As you probably know, the Island of Oahu is an amazing holiday spot. Its beaches and vistas are world renowned, especially along the famous stretch known as Waikiki. It is also common knowledge that Hawaii can get expensive, as the restaurants, bars and hotels generally tend to jack up their prices. However, if you are backpacking or traveling on a budget, it is possible for you to do Oahu on the cheap.
Sleeping cheaply on Waikiki is not so easy to do, but you can save money with a dormitory bed at the Waikiki Beachside Hostel. While you may not be keen on sharing a room, in the low season a dormitory bed can cost you less than $15. The hostel is perfectly located 1 block from Waikiki beach, and offers free breakfast, surfboard rentals, discount tours, and nightly BBQ's.
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For cheap eats on Waikiki stop in at Moose McGillycuddy's , which is located off of Kalakaua Avenue at 310 Lewers Street. Known to locals as The Moose, this popular pub serves excellent specials for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dishes include burgers, surf and turf, shrimp, pasta and seafood. The Moose is also a popular bar for its nightly liquor specials.
Getting to the North Shore of the island can cost you as little as a bus ticket ($2.50). From the bus stops at the Ala Moana shopping centre, public bus number 52 (The Circle Line) will take you to Haleiwa (3 hours). In Haleiwa, one cheap sleeping option is a place called Shark's Cove Rentals, which is directly across from the beach known to the locals as Shark's Cove. Here a basic, private twin bedroom will cost you only $40, which includes a kitchen, a living room and a bath that will be shared with 4 other guests.
Alternatively, there are many places to camp on the north shore of Oahu. And this is definitely the most authentic way to experience Hawaii's charm. To camp, you'll have to make your reservation with Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources. Your reservation must include the names of each campsite, the dates you plan to camp, and some form of identification, such as a driver's license or passport. Your permit will cost you $18 per night for up to 6 people. On the other hand, you can camp without a permit, but if authorities catch you, you may be asked to leave and/or pay a fine.
One great place to camp is the Malaekahana Bay State Recreation Center. This campsite has a mile-long beach, with plenty of space to make your camp along the golden sand. Facilities here include picnic tables, showers, sinks and drinking water, and camping fees will only cost you $5 per campsite per night.
Another north shore camping spot is Camp Mokuleia. This secluded beach is four miles from what is known as Kaena Point. Here you can pitch your tent directly on the sand, and spend your days swimming, surfing, fishing, or just exploring the surrounding grounds. The price to pitch a tent here is $15 per person per night.
Written by: Travel Writer Bradley Fink