"Honolulu is a place of wonderful lights. The ever recurring and oversweeping clouds and gentle showers, the sunlight breaking through, mist and rainbow and passing shadows over a landscape of marvelous greens and blues." — George S. Roorbach, The Aloha Guide, 1915 (p. 67)

Cities > Honolulu Travel Guide:

2023 Travel Update: As of 2023, Hawaii is open for tourism by both vaccinated and unvaccinated US citizen travelers without Covid-specific documentation or testing. It also essentially is open to vaccinated non-US citizen travelers with proof of vaccination but no additional testing although some exceptions apply. Nevertheless, be sure to double check the official state of Hawaii requirements and national CDC requirements for up-to-the minute details.

Honolulu, Hawai'i — the capital city of a string of pearls floating in the endless blue of the Pacific Ocean — is viewed widely as the United States' paradise destination.

Since at least the 1960s, when commercial air travel started to become more affordable, Honolulu has lured generations of American tourists with its siren song of the exotic modulated by the familiarity of home. In the 1980s, Honolulu became a top locale for Japanese tourists, and it has added legions of Chinese and Korean visitors to its fan base in subsequent decades, as well.

Culturally, Honolulu blends ingredients of native Hawaiian traditions with Polynesian, Asian, and American ones to create its own unique dish. At times, though, to be a piece of the United States, it can feel barely American; underrepresented, maybe even ignored entirely by the mainland. Structurally, on the other hand, Honolulu is very much an American city. Sadly, its once extensive tram system was dismantled after WWII and following decades of political turmoil, it is far more car dependent than it should be. However, Honolulu has a respectable bus system — TheBus — and diligent city planners are hard at work to overcome political limitations to improve the city's walking, biking, and transit on a street-by-street basis. These efforts are perhaps most visible with the forthcoming HART light rail system, although its initial leg will head to a portion of the city unlikely to be of much interest to visitors. Accordingly, tourists likely will find TheBus more useful than HART for quite some time.

Honolulu is not a inexpensive city, but has found that with a bit of creativity, it does not have to be as pricey as you might fear, either. Read on to learn more and to make the most of your time in paradise...