Not everyone who flies into Honolulu Airport is headed from baggage claim and straight through to a hotel in Waikiki Beach. Many of you are beginning your trip with a stay on Oahu’s fabled North Shore, whether checking into an Airbnb in Haleiwa, a bungalow in Pupukea, a vacation rental at Sunset Beach, or a suite at Turtle Bay Resort. All of the above are amazing options, and as any visitor who has been to the North Shore can attest to, there is nothing quite as special as this unspoiled stretch of island.
That being said, getting to the North Shore in a not-so-timely manner after a long flight can start you off on the wrong foot, and there is no doubt that the trek is a big part of what keeps the crowds down. Below, we detail what you need to know before you arrive at HNL in the very near future.
3 Things You Need to Know About Getting from Honolulu International Airport to Haleiwa Town and the Rest of the North Shore Oahu
1. When You Arrive at HNL Makes a BIG Difference on the Highway/s
You’re going to spend the bulk of your time on IH1 (W) and IH2 (N) en route from HNL to the North Shore. The heaviest “outbound” (which is where you’re going) traffic runs between 3PM to 6:30PM. The busiest time at HNL is typically between 9 AM and 1 PM, so an early afternoon (12:30 to 2 PM) arrival should have you out of HNL and on the way to the North Shore in a relatively short amount of time, and beating the outbound rush hour. Once you’ve arrived in Haleiwa, you could be looking at some bumper to bumper action along Kamehameha Highway if you’re continuing on through to Pupukea towards Turtle Bay. The time of the year makes a big difference on Kamehameha Highway. During the winter season swells, there are a slew of surf contests that bring surfers, media, fans, and visitors to town, and the highway may or may not be jammed from 11 AM to 5 PM. It’s a beautiful drive, so you can find solace in the scenery. However, outside of surf contest season (November to February) Kamehameha traffic is fine barring unforeseen issues (accident or road work).
2. Navigating the North Shore Roads at Night (for Late Arrivals)
If you’re arriving at HNL at night, traffic won’t be the issue. But if your renting a car please take note that the North Shore, while as safe as can be, is a dark place (only literally) after dusk. If you’re not comfortable in these conditions, or unfamiliar with driving the North Shore, save the rental aspirations for the next day, after you’ve arrived and checked in. If being dropped off at night, make sure it’s right at your accommodations, as figuring out the addresses of flora covered country homes in Haleiwa, or the vacation rentals that line the small rural roads including Ke Iki Rd, Ke Waena Rd, Ke Nui Rd, Hoalua St, and so forth will be next to impossible for the uninitiated late at night. You’re going to need someone familiar with the scene to get you to the front door of your North Shore digs, even if it’s Turtle Bay.
3. Your Best Transportation Option
So what are your transportation options from Honolulu airport to Haleiwa and the North Shore?
Forget about taking a taxi – that’s practically the cost of your accommodations for one night on that side of the island. TheBus? Don’t even think about putting yourself through that (view the reasons here). We’ve already addressed car rentals in item #2 above, so you’re better off renting from a service in Waialua or up by Turtle Bay during your stay, and not for your to/from HNL transportation. What about Uber or Lyft? Even worse. For one, you will burn a lot of valuable time getting from baggage claim to the designated ride-hailing pick-up spot. In addition, you’ll be crammed into a standard UberX with your party’s luggage, and if you opt for an UberXL to fit (maybe) all passengers, luggage, and car seats, you will end up with the most expensive option for getting to the North Shore. Then there’s the fact that you’ll be stuck in an hour-plus long drive with some random dude, and not a professional driver. View more on why you will want to avoid ride-hailing services from HNL.
OK, so we just told you how not to get from the airport to Haleiwa (etc.), so what is the best option? You guessed it, the best way to get from HNL to the North Shore, is to book a direct, no share (outside of your party), flat rate shuttle that will get you from baggage claim to your quintessential island destination swiftly, safely, and without unpleasant surprises, in the most cost effective way possible. Our flat rate, for up to a party of four, is just $100 to Haleiwa, $110 to Pupukea, and $125 to Turtle Bay. When you consider the convenience, efficiency, and cheap per passenger cost breakdown, it doesn’t get any better! Call 1.800.929.1219 to book your transfer, or complete the easy reservation form found here.