike in so I just ran behind a dune to change where I don’t believe anybody could see me. (There are no bathroom facilities here.)

The one challenge with changing here related to shoe selection. It was a little bit of a task to clean off our feet from all of the sand and put our socks and hiking boots back on.

I’d recommend bringing an extra water bottle to scoop out some water out of the ocean and using that to clear off the sand on your feet. Perhaps find a spot on the lava rocks to place a towel on and then sit on that while you rinse and dry your feet.

There are also some other sections of Makalawena Beach that you might want to explore. If you can navigate some rocks, you can get into the water at these sections, although there may be some easy entry points.

If you want privacy, chances are there will be much smaller crowds or potentially nonexistent crowds at these other coves.

Makalawena Beach
Makalawena Beach

It’s also pretty interesting to climb up on the rocky that jut out into the water. There were some interesting sea urchins and other little creatures to check out, including some agile crabs.

Makalawena Beach

Some people do surf at this beach so waves can be a lot stronger in some parts, especially in the winter. So just use some common sense and look for the calmer waters where you won’t find surfers.

Bodyboarding is also popular to do here so if you’re not a surfer you may want to bring one of those along.

Snorkeling at Makalawena Beach

Prior to our trip, I heard very mixed things about snorkeling at Makalawena Beach.

Some people told me it was not a snorkeling beach and that the beach was more about just spending time in the water and on the sand.

When we arrived, I saw a lot of people doing just that and only a few people snorkeling.

But I’m extremely happy that we brought our flippers and snorkeling gear because I had a great time snorkeling here!

The water was a great temperature, pretty calm, and with good visibility.

Best of all, the entry from the beach could not have been easier.

During our snorkels, we mostly hung around the rocky outcroppings and we also ventured to the edge of the reef. We saw most of the usual suspects like triggerfish, parrotfish, yellow tang, and lots of trumpet fish.

Things might be different during other months of the year but we visited in late March and it was definitely worth it.

Here are some shots from our snorkeling adventure to give you a sense of what to expect.

Snorkeling at Makalawena Beach
Snorkeling at Makalawena Beach
Snorkeling at Makalawena Beach
Snorkeling at Makalawena Beach
Snorkeling at Makalawena Beach

After spending about an hour relaxing and snorkeling, we decided to head back.

It was a little bit challenging putting the hiking socks and shoes back on as mentioned above but if you come prepared with a water bottle (or two) to rinse your feet, it will probably be a lot easier. This was just our first time hiking to a sandy beach so we didn’t come fully prepared.

If you get an early start, keep in mind that it’s going to be pretty warm on your way back most likely.

Aside from a spot here and there on the beaches where you can get some relief, you are completely exposed to the Sun. A good hat, reef-safe sunscreen, and sunglasses will help a lot. And of course, make sure you bring plenty of water.

Related: Bringing Sunscreen on a Plane: Don’t Get Burned by TSA’s Rules!

Makalawena Beach trail
Makalawena Beach trail hiker

When you return close to Mahai’ula beach, you may lose the trail for a second but just hug the rocks on the left and you will see where the trail appears.

Makalawena Beach trail

Final word

Makalawena Beach is one of the sites we visited on the Big Island that left no doubt about whether or not it was worth it. I enjoyed the easy to moderate hike to get to the beach and liked that the crowds were smaller here then at some of the other popular beaches. The snorkeling was also great, despite what some people had told me. So if you’re down for a little bit of a hike, this beach is a great spot!

Hawaiian Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Policy Guide [2023]

Sending off an unaccompanied minor can sometimes be a pretty stressful experience.

This is especially true on longer flights like those between Hawaii and the continental US. Luckily, Hawaiian Airlines has a very detailed and straightforward unaccompanied minor policy.

In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor policy. I’ll cover things like the route restrictions, fees, and show you where to find the form you need to fill out.

Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor policy explained

Any child who is five through 11 years old and not traveling with another guest who is at least 15 years old and in the same class of service as the child is considered an “Unaccompanied Minor” and will be subject to all of the rules below.

If a child is 11 years old or younger and traveling with another guest who is at least 15 years old and in the same class of service, they are not forced to travel as an unaccompanied minor.

Children 12 years and older can travel unaccompanied.

Children under five years old cannot travel as unaccompanied minors.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor policy fees

For an unaccompanied minor traveling within the state of Hawaii, the unaccompanied minor fee is $35 per segment. This fee is in addition to the cost of the plane ticket.

For an unaccompanied minor traveling between the continental US and Hawaii, the unaccompanied minor fee is $100 per unaccompanied minor (each way). This fee is also in addition to the cost of the plane ticket.

If you are traveling from the continental US and will require a connection within Hawaii you will be charged the $100 fee for the travel from the mainland plus $35 per connecting segment.

If you have more than one unaccompanied minor traveling you might be able to get away with only paying once.

That’s because Hawaiian Airlines will accept up to two unaccompanied minors belonging to the same immediate family.

In order to capture that discount, the drop off and pick up information and contact details must be 100% identical.

Want extra tips on flying with an unaccompanied minor? Read: Unaccompanied Minor Policy Ultimate Guide

Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor policy rules

Age restrictions

The minimum age for an unaccompanied minor is five and this means that the child must have reached his or her 5th birthday by the date of travel.

So it may be okay if your child is four years old at the time of booking as long as they turn five before or on the day of travel.

The same thing applies to the young person who could be accompanying the minor. He or she must be 15 years old by the date of travel.

Connecting flights

Connecting flights are permitted for flights within Hawaii but unaccompanied minors will only be accepted on non-stop, direct flights operated by Hawaiian when flying to or from the mainland.

When flying to/from the mainland, based on the language found from Hawaiian Airlines, it sounds like unaccompanied minors are allowed to fly on an inter-island connection in Hawaii as long as it is on a flight operated by Hawaiian Airlines.

Like many other airlines, Hawaiian Airlines has quite a few restrictions on the type of routes and flights allowed for unaccompanied minors.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most important restrictions you need to know about:

They will not accept any unaccompanied minors on any Hawaiian flight departing between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless: (i) travel is on a flight operating out of Honolulu, Hawaii, and (ii) the flight is the only flight to the Unaccompanied Minor’s destination for the day.

They will not accept any unaccompanied minors for travel on any flight connecting to any other flight when such other flight is the last flight of the day to the unaccompanied minor’s destination.

If you’re sending your unaccompanied minor on a connecting flight, you need to pay special attention to how long the layover is.

That is because they will not accept unaccompanied minors when the connection time is greater than two hours or less than one hour.

The exception to this is when there are no scheduled arrivals or departures that would allow for a connecting time within those parameters and Hawaiian Airlines decides to make an exception.

There are a few other restrictions to be aware of.

For example, Hawaiian Airlines will not accept:

  • Unaccompanied Minors when any connecting flight would require an overnight stay.
  • Unaccompanied Minors who are connecting to or connecting from any flight operated by any other air carrier other than ‘Ohana by Hawaiian.
  • Unaccompanied Minors on any flight they operate that is ticketed by another carrier with a flight number other than that of Hawaiian’s.
  • Unaccompanied Minors for travel in extra-comfort (coach or first-class only)

It’s worth noting that they also reserve the right to change the child’s itinerary if they “believe there is any reasonable possibility that the flight upon which the Unaccompanied Minor holds a reservation could be diverted to another airport.”

This is one reason why I recommend people to reconsider unaccompanied minor travel when major storms or weather systems are blowing through. It can seriously complicate your logistics.

Hawaiian airlines extra-comfort seats
These seats are not available for unaccompanied minors.

Documents needed for unaccompanied minor check-in

In order to properly send off your unaccompanied minor, the parent, guardian, or responsible adult will need to have the necessary paperwork finished. Thankfully, it’s not a very complicated process.

The responsible adult will have to fill out the Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor form.

It’s a really basic form and you can print it out and fill it out before you arrive at the airport or wait to be issued the form when you check-in.

I would recommend filling it out before you get to the airport and making a couple of copies of it for your reference.

In addition to that form, the responsible adult will have to provide:

  • A valid and unexpired government-issued photo identification
  • The name, phone number and address of (i) the parent, guardian, or responsible adult who will be meeting the unaccompanied minor at his/her destination and (ii) where possible, an alternate responsible adult authorized to pick up the unaccompanied minor

Make sure that you take some time to consider adding an alternate.

If for some reason the primary responsible adult is not able to pick up the child it will be a much lengthier process trying to add a new individual.

The flying process

It’s recommended that the responsible adult arrive a little bit early at the airport so that they can take care of the check-in process which sometimes might require a little bit of extra time.

It shouldn’t require you to wait a very long time but you never know what kind of little mishaps can occur when extra paperwork is involved.

The adult will then receive a gate pass which they can use to escort the unaccompanied minor to his or her departure gate.

Keep in mind that adult will have to get through TSA security so it’s best to make things easy and avoid bringing bags or liquids.

Super important: the adult is required to stay at the gate until the flight has departed. And by departed they don’t mean left the gate.

Instead, they want the adult to remain at the gate until the plane has actually left the ground because sometimes a plane may have to return to the gate for unexpected issues.

In the event passengers have to deplane it will be much easier if the adult is already waiting at the gate.

Pick up

Whoever is picking up the child at the airport should arrive extra early.

This is especially the case for flights between Hawaii and the mainland.

Because those flights are much longer, the plane might be capable of landing extra early. So I would recommend arriving about 45 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time.

The adult must be present and available at the destination to receive the unaccompanied minor at the baggage claim or other designated area immediately upon arrival.

If the adult desires to greet the child at the gate once they arrive they may be able to acquire a gate pass.

They should just check with the agents at check-in at the airport of arrival and if they have the resources available, they should be able to provide the adult with a gate pass.

The adult receiving the child must be one of the contact people listed on the Unaccompanied Minor form submitted at the time of departure.

For obvious reasons, airlines have a very strict policy of not releasing a minor to people not on the original form.

Make sure that you are on top of picking up the child on time because if nobody is available to receive the child at the destination, the airlines may contact the police/government for assistance to take custody of the child.

Not only will that be a stressful situation for both you and the child but you will have to reimburse them for any costs and expenses.

Unaccompanied minor flying tips


Try to keep carry-on baggage at a minimum so that nothing gets lost. It is a good idea to attach ID and contact information on the outside or even the inside of their baggage.

Also, because this is Hawaii you have to be extra careful about certain items that you take into the state or out of the state.

It’s best to avoid bringing things like fresh fruit and vegetables because most of them are not allowed although there are exceptions for certain types like pineapples

Related: Hawaiian Airlines Baggage Fees Guide


Many short flights will not offer a meal service and may only supply snacks so it’s a good idea to pack food for the flight.

In other cases, there may be a more extensive menu selection for longer flights. You may want to call ahead of time to clarify if your child will have access to free food on the flight.

RelatedCan You Bring Food on a Plane?


It is also a good idea to give your child some form of entertainment. Popular items include tablets, books, and other toys to keep them occupied.

If they are flying first class between the mainland and Hawaii, they will be issued a tablet that they can use to watch movies and play games on. Some economy cabins like the A330 will have seatback TVs.

Inform the child properly

Do whatever you can to get your child comfortable and knowledgeable about traveling alone. Let them know that they should only speak to Hawaiian Airlines agents if they have any questions or need any help.

Also, make it clear that they should never leave the airport or even the gate area unless they are accompanied by a Hawaiian Airlines employee with a badge.

How to book unaccompanied minors on Hawaiian Airlines

When I called Hawaiian Airlines I was told that I could book an unaccompanied minor ticket online.

However, when I tried to book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor I was not allowed to proceed and got a message that said:

“If you are booking a flight for an unaccompanied minor or child under the age of 13, please contact our Reservations Department at 1-800-367-5320.”

Therefore, I think you may have to call that number to make a booking for your unaccompanied minor.

International unaccompanied minor rules

Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor rules are a little bit different for international flights.

They state that children under the age of 12 traveling on an international flight are not allowed to travel alone.

If traveling with a companion, minors under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a companion who is at least 18 years old. Note that the domestic age requirement is only 15 years old.

Final word

Hawaiian Airlines has a pretty clear-cut policy for unaccompanied minors. Compared to other airlines, they have a pretty flexible and reasonable policy when it comes to things like the age limits, route restrictions, etc. Their fees are also in line with other major airlines.

Uber vs Turo in Honolulu, Hawaii (Which is Cheaper?) [2022]

Are you planning a trip to Hawaii and not sure if you should go with Uber or Turo and what the price difference might be?

Well, I was wondering the same question and we tested it out on our last trip to Honolulu/Waikiki, Hawaii.

We arrived at a couple of conclusions which I am happy to share with you so that you can make some informed decisions based on real data and first-hand experience.

Uber vs Turo in Honolulu, Hawaii

Below, I’ll take a look at the comparative cost between Uber and Turo when utilizing them in Hawaii and specifically in the Honolulu/Waikiki area.

I’ll give you some price estimates on how much you can expect everything to cost you when visiting different attractions in the area. I’ll factor in everything including gas, rental car coverage, etc.

I’ll also provide you some tips based on my own experience with utilizing both Uber and Turo.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Uber costs in Honolulu/Waikiki

First, let’s take a look at the cost for an Uber trip to and from the airport at Honolulu (HNL).

It’s really important to know that these prices can fluctuate wildly. During morning rush hour, I’ve seen prices shoot up to over $70 for a one-way trip between Waikiki and the airport!

But based on my personal experiences in Hawaii and the research I did, the prices below reflect the “normal” pricing.

Below are some estimated round-trip costs from the Holiday Inn Express Waikiki. It’s one of the hotels we stayed at in Waikiki and should give you an idea of what the prices would be for other hotels in Waikiki.

Honolulu International Airport (HNL) to Holiday Inn Express Waikiki

  • UberX – $22.83
  • UberXL – $45.96
  • Uber Premier – $84.72

Holiday Inn Express Waikiki to Honolulu International Airport (HNL)

  • UberX – $25.08
  • UberXL – $44.41
  • Uber Premier – $59.01

Uber costs for Oahu tourist attractions

Oahu is home to a lot of really interesting attractions that are not in Waikiki.

So chances are if you want to see some of these popular destinations, you’re going to want to venture outside of the Waikiki area.

Here’s a look at what you can expect to pay when visiting from Waikiki. Again, keep in mind that surge pricing can definitely happen at these locations and change the price $20 to $30.

To Kualoa Ranch

  • UberX – $57.17
  • UberXL – $101.29
  • Uber Premier – $122.22

From Kualoa Ranch

  • UberX – $48.84
  • UberXL – $93.11
  • Uber Premier – $112.87

To Dole Plantation

  • UberX – $61.27
  • UberXL – $108.48
  • Uber Premier – $128.75

From Dole Plantation

  • UberX – $52.24
  • UberXL – $102.21
  • Uber Premier – $122.03

To Pearl Harbor

  • UberX – $32.41
  • UberXL – $57.52
  • Uber Premier – $71.75

From Pearl Harbor

  • UberX – $24.31
  • UberXL – $49.08
  • Uber Premier – $62.03
Uber Hawaii

Turo costs in Oahu

There are obviously a lot of different types of vehicles that you can choose on Turo. We decided to price out four different types of vehicles.

We’ve provided a price for a one day rental below:

  • 4 door car (2021 Tesla Model 3) – $144.15
  • Convertible (2021 BMW Z4) – $201.91
  • Jeep Wrangler (2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited) – $143.73
  • Cheap car (2015 Nissan Altima) – $72.02

These one day rental prices apply if you are renting for a 24 hour period but also for shorter periods.

So if you picked up a car early in the morning and then dropped it off later in the evening, you still get charged the one day rental. That policy might change in the future but that is what we had to work with.

And because some hosts will offer a discount when you rent for multiple days, we’ve provided a price for a three day rental below:

  • 4 door car (2021 Tesla Model 3) – $377.57
  • Convertible (2021 BMW Z4) – $585.39
  • Jeep Wrangler (2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited) – $401.37
  • Cheap car (2015 Nissan Altima) – $211.29

Note: Some Turo vehicles have minimums that require you to rent them for two or more days. This seems to be more common with cheaper vehicles so it’s not always easy to find a super cheap one day rental.

Jeep Wrangler Turo Hawaii

Turo delivery fees in Hawaii

If you don’t want to pick up your vehicle at the host’s location, you can have them deliver it to you at your hotel or Airbnb or wherever you’re staying.

The thing about getting the car delivered is that usually you will have to pay a delivery fee and those delivery fees can add up pretty quickly.

Here are some Turo delivery fees from HNL airport.

  • 4 door car (2021 Tesla Model 3) – $60
  • Convertible (2021 BMW Z4) – $50
  • Jeep Wrangler (2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited) – $75
  • Cheap car (2015 Nissan Altima) – $45

You’ll notice that the Turo delivery fees for the airport are pretty close to the round-trip airport pick-up and drop-off costs for UberX. However, these fees could be much cheaper than Uber if you were dealing with Uber surge pricing.

Here are some delivery fees from a Waikiki hotel.

  • 4 door car (2021 Tesla Model 3) – $60
  • Convertible (2021 BMW Z4) – $50
  • Jeep Wrangler (2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited) – $50
  • Cheap car (2015 Nissan Altima) – $45
Turo delivery fees

I found it usually the case that it would be cheaper to just Uber to the host’s location and then pick up the vehicle from there. That will usually end up saving you about $10-$20 depending on how far you are from the host.

Note: The thing that is tricky about Turo right now is that it required us to drop off at the same location that we would pick up. Depending on your travel plans, that can make life a little bit more difficult.

Waikiki parking fees for Turo

If you’re staying at a hotel in Waikiki, chances are you’re going to be paying a pretty penny for parking every night.

Here is the overnight parking rate for 10 popular hotels in Waikiki. The self parking price is on the left and valet is on the right if available.

  • Holiday Inn Express Waikiki – $45
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort – $55 / $65
  • The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki – $35 / $45
  • Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach – $42 / $55
  • Halekulani Hotel – $50
  • The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach – $41.80
  • Sheraton Waikiki – $35 / $45
  • Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa – $45 / $50
  • Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort – $40
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort And Spa – $50

Every hotel may have a different price but there’s a good chance you’ll be paying about $40 or more for parking every night of your stay.

This is where the cost will really start to add up for Turo.

Note: Parking fees are not outrageous on every island or at every hotel in Hawaii. For example, when we stayed in Kauai both of our resorts did not charge us for parking.


California is known for having the most expensive gas but Hawaii is right up there at number two. Prices obviously fluctuate but you could be paying around $4.50 per gallon.

If you plan on doing quite a bit of driving then these gas prices will force you to take a hit when using Turo but it’s usually not that bad.


A lot of Turo cars come with unlimited miles but some do have limitations on miles. The good thing about Hawaii is that chances are you probably are not going to put a ton of miles on the vehicle.

However, always check to see what those mileage limits will be.


Your auto insurance may or may not cover you with Turo.

And if you typically rely on a credit card to provide you with primary rental car coverage, you most likely will not get that with Turo.

So you may need to look into buying coverage for the car which can increase your cost anywhere from $20 a day to $70.


One really cool thing about using Turo in Hawaii is that they offer special packages that can make your life easier.

For example, some offer you a packaged deal for $50 where you can get beach chairs, umbrella, snorkel gear, a cooler, etc.

These will all be ready for you in your vehicle which will allow you to enjoy the beach.

Comparing the cost (Uber vs Turo)

Now to compare the cost.

Let’s say you just arrived at Honolulu Airport and you plan on spending all of your time in Waikiki except for one day when you want to spend a day at Pearl Harbor.

Below are the prices that you would pay for your transportation with Uber vs Turo.


  • Airport travel: $47
  • Pearl Harbor: $56.72
  • Tip: $13
  • Total: $116


  • Airport travel: $90
  • Pearl Harbor: $107
  • Tip: $25
  • Total: $222

Turo (Cheap car)

  • Rental fee: $72
  • Pick-up fee: $45
  • Hotel Parking: $45
  • Minimum insurance: $20
  • Gas: $6
  • Total: $188

Turo (Jeep Wrangler)

  • Rental fee: $144
  • Pick-up fee: $75
  • Hotel Parking: $45
  • Minimum insurance: $20
  • Gas: $9
  • Total: $293

So by the data points above, you can tell that if you were only traveling to and from the airport and then heading only to Pearl Harbor for a day, the cheaper route would be to go with Uber.

That’s even the case if you go with one of the cheapest cars on Turo.

However, if you have a larger party and are forced to use UberXL, it’s a lot closer and Uber could be more expensive.

Just remember this is only going to Pearl Harbor. If you want to add on other sites like the Punch Bowl then Turo could quickly become cheaper for the day.

But what about the following days if you wanted to continue to get out from Waikiki?

Maybe one day you wanted to go to the Kualoa Ranch and the next day you wanted to go to the Dole Plantation. Let’s see how the cost each day would compare.

To take a round trip on UberX from Waikiki to Kualoa Ranch, that’s going to be $106 and UberXL would be $194. That’s without factoring in the tip which would probably bring those totals to around $116 and $213, respectively.

Compare that to the cost of renting a cheap car from Turo for the second day, which would be ~$143 and the Jeep Wrangler at ~$218.

Getting to the Dole Plantation is a more expensive Uber ride coming out to $113.51 for UberX and $210 for UberXL. Again, tips would drive up those prices to around $124 and $230.

So the prices are actually pretty comparable to Turo but you just can’t forget to factor in all of the flexibility that a rental car offers.

Here’s a chart that adds in a few more destinations to give you an estimated transportation cost roundtrip from Waikiki.

Prices from Waikiki (with 10% Uber tips):

DestinationUberXUberXLTuro (cheap)Turo (Wrangler)
Kualoa Ranch$116$213$143$218
Dole Plantation$124$230$144$219
Polynesian Cultural Center$184$310$146$221
Hanauma Bay$80$132$143$218
Dole Whip waffle cone
Turo is probably cheaper for your Dole Whip needs.

Multiple stops

Some destinations in Oahu are really perfect for day trips where you spend several hours exploring them.

Pearl Harbor is a perfect example of a great day trip. By the time you get through exploring places like the USS Missouri, USS Arizona Memorial, and all of the other sites you’ll probably be ready to head back to your hotel and rest.

But in other cases you will likely want to hop around to check out different sites.

So let’s run one of those examples to see how the price comes out.

Let’s say you wanted to go from Waikiki and visit these three spots in one day:

  • Bishop Museum
  • Halona Beach Cove
  • Polynesian Cultural Center

Waikiki to Bishop Museum

  • UberX: $19
  • UberXL: $33

Bishop Museum to Halona Beach Cove

  • UberX: $36
  • UberXL: $70

Halona Beach Cove to Polynesian Cultural Center

  • UberX: $80
  • UberXL: $156

Polynesian Cultural Center to Waikiki

  • UberX: $80
  • UberXL: $150

For UberX, that total comes out to $215 and for UberX it’s $409.

That’s 92 miles of driving and so your gas costs would be about $20 assuming 20 miles per gallon.

For the cheaper car on Turo, that’s a total expense of ~$157 and for the Jeep Wrangler it’s ~$234.

So it will be significantly cheaper to rent a car with Turo if you plan on hopping around the island during your vacation.

The conclusions

After looking at these different costs, I’ve arrived at the following conclusions:

Uber prices can fluctuate wildly to and from HNL airport so be on the lookout for those surge prices. If you schedule an Uber ride reportedly you can avoid the dynamic pricing.

Taking trips to single (day trip) destinations is probably more economical with Uber than Turo but not always by a huge margin and not for longer trips.

If you get hit with surge pricing Uber can easily be more expensive and if you want to make multiple stops Uber can quickly become more expensive.

Also, if you have more than four people, you can’t use UberX and will be forced to go with UberXL. The prices then jump up dramatically and renting a Turo car usually becomes cheaper (sometimes a lot cheaper).

This is especially true if you have five people in your party because you don’t always have to rent an SUV to accommodate five people.

I personally value the freedom of being able to head out to any destination at any time.

You never know when you might see something on the roadside that you want to stop at such as a food truck or art gallery.

And what about all of the beaches and scenic overlooks you will undoubtedly stumble upon?

Things get complicated and pricey when you’re using Uber and trying to constantly stop to check out different stops but if you have your rental car you can check out anything and everything.

So even if Turo was more expensive than Uber, I would be okay with paying extra for the added flexibility which in a place like Hawaii is invaluable.

Final word

If you think you will be remaining at your hotel or simply in the Waikiki area for the majority of your trip then relying on Uber for all of your transportation needs is obviously going to be cheaper.

If you plan on taking one or two day trips to a specific destination and nowhere else Uber can also be the cheaper way to go.

But if you plan on getting out pretty far from Waikiki or if you think you’ll be making trips with multiple stops then renting a car through Turo can be much cheaper.

And if you have a party of five or more renting a car through Turo can be significantly cheaper than UberXL.

Alaska vs Hawaii: Which Is Better for For Travelers?

Alaska and Hawaii.

The two non-mainland states are some of the most sought-after states for serious travelers.

And for good reason.

They are both extremely beautiful places to explore with lots to offer in the bucket list department.

But which one would be better for someone who has never been to either one?

Below, I’ll give you some helpful considerations for you to think about.

I’ll focus on the highlights of both states and by the end of the article you will hopefully have a better idea of which state you should visit.


Hawaii gets a good amount of passenger traffic at various airports including Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Kahului Airport (OGG), Kona International Airport (KOA), and Lihue Airport (LIH).

Most people will probably fly into Honolulu or Maui but you can also find nonstop flights to the other Hawaiian Island airports from different places in the mainland US.

Airfare to Hawaii can actually be extremely affordable especially with the introduction of Southwest Airlines.

This is especially true for inter-island hopping which can be done without hurting your wallet at all.

Seriously, you can fly between Hawaiian islands for like $40.

Related: Flying Southwest Inter-island in Hawaii? Here’s What to Expect

As for getting there in style.

Lots of the airlines offer lie-flat seats to Hawaii and Hawaiian Airlines has a pretty solid first class product with lie flat seats.

Alaska receives much less air traffic than Hawaii.

Its busiest airport in Anchorage (ANC) gets way fewer passengers than HNL.

And its second busiest airport in Juneau (JNU) gets a lot less traffic than each of the top four airports in Hawaii.

So if you want to get around Alaska to somewhere other than Anchorage, there is a high chance you’ll have to make a connection.

And you might even have to connect just to get to Anchorage.

I’ve seen some pretty cheap flights from the mainland to Anchorage so I know you can find good deals to Alaska as well.

Sometimes the prices can be very comparable to getting to Hawaii.

However, hopping around to different destinations in Alaska is pricier than hopping around in Hawaii based on my personal experience (Alaska is huge).

You can find lie-flat seats to Alaska from some destinations in the South and East Coast but because there are fewer flights it’s not as easy.

Overall, it’s easier to find a direct/non-stop flight to Hawaii from any given destination and you’ll have more options for premium lie-flat class cabins.

Related: Alaska Premium Class vs Main Cabin vs First Class


A big difference between Alaska and Hawaii is the hotel selection.

In Hawaii, you’ll find many more hotels and full-service resorts geared towards travelers (and families) looking for that tropical getaway or couples in need of a romantic retreat.

It’s also a hotspot for vacation clubs, timeshares, villas, and condominiums.

In Alaska, you’ve got a much smaller selection.

And the hotels won’t necessarily be cheaper.

For example, we recently visited Juneau, Alaska, and found a very limited hotel selection with one of the most expensive properties being the Four Points by Sheraton.

That property was going for $600 a night on some nights which could’ve gotten us a much nicer property in somewhere like Waikiki.

The lack of hotels in some Alaskan cities is not really a surprise given how they are often more geared towards tourists coming from cruise ships.

But just know if you’re hoping to find a bunch of luxury resorts in Alaska, they are going to be slim pickings compared to Hawaii.

Instead, while exploring Alaska you might be more drawn to cabins and lodges in secluded wilderness locations like Gustavus.

It’s very different experience from staying in a beach resort but a lot of people would probably take a secluded lodge in nature over a bustling resort.


Hawaii probably has the best weather out of any state in the US.

And it’s hard to argue with that when you look at the numbers.

The average daytime summer temperature at sea level is 85° F (29.4° C), while the average daytime winter temperature is 78° (25.6° C).

Those are very stable temperatures.

And then you have those lovely trade winds blowing through the islands just adding the cherry (or pineapple) on top.

I remember playing miniature golf on the terrace of the Holiday Inn in Honolulu one afternoon and feeling like the weather could not have been more perfect.

It can feel heavenly out there.

In Alaska, you get to (sort of) experience the four seasons and some areas have beautiful fall color change.

Alaska is obviously going to be much colder although some parts of it such as Southeast Alaska are a lot milder than you might think.

One thing these states do have in common weather-wise is rain. And lots of it.

Both states have rainforests which means some places get a ridiculous amount of water falling from the sky.

Most of the rain falls on the windward (northeastern) side of the Hawaiian islands and some of those areas can be extremely wet.

For example, some parts of the island of Kauai receive almost more rain than any other place on the planet.

Places in Southeast Alaska also receive a pretty ridiculous amount of rain during the fall and winter.

But experiencing the rain can feel very different.

When we experienced rain in Hawaii it was usually a shower that came in and went pretty quickly.

Meanwhile, the rain in Southeast Alaska was more of a nonstop drizzle that could last for days.

To state the obvious: For the average tourist, Hawaii is going to be much more attractive for the weather.

It’s more stable, predictable, and just feels easier to deal with (but you do have to be prepared for the occasional hurricane.)

But some people love the feel of a cold and drizzly environment and Alaska certainly can fit that bill.


The daylight hours in Hawaii, much like the weather, are going to be pretty stable year round.

You get about 2 1/2 hours more daylight during the summer than winter but in the winter you’re still looking at over 10 hours of daylight.

This is a major reason why Hawaii is so appealing in the winter.

Not only do you get better temperatures in many places but you still have plenty of daylight to enjoy yourself.

For travelers coming from places like the Midwest and Northeast during winter, it could be really hard to turn this down for Alaska where things may be even darker and colder.

Because Alaska is so far north, it’s daylight hours are more extreme than Hawaii.

This is great in the summer because you can have sunlight all through the evening and “at night.”

In some places, you can even experience the “midnight sun” where you won’t ever see street lights come on.

It’s pretty trippy.

But in the winter, you might be dealing with very few daylight hours.

For example, in Fairbanks during December, sunrises happen around 10:00 am and sunsets occur around 2:45 pm.

Some people find that depressing.

But it’s actually awesome if you’re interested in viewing the northern lights because it gives you plenty of time for them to come out.


When you think of states with stunning scenery, the two states that pop up on every list are: Oklahoma and Kansas.

Okay, I’m kidding.

Nothing against those states but Alaska and Hawaii are just on a different level.

Hawaii’s famous tropical scenery is the epitome of paradise for a lot of people.

It doesn’t get much better than warm beaches, breezy palm trees, lush green mountains, and many, many waterfalls.

You’ll see landscapes that look like they are straight out of Jurassic Park (because they are) and plants you’ve never laid eyes on before.

Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island features Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

And on the island of Kauai, you have the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, not to mention the Nāpali Coast.

That only begins to scratch the surface when it comes to impressive Hawaiian scenery, though.

Alaska is known for its many stunning fjords, thick conifer forests, white-capped mountains and who could forget about the mighty glaciers, icebergs, and otherworldly blue ice caves?

It also has its fair share of waterfalls.

Although when you think of volcanoes your brain may instantly go to Hawaii, Alaska actually has way more active volcanoes: 141 compared to Hawaii’s handfull.

And as just pointed out, Alaska has the northern lights which if you’ve ever encountered before, you know that nothing truly compares to them.


If you like to be adventurous when you travel, both of these states will deliver at a very high level.

In Hawaii, the beaches give you access to all sorts of fun water activities.

Obviously, surfing is huge in Hawaii and even if you don’t partake you can check out world-class surfing competitions or just sit on the beach and listen to the waves pounding.

Scuba diving and snorkeling (including cage diving) can be a lot of fun in Hawaii and it’s also a good place for things like fishing, parasailing, paddle boarding, and jet-skiing.

You do have to be careful at some beaches though because the rip currents can be treacherous.

Hawaii also has a lot of beautiful hikes.

You’ll find countless trails taking you to stunning waterfalls and mountain vistas with sweeping views of this tropical paradise.

Just be ready for some muddy and overgrown jungle terrain on some of these hikes — they can be quite the misadventure if you’re not careful.

If you just want to get out on the water there are tons of options for you like boat tours, whale watching tours, and romantic catamaran sunset trips.

And you won’t struggle to find any of the other standard adventure tours like ATVs, zip lining, helicopter tours, etc.

Alaska is also one of the best places in the world for adventurous travelers.

You can hike through mossy rainforests and bag some serious peaks — like the tallest mountain in North America, Denali, which isn’t exactly a day hike at 20,310′ feet.

Helicopters will take you up on glaciers where you can slip on some crampons and trek among deep crevasses or even go dog sledding across ice fields Balto style (or should I say Togo).

Or if you prefer to stay at sea level, boat tours will put you right in front of towering glacier faces to witness breathtaking calving events.

There are plenty of water activities to enjoy in Alaska like whale watching, kayaking, canoeing, and river rafting. Both fishing and hunting are also huge in Alaska.

If you’re adventurous side tends to take you to into the ocean or the thought of exploring a thick tropical jungle entices you like no other then you’ll find more options in Hawaii.

But if you’re drawn to more of a true wilderness experience among the backdrop of mountains Alaska will better suit your taste for adventure.

Tourist attractions

If you’re looking for a typical tourist experience both states can offer you that but Hawaii is going to deliver more in that regard (for better or for worse).

Honolulu, in particular Waikiki Beach, is a tourist mecca.

Hawaii also has Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial which is one of the most interesting (and busy) tourist destinations with a ton of fascinating World War II history.

Retracing film locations from blockbuster movies and shows like Lost is a lot of fun in Hawaii.

You can find places away from the crowds in Hawaii, especially outside of Oahu.

But even in more low-key places like Kauai it’s not always so easy to fully get away from the buzzing helicopters, vehicle traffic, and throngs of beach crowds.

Alaska definitely can feel touristy in certain spots like Juneau which cater to an insane amount of cruise passengers.

But you can easily get out to remote places that don’t feel as touristy such a small, rustic towns and some of the wide open national parks like Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park.

If you are looking for tourist attractions, Hawaii will offer you more of those but if you are looking to get away from the tourists, Alaska will offer you more spaces to do that.


Both Hawaii and Alaska can be pretty expensive, but in my experience the prices add up quicker in Alaska.

Certain types of expenses are more common in Hawaii like outrageous parking fees at your hotel, admission fees to nature spots, etc.

In Hawaii, my biggest complaint with pricing was that you don’t always get what you pay for.

For example, in one outing in Oahu we paid $7 for the little piece of cardboard pizza below.

And on one helicopter ride they stuffed six of us inside and made the people sitting on the inside seats (with extremely limited views) pay just as much as those with the 10X better views up front.

I sort of feel like we were getting herded through experiences with the hope that we wouldn’t notice the at times questionable value.

In Alaska, getting around via seaplanes can get expensive and so can the excursions. We also found some of the rental car prices to be very high as well.

I noticed the tourist up-charge in Alaska but it didn’t feel as egregious to me.

At least when we were paying a lot, I felt like we were still getting a lot in value (when it came to tours and outings – hotels were a different story).

Regardless of which state you visit, just be prepared to expand the travel budget more than you normally would when getting around the mainland.


Both states have very interesting indigenous cultures that still have a very visible presence today.

Hawaii represents the upper geographic limits of Polynesian culture with the earliest natives arriving between the 4th and 7th centuries CE. It’s a beautiful culture and it’s fascinating what their ancestors were able to do navigating the open seas.

In Alaska, various indigenous people have inhabited different parts of the state, since about 15,000 years ago when they followed herd animals across the Bering Land Bridge.

Today, they are divided into different groups each of which has its own fascinating customs and culture.

Both states offer unique ways to explore and learn about these cultures whether that be in museums, monuments, tribal houses, or even luaus.

So if you’re into learning about ancient cultures, I think both states offer great opportunities for that.


Hawaii’s wildlife mostly comes in the form of smaller animals and birds (hello, chickens).

The marine life in Hawaii is impressive with tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, manta rays, seals, and whales.

Something that’s cool is that a lot of the humpback whales that frequent Hawaii in the winter are the same ones that migrate to Alaska for the summer.

You could possibly spot the same whale in both places.

If you’re willing to get out on a boat, or even better, get in the water for a diving or snorkeling session, you likely won’t be disappointed.

There’s nothing like swimming alongside a sea turtle in Hawaii and you can even go diving without a wetsuit in the winter.

For the diver, you have to go with Hawaii.

When you’re talking about wildlife in Alaska, it’s just an entirely different ball game.

It’s the only state where you can find black bears, brown bears, polar bears, moose, caribou, wolves, mountain goats, etc. all in one region.

The amount of mammals capable of having you for dinner is truly astonishing in Alaska.

Spend some time on the water and you’ll come across sea otters, sea lions, humpback whales, killer whales, bald eagles, and the biggest starfish you’ve ever seen.

And you can’t forget about the salmon.

So if you’re looking for wildlife encounters, hunting, or trying to pursue wildlife photography, Alaska is going to offer you a lot more in the wildlife department.

Final word

Overall, you can’t go wrong with either one of these states for your first time visit.

Alaska is about experiencing true wilderness, wide open spaces, and surreal natural scenery. It’s for those open to something rugged, challenging, or even thrilling.

To me, a visit to Alaska feels like it naturally leads to more of a humbling and introspective experience where I contemplate my place in the universe and hopefully don’t get eaten by a bear.

Meanwhile, Hawaii caters more to tourists looking for a re-charging escape via the amazing weather and lots of gorgeous coastal scenery.

It feels more like a place to chill out, mingle, and enjoy the good vibes, which can be done at a busy resort or at some laid-back villas.

There’s definitely still a strong sense of adventure in Hawaii but it feels more tame compared to Alaska. Perhaps I need to see more volcanoes.

That’s my take on these two beautiful states if you have any thoughts to drop them in the comments below!

18 Jurassic Park Filming Sites in Hawaii + How to Visit Each One [Full List]

Jurassic Park is one of the most epic movies of our generation and it’s approaching its 30th year anniversary in 2023.

One of the coolest parts about this film is that you can still visit a lot of the filming locations if you ever make your way to Hawaii.

And many of these locations are pretty epic in their own right.

When visiting these spots, you’ll soar over vast canyons, off-road into lush jungle terrain, scramble along muddy cliff sides, and other times, just casually enjoy more low-key experiences like guided tours and grubbing out on fish tacos.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll give you all the detailed information and tips you need to know about visiting these filming locations, since it’s not always so simple to check out some of these.

I’ll show you exactly where these places are and give you examples of stills from the movie so that you can line up your own shots.

Overview of Jurassic Park filming sites

Because there are so many places to see, it helps the first narrow down your island or islands.

Choosing your island(s)

If you primarily want to see sites from the original 1993 Jurassic Park movie then the Hawaiian island of Kauai is where you want to be.

Because that is where the vast majority of Isla Nublar (Jurassic Park’s island) shots were taken.

There was one iconic shot taken in Oahu and a couple of helicopter shots in Maui but for the most part Kauai is THE island for Jurassic Park movie destinations.

If you’re only spending time in Honolulu/Waikiki but still interested in Jurassic Park sites, you’ll be able to see a lot of Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom sites in Oahu. I cover those in my detailed Jurassic World article.

However, this post is focused on Jurassic Park, so I will assume that is where your focus is now.

Arial view of waterfall.
The stunning Jurassic Falls seen from a helicopter.

Choosing your sites

Here is a list of all of the Jurassic Park sites in this article.

I’ve organized them by location, access, price, and estimated time needed to visit and get your shots.

For access, “Public” just means that you can drive up/Uber to the spot.

Also, “free” means that you can visit/get your photos without having to pay but you may have the option to pay for additional things like food or tours.

Limahuli GardenKauaiPublicFree10 min
Hoopii Falls KauaiHikingFree1.5 to 2hrs
Al Pastor TacosKauaiPublicFree30 min
Jurassic FallsKauaiHelicopter$$$2 hrs
Jurassic Gates and T-Rex PaddockKauaiHiking or 4X4Free2 to 5 hrs
Olokele CanyonKauaiHelicopter$$$2 hrs
Allerton GardenKauaiTour Needed$$3 hrs
Nāwiliwili Bay (Jetty)KauaiPublicFree30 min
Kauai Beach ClubKauaiPublicFree30 min
Jurassic Kahili RanchKauaiRoadside viewFree5 min
Valley House Plantation EstateKauaiNo entryN/AN/A
Kualoa RanchOahuTour Needed$$3hrs
Jurassic RockMauiHelicopter$$$2 hrs

If you’re strictly focused on the island of Kauai then my recommendation would be to go for this shortlist of sites:

  • Allerton Garden
  • Limahuli Garden
  • Hoopi Falls
  • Jurassic Falls
  • Al Pastor Tacos
  • Jurassic Gates/T-rex Paddock
  • Storm Jetty/Marriott

You could visit all of those shortlist sites in 2 to 3 days depending on how willing you are to stuff your schedule and how much of a priority you want to give Jurassic Park sites during your time in Hawaii.

However, you might want to give yourself 3 to 5 days because you never know how the weather might play out and chances are you’ll want to do some other non-Jurassic Park related things.

One thing you want to think about beforehand is what helicopter tours (if any) you will do.

Olokele Canyon is left off the shortlist because otherwise the list would require you to do two helicopter rides (Jurassic Falls and Olokele Canyon).

Two helicopter rides might be doable for you on a “spare no expense” tour but keep in mind that both of those two helicopter tours are doors-on which means that you’ll maybe have to deal with glares in your photos and videos.

Personally, we opted to do one doors-on tour to Jurassic Falls and then a doors-off tour where we were able to view Olokele Canyon (just not land on it).

Jurassic Park filming sites map

If you are a map person, here is a map of all the Jurassic Park filming locations:

Man walking at Jurassic Gates.
Headed to the Jurassic Gates.

Jurassic Park film sites in Hawaii

Limahuli Garden (Kauai)

The very beginning of Jurassic Park opens up with a dark and somewhat terrifying scene of a Jurassic Park gatekeeper getting viciously eaten by a hungry velociraptor after a botched transfer — the infamous “shoot herrr!” scene.

Later on, we see Dr. Grant visit the raptor paddock in the daytime as they feed another hungry raptor its lunch.

And finally, Ellie and Muldoon walk past this paddock later on in the movie.

All of the raptor paddock scenes were filmed at Limahuli Garden, part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which is located on the north side of the island. Specifically, the visitor center occupies the same space that the raptor paddock occupied.

Limahuli Garden, building with mountains in background.

Here are the movie stills:

Limahuli Garden, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 1:53 (Universal)
Limahuli Garden, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 31:41 (Universal)

The mountain ridges in the background of the scene below are the giveaway as to where this location is and you can line up your shot by referring to those.

Limahuli Garden, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 32:52 (Universal)

Here is the shot we got which lines up pretty well.

Limahuli Garden visitor center.

You don’t actually have to book a tour or pay anything to visit the visitor center but you do need to proceed through the entrance gate to get there.

If you are visiting when the establishment is closed you can park on the side of the road nearby and just walk in.

Just make sure that you walk to the actual visitor center and that you don’t get it confused with one of the buildings out in front which don’t quite line up with the shot.

About those raptors… Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are three times their actual size. But during the movie’s creation, paleontologists discovered a new, much larger raptor called the “Utahraptor” which was about the same exact size as the raptors in the movie.

Hoopii Falls (Kauai)

Towards the beginning of the movie, Donald Gennaro, the lawyer sent to inspect Jurassic Park, is pulled across a stream to the Mano De Dios Amber Mine, where he seeks to get information on Dr. Grant related to the park’s upcoming inspection.

Both the stream he is pulled across and the amber mine where they discover dino DNA are found at the same spot at Hoopii Falls.

You’ll need to bust out your hiking skills to get to the spot.

It’s not a very difficult hike but there are some relatively steep sections on this 2.5 to 3 mile hike.

I would rate the hike as an easy to moderate hike and if you want some tips on how to get there I put together a detailed guide on how to hike to the falls.

Hoopii Falls, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 3:48 (Universal)
Water at bottom of Hoopii Falls.

The flow of the waterfall is a little bit different these days so the backdrop doesn’t look exactly the same but if you focus on the rocks on the ledge, you can line your shot up.

(Sadly, the mine cave does not really exist.)

Hoopii Falls, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 4:14 (Universal)
Hoopii Falls.

Al Pastor Tacos (Kauai)

When Dennis Nedry and Dr. Lewis Dodgson were meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica to discuss the terms of their clandestine arrangement where Nedry would hand over InGen’s valuable dino DNA, it takes place here.

(By the way, San Jose, Costa Rica is definitely NOT located on the coast.)

Today, there are various food trucks including Al Pastor Tacos which occupy the space. We tried the fish tacos which were very solid but you also have some other great options like Chicken in A Barrel located next door.

It’s a little bit difficult to line up the shot because trees can obviously change shape after 30 years and you’re dealing with some other structures like a portable toilet in the way.

But if you take a little bit of time you’ll see that the three trees in the background match the shot and that it’s very possible to line up the frame.

On our visit, parked cars were where the table was but we still got a good shot of the background.

Al Pastor Tacos, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 13:40 (Universal)
You can now relieve yourself at a Jurassic Park scene.

The other shot from the movie shows a building in the background but that building is no longer there and was replaced by a furniture building.

Did you know? When Nedry is shouting out “DodgsonWeve got Dodgson here!” It’s because Nedry was secretly recording the encounter and wanted to have evidence to blackmail Dodgson.

Jurassic Falls (Kauai)

When Dr. Grant and others arrive via helicopter on Isla Nublar they zoom through steep canyons and then erratically touchdown at the base of Jurassic Falls.

It’s one of the most epic scenes of the movie and you can actually book a helicopter tour that will land you very close to where they landed.

You then have the opportunity to stand at the base of the Manawaiopuna Falls aka Jurassic Falls and re-enact a few different shots from the movie. We did the tour which runs about $360 and you can read all about it here.

In a nutshell, it’s an awesome way to experience this Jurassic Park related site but if you get stuck in the back row, especially in one of the two middle seats, your views are very limited which can make it harder to enjoy.

Jurassic Falls, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 18:19 (Universal)
Jurassic Falls Manawaiopuna Falls

Foreshadowing? When they are landing at the waterfall and Dr. Grant struggles to buckle his seatbelt because he has two “female” buckles, it’s said that this is foreshadowing nature “finding its way” to reproduce with all female dinosaurs. 

Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve (Kauai)

The Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve is home to two absolutely iconic scenes: the Jurassic Park Gates and the T-Rex Paddock 

When the two Ford Explorers first enter Jurassic Park they make their way into the park through the ginormous wooden doors which prompts Ian Malcolm’s memorable line, “What do they got in there? King Kong?”

You can hike to this legendary spot or you can simply off-road which should be the way that I would recommend. There’s just something that feels special about taking a trip through this remote jungle terrain in a 4X4.

I did a detailed write up on visiting both of these destinations so I would suggest for you to check that out to get more information (including helpful GPS waypoints).

Out of all of the Jurassic Park sites we visited, I probably enjoyed this one the most just because it felt so secluded out in the jungle and it took a little bit of adventuring to get there.

When you visit the spot at the gate there are two poles that supposedly mark the location of the gates. But it’s disputed that these are in the right position and the correct spot might actually be a few hundred feet farther down.

Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 41:31 (Universal)
Jurassic Park gates at Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve.
“Welcome to Jurassic Park”

About 45 minutes into the movie, the tour takes them by the tyrannosaurus paddock where the staff of Jurassic Park tries to lure out the dinosaur with a sacrificial goat that pops up from below.

The T-Rex Paddock is about a mile past where the Jurassic Park Gates poles are located and the good thing about this location is it’s very easy to lineup where the shot was taken.

Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 44:23 (Universal)
Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve.

Did you know? The Tyrannosaurus’ roars consisted of a mixture of of dog, penguin, tiger, alligator, and elephant sounds.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous this is also where the trail begins to the Blue Hole which takes you up close to the Weeping Wall, an amazing site full of waterfalls.

It’s an all-day event though and it will require you to get wet and navigate river crossings so don’t take that challenge too lightly.

Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve.
The area behind the T-Rex paddock is a perfect spot to relax.

Olokele Canyon (Kauai)

After avoiding a Gallimimus stampede, Dr. Grant and the kids are making their way back to the visitor center and they stumble upon a large electrical fence.

Rather than fit the kids through the gaps in the fence that surely they could fit through they choose to climb. And unfortunately for little Timmy, he is stuck on the fence when they were rebooting the power and he gets electrocuted.

That entire scene, which I believe was done on the first day of filming, was filmed on top of a ridge in Olokele Canyon.

This is on private property but you can take a (doors-on) helicopter tour that actually lands at this location and get access that way.

We opted to just view it from a doors off helicopter tour since we were already doing the Jurassic Falls tour which is also doors on.

Olokele Canyon, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 1:40:17 (Universal)
Olokele Canyon.
Olokele Canyon.

If you’re doing the Jurassic Falls helicopter tour then you can probably get a glimpse of Olokele Canyon, although you might not be able to see exactly where that spot was filmed.

We also did a hike in Waimea Canyon which gave us a partial view of where they filmed the scene but I don’t think you can see the actual spot because it is behind a large ridge.

Allerton Garden (Kauai)

Allerton Garden, also a part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, is a must for Jurassic Park fans because it’s home to several different scenes from the movie.

If you do a tour here, you can see the sights from the following scenes:

  • Discovery of raptor eggs
  • Clever girl scene
  • Run to the emergency shelter
  • Dilophosaurus paddock

The most recognizable shot from Allerton Garden is probably the discovery of the raptor eggs by Dr. Grant.

He discovers these hatched eggs inside a nest in some impressive fig tree roots as he realizes that life, indeed, does find a way.

Allerton Garden, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 1:30:25 (Universal)
Allerton Garden.
Discovering raptor eggs at Allerton Garden.

You can check out this exact location by doing a tour of Allerton Garden which is a pretty worthwhile attraction.

They offer several different types of tours but my recommendation would be to do the Allerton Garden sunset tour because that is one of the tours that allows you to cruise around at sunset in a Jurassic Park golf cart for a little bit. Read about my experience with that tour here.

The infamous “clever girl” scene also takes place here. It was shot at the spot where there is a mermaid water feature that you will surely see on one of your tours. (It’s right by the fig trees.)

Allerton Garden, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 1:45:11 (Universal)
Water feature at Allerton Garden.
Somewhere behind that statue, “clever girl” was born.

On the other side of the mermaid water feature, there’s an open grassy area which is where Ellie was making her best limping effort to get to the maintenance shed.

Allerton Garden, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 1:39:14 (Universal)
Man running at Allerton Garden.

I also read that right next to the fig trees is where the Dilophosaurus paddock was.

When you are standing next to the fig trees you can look across the stream and you will see a dirt road and that is the road that the Explorers were driving on when they shot that scene.

I tried to line up trees from that shot but I wasn’t able to find anything that seemed like a direct match, though a couple of trees came close.

Allerton Garden, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 42:24 (Universal)
Allerton Garden.
Inside the Dilophosaurus paddock!

Like I said, I’d recommend doing the sunset tour which comes with a dinner and lets you cruise around in a Jurassic Park golf cart.

Man sitting in golf cart at Allerton Garden.

There’s also a worker at Allerton Garden (Pat?) who has been working there since the late 1980s.

She was there during the filming of Jurassic Park and had some cool stories to share about what it was like to be there.

I’d definitely spend some time talking to her if you get the chance.

Nāwiliwili Bay Jetty (Kauai)

While they were filming Jurassic Park on Kauai in 1992 and only one day away from completion, Hurricane Iniki blew through and it was a doozy.

Initially, it looked like it was going to head west past Hawaii but at the last second it took a quick turn north directly towards Kauai, making landfall on September 11th.

It’s still the most powerful hurricane to ever hit Hawaii in recorded history and it struck during El Nino allowing it to intensify to unprecedented levels.

When hurricane Iniki blew through, director Steven Spielberg took advantage of that opportunity to film some actual storm footage that he used in the movie.

It’s a really short scene but at around 54 minutes into the film you can see large waves crashing into a jetty.

Nāwiliwili Bay Jetty, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 54:13 (Universal)
Nāwiliwili Bay Jetty.
The jetty on a much calmer day.

I believe these shots were filmed from Kalapaki Beach outside of the Marriott Kauai Beach Club.

If you drive around the Marriott Kauai Beach Club area you’ll be able to easily see the jetty.

If you can’t access the beach, a good way to get a good view is to head over to where the Kuki’i Point Lighthouse is located, at the end of the golf course.

The public has access to some stairs right at the edge of the golf course and you can walk down to a rocky area where you have some pretty impressive views.

This is a great way to get the jetty shots if you don’t have a super powerful telephoto lens because it is much closer than the beach is to the jetty.

Nāwiliwili Bay Jetty, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 54:16 (Universal)
Nāwiliwili Bay Jetty.

Chickens on the loose. When you visit Kauai you’ll no doubt be surprised at how many wild chickens you encounter. Some speculate these chickens are descendants of birds that escaped after Iniki blew coops wide open.

Marriott’ Kauai Beach Club (Kauai)

The jetty in front of this hotel was featured in the movie but the hotel itself was not. Still, this is an interesting site for true Jurassic Park fans.

When Hurricane Iniki blew through, the production crew decided to ride it out at the Marriott Kauai Beach Club where they were already staying during their three weeks of production. (The hotel went by a different name back then.)

Specifically, they held up in the hotel’s ballroom with catering, back-up generators, and all of that movie set equipment that could come in handy when trying to ride out a hurricane.

At one point they even put a harness on someone so that he could step outside and check the latest weather conditions on his radio.

There’s some video footage from the hurricane that shows them wandering the premises and hanging out in the ballroom so it was easy to verify this hotel.

Marriott' Kauai Beach Club.

The strong wind gusts from the hurricane, which reportedly hit over 200 mph, did some damage to the ballroom as water was finding its way in.

But it seems that for the most part the ballroom held up pretty well and everybody was safe inside.

Everyone from the crew passed time a little bit differently and Spielberg spent some of his time telling the kids ghost stories (one could only imagine how vivid those were).

Apparently Richard Attenborough (Dr. Hammond) slept through the hurricane and when questioned by Spielberg as to how he did it, he famously said “My boy, I survived the Blitz.”

As long as the hotel ballroom is not being used for some type of event you should be able to get a glimpse of it.

ball room room at Marriott' Kauai Beach Club.

To put the ultimate cap on our Jurassic Park experience we decided to stay at the Marriott Kauai Beach Club for two nights.

It wasn’t the most impressive hotel stay but it was super cool to spend a couple of nights in the same location that the 100+ person crew did during filming.

Jurassic Kahili Ranch (Kauai)

When Dr. Hammond first brings everyone to Jurassic Park they swerve down the hillside in Jeeps and then stumble across a brachiosaurus who promptly does an impressive (but unnecessary?) stand up move to get some grub off a tree.

Soon after that we see a herd of dinosaurs hanging out by a pond and the reality of Jurassic Park starts to sink in for the paleontologists.

Jurassic Kahili Ranch, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 22:14 (Universal)
Jurassic Kahili Ranch.

Both of those scenes were shot somewhere on the Jurassic Kahili Ranch.

Unless you are able to obtain special access which appears to be ridiculously difficult, you’ll only be able to view this site from the roadside.

I don’t think you can actually see any of the sites that were used in the film from the roadside but you can still get a good glimpse of the property which is pretty beautiful and looks similar to what is in the movie.

Valley House Plantation Estate (Kauai)

The Jurassic Park visitor center that appears multiple times in the film was located at the Valley House Plantation Estate.

It only existed as a façade though because all of the interior shots were done in studio.

Valley House Plantation Estate, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 23:04 (Universal)

This is probably the most confusing site to me.

It’s difficult to find a verified address and the address I did find online brought me to a location that did not seem like it was the entrance to a plantation estate though maybe it was super hidden?

Regardless, it’s all private property and they don’t appear to be open to visitors of any kind so I would not count on making a visit to this place.

Other shots filmed at this site include: the sick triceratops, the emergency bunker, and whenever Dr. Grant and Ellie reunite.

Kualoa Ranch (Oahu)

Kualoa Ranch is where many blockbuster films have been shot over the years and it’s essentially Hollywood’s Hawaii backlot.

It’s got several Jurassic World scenes located throughout the property that you can check out on the Jurassic Adventure Tour which we did and thoroughly enjoyed.

But there was one scene from Jurassic Park shot at this location, too.

Because of the hurricane blowing through Kauai, the producers had to move locations at the last minute and that’s why the Gallimimus stampede scene was shot at Kualoa Ranch in Oahu.

It’s the “they’re flocking this way” scene where Dr. Grant and the kids run behind a large piece of driftwood to hide during the stampede before a T-Rex comes on the scene to pick off a Gallimimus.

If you do the Jurassic tour, you’ll stop at a driftwood spot which is where the trio hid for cover during the stampede.

Kualoa Ranch, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 1:35:46 (Universal)
Kualoa Ranch Jurassic Park log

The buzzkill is that the original piece of wood used in the film is no longer there because dead wood has a tendency to rot pretty quickly in such a tropical climate.

But you can still pose for some cool photos at that spot.

It’s a little difficult to line up the background exactly the way it was behind the log but it’s still really cool to check out that spot.

Jurassic Rock (Maui)

When the team is first arriving at Jurassic Park, they fly past an iconic rock, Keōpuka Rock, located off the shore which is now referred to as “Jurassic Rock.”

This is located off the coast of Maui and I believe you can get helicopter tours to take you to it.

Jurassic Rock, Jurassic Park movie scene.
Jurassic Park scene at 16:44 (Universal)

Also, the following shots when the helicopter zipping through steep canyon walls were also done here in Honokohau Valley along with a shot of Honokohau Falls. I suspect you can see those by helicopter.

Some sources have stated that the shots were done in Kauai but I did not see any steep canyon walls resembling the footage from the movie so I think they were all done in Maui.

Lost World & Jurassic Park 3 Sites

If you’re also interested in checking out Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 sites, I have some of the major sites below.

There are definitely more locations worth adding and I will probably continue to add more sites as I come across them.

If you know of any other sites that should be added to the list just let me know in the comments!

Nawiliwili Harbor (Kauai)

When Dr. Malcolm is first arriving at Isla Sorna there’s a quick backdrop behind his boat that is at Nawiliwili Harbor. Interestingly, this is right next to the storm jetty that was featured in the original Jurassic Park (discussed above).

We weren’t able to hop on a boat in the middle of the harbor to get the shot but we did get it from the other side of the harbor near the lighthouse which is also where we got the photos of the jetty.

You can recognize this shot by focusing on the large hump found on top of the ridge.

Nawiliwili Harbor, Jurassic Park III movie scene.
Jurassic Park III scene at 20:11 (Universal)
Nawiliwili Harbor lighthouse.

Kipu Kai (Kauai)

At the beginning of The Lost World, the Bowman family is being served up a fancy lunch on the beach while their daughter, Cathy, wanders off and has an encounter with the Compsognathus that does not turn out too well for her and her family.

It’s on this sandy beach at Kipu Kai that the scene takes place.

Apparently, Kipu Kai beach is very difficult to access and while you can get there with a boat or kayak it’s not necessarily recommended which is why we only checked it out from the air.

Just about any helicopter tour should be able to take you over this beach because it is so close to the airport.

Kipu Kai, The Lost World Jurassic Park scene.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park scene at 2:32 (Universal)
Arial view of beach at Kipu Kai.
Kipu Kai beach.

Pilaa Beach (Kauai)

At the end of Jurassic Park III, when the Navy and Marines storm the beach and everybody is being rescued, this scene takes place at Pilaa Beach.

Pilaa Beach, Jurassic Park III scene.
Jurassic Park III scene at 1:22:11 (Universal)

The area surrounding the beach is owned by none other than Mark Zuckerberg but you can still access the beach by hiking down steep jungle terrain to the rocky shore and boulder hopping your way to the beach.

When we visited this beach we came across the remains of a 60 foot sperm whale which was one of the most fascinating things I’ve seen in nature. (Thankfully, it was pretty much all skeleton remains left.)

If you don’t want to hike all the way down, you can still view the beach from the top of the hill at the trailhead.

Pilaa Beach.
Pilaa Beach.

Dillingham Air Field (Oahu)

Dillingham Air Field has played a role in a lot of movies and shows.

In Jurassic Park 3, Dr. Grant is tricked into landing on Isla Sorna and after some ill-advised use of a megaphone, he has a run-in with a Spinosaurus that leaves them stranded on the island.

This was shot at Dillingham Air Field.

Dillingham Air Field, Jurassic Park III scene.
Jurassic Park III scene at 22:00 (Universal)

The same airstrip is also used in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Dillingham Air Field, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom scene.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom scene at 25:00 (Universal)

You can get a shot of the backdrop used in these movies from the side of the road outside of the airfield. However, I’d say this is one of the least interesting sites to visit.

I believe the airfield does offer tours so you might look into those especially if you are a fan of Lost.

Otherwise, this is a good airport to get adventurous and try out skydiving if you’re into that type of thing.

Dillingham Air Field.
Dillingham Air Field.

Ne Pali Coast (Kauai)

The Ne Pali Coast is one of the most stunning stretches of coastline in the world and it’s been used to portray two different islands in the Jurassic Park universe.

It’s used at the beginning of The Lost World when we are first introduced to Isla Sorna and later on whenever Dr. Malcolm is arriving to the island.

Ne Pali Coast, The Lost World Jurassic Park scene.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park scene at 0:59 (Universal)
Ne Pali Coast, The Lost World Jurassic Park scene.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park scene at 20:00 (Universal)

The Ne Pali Coast makes yet another appearance in the Jurassic Park universe but this time at the beginning of Jurassic World when visitors first arrive at Isla Nublar and it also appears at the end of the movie.

Ne Pali Coast, Jurassic World scene.
Jurassic World scene at 1:55:03 (Universal)

We visited this breathtaking stretch of coast two times on separate helicopter tours while in Kauai.

The aerial views are stunning but the coast may best to be appreciated from the water which is also the best way to get the shots used in the Jurassic Park movies.

Try to time your visit for the late afternoon or just before sunset for the best lighting on this side of the island.

Arial view of Ne Pali Coast.

Final word

Jurassic Park is a movie that holds a special place with many people, especially those of us who grew up in the 90s.

It was an absolute dream to visit so many of these places and also very interesting to see how these sites looked in real life.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Kauai, I would highly recommend you to check out many of the sites — you won’t be disappointed!

The Oil Leak at The USS Arizona Memorial: A Moving Yet Controversial Site

Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most moving experiences you’ll ever have as a traveler.

It’s a beautiful memorial but one of the things that sticks out when you visit is the oil leak.

It’s a leak that is moving to witness but also controversial with a lot of people worried about the environmental impact from the oil spilling out over the decades.

Below, I’ll give you more information on the oil leak and explain both sides of the debate while also giving you practical advice on how to view the site yourself.

What is the oil leak at the USS Arizona?

On December 7, 1941 the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in Oahu.

The Japanese destroyed or damaged 19 Navy ships, including 8 battleships, one of which was the USS Arizona which suffered a fireball explosion killing 1,177 men on board. This amounted to nearly half of the total deaths that day at Pearl Harbor.

Unlike other ships that could be salvaged, only parts of the USS Arizona could be salvaged and the majority of the ship remained submerged below the shallow waters of the harbor.

The USS Arizona was topped off with oil the day before the attack and after being sent to the bottom of the harbor with 1.5 million gallons (5.7 million liters) of oil aboard it has constantly leaked oil from its submerged tanks for decades.

The amount of oil that leaks every day varies but estimates are that it leaks up to nine quarts of oil every day. That’s approximately up to 1 gallon per day.

It’s believed between 14,000 and 64,000 gallons of oil have leaked from the USS Arizona since the attack but about 0.5 million gallons (1.9 million liters) remain.

Related: USS Arizona Memorial Review (Pearl Harbor, Hawaii)

Did you know? Oil is also leaking from the USS Utah although it seems that much less is known about that oil leak.

The Oil Leak at The USS Arizona Memorial

Why do they still allow the oil to leak?

There are two main reasons why the oil is allowed to leak.

First, the site is an active military cemetery and stopping the leak could force them to disturb the cemetery and potentially result in an environmental catastrophe.

Second, the leaking oil contains symbolic importance and is part of the experience for many people.

Active military cemetery

The USS Arizona is considered an active military burial site.

More than 900 of the 1,177 servicemen who died aboard the USS Arizona remain entombed in the ship. 

In addition, over 44 survivors of the attack have chosen to have their urns placed within the turret of the ship.

You have to step back and remember this was one of the worst losses of life in American military history that rivaled Normandy on D-Day.

Moreover, the Arizona Memorial is a memorial for all members of the armed services who lost their life in Pearl Harbor. And by extension, it kind of serves as a memorial to all of those who died in World War II in the Pacific Theater.

It’s easily one of the most sacred places in the US.

Therefore, the military and the National Park Service want to interfere with it as little as possible out of respect for all of the fallen sailors and marines.

By taking actions to prevent the oil from leaking, it’s possible they will have to significantly impact the structure of the ship which would disturb the fallen’s final resting place.

“We just don’t know if the oil is creating pressure in the tanks that’s helping the structural integrity of the ship,” said the National Park Service’s Bojakowski according to CivilBeat.

“I wish I had more studies but I do know that there are a lot of really dedicated government employees who are very passionate about the environment and cultural resources and are working hard to kind of answer those (questions).

And in addition to disturbing the cemetery, if the efforts to contain the leak are not successful, it could result in an environmental catastrophe.

It’s a moving and symbolic site

The oil leak, also called the “Arizona tears” or “black tears” is also a visually moving site to witness.

When you see it in person it sort of connects you to the ship and all of the lives lost in a way that closes the gap on the many decades since the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Think of it this way: you are seeing oil that may have been refilled the day before the attack and there is just something surreal about that experience.

It’s also hard not to feel the symbolism from the glistening black tears when standing quietly on the memorial — it’s as if the ship is still mourning from the attack.

I’ve personally never experienced anything quite like it.

I think the Navy and National Park Service are well aware of this effect and it’s just another major reason why they are reluctant to remove the oil.

Environmental impact and Marine life

While the leaking oil is a moving site, it’s also something that is no doubt impacting the environment in a negative way.

The question is: just how much of a negative impact does it have?

It’s reported that the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have all completed studies on the impact of the oil leak although the results of the studies don’t appear to be widely publicized.

The Department of Defense back in 2008 did their own 500+ page report and found:

Arizona’s hull does not appear to be in any danger of imminent collapse, and consequently there is no urgency to remove the oil to preserve the environment or prevent “environmental catastrophe.”

But they also stated more research is “needed to inform management decisions that address the actual environmental impact of the Arizona oil release.”

So it seems there is still a lot of unknown when it comes to the long-term effects of this oil leak and which steps to take to correct it. (Funding seems to have been an issue here.)

We do know that lots of marine animals currently inhabit the USS Arizona.

You can find coral growing on the ship and marine animals like sea turtles, seahorses, sharks, and several types of fish abound in the area. In fact, during our visit we saw a sea turtle swim to the surface over the ship.

There’s debate over what this presence of marine life means for the environmental impact.

On the one hand, the presence of such marine life means that life is still able to survive/thrive in this area. In fact, some forms of algae or bacteria might be thriving too much and could be contributing to the deterioration of the hull.

On the other hand, more marine life means more animals impacted by the oil leak.

Even if there is no danger of an imminent environmental catastrophe (based on the outdated report from 2008), the long-term exposure to the toxins in the oil could be having detrimental effects on different forms of marine life.

Sea turtle at USS Arizona Memorial

How to see the oil leak at the USS Arizona

In order to get a close glimpse of the oil leak at the USS Arizona, you’ll need to make a proper visit to the USS Arizona Memorial.

The memorial is located at Pearl Harbor and you’ll take a short boat shuttle ride from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to the USS Arizona Memorial.

You want to make reservations for the shuttle boat a few weeks before your visit to ensure that you have a spot and it will cost one dollar per person to make the reservation. Otherwise, the experience is free.

They do offer paid audio guides you can purchase to enhance your experience.

Also, at the visitor center you’ll find different ways to immerse yourself in the history of the USS Arizona such as through museum exhibits and even virtual reality.

Once you make it to the memorial, you’ll be walking above the USS Arizona that is mostly sunken.

The oil from the ship can pop up just about anywhere depending on the current and there’s never a guarantee of how much oil you’ll see.

I’ve seen aerial photos showing the oil flowing from either side of the ship/memorial and I’ve even seen photos with no visible oil on the water’s surface.

In our case, there was a steady stream of oil bubbling up the entire time we visited.

By the way, we have a detailed guide on visiting Pearl Harbor and all of the different sites so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already.

How long will the oil leak for?

The National Park Service estimates it could continue to leak oil for 500 years. That’s assuming that there is no intervention until that time and that the ship does not deteriorate before then.

If the environmental concerns continue to mount, I think there’s a good chance that something might be done about the leak before then.

It also sounds like while there may not be imminent danger of a structural collapse we don’t really know how quickly the ship will deteriorate. Things could rapidly change from decade to decade.

It seems that studies are still taking place to learn about the deterioration effects and some people estimate that the ship will only hold its current form for a few more decades.

Final word

Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial is easily one of the most moving experiences you can have in Hawaii.

Catching the black tears from the oil leak adds an element to the experience that almost acts as a time machine making your visit all the more memorable.

But there do appear to be some serious environmental concerns that may need to be dealt with in the near future, so it’s not clear to me how much longer the oil leak will be visible.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Review

Waikiki is filled with many resorts and hotels but you don’t have to break the bank to stay at a quality hotel.

One property that will offer you a quality experience without too steep of a price is the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. (It can also be a great place to stay when using points or free nights certificates.)

In this review article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the Hyatt Place Waikiki based on our recent stay.

Booking Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach

We used a free night certificate to book one free night at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach.

It’s a category three property so we could have used the free night on a higher category but from the value perspective it was still a great redemption considering that rooms were going for around $200+ w/taxes and fees.

Related: Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort Review 

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Location Overview

The Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach is located on the southern part of Waikiki. It’s just a couple of blocks from Kūhiō Beach and it’s also very close to the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium.

You’ll have an ABC store right next to you for your every day needs and potentially some snacks souvenirs.

You also have a number of highly rated restaurants nearby (Mami’s Empanadas, JR Gourmet Franks & Links, d.k Steak House) and some cool places like a food cart that serves up ice cream rolls.

Related: Using Turo in Hawaii (Prices & Tips)

Something interesting about the property is that there is a Domino’s Pizza connected to the lobby so it doesn’t get more convenient than that for your pizza needs.

Check out: Using Uber at HNL Guide (Tips & Photos) 

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Dominos


Check-in went smoothly and we were able to utilize early check-in which was great. We decided to simply valet our rental vehicle which would run $45 a night.

That’s a pretty steep price but it is in line with the other hotels and resorts in Waikiki.

Related: Hawaiian Airlines First Class Guide

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach

As part of our welcome gifts, we received a special Hyatt Place branded mask and water bottle.

I think these are items paid for by the resort fee (or “destination fee”) but since we booked our points we did not have to pay it.

The room

The first thing that stuck out to me at this property was the size of the room. Having stayed at the Holiday Inn Express about a week prior to this stay, this two queen bed room was considerably more spacious!

Our stay at this property came at the very end of a 10 night trip so it was very refreshing to have so much room to relax in. The room and all of the furniture also felt pretty modern, clean, and kept up very well. I was pretty impressed.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach double queen
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach two queen beds

Across from the bed is the workstation which also contains the coffee maker and all of the teas, coffees, and cups.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach two queen bed desk
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach tea coffee
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Coffee maker

There’s also a decently sized flatscreen TV. It sits atop a dresser which is where you can also find the mini fridge.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach tv

Then there is the sofa in the corner with an ottoman for you to relax on.

The bathroom was very basic but clean which is all that really matters to me at a property like this.

There was a single sink with a fair amount of counter space.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach bathroom

The shower was very standard and maybe a little bit cramped but just about what I would expect.

The other thing I really liked about this room that was better than the Holiday Inn Express was that they had a nice balcony. On the balcony, you’ll find a couple of chairs and a small table which allow you to relax and take in the view.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach balcony view

The side walls of the balcony protrude out far so it’s a very private feel.

They do have rooms with ocean views but I believe we were given a city view.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach balcony view

It still gave us a nice view of Diamondhead whenever we looked off to the side.

Check out: Jurassic World & Fallen Kingdom Filming Sites & Tours (Hawaii Guide)

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach balcony view
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach balcony view

Breakfast/pool area

The pandemic rules were still in effect during our visit so we had to experience the pandemic version of their breakfast.

Basically, you wait in line and then tell the servers what you would like included in your breakfast and then they stuff a container for you.

I never really look forward to these type of breakfasts but sometimes there are certain menu items that I find edible like bacon or maybe a muffin. In this case, they had some pretty decent French toast.

Check out: How to (Legally) Bring Pineapples From Hawaii to the Mainland

They had a variety of teas and a lineup of coffee.

You could also find orange juice and apple juice.

They had a decent set up on a rooftop terrace which is also where the pool was located. We arrived at breakfast very early since we had plans and it felt great out on the terrace, maybe even a little bit chilly.

The pool area and rooftop terrace was not as nice as at the Holiday Inn Express where you also have miniature golf and different activities along with bigger pools. Still, at least you have a pool to enjoy on a rooftop in Hawaii.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach pool

The hotel gym is also located on this terrace and it actually looks out to the eating area.

It’s kind of odd but while you are chowing down on the French toast you can watch people burning hundreds of calories during their cardio session.

We roamed around the property and checked out some other areas. It’s worth pointing out that they do have a laundry room with a few different machines.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach laundry room

Down on the main floor of the lobby, they have a little market station where you can purchase some cold food items, desserts, and pick up water bottles, juice, soda, etc.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach market

They also have a little bar area.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach bar

And you’ll find a decent amount of areas to set up for work or lounging around.

Finally, I also noticed a couple of gift shops on the main floor.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach gift shop

Final word

I really enjoyed my stay at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach.

The free night redemption was great value and the hotel felt very well-kept and I loved the spacious room. Considering all the jumping around we had been doing over the past 10 days this was a perfect hotel to finish up the trip.

It’s interesting comparing it to the Holiday Inn Express because I liked the rooms here way better but it was nice having a better pool area and rooftop terrace at the Holiday Inn Express.

Using Turo in Hawaii (Prices & Tips) 2022

Are you thinking about using Turo on an upcoming trip to Hawaii?

In this article, we’ll break down the cost for using Turo in Hawaii on different islands including: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and The Big Island. We’ll show you the average prices for different types of vehicles like cars, SUVs, trucks, and even electric and hybrids.

Finally, we also provide you with some tips from firsthand experience so that you’ll be prepared for your first Turo experience in Hawaii!

How much does Turo cost in Hawaii?

We analyzed 285 data points from Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and The Big Island and figured out the average for a one day, three day, and seven day rental for 5 different classes of vehicle.

Below are the average prices you can expect to pay:

Rental TimeVehicle ClassAvg. Price
1-Day Rental
Electric Hybrid$171.75
3-Day Rental
Electric Hybrid$536.98
7-Day Rental
Electric Hybrid$1,164.35

Key considerations for using Turo in Hawaii

If it’s your first time booking Turo in Hawaii there are a few key considerations you want to think about when making your booking.

Island time

The first thing I would point out is that some of the vehicle owners you’re renting from operate on “island time.”

In other words, they may not show up right on time. So be prepared to potentially be waiting a few extra minutes for your vehicle to arrive and plan accordingly.

Personally, I would not try to cut anything close with your booking time.

It does not take very long for the vehicle owner to handover the keys and for you to do your inspection but if you were planning on heading out within five minutes of your scheduled rental time, that may not be doable.

For that reason, if you have somewhere to be I would push back your rental time by about 20 to 30 minutes to ensure that you have ample time for the vehicle to arrive and for you to get the keys.


You do have the option to select add-ons like a child safety seat, prepaid fuel/prepaid EV Charge, coolers, beach/snorkeling gear or camping gear for an additional charge.

Obviously, in Hawaii you’re probably spending a lot of time on the beach and so having all of your beach gear and snorkeling gear ready to go is a big plus.

One of the most expensive add-ons you may come across is a “guided trip.”

You can be taken along to local hotspots where your host will help with photography to provide you with valuable memories. Some of these guided trips can cost over $500 though so they are not for everybody.


Some cars offer early bird booking discounts and multi-day discounts. If you take a look at the pricing data points for the multi-day rentals, you can see some of these discounts reflected.


Your auto insurance may or may not cover you with Turo.

And if you typically rely on a credit card to provide you with primary rental car coverage, you most likely will NOT get that when riding with Turo.

So you may need to look into buying coverage for the car which can increase your cost anywhere from $20+ a day to $70. They offer three different plans (Minimum, Standard or Premier) and you can see the pricing details below.

You can also choose to decline the insurance all together.

Premier plan 

  • Cost is 65% to 100% of the trip price; minimum charge of $14/day.

Standard plan

  • Cost is 40% of the trip price; minimum charge of $12/day.

Minimum plan

  • Cost is 18% of the trip price when the trip price is more than $250; minimum charge of $10/day.
  • Cost is 25% of the trip price when the trip price is less than $250; minimum charge of $10/day.

Beware that if you are flying through the booking process a lot of the vehicles automatically add the premier insurance to the booking which could change the price dramatically!

Older vehicles

If you are on a budget there are usually plenty of older vehicles that are offered for a cheaper price; I’ve seen some up to 20 years old!

Obviously, that may come with a risk of a sub-par vehicle so be prepared for potential issues like the check engine light coming on. But if you’re willing to take a little bit of a risk, you could end up saving hundreds.

Trip fee

Don’t forget about the trip fee!

The trip fee is a percentage of the trip price. It’s calculated at checkout by Turo and varies dynamically based on the expected cost of each trip.

Several factors unique to each trip can influence the trip fee calculation, including the:

  • Vehicle’s value (a higher-value vehicle may incur a higher trip fee)
  • Lead time of booking (trips booked further in advance can lower the associated trip fee)
  • Trip duration (shorter trips contribute to a higher trip fee, while longer trips can help reduce the trip fee)

Delivery fees

If you don’t want to pick up your vehicle at the host’s location, you can have them deliver it to you at your hotel or Airbnb or wherever you’re staying.

The thing about getting the car delivered is that usually you will have to pay a delivery fee and those delivery fees can add up pretty quickly.

Here are some Turo delivery fees from HNL airport.

  • 4 door car (2021 Tesla Model 3) – $60
  • Convertible (2021 BMW Z4) – $50
  • Jeep Wrangler (2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited) – $75
  • Cheap car (2015 Nissan Altima) – $45

Parking fees at hotels

Parking fees at hotels in Hawaii can be really expensive in certain areas like Waikiki, Oahu. But then, on other islands like Kauai you may not have to pay for parking at all so it really varies based on the island and property.

Just don’t forget to factor in those prices and in case you’re wondering what the prices might look like here is the overnight parking rate for 10 popular hotels in Waikiki. (The self parking price is on the left and valet is on the right if available.)

  • Holiday Inn Express Waikiki – $45
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort – $55 / $65
  • The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki – $35 / $45
  • Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach – $42 / $55
  • Halekulani Hotel – $50
  • The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach – $41.80
  • Sheraton Waikiki – $35 / $45
  • Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa – $45 / $50
  • Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort – $40
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort And Spa – $50

Uber vs Turo

Before you make your booking it’s a good idea to think about if using Uber could be cheaper. We did an entire breakdown on Uber versus Turo in Hawaii that you can check out.

Basically, the findings boil down to the following:

If you plan on taking one or two day trips to a specific destination (and nowhere else) Uber can be the cheaper way to go, but if you plan on getting out pretty far from your hotel or if you think you’ll be making trips with multiple stops then renting a car through Turo can be much cheaper.

And if you have a party of five or more, renting a car through Turo can be significantly cheaper than UberXL.

With all of that out-of-the-way, below is the complete list of our data points.

We tested out pricing for one day rentals, three day rentals, and seven day rentals.

And to give you an accurate estimate we broke them down into five different vehicle classes. Keep in mind that all prices are without any type of insurance plan added or any type of other add-ons.

1 Day Rental


The Big island

  • 2022 Toyota Corolla – Hilo, HI – $90.85
  • 2011 Chevrolet Camero – Hilo, HI – $122.26
  • 2022 Kia Rio – Hilo, HI – $99.74
  • 2022 Subaru Impreza – Hilo, HI – $138.47
  • 2018 Nissan Altima – Kailua-Kona, HI – $78.80


  • 2019 Subaru Crosstrek – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $150.39
  • 2018 Ford Mustang – Kahului, HI – $121.66
  • 2020 Nissan Altima – Kahului, HI – $110.08
  • 2015 Mini Cooper Countryman – Kahului, HI – $126.27
  • 2021 Honda Accord – Wailuku, HI – $104.45


  • 2021 Toyota Corolla – Waipahu, HI – $100.79
  • 2017 Audi A4 – Aiea, HI – $83.88
  • 2018 Kia Optima – Pearl City, HI – $66.97
  • 2015 Nissan Altima – Pearl City, HI – $82.99
  • 2017 Jaguar XE – Aiea, HI – $115.29


  • 2013 Toyota Camry – Lihue, HI – $240.04
  • 2012 Mazda 3 – Lihue, HI – $228.72
  • 2012 Nissan Versa – Lihue, HI – $260.42
  • 2016 Kia Soul – Lihue, HI – $280.77


The Big Island

  • 2020 Honda CR-V – Hilo, HI – $114.13
  • 2021 Toyota 4Runner – Hilo, HI – $230.97
  • 2013 Toyota Sequoia – Hilo, HI – $164.96
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Hilo, HI – $204.01
  • 2021 Jeep Cherokee – Kailua-Kona, HI – $95.81


  • 2021 Subaru Forester – Haiku, HI – $120.55
  • 2017 Jeep Renegade – Haiku, HI – $105.23
  • 2017 BMW X1 – Kahului, HI – $132.60
  • 2022 Volkswagen Taos – Kahului, HI – $99.24
  • 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Wailuku, HI – $137.77


  • 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Waipahu, HI – $170.41
  • 2020 Jeep Wrangler – Aiea, HI – $138.76
  • 2016 Mercedes Benz GLC – Aiea, HI – $138.76
  • 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Mililani, HI – $131.08
  • 2017 Toyota 4Runner – Aiea, HI – $126.90


  • 2014 Toyota RAV4 – Koloa, HI – $176.93
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue – Lihue, HI – $185.49
  • 2022 Honda HR-V – Lihue, HI – $182.34
  • 2016 Kia Sorento – Anahola, HI – $185.49
  • 2020 Subaru Forester – Princeville, HI – $168.35


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma – Kailua-Kona, HI – $156.88
  • 2022 Toyota Tacoma – Kailua-Kona, HI – $185.49
  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma – Waimea, HI – $204.01
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Kalaoa, HI – $283.64


  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma – Haiku, HI – $241.07
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Kahului, HI – $251.22
  • 2019 Chevy Silverado – Lahaina, HI – $184.55
  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma – Wailuku, HI – $183.42
  • 2018 Toyota Tacoma – Makawao, HI – $176.03


  • 2021 Chevrolet Colorado – Kaneohe, HI – $149.70
  • 2022 Chevrolet Silverado – Ewa Beach, HI – $139.62
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Ewa Beach, HI – $172.92
  • 2019 Ford F-150 – Honolulu, HI – $116.45
  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma – Pearl City, HI – $122.02


  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma – Kilauea, HI – $185.49
  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma – Kilauea, HI – $202.57
  • 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 – Lihue, HI – $185.49
  • 2014 Nissan Frontier – Kapaa, HI – $193.18
  • 2018 Toyota Tacoma – Kapaa, HI – $162.62


The Big Island

  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kailua-Kona, HI – $185.49
  • 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kalaoa, HI – $202.57
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kalaoa, HI – $229.85
  • 2016 Honda Odyssey – Kailua-Kona, HI – $411.23
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kailua-Kona, HI – $355.13


  • 2019 Honda Odyssey – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $143.51
  • 2014 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $148.95
  • 2011 Toyota Sienna – Kahului, HI – $184.55
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey – Lahaina, HI – $121.66


  • 2015 Nissan Quest – Nānākuli, HI – $92.41
  • 2020 Honda Odyssey – Kapolei, HI – $133.85
  • 2015 Toyota Sienna – Ewa Beach, HI – $160.33
  • 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – Aiea, HI – $126.90
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Honolulu, HI – $171.50


  • 2010 Chrysler Town and Country – Lihue, HI – $241.18
  • 2012 Nissan Quest – Lihue, HI – $168.35


The Big Island

  • 2019 Honda Insight – Waimea, HI – $151.14
  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Volcano, HI – $287.54


  • 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid – Wailuku, HI – $258.80
  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Wailuku, HI – $125.11
  • 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid – Kahului, HI – $88.83
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Kihei, HI – $263.60
  • 2017 BMW i3 – Kihei, HI – $133.69


  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Honolulu, HI – $161.47
  • 2020 Toyota Prius Prime – Honolulu, HI – $151.14
  • 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid – Honolulu, HI – $144.23
  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – Honolulu, HI – $116.75
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Mililani, HI – $166.87


  • 2010 Toyota Prius – Lihue, HI – $105.77
  • 2018 Lexus RX 450h – Lihue, HI – $249.51

3 Day Rental


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota Camry – Volcano, HI – $511.85
  • 2018 Kia Stinger – Hilo, HI – $553.58
  • 2022 Subaru Impreza – Hilo, HI – $399.50
  • 2018 BMW 3 Series – Waikoloa Village, HI – $561.90
  • 2021 Ford Mustang – Kahaluu-Keauhou, HI – $508.68


  • 2016 Chevrolet Malibu – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $239.42
  • 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $347.34
  • 2018 Honda Accord – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $330.70
  • 2021 Nissan Altima – Haiku, HI – $300.06
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra – Makawao, HI – $261.60


  • 2011 Mercedes Benz E Class – Waipahu, HI – $250.64
  • 2019 BMW 4 Series – Waipahu, HI – $247.36
  • 2019 Ford Mustang – Pearl City, HI – $333.03
  • 2021 Hyundai Accent – Pearl City, HI – $274.42
  • 2017 Jaguar XE – Aiea, HI – $332.01


  • 2018 Honda Accord – Lihue, HI – $405.22
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta – Koloa, HI – $436.39
  • 2021 Honda Civic – Kalaheo, HI – $466.68
  • 2022 Kia Forte – Lihue, HI – $464.17
  • 2015 Nissan Versa Note – Lihue, HI – $466.68


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota 4Runner – Volcano, HI – $795.76
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe – Volcano, HI – $606.84
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Volcano, HI – $669.96
  • 2017 Jeep Cherokee – Hilo, HI – $533.55
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Hilo, HI – $591.04


  • 2015 Honda CR-V – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $334.57
  • 2021 Subaru Forester – Haiku, HI – $280.68
  • 2019 Toyota 4Runner – Haiku, HI – $400.85
  • 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $411.06
  • 2021 Toyota 4Runner – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $367.32


  • 2022 Hyundai Tucson – Waipahu, HI – $411.28
  • 2020 Infinity QX60 – Mililani, HI – $447.41
  • 2016 Mercedes Benz GLC – Aiea, HI – $400.35
  • 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan – Honolulu, HI – $396.13
  • 2013 Ford Explorer – Honolulu, HI – $402.87


  • 2017 Toyota CR-V – Lihue, HI – $511.85
  • 2022 Toyota 4Runner – Lihue, HI – $561.90
  • 2022 Honda Pilot – Lihue, HI – $566.91
  • 2019 Nissan Pathfinder – Lihue, HI – $592.44
  • 2022 Mazda CX-5 – Lihue, HI – $570.24


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma – Volcano, HI – $669.96
  • 2021 Nissan Frontier – Volcano, HI – $669.96
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Hilo, HI – $561.62
  • 2020 GMC Canyon – Hilo, HI – $814.75
  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator – Holualoa, HI – $769.31


  • 2015 Toyota Tundra – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $534.19
  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $434.30
  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $663.24
  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma – Paia, HI – $569.17
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Makawao, HI – $509.27


  • 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche – Honolulu, HI – $408.74
  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – Honolulu, HI – $436.49
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Ewa Beach, HI – $500.16
  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma – Aiea, HI – $361.57
  • 2020 Dodge Ram 1500 – Honolulu, HI – $368.32


  • 2019 Nissan Frontier – Kapaa, HI – $511.85
  • 2018 Toyota Tacoma – Kapaa, HI – $520.21
  • 2021 Chevrolet Colorado – Kapaa, HI – $583.55
  • 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 – Kapaa, HI – $636.76
  • 2015 Ford F-150 – Kalaheo, HI – $636.77


The Big Island

  • 2020 Toyota Sienna – Volcano, HI – $764.34
  • 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan – Hilo, HI – $623.47
  • 2019 Chrysler Pacifica – Hilo, HI – $617.65
  • 2015 Honda Odyssey – Kailua-Kona, HI – $570.24
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Waikoloa Village, HI – $699.80


  • 2015 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $484.32
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kahului, HI – $484.32
  • 2022 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $464.33
  • 2017 Ford Transit Connect – Wailuku, HI – $417.58
  • 2021 Honda Odyssey – Kihei, HI – $467.67


  • 2019 Honda Odyssey – Ewa Beach, HI – $432.29
  • 2021 Kia Sedona – Wahiawa, HI – $504.33
  • 2015 Toyota Sienna – Ewa Beach, HI – $463.32
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Honolulu, HI – $332.35
  • 2017 Toyota Sienna – Honolulu, HI – $456.62


  • 2013 Toyota Sienna – Kilauea, HI – $453.26
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Koloa, HI – $466.68
  • 2016 Honda Odyssey – Kapaa, HI – $442.08
  • 2019 Kia Sedona – Lihue, HI – $591.04


The Big Island

  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Volcano, HI – $795.76
  • 2019 Honda Insight – Waimea, HI – $436.49
  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – Kailua-Kona, HI – $633.77
  • 2022 Tesla Model Y – Kalaoa, HI – $827.83
  • 2014 Toyota Prius – Hilo, HI – $435.15


  • 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $330.70
  • 2018 BMW 3 Series Hybrid – Waihee-Waiehu, HI – $449.30
  • 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid – Wailuku, HI – $564.30
  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Wailuku, HI – $402.05
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Kihei, HI – $652.60


  • 2018 BMW Series 5 Hybrid – Honolulu, HI – $451.56
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI – $470.03
  • 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid – Honolulu, HI – $470.03
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Mililani, HI – $482.89
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 – Pearl City, HI – $513.29


  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – Lihue, HI – $703.11
  • 2020 Kia Niro – Kilauea, HI – $595.04
  • 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid – Lihue, HI – $553.58
  • 2018 Chevrolet Volt – Lihue, HI – $435.15

7 Day Rental


The Big Island

  • 2022 Subaru Impreza – Hilo, HI – $911.00
  • 2010 Ford Mustang – Hilo, HI – $687.13
  • 2022 Subaru Outback – Hilo, HI – $649.92
  • 2018 Toyota Corolla – Hilo, HI – $841.67
  • 2021 Hyundai Elantra – Hilo, HI – $771.67


  • 2002 Lexus SC 430 – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $633.62
  • 2017 Honda Civic – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $581.42
  • 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $715.70
  • 2017 Hyundai Sonata – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $607.11
  • 2021 BMW 3 Series – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $802.18


  • 2021 Honda Accord – Waipahu, HI – $896.37
  • 2018 Hyundai Sonata – Mililani, HI – $876.35
  • 2016 Chevrolet Camero – Waipahu, HI – $803.11
  • 2017 Jaguar XE – Aiea, HI – $687.91
  • 2015 Cadillac XTS – Ewa Beach, HI – $803.11


  • 2018 Honda Accord – Lihue, HI – $829.33
  • 2021 Toyota Corolla – Lihue, HI – $1,131.87
  • 2020 Kia Rio – Lihue, HI – $1,131.87
  • 2021 Honda Civic – Kalaheo, HI – $1,064.73
  • 2015 Honda Fit – Kalaheo, HI – $995.61


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota 4Runner – Volcano, HI – $1,455.28
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe – Volcano, HI – $1,110.77
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Volcano, HI – $1,378.83
  • 2017 Jeep Cherokee – Hilo, HI – $1,046.69
  • 2017 Acura MDX – Hilo, HI – $1,079.32


  • 2022 Toyota 4Runner – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $944.72
  • 2022 Honda Pilot – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,181.45
  • 2017 Volkswagon Tiguan – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $937.44
  • 2021 Jeep Renegade – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $914.11
  • 2021 Acura RDX – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $990.60


  • 2021 Hyundai Palisade – Wahiawa, HI – $1,095.42
  • 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Waipahu, HI – $1,074.26
  • 2018 Nissan Armada – Waipahu, HI – $1,090.60
  • 2018 Infinity QX80 – Aiea, HI – $1,070.67
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 – Aiea, HI – $946.83


  • 2016 Jeep Patriot – Lihue, HI – $1,064.73
  • 2017 Honda CR-V – Lihue, HI – $1,110.77
  • 2014 Ford Explorer – Koloa, HI – $1,294.67
  • 2017 Chevrolet Equinox – Kalaheo, HI – $1,034.02
  • 2014 Mazda CX-5 – Kalaheo, HI – $841.67


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma – Volcano, HI – $1,149.12
  • 2021 Nissan Frontier – Volcano, HI – $1,072.41
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Hilo, HI – $1,111.92
  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator – Holualoa, HI – $1,760.52
  • 2022 Nissan Frontier – Waikoloa Village, HI – $1,306.54


  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator – Kahului, HI – $1,028.82
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Makawao, HI – $1,162.38
  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,210.05
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,210.05
  • 2015 Toyota Tundra – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,196.70


  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Ewa Beach, HI – $937.94
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Kapolei, HI – $1,168.29
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Ewa Beach, HI – $1,034.02
  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma – Waipahu, HI – $1,079.69
  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – Honolulu, HI – $995.60


  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Kapaa, HI – $1,371.19
  • 2021 Chevrolet Colorado – Kapaa, HI – $1,239.88
  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma – Kapaa, HI – $1,345.18
  • 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 – Kapaa, HI – $1,386.48
  • 2015 Ford F-150 – Kalaheo, HI – $1,378.83


The Big Island

  • 2020 Toyota Sienna – Volcano, HI – $1,309.98
  • 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan – Hilo, HI – $1,378.83
  • 2019 Chrysler Pacifica – Hilo, HI – $1,332.95
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey – Captain Cook, HI – $1,417.06
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Kailua-Kona, HI – $1,608.01


  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kahului, HI – $1,053.65
  • 2022 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $1,059.38
  • 2015 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $1,070.82
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,162.38
  • 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan – Paia, HI – $1,028.82


  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Honolulu, HI – $1,049.37
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Honolulu, HI – $1,020.58
  • 2021 Kia Sedona – Wahiawa, HI – $1,113.07
  • 2018 Toyota Sienna – Honolulu, HI – $1,103.88
  • 2016 Honda Odyssey – Pearl City, HI – $1,053.22


  • 2009 Mazda MAZDA5 – Lihue, HI – $1,110.77
  • 2013 Toyota Sienna – Hanalei, HI – $1,187.45
  • 2016 Honda Odyssey – Kapaa, HI – $1,023.05
  • 2019 Kia Sedona – Lihue, HI – $1,283.18


The Big Island

  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Volcano, HI – $1,730.02
  • 2019 Honda Insight – Waimea, HI – $995.60
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 – Waikoloa Village, HI – $1,302.33
  • 2021 Toyota Camry – Kalaoa, HI – $841.67
  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – Kailua-Kona, HI – $1,372.33


  • 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid – Kahului, HI – $1,105.17
  • 2018 BMW 3 Series Hybrid – Waihee-Waiehu, HI – $1,025.60
  • 2018 Tesla Model S – Pukalani, HI – $1,393.78
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 – Kahului, HI – $1,295.72
  • 2021 Lexus UX – Makawao, HI – $975.32


  • 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E – Honolulu, HI – $1,046.69
  • 2021 Tesla Model Y – Honolulu, HI – $1,136.02
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Mililani, HI – $1,051.13
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 – Pearl City, HI – $1,114.51
  • 2018 BMW 5 Series Hybrid – Aiea, HI – $1,217.62


  • 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid – Kilauea, HI – $1,283.95
  • 2022 Ford Escape Hybrid – Lihue, HI – $1,053.22
  • 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid – Lihue, HI – $1,228.45
  • 2018 Chevrolet Volt – Lihue, HI – $972.54
  • 2020 Tesla Model 3 – Lihue, HI – $1,145.29

Final word

Turo can be an extremely convenient way to snag a rental vehicle in Hawaii. But you need to be aware of all of the fees that you could be hit with and be prepared to make a decision on add-ons like rental coverage.

This article should provide you with a good idea of how much you can expect to pay on your next trip to Hawaii!

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Review [2022]

When Pearl Harbor was attacked almost all of the damage came from the air and perhaps the best place to get a sense of what those enemy attackers looked like is the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

It’s one of the attractions located on historic Ford Island and it’s definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you can find the time.

Below, I’ll explain more about the museum and give you an idea of what you can expect when you visit including highlighting some of the most interesting things to check out.

What is the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum?

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is home to several aircraft and original artifacts involved in the Pearl Harbor attacks.

You’ll explore two airport hangars, an outdoor aircraft lot, and a control tower, which all allow you to experience the unique history of this place in a different way.

This museum is special in that it is located at ground zero for the Pearl Harbor attacks.

I’ve been to some aviation museums before and always enjoyed my time but this one just feels different. The history is palpable.

Tip: If you want to buy tickets to multiple Pearl Harbor attractions (USS Bowfin, Pacific Aviation Museum, and Battleship Missouri) check out this option online.

How to visit the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is located on historic Ford Island, Hawaii, which is an active military base that can only be accessed by a shuttle bus (unless you have some other type of special permission).

The shuttle bus station is located on the north side of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites Visitor Center. It’s basically on the opposite side of the station for the shuttle boat to the USS Arizona Memorial.

If you plan on visiting the USS Missouri and USS Oklahoma Memorial, you should first get dropped off by the bus at that stop and then when you finish up there you can hop back on the shuttle bus and make your way to the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

That will make things a lot easier because the shuttle bus only runs one way.

Shuttles depart every 15 minutes from 8am to 5pm daily but the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is only open from 9am to 5pm.

For security purposes, no bags are allowed on the shuttle bus to Ford Island.

A bag storage facility at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park shuttle bus stop can store your belongings for a fee of $5.00 per bag. Credit cards are accepted.

You can buy tickets for the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum online or in-person at the following rates:

  • Adults: $25.99
  • Children: $15.99 (ages 4-12)

Experiencing the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Hangar 37

Your first stop will be Hangar 37, where the shuttle bus will drop you off.

When the attack happened, this hangar housed nine Grumman J2F “Ducks” and nine Sikorsky JRS-1s.

Soldiers on the ground used the mounted machine guns on the grounded J2Fs to defend the island. Meanwhile, five JRS-1s departed Hangar 37 to find the Japanese fleet (but were unsuccessful).

The hangar also provided shelter to the survivors of the battleship USS California.

So thousands of lives were permanently altered on the grounds you’re stepping on and countless acts of bravery took place on these premises.

Getting started

After showing your tickets to the front desk you will begin your journey to the museum.

You should see the gift shop and the Laniākea Cafe restaurant located right by the entrance and also nearby is a 200-person theater that you can pop into to catch a short film about Pearl Harbor.

That will give you some history and then you’ll be ready to head into the main part of the museum.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

One of the main attractions at the museum is the Mitsubishi A6M Zero or simply “Zero,” which is the name used for these Japanese planes made by Mitsubishi.

They get their name from the last digit of the year that they were launched which was the year 2600 according to the Japanese Imperial calendar.

These were state of the art planes and the most equipped carrier planes when they were launched in 1940. Japan also produced more of these (10,000+) than any other model of combat aircraft.

Their lightweight design made them extremely fast and maneuverable and gave them a lot of range but also made them vulnerable to gunfire. Nine Zeros were shot down during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Eventually, weaknesses in the Zero were discovered and the US would capitalize on them by altering their strategies of engagement.

As the Allies became more advanced with their aircraft tactics, the Zero became increasingly outdated and eventually was adapted for kamikaze attacks.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero
This specific aircraft was used in combat in the Solomon Islands in 1943.

Zero Nishikaichi (the Niihau incident)

At first glance, the remains of the The Zero Nishikaichi look like in an uninteresting pile of scrap. But these rusted remnants are actually part of a fascinating story related to the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi flew this Zero during the second wave of attacks and was forced to make a crash landing on the island of Niihau, which is just off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

A local Hawaiian, Kaleohano, then discovered him and took his papers and pistol.

Kaleohano did not know about the attack on Pearl Harbor yet but he realized this was a Japanese pilot and knew that relationships were strained between the US and Japan.

The locals provided a hospitable welcome for the pilot but struggled to communicate with him so they brought in two Hawaiians of Japanese descent, the Haradas.

Nishikaichi shared the news of the Pearl Harbor attack in Japanese with the couple but they kept that news a secret.

This married couple had sympathy for the pilot and would end up trying to help Nishikaichi escape the island while also attempting to retrieve his confidential papers and pistol.

But as locals on the island discovered what happened at Pearl Harbor via radio broadcast, they quickly turned on Nishikaichi.

Ultimately, a situation played out overnight where Nishikaichi and Harada, armed with a shotgun and pistol, stormed Kaleohano’s house only for him to get away.

Nishikaichi and Harada then initiated a manhunt for Kaleohano, while putting the island intro a frenzy.

Ben Kanahele, who had been captured along with his wife by the duo, ended up getting into a fight with them. During the scuffle, Kanahele killed Nishikaichi with a hunting knife despite being shot three times by the pilot.

Meanwhile, Harada took his own life with a shotgun.

It was a very crazy situation and unfortunately it was likely a contributing factor to the government setting up Japanese internment camps based on an official Navy report dated January 26, 1942.

Nishikaichi burned his Zero which is partly why the exhibit looks the way it does. Image via creative commons.

Nakajima B5N “Kate”

There’s also a Nakajima B5N or just “Kate,” which was the first all metal monoplane aircraft in the Imperial Japanese arsenal.

Japan’s premier carrier-based torpedo bomber, these were integral to the Pearl Harbor attack and 144 of these planes took part in the attack, arriving in both waves.

They also played a role in battles at the Coral Sea, Midway, and Santa Cruz Islands.

The Kate you’ll see at the museum is an extremely rare find.

In fact, it’s one of only two Kates in existence, even though over 1,000 were produced.

Nakajima B5N “Kate”

Boeing N2S-3 Stearman (Trainer)

The “big yellow plane” hanging in the museum is the Boeing N2S-3 Stearman.

This one is especially noteworthy because it was used by former President George H. W. Bush Bush on December 15, 1942, while participating in flight training at Naval Air Station, Minneapolis, MN.

Another interesting aircraft to check out is the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat, which was used by the US to combat the Zeros and quite a successful US Naval fighter. It was famously used a lot when pilots engaged in the “Thach Weave” (video)

There are some other interesting exhibits to check out in the hangar.

One of the more helpful exhibits was a large diagram that illustrates the first and second waves of the Pearl Harbor attacks.

It does a really good job of giving you an idea of the direction that the attacks came from and also showing you some of the other targets that were hit on Oahu.

Fighter Ace 360 Flight Simulators

If you’re looking for a bit of a thrill ride then consider giving the Fighter Ace 360 Flight Simulators a try.

My biggest regret on visiting the museum is that we did not try this out because in retrospect it looks freaking awesome.

It’s only about $22 for two people and this thing can take you fully inverted for the ultimate flight experience.

You can experience a dog fight with Thunder in the Pacific or get futuristic and partake in some space travel with Quantum Star Fighter.

Outdoor collection

Once you get finished with Hangar 37 you will head outside and make your way to Hangar 79 but on the way you’ll probably want to make a pitstop at the outdoor collection.

Between the two hangers there is an outdoor area where different helicopters and planes are on display.

You’ve probably heard of the Blackhawk but have you heard of the Seahawk?

One helicopter that stuck out to me was the Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk which was sort of the Navy’s version of the Blackhawk.

Equipped with one torpedo on each side, a 30mm gun, and Hellfire missiles, it specialized in anti-submarine warfare, mine clearing, anti-ship warfare, and insertion of Navy SEALS.

If you look on the left side of the helicopter you’ll see 25 tube openings which look a bit peculiar. These are made to send out sonobuoys that allow a crew to detect submarines.

Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk

There’s quite a few aircraft outside so you’ll want to allocate some time to wander around and check these out.

Raytheon Pavilion

The Raytheon pavilion is located between the two hangers and it houses an “ever-changing roster of experiences with traveling exhibits.”

When we visited, there was an exhibition on Bob Hope who was a comedian, actor and entertainer who helped keep the spirits high for service men and women on the front lines of World War II.

Hangar 79

The other major structure that makes up the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is Hangar 79.

Hangar 79 was undergoing a lot of construction when we were there and the vast majority of the hangar was blocked off.

Hangar 79 Pearl harbor

Once inside, we got a glimpse of one of the Blue Angels and the B-17 “Swamp Ghost.”

This B-17 aircraft, which originally arrived in Honolulu 10 days after the Pearl Harbor attack, has a pretty fascinating story as the pilot had to perform an emergency landing in Agaiambo Swamp in Australia.

The aircraft remained there for decades and only recently was restored and brought back to the US in 2014.

We also saw the Shealy Restoration Shop in action, which is a “genuine aircraft restoration shop that maintains and restores authentic aircraft from World War II and beyond.”

If you want to go behind the scenes of the restoration shop, book the guided Legends of Pearl Harbor Tour.

While I enjoyed exploring the hangar, I don’t believe we were able to get the full experience that Hangar 79 typically has to offer since so many things were blocked off.

Still, one thing that we did see were all of the bullet holes in the windows which are from the Pearl Harbor attack.

To me, that is the most moving aspect of the entire museum.

Hangar 79 Pearl harbor windows
Hangar 79 Pearl harbor windows bullet holes

Control Tower

It was at this control tower where the first radio broadcast of the attack on Pearl Harbor was made at 8:05 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941.


At the time of the radio announcement, the structure was being bombed and windows on the lower levels were shattering.

The Control Tower at Pearl Harbor has undergone a lot of recent renovations but unfortunately those were not fully complete when we visited.

But soon the tower will be complete and you’ll be able to take an elevator all the way to the top where you will have 360° views of Ford Island and the surrounding harbor.

Final word

It felt like our experience here was a little bit limited because of some of the ongoing renovations but it was still worth checking out.

You’ll no doubt feel the history as you wander the premises and check out everything from the bullet holes left in the windows to some of the rare aircraft on display.

During my time on the shuttle bus, I overheard people talking about skipping the aviation museum but I would highly recommend you to give it a shot because there’s a lot to take in here.

Doing A Doors-Off Helicopter Tour in Kauai, Hawaii? (Read This First) [2022]

Doing a doors-off helicopter tour in Kauai is a must for many visitors to the island.

Kauai is the most beautiful Hawaiian island to many people and every inch of it seems to be filled with lush landscapes, towering mountains, and dramatic canyons.

Perhaps the best way to admire all of the stunning scenery is from a helicopter.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about booking a doors-off helicopter in Kauai.

I’ll give you specific tips for how to prepare for the doors-off helicopter ride in this unique location and also give you some insight to think about when it comes to things like photography and scheduling.

Preparing for your doors-off helicopter in Kauai, Hawaii


The most important advice I could give to someone is to schedule their doors-off helicopter tour in Kauai at the earliest part of their trip to Kauai.

The reason? Weather.

Kauai is one of the wettest places on the planet and rain showers can arrive in a hurry.

It’s not uncommon for helicopter rides to be canceled because of the weather.

In fact, this actually happened to us.

But if you plan your helicopter tour at the beginning of your time in Kauai (like we did) that will give you more time to re-schedule.

Be sure to talk to your tour company about how the re-booking process might work.

Looking to book the ultimate doors-off helicopter tour in Kauai? Click here to book a tour today!

Be flexible

This relates to the first tip but try to be as flexible as possible with your overall travel schedule in Kauai.

If you are putting your helicopter tour towards the beginning of your stay in Kauai then consider staying near the airport for those days so that you can quickly get there.

In our case, we were staying in Princeville on the north side so it was a bit of a drive but it’s not that bad if you have to do it.

Just keep this in mind: you may not know for sure that your helicopter ride has the green light until a few hours before your scheduled departure so flexibility really is key.

The helicopter tours usually last about 50 to 60 minutes and they will probably ask you to be there about 20 to 30 minutes prior. Therefore, you can expect the total experience to last about 90 minutes.

Related: Allerton Garden at Sunset Tour Review (Kauai, Hawaii)

Shoot for the afternoon or late afternoon

Everybody has their own personal preference on what type of lighting they prefer when getting photographs and video.

Personally, I would prefer to do this helicopter tour in the mid or late afternoon as the sun is shining on the Nepali coast.

Initially, we had booked a helicopter tour for the late afternoon but because of the storm mentioned above we had to reschedule it for the next morning.

While the sites were still absolutely stunning, the morning light on the Nepali coast is not ideal and can be pretty difficult to photograph due to the extreme dynamic range, which brings me to my next point.

Photography tips

I’ve now done a handful of helicopter tours with the primary focus of getting great photographs. Sometimes I’ve been successful, other times… not so much.

One thing I will say is that getting good photographs from a helicopter is not easy.

A lot of it has to do with the lighting (dynamic range) and topography.

I once did a doors off helicopter tour in Cape Town, South Africa around the middle of the afternoon.

It was a clear day and the lighting was optimal for pretty much all of the terrain which included ocean, mountains and cities. Getting quality photographs on that tour felt like a walk in the park.

On another helicopter tour we flew at sunset around Chicago and with all of the skyscrapers and the sun sitting so low on the horizon, it was a major challenge to get properly exposed to shots. I got some good photos but lots of bad ones.

So how does Kauai compare?

I would say that the terrain around Kauai is so dramatic that mid-day or late afternoon lighting would probably be optimal.

If you have a fast lens and/or are a skilled photographer you can probably deal with a sun closer to the horizon but for an average photographer like myself, dealing with the morning lighting conditions and dramatic topography at the same time was quite difficult.

It was actually much easier to get photographs with my iPhone than it was with my DSLR because I was having to change settings so often and so quickly.

By the time I would get my settings right, we would be moving on and it was time to change the settings once again.

I tried to shoot bracketed exposures which helped some but overall I really struggled to get properly exposed photos with my Canon 6D.

However, with the iPhone or another smart phone with a great camera, you don’t have to worry about constantly changing your settings.

So while you might think you’d be crazy to use a smart phone on a photography tour over your DSLR, your lighting circumstances might dictate otherwise.

Also, you might want to focus more on getting video.

With a smart phone, it will be very easy to get high quality video and the footage you’ll get from the helicopter with the doors off will be absolutely stunning.

This is often the case even if you’re dealing with tricky morning light.

The videos I took turned out better than many/most of my photographs and required virtually no effort to shoot. Take a look yourself:

Prepare to work with your pilot

A good helicopter tour will allow you to speak to the pilot while in the air via a head set.

And on a photography tour, a pilot should be more than willing to help get you the shots you want which sometimes means circling back for better angles.

Try to make sure that you will have communication with the pilot and don’t be shy about making requests.

Pilots have some limitations with altitude and with urban areas they can fly over but if they can comply with your request they usually will happily do so.

Looking to book the ultimate doors-off helicopter tour in Kauai? Click here to book a tour today!

What to wear

When you’re a few thousand feet up in the air, the temperature will drop several degrees. Often, the temperature drops about 3° for every 1,000 feet.

And more importantly, winds can kick up and the cabin of the helicopter can get very chilly even in a warm place like Hawaii.

For that reason, I would recommend you to wear some type of windbreaker jacket. We brought our Patagonia Jackets which were perfect.

We still wore shorts and while it got a little bit chilly up there we were never extremely uncomfortable or anything.

Although you might think sunglasses and hats are off-limits, you should have a tight headset on which will keep those items secure as long as you don’t stick your head out of the helicopter.

Sunglasses can be iffy though for a couple of reasons.

First, they can make it harder to get photographs due to the different exposure you’re seeing. Second, in some cases, if there are a lot of shadows you’ll be missing out on some of the finer details.

For those reasons, I usually don’t wear sunglasses on doors-off helicopter tours.

Stay safe (aka don’t be stupid)

Before you board the doors-off helicopter tour you’ll have to go through some type of safety briefing. This could take place at the airport or at another remote location.

It’s usually pretty short and goes over some pretty basic stuff like “Rule #1: don’t jump out the chopper.”

At some point you’ll also be issued a snazzy belt containing a life jacket since you’ll be flying over water.

Something that no safety video can really prepare you for is how strong the wind can be when you are flying around in the sky.

Sticking something out of the doorway on a doors off helicopter can be a very bad idea because the winds can be fierce. Something could easily fly out of your hand even if you have a good grip on it.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when doing the doors-off helicopter tour is that if something falls out it could potentially fall on somebody from great heights and inflict serious harm.

Moreover, if something falls off it could potentially cause damage to the helicopter which could put your own life in danger.

So be sure to follow all of the rules about not bringing loose items up there with you. Hopefully, you’ll be issued some type of device to secure your smart phone so that you don’t have to worry about losing it.

Different types of doors-off tours

I’ve done doors off helicopter tours configured in a few different ways.

Sometimes the front doors are removed, sometimes only one door is removed, and other times it’s both back doors that are removed.

In Hawaii, it seems customary to just remove the back doors for these type of helicopter rides, which means that you’ll be seated in the back.

Personally, I enjoy sitting in front the most but you can still get plenty of great unobstructed views from the backseat.

Dealing with heights

If you have a true fear of heights you might want to think twice about a doors-off helicopter.

Consider that you’ll be flying thousands of feet above the ground with only something like a car seat belt holding you in. Sometimes you might also encounter some turbulence especially in a mountainous place like Hawaii.

(Some doors off helicopters offer more restrictive harnesses to keep you in but most of the ones I have done simply provide a basic seatbelt.)

Personally, I love the thrill of the doors-off helicopter and once we get going up in the air in the heights don’t really bother me but on occasion I look down and have a “Holy S***!” moment.

The doors-off experience in Kauai, Hawaii

Most of the helicopter tours on Kauai follow the same general route of going clockwise around the island.

From the airport, you head west towards Waimea Canyon, then make your way to the beautiful Nepali coast.

From there you’ll hit some spots along the north side of the island and then you might cruise around the middle of the island before ultimately heading back to the airport.

Each specific route will likely be a little bit different depending on the requests you put in.

Also, the weather will likely dictate where exactly you can go.

With that said, here are some of the amazing sites that we saw on our doors-off helicopter tour.

We started off flying over the Marriott Kauai Beach Club which is actually one of the hotels that we stayed at during our trip to Hawaii.

This particular hotel was used by the Jurassic Park filming crew in 1993 and it is where they hunkered down when the big hurricane hit.

The jetty extending out in front of the hotel was actually used in one of the scenes in the movie, too.

Related: Jurassic Park in Hawaii: Filming Sites & Tours Ultimate Guide 

From there, we traveled over the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge and southwest towards Kipu Kai Beach.

Huleia National Wildlife Refuge
Kipu Kai Beach

We then flew over the Kipu Ranch — a site that’s been used in many movies like The Descendants, Hook, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s also well known for its adventurous ATV tours.

We then did a flyover near Jurassic Falls which was cool but we did not get as close as we did the day prior whenever we did the Jurassic Falls helicopter tour that actually lands at the base of the falls.

Getting that close to Jurassic Falls is a truly exciting moment and bucket list worthy.

However, that tour is NOT a doors off tour and the standard tour stuffs six people inside so if you get one of the interior seats or even one of the seats in the back you might not find the ride as enjoyable due to obstructed views.

We passed up other waterfalls but it’s almost impossible to keep track with all of them on this type of helicopter tour!

Once you start entering the Waimea Canyon territory it’s really exciting how quickly the transition happens and how vast the canyons appear.

They don’t call it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific for nothing.

One specific spot we went over was Olokele Canyon which is actually where they shot the scene from Jurassic Park where the kid, “Timmy,” gets electrocuted by the fence.

You can book a helicopter tour that lands at that spot but once again that is NOT a doors-off experience and we truly wanted to have a doors-off experience in Hawaii.

Olokele Canyon

The morning lighting in the Waimea Canyon helicopter tour was pretty good although I think I would’ve preferred it at around noon to reduce some of the shadows.

This is a 3,000 foot deep canyon though so it’s pretty hard to eliminate all of the shadows.

Related: Red Dirt Falls in Kauai, Hawaii (Waimea Canyon) Guide

Waimea Canyon helicopter tour
Waimea Canyon helicopter tour
Waimea Canyon helicopter tour
Waimea Canyon helicopter tour
Waimea Canyon helicopter tour

After you get blown away by Waimea Canyon scenery it’s time to head to the famous Nepali coast.

Like I mentioned above, I think it would be much better to visit this area later on in the day. Also, I think the coastline is probably best appreciated from a boat ride.

Nepali coast helicopter tour

But don’t get it twisted — seeing this coastline from an aerial view is still jaw-dropping.

We had just flown over the same stretch of coastline the day before with a doors on helicopter and I have to say that it was a much better experience doors off.

There’s just something special about looking directly out at this beautiful, carved-up terrain with no glare or windows in the way that feels much more enthralling.

Nepali coast helicopter tour
Nepali coast helicopter tour
Nepali coast helicopter tour
Nepali coast helicopter tour

if you’re lucky, you might be able to spot some wildlife in the ocean such as whales.

Nepali coast helicopter tour

Eventually, we started to round the corner and come up on the north side of the island.

Nepali coast helicopter tour

We got to admire some beautiful reef scenery from above Haena Beach, which is found on the north side.

Our pilot then decided to turn inland towards Mount Waialeale also known as the Weeping Wall (elevation 5,148 feet). It’s one of the wettest spots in the world. In fact, in 1982, 666 inches (16,916 mm) of rain were recorded on the peak!

The summit of this area is usually covered in clouds and our pilot said it was a pretty rare occasion for it to be so clear which was kind of cool.

Mount Waialeale helicopter tour

It was really cool to see this spot because only a few hours later we would be off-roading down in this valley to check out the Jurassic Park Gates & T-Rex Paddock.

I have to admit that looking straight down was pretty dizzying in the spot; I could only imagine how beautiful the valley is when the waterfalls are running from a recent rain.

Also, because it was clear we were able to go on top of the summit which they call the “Top of the World.”

This area is also home to Alakai Swamp — the highest “swamp” in the world which I would say is something that you don’t come across every day.

After exploring the top of the world we descended and started to make our way back towards the airport.

But before calling it quits we had one more amazing site to see which is Wailua Falls.

We just visited the falls on the ground the day before so it was really cool to get a new perspective of it from above (which offered a much better view).

Wailua Falls from helicopter

Final word

It probably does not take much convincing from me to realize that a doors-off helicopter tour in Kauai is an absolute bucket list experience.

To me, the highlights were flying over Waimea Canyon, soaring over the jagged coastline of the Nepali coast, and elevating above the highest point on the island.

Although the lighting conditions were not optimal for much of the ride, at the end of the day this was still one of the most memorable helicopter rides I’ve ever taken.

1 2 3 4 6