by Kent Coules, This Week Publisher
Visiting Hawaii can be expensive. Take it from someone who lives here. That should not discourage you from visiting, however.
Read on for money saving tips (many courtesy of This Week Oahu) as well as a few of our choice recommendations.
If you’re into Pacific Island culture, then you’re going to want to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. There are no free admissions to this landmark attraction, but if you book directly through them at polynesia.com/week or calling 808-293-3451, you can get a 3-day re-admission when you buy a one-day pass. Spreading out the PCC experience instead of jamming it all into one day can increase the enjoyment while being easier on your feet.
If the Polynesian Cultural Center is not in the cards, you can still enjoy a slice of it at their Hukilau Marketplace. The Marketplace offers great food and several free attractions including the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame (think Junior Seau, Jesse Sapolu and Marcus Mariota), live entertainment, and ukulele lessons. It’s a great place to wander around and if you’re inclined to drop $10 on a Canoe Ride, present the coupon from This Week Oahu magazine and a companion can ride for free!
The North Shore is where you’ll also find the iconic Turtle Bay Resort, home to Oahu’s best visitor golfing experiences – the Arnold Palmer Course. Golfing is never free but if you decide to play a round, we recommend Turtle Bay. And if you mention This Week when you book your tee time, you’ll get a complimentary ride to and from your hotel in their air-conditioned, ten-passenger van. It’s a one-hour drive, so it’s a worthwhile. By the way, if your handicap is north of 20, the Fazio course might be the better option. You’ll save a few bucks – and strokes. (You’re welcome.)
Pearl Harbor, the most visited site on Oahu, offers 1,300 free tickets each day – first come, first served. This Week Oahu has some cool Pearl Harbor offers, too. You can redeem a coupon for a FREE December 7, 1941 newspaper at the Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center. If you’re going to drop $25 or more at the Pearl Harbor Museum Store, there’s another coupon for a free USS Arizona Memorial coffee mug. Just make sure you’ve got your This Week Oahu coupons.
Back in Waikiki, King’s Village Shopping Center has a free fire knife and drumming show on Thursdays, and free Hula dancing and ukulele show on Sundays. On Friday, the Hilton Hawaiian Village hosts a brief yet stunning fireworks show (don’t drive and park unless you’re way early, you will regret it).
If you want to perform your own ukulele show back home, you can take a free lesson daily at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at The Ukulele Store at Waikiki Beach Walk. The ukulele you’ll inevitably want to buy is NOT free, but that’s on you.
You can get into the Honolulu Museum of Art for free on the first Wednesday of the month. They also host ARTafterDark on the last Friday of each month, too, which is very popular with the locals (but not free).
The most popular attraction on Windward Oahu is Sea Life Park. It’s not free, but if you grab your coupons from This Week, you’ll get free parking and a free Pepsi. That’ll save you about ten bucks!
Some of the best tours offered on the island are hosted by No Ka Oi Tours. If you book with No Ka Oi, make sure you mention This Week to get a complimentary lunch. If you thought there was no such thing as a free lunch, This Week has you covered!
Lastly, as you probably already know, all beaches in Hawaii are public access, and therefore free. So remember, beaches beautiful. Beaches free. Beaches good.
No matter your spending limitations, it’s always nice to get something for free or save a few bucks. With a little research, you can enjoy Oahu on (almost) any budget.