image: courtesy of Kualoa Ranch
Heading straight from HNL to Jurassic Park? Kualoa Ranch may be best known for its T-Rex and raptor residents but there are so many activities, events, and things to see/do that it makes sense to head there straight from the airport, especially if you have a scheduled tour (they book up fast). But given that the destination is located on the polar opposite side of the island, the right form of transportation will make the difference between a great experience and a missed opportunity. Let’s make sure you enjoy the former, by following the advice below.
Best Way to Get from Honolulu International Airport to Kualoa Ranch and What Else You Need to Know
Take the Most Affordable (and private) Flat Rate Shuttle
Kualoa Ranch is located on the windward side as it prepares to bend towards the North Shore, in the culturally significant heart of Kaneohe. There are five options for getting from the airport to the ranch, including taxi, ride hailing service, transit, car rental, and shuttle. We have already detailed the concerns about getting to Kaneohe from HNL using the first four. You can review the reasons why to avoid them here if you like, but allow us to provide the short cut – a shuttle from HNL is the only reasonable and efficient option. That said, the type of shuttle makes a difference. Kualoa Ranch’s designated morning and afternoon shuttles only pick up passengers from Waikiki hotels, and not the airport. That means the best option, is to take a direct, no-share, private, flat-rate shuttle. We will pick you up just outside of baggage claim, greet you with a fresh lei (if desired), load your luggage, and usher you in comfort to the HI-83 W as it unfolds into world famous Kamehameha Highway where your day of adventure awaits. All of this is available for a flat rate (includes a party of up to four!) of just $80. Without traffic you’re looking at about 35-40 minutes of driving time, and up to an hour with traffic congestion, but it will be a seamless experience in our new, comfortable, and air-conditioned Sienna minivan.
Arriving at Kualoa Ranch
If you’ve never been to Kualoa Ranch you’re probably wondering what to expect upon initial arrival. For one, it’s an incredible experience just pulling up to the expansive lot as the majestic Kualoa mountains stand proud to the mauka (mountain side) while the makai (ocean side) bookends the paradisiacal setting. We’ve transported passengers from HNL to Kualoa Ranch innumerable times and it never ceases to amaze us.
Given that you’re headed from the airport to the ranch, you probably have a scheduled tour/event, but if your flight arrives early please note that the park opens every day at 7:30 AM, and closes at 6:30 PM. The 7:30 AM opening will accommodate practically all early arrivals. If you don’t have to be there until a few hours later you can easily kill time in the retail center and satiate your long flight hunger pangs at Aunty Pat’s Cafe, a great spot that serves fresh Hawaiian style comfort food.
If time permits, you can walk across the road to Kualoa Beach Park to see the most recognizable of the small islands off of Oahu – Mokoli’i Island, aka Chinaman’s Hat. While at the beach park you can beachcomb for sea glass or sit under the shade of a lonely palm – just remember to set your smartphone alarm or you’ll pass out and miss your tour.
Please note that outside of Kualoa Ranch there are no stores or eateries in reasonable walking distance, but again – everything you need is within the facility itself. Also, since you’re coming straight from the airport, you may be wondering what to do with your luggage. Kualoa Ranch has many automated lockers on site that can be rented for $5 for all day use. They will accommodate carry-ons and backpacks with ease. If you have a large suitcase with you, it would be best to drop it off at your accommodations, assuming that you’re staying at a vacation rental in the area. One final word of advice – if you have not yet scheduled your tour (as applicable) be sure to do so in advance as again, they book fast.
To schedule your shuttle from Honolulu Airport to Kualoa Ranch, call us 24 hours in advance of your arrival at 1.800.929.1219 to establish your pick up time.
~ ALOHA ~