Cheap Activities in Waikiki, Hawaii

My wife and I only spent 3 full days in Waikiki for our abbreviated honeymoon, but we spent plenty while we were there. I was mentally prepared for it to be expensive, but I was still shocked at just how quickly the money went for us.

Here is a recap of what we did and what we would recommend for the price-conscious vacationer (besides not going to Hawaii):

  • Dinner on the beach at Mai Tai Bar, at the Royal Hawaiian on Monday evenings. This was dumb luck on our part but we somehow wandered into the Royal Hawaiian, saw the weekly Monday evening Royal Luau getting started up and managed to grab a table at the adjacent Mai Tai Bar. We were able to get dinner with the sunset over the beach and watch the luau entertainment for free. With a couple of drinks and dinner entrees for both of us it cost us ~$75 with tip, but I believe this was a great value. RECOMMENDED
  • Climb Diamond Head - A very inexpensive 1/2 day activity is to climb Diamond Head Crater at the end of Waikiki. While the climb was a little more exhausting than expected, the views were worth it. We took the public bus system (bus #58) for $2/per person from our hotel to the park. Admission was $1/per person and we had to buy a couple of waters while we were there. Our suggestion would be to pick up a couple of bottles of water before you go to save more. RECOMMENDED
  • Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay - This was my favorite part of our whole trip and one of the cheapest activities. I had never been snorkeling before in the ocean and was amazed that it really was like the movies. It cost use $12.50/per person for round trip transportation with pickup at the hotel and snorkel rental, $5/ per person entrance fee into the state park. $1 tip to driver. $3 for a can of pringles from vendor. Total Cost: $39 for two of us. I would recommend bringing as much munchies with you -- swimming and the hike up/down to the beach can be exhausting. We spent ~4 hrs on the beach which was plenty for us. I think this activity was the best value for our money. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • Navatek Dinner Cruise - A sunset dinner cruise with buffet and one alcoholic drink. At $75/per person we thought the buffet dinner left something to be desired with a total of 5 things to eat: potatoes, broccoli, fish, pig, and teriyaki chicken. You have to pay extra to get upgraded to a window seat. The cruise lasted a total of 2 hours and we enjoyed spending about 5-10 minutes outside looking at the sunset and Waikiki beach. Transportation from the hotel was included in the price. I didn't think this was a good value for the money.NOT RECOMMENDED
  • Day at Polynesian Cultural Center - We spent one day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, including a luau dinner, and evening show. We enjoyed it and thought despite the $99/person price tag it was fair value for the money. The luau was better than expected and all you can eat with lots of food options.EVENING SHOW and LUAU PACKAGE RECOMMENDED

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Comments (5)


I also went to Hawaii for my honeymoon. We figured out we wouldn't visit Hawaii again for sometime, so we spent 10 days overall. NCL cruise brought us to 4 different island in 7 days for this fast paced trip.

We may just stay in Oahu and Maui next time.

It is easy to spend big bucks in Hawaii, but as you found out at Hanauma Bay, the best things Hawaii has to offer are cheap!

yeah i lived in hawaii for half a year several years back. certainly the best things the islands have to offer are free. hawaiian culture is based around the land and the ocean. water sports (surfing/boating/windsurfing/diving), hiking, fishing, horseback riding, laying on the beach, etc. are the best way to really experience the islands. but since you only visited for 3 days, you probably chose some of the best tourist related activities available in the waikiki area...the cost of living in hawaii is pretty rediculous, but it can be done on a budget once you get past all of the touristy things

Awesome List! I've been meaning to go to Hawaii for the longest time now but was afraid of the prices. This was a great list for what sounds like quality entertainment for a low price.. good post :)

I think I was at Honolulu the same time you were. That's funny. Hawaii is fantastic, and I agree with everyone else when they say the best things the islands offer are free.

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