There are a few reasons why people search for information about getting from Honolulu Airport (instead of their hotel) to any given attraction on the island. For one, they may have arrived early and can’t check into their accommodation for a few hours and don’t want to waste precious time waiting to do so. Others may have a long layover at HNL and don’t want to spend it browsing the magazine selection at Pages & Pages or drowning in Kona Brewing Company IPA at Atrium Bar. Others want to check a key item off of their vacation itinerary within minutes of leaving baggage claim. Whatever the rationale may be, we find that one of the most commonly requested trips from HNL to a non-accommodation is for the famed Dole Plantation. As usual, we’ve got your covered with everything you need to know before making the trek.
3 Things Visitors Need to Know About Getting from Honolulu International Airport to Dole Plantation
1. Book a Direct Flat-Rate Shuttle
Before you do anything else, make a reservation for a flat-rate direct shuttle from HNL to Dole Plantation as soon as you know your flight arrival time. Any other means of transportation can have you spending undue vacation budget and time, which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid doing in the first place.
Here’s why you need to go with a non-stop flat-rate shuttle versus the alternatives:
- Driving a rental car from HNL to Dole places you on one of the most notorious routes on the island when it comes to traffic. The center of the island trek via I-H-1 W and I-H-2 N through Waipahu and Mililani and passed Schofield Barracks into Wahiawa isn’t a pleasant one until you eye the volcanic red sands that bookend Kamehameha Highway where the plantation resides. Skip the pains of driving a rental car until after you’ve arrived at your hotel, and book a shuttle from HNL to Dole Plantation.
- While Dole Plantation does NOT have its own shuttle service, there are some private operators offering shared shuttles from typical Oahu locations (i.e. Waikiki hotels). These can be fine if you’re leaving from your hotel, but from HNL it doesn’t make sense. Some activity-based operators are not designated to do pickups from HNL, and even if you manage to get one that can squeak through, you’re looking at higher per person rates than if you book a flat-rate that includes an entire party of four! Plus, with shared (those not in your party) shuttles you’re at the mercy of others, waiting for all plantation-destined passengers to gather themselves from baggage claim (and the bathroom).
- Traditional taxis from HNL to Wahiawa are far too expensive.
- Ride-hailing service pickup zones (Uber and Lyft) are tricky to get to and can be much more costly if you need a vehicle big enough for your entire party and luggage.
- The city bus from HNL to Wahiawa is terrible, and will put you in a worse mood than a TSA strip search (assuming you’re not into that kind of thing).
- The other options above don’t offer the same amount of ALOHA (lei greetings included). You’re going to the world’s most famous pineapple plantation, don’t you want to do it the right way? Of course you do.
2. Note the Hours of Operation
Don’t go blindly towards the plantation only to arrive outside of hours of operation.
Hours of operation are daily (Monday to Sunday) from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM HST. However, as a visitor who may be traveling during long weekends and through the holiday season, take note of special hours and closures. Their website states that the only day they close is Christmas Day but be sure to call ahead of time to 808.621.8408 if arriving at HNL on a recognized holiday.
3. How Long You Need to Give Yourself at the Plantation
To fully enjoy all that Dole Plantation has to offer, you need to give yourself 2-3 hours (at the plantation), especially if you plan on taking one or more of the following tours:
- Pineapple Express Train Tour – 20 to 30 minutes
- Pineapple Garden Maze – 40 to 50 minutes
- Plantation Garden Tour – 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
- Pineapple Variety Garden – Typically 30 minutes (but at your pace)
In addition to the tours, you want to allow yourself about 30-minutes to shop for souvenirs (and a freshly picked pineapple) and an additional hour to sample the delicacies from the Plantation Grille. And don’t dare leave without a hefty serving of Dole Pineapple Whip!
Consider the estimated times above when planning your day at Dole Plantation, after arriving at HNL.
If you have any further questions about transportation from Honolulu Airport to Dole Plantation, do not hesitate to contact Honolulu Airport Transfer toll-free 1-800-929-1219 or locally at 808-227-1111 at your convenience.
~ ALOHA ~