The state of Hawaii is now open to travellers, and the beautiful and lush island of Oahu is a truly perfect choice for your sunny vacation this winter.
Oahu is full of tropical aromas and perfect temperatures, the turquoise ocean, schools of colorful fish, green rainforest, lush scenery, and nearly endless things to do. You’ll feel welcome in Oahu whether you’re a globe-trotting surfer, a happy honeymoon couple, or part of a big ʻohana (family) trip with grandparents and kids tagging along. Everyone will have an amazing experience on the third biggest Hawaiian island, Oahu!
Here’s why we think Oahu is wonderful and a perfect option for your Hawaii vacation this winter.
Entry Requirements for Oahu, Hawaii
Once your flights to Oahu are booked, all adults 18 and over must register with the state of Hawaii Safe Travels online system.
All travelers must have a negative test result before beginning the final leg of their trip. Anyone without a negative test result prior to departure must quarantine upon arrival.
The negative test result must be uploaded onto Safe Travels prior to departure, or printed out prior to departure and hard copy in hand when arriving in Hawaii.
Canadian residents’ passports must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Hawaii.
Learn more here: https://www.oneoahu.org/travel
Why Oahu is a Great Destination for Canadians
From cosmopolitan cities like Honolulu and Waikiki, to the laid-back vibes and scenic wonders, Oahu offers you all of Hawaii in one incredible island.
Oahu has so much going on, especially if you like sun, sand, and adventure. The options for playing in or on the water could keep beach goers happy forever!
Learning to surf is something you must do while visiting Oahu. Or, if you’re already experienced, hit the big waves on the North Shore! You can also stand-up paddle at Haleʻiwa, or windsurf and kayak in Kailua Bay. On land, hike up Diamond Head or trek into the rainforest, chasing beautiful waterfalls. Jump out of a plane or soar in a glider above the North Shore or circle the island in a helicopter.
Oahu provides travelers with an almost unlimited number of breathtakingly beautiful, totally unique, and easily accessible experiences that capture Hawaii’s authentic culture and spirit of aloha.
Oahu Weather and the Best Time to Go
One of the best things about visiting Hawaii is that the weather on The Hawaiian Islands is very consistent, with only slight changes in temperature during the year. The average daytime summer temperature at sea level is about 29° C, while the average daytime winter temperature is about 26° C. Temperatures at night are approximately 5° C lower than the daytime. So, you are almost guaranteed nearly perfect weather whenever you plan to travel to Oahu!
Summer months on Oahu are between April and November, when it is warmer and drier. Winter months are between December and March, which are a bit cooler but still pleasant.
Trade winds keeps the weather comfortable year-round. It is generally drier on the western (leeward) side and wetter on the eastern (windward) side.
Best Time to Visit: We think that the best time to visit Oahu is from mid-April to early June or between September and mid-December, but you really can’t go wrong with any month!
Top Activities and Excursions
With endless golden beaches, inviting blue waves and lovely weather, you can play in the water all year round on Oahu. If you’ve always dreamed of hanging ten on a longboard, Waikiki Beach is the perfect place to take your first surfing lesson!
Our recommendation: the Ohana Surf Project provides a personalized learning experience for surfers of all skill levels. Their team of expert, multilingual surfing pros are your instructors for your surf lesson in Waikiki. They offer a thorough class of basic and advanced techniques with an instructional session personalized to your age, skill level, and personal goals! Contact your TierOne Travel Consultant for more details or to book at the best rate.
Beyond surfing, you can explore the clear blue ocean along 112 miles of coastline, making snorkeling a top activity on Oahu.
For some of Oahu’s best snorkeling beaches, we recommend:
- Hanauma Bay, for its high fish population
- Kuilima Cove, for its perfect beginner snorkeling conditions
- Kahe Point, for its clear deep water
- Kaena Point State Park, for its quiet, beautiful sand beach further away from the city
- Sharks Cove, for its wonderful blue water and tropical fish.
Hawaii Nautical is one of Hawaii’s largest ocean-activity providers, with a fleet of vessels island-wide serving many harbors across Oahu and the Big Island. Hawaii Nautical believe in delivering service, safety, and the spirit of Aloha. They respect the ocean and the ecosystem and follow strict guidelines, so that all marine mammals and wildlife are protected. You can enjoy sailing and experience Waikiki sights and thrilling snorkeling encounters, including seeing Hawaiian green sea turtles. During whale season (December through April), you will also stop to watch these majestic mammals. Snorkel fins, lifejacket, and in-water assistance from expert crew are included with Hawaii Nautical. Ask your TierOne Travel Consultant for more information!
While on a sunset cruise or sailing excursion, you might spot a humpback breach during whale-watching season (December through May). These gentle giants come to the warm Hawaiian waters every year to breed and give birth to new calves, making Oahu a perfect place to experience these beautiful creatures. You can also spot whales from Oahu’s many beaches and from southeastern Oahu spots like the scenic Makapuu Lighthouse, Hanauma Bay, and along the seaside overlooks near Leahi (Diamond Head).
Dolphin Excursions specializes in safely leading small groups on dolphin and whale watching excursions in Oahu. They can take you on an ocean safari aboard their boats with a lifeguard certified crew. The west coast of Oahu is well known for having the calmest and clearest waters around the island. It’s perfect for snorkeling with turtles and home to both spinner dolphins and those mighty winter visitors, humpback whales! Unlike most Hawaii tours, Dolphin Excursions are operated by seasoned naturalists and marine biologists, so you know you and the wildlife are in great hands. Your TierOne Travel Consultant can book you in at a great rate!
See Oahu from a different point of view. If you’ve always wanted to feel the rush of skydiving, there’s no better place to do it than on Oahu’s North Shore. Begin your adventure at Dillingham Airfield and take off to one of the world’s most beautiful drop zones. Fly thousands of feet above the spectacular North Shore coast.
With Skydive Hawaii, you can fly above the clouds and fall through the Hawaiian skies at 120mph, taking in panoramic views of Oahu’s green mountains and deep blue waters that few have ever seen. Skydiving is definitely an experience you will always remember and treasure. Tandem skydiving is unquestionably the safest way to experience skydiving for the first time. After a few minutes of instruction, you can experience exhilarating free-fall with an instructor and enjoy the breathtaking views as you gently descend to earth together. Your TierOne Travel Consultant can book you this amazing experience!
Oahu’s pleasant, year-round weather is perfect for helicopter tours. Fly over the verdant valleys of the Windward Coast and the majestic cityscapes of Honolulu.
Experience breathtaking sights and stunning vistas as you fly around the islands in a helicopter tour with Novictor Helicopters. Soaring over the turquoise waters, you’ll venture around Diamond Head’s crater, fly past white sand beaches and glimpse landmarks only visible by air such as Sacred Falls and the dense rainforests found on the interior of the island. A sampling of iconic sites you may see include Makapu’u, the North Shore, and Pearl Harbor. Guests enjoy their choice of premium flight experiences aboard a Robinson R-44 helicopter including Daytime, Sunset, and Honolulu City Lights Tours. Your TierOne Travel Consultant can get you the best prices on helicopter experiences!
Oahu’s diverse tropical terrain, unmatched ocean views and wide range of activities will easily bring out your adventurous side! Here are some hikes that we recommend:
Hike to the top of the iconic volcanic crater Leahi (Diamond Head) for a panoramic view of Waikiki. The views you’ll take in from the top viewing platform are not only beautiful but are also recorded as the longest land views you’ll see in the world!
Waimea Falls Park
Waimea Falls Park, this is one of the great Oahu hikes/strolls for the whole family! You mainly walk along a flat road that is surrounded with botanical gardens, that will keep you entertained until you reach a bold 50 ft Oahu waterfall.
The Manoa Falls Trail
This Oahu hiking trail is located above Waikiki in the Manoa Valley mountainside. The Manoa Falls Trail is a somewhat easy but still an adventurous hike through a lush bamboo and guava tree forest. The prize at the end of this hour-long hike is a towering 150 ft Oahu waterfall. Set your expectations high for this hike!
Kaniakapupu Ruins, Located in the Nu’uanu Valley off the Pali Hwy are the remains of King Kamehameha III’s summer home, originally built in 1847. Today you can take a short stroll through a bamboo forest and visit the Kaniakapupu Ruins, one of the oldest standing structures on Oahu!
Play golf well into the evening on a long Hawaiian summer day. What better place to tee off than surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean? Don’t let the crashing waves distract you; these gorgeous courses are fun yet challenging.
Here are some Oahu golf courses that we recommend. Contact your TierOne Travel Consultant for more details, or to book at the very best rates!
On the North Shore is the Turtle Bay Golf Club. The Palmer Course is consistently regarded as the best course on Oahu and among the very best on all the islands! This course at Turtle Bay is an absolute must-play during your visit to the area.
On the Windward Coast is the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club. Nestled between the majestic Mount Olomana and Ko’olau Mountains, this course is an awe-inspiring experience with Oahu’s most stunning views.
The Leeward Coast is home to the Hawai‘i Prince Golf Club. This Golf Club offers 27 dramatic holes, the only golf course of its kind in Hawaii. It also has three interchangeable nines to create a variety of playing conditions for all skill levels. Located on the sunny Ewa Plain, the resort’s golf course features pure beauty and presents spectacular views of the Waianae Mountains. Long, green fairways are lined with numerous white sand bunkers and 10 strategically placed lakes.
Also on the Leeward coast is the Ko Olina Golf Club, listed as one of Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S.” It is a challenging 18-hole course, but there is also golf lessons and daily clinics available with top PGA professionals!
Contact your TierOne Travel Consultant about any of these golf courses to book or learn more!
Polynesian Cultural Center
Spend the day exploring the rich heritage of the Pacific Islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. Wander through tropical scenes and explore authentic villages and mingle with locals that are part of six Pacific cultures. Enjoy the adventure of traditional hands-on activities, play ancient games, dance, learn how to fish without a net and sample poi. Dine like royalty at an authentic Polynesian luau and top it off with the most fabulous evening show in the islands.
At Pearl Harbor, hear first-hand stories from survivors describing the chaotic scene on Battleship Row. Walk through an airplane hangar that still bears the scars from that fateful morning. And peer into the shallow harbor where the sunken structure of the USS Arizona rests, still leaking oil that pools on the water’s surface.
Visiting Pearl Harbor is an experience that will be etched into your soul forever and will offer you a new perspective on World War II. Immerse yourself for a part or more of the day in five historic sites that comprise Pearl Harbor today: the WWII Valor in the Pacific, Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, USS Oklahoma Memorial and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Oahu’s Best Restaurants
53 By the Sea
On the sprawling ground floor of a massive Mediterranean-style building at Kewalo Basin in Kakaako is 53 By the Sea, an Italian restaurant right at the water’s edge. The 200-seat dining room here features floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. Watch sailboats drift by and surfers ride waves at some of the south shore’s best breaks. The dinner menu here boasts some of the best seafood dishes around, including a macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi, seared scallops with alii mushrooms and pickled shallots, and the fresh catch of the day in a garlic brown butter sauce. Or indulge in the decadent prix-fixe menu, which boasts eight courses, including dessert.
House Without A Key
One of the most iconic hotels in Waikiki boasts one of the best sunset views, too. House Without A Key, at the luxe Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Halekulani, sits right on Waikiki’s bustling beach. This casual spot offers both open-air indoor and breezy outdoor seating, with views of Diamond Head and the Pacific Ocean. It’s the perfect place to unwind and sip a cocktail — namely, the hotel’s signature Mai Tai — while listening to live Hawaiian music under the century-old kiawe tree as the sun sinks below the horizon. You won’t find a gourmet dinner like this, cooked on a grill on the beach, anywhere else in Waikiki.
Entering Sushi Sho, inside the Ritz Carlton, is like entering a stage set for an audience of 10. Seats flank the dramatic sushi bar, where Keiji Nakazawa and two assistant chefs hold court. A few years ago, Nakazawa, one of Japan’s great sushi masters, left his restaurant in Tokyo for the challenge of Hawaii. Here, he creates a 30-course omakase (two different fixed-price tasting menus) of playful, bite-size renditions of Hawaii classics like laulau and poke sprinkled with Edomae-style sushi. Be sure to make reservations far in advance—the 10 seats are quickly snapped up by sushi aficionados both local and visiting.
The Pig and the Lady
Visiting celebrities, from President Obama to Ben Affleck, all stop by for at least one meal in The Pig and the Lady. With its energetic dining room, where the menu melds Vietnamese and Southeast Asian flavors in a lively setting with communal tables. The dinner menu constantly changes, but make sure to finish off with a swirled soft serve, which often comes in funky flavors like black sesame custard and mango sorbet.
Oahu’s Best Beaches
Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the world, boasting more than four million visitors every year and breathtaking views of Leahi (Diamond Head). The Duke Kahanamoku statue welcomes you to Waikiki, one of the best places in Hawaii to learn how to surf or paddle a canoe thanks to its small but long-lasting wave break.
Waikiki is actually made up of a few beaches, including Fort DeRussy Beach to the west, Waikiki Beach, Kuhio Beach and Queen Surf Beach, home to calmer stretches on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki.
Waimea Bay Beach Park
Waimea Bay Beach Park is notorious for producing monstrous winter waves, so it’s one of the first places surfers began to ride big waves in the 50s. In the summer, the swells subside for great swimming and snorkeling. With full facilities, this is a popular beach for locals and visitors alike.
Keawaula Beach (Yokohama Beach) is the last sandy stretch on the Leeward Coast. Its curvy beach and turquoise waters are a great spot to sunbathe and watch surfers and dolphins. If you’re an avid hiker, nearby Kaena Point offers a trail with rewarding ocean views.
Ko Olina Resort and Marina
Ko Olina Resort and Marina is where you’ll find man-made lagoons created for the Ko Olina Resort, home to the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa and the Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. With parking, restrooms and showers available, this is a perfect beach for families.
Kailua Beach Park
Located approximately one mile up the road from Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach Park often is referred to as one of Hawaii’s best beaches. In fact, Kailua Beach Park was name “America’s Best Beach” in 1998. With nearly three miles of light-colored sand and crystal-clear water, the park is the perfect spot to spend the day. While many enjoy playing in the gentle waves or learning how to windsurf, the 35-acre beach park also has a volleyball court and plenty of picnic areas where families can relax in the shade with a refreshing treat from local eatery Island Snow, a favorite spot of President Obama.
Nestled in the quiet beach town of Kailua on Oahu’s Windward side, Lanikai Beach is one of Hawaii’s most picturesque and famous beaches. An offshore reef keeps the water calm year-round, offering excellent swimming conditions from January to December. Less than a mile offshore are two small islands that house bird sanctuaries and those looking for an adventure can easily reach the islands by kayak. Other water sports to enjoy on the clear-blue waters include snorkeling (reef fish and sea turtles are common sights), sailing and windsurfing, while half a mile of fine white sand is the perfect setting for sunbathing.
Oahu Resorts We Recommend
Here are some of our favourites resorts we think you’ll love, and their COVID-19 protocols and procedures to keep you safe.
Contact your TierOne Travel Consultant for more details, or to book your stay at the very best rates!
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Celebrate the best of Honolulu from Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach. Widely known as the “First Lady of Waikiki,” the historic hotel first opened its doors in 1901 and offers a seamless blend of Victorian elegance and contemporary comfort. Featuring an unbeatable beachfront location, you are just steps from the shores of famous Waikiki Beach and within walking distance of Honolulu’s most beloved shopping, dining, and entertainment attractions. Moana Surfrider features a towering banyan tree, a shimmering outdoor pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, the only beachfront spa in Waikiki and six on-site bars and restaurants. Let Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa on Waikiki Beach exceed expectations for beachfront luxury.
As part of Marriott International’s family of brands, Moana Surfrider has implemented an approach to meet the health and safety requirements of the “Commitment to Clean” standards. Here are some of the key changes you can expect from your stay:
- Face coverings are required for guests and associates in all indoor public areas.
- Added to already rigorous cleaning protocols, requiring that surfaces are treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency.
- Installing signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and will remove or re-arrange furniture to allow more space for distancing.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
Eighth-floor infinity pools is symbolic of the elevated experience that awaits at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach. Traditional hotel rooms are replaced with residential studios and suites, each with an ocean view and separate living spaces. Dining includes recognizable names such as La Vie and Sushi Sho. Private residences transform a vacation into a return home to Hawaii’s pristine beaches and vibrant culture.
The Ritz-Carlton has implemented a variety of new protocols and elevated practices, keeping with high standards of cleanliness and luxury service. Here are some of the measures they have implemented and what to expect at the resort regarding changes to amenities, services, and facilities.
- Placement of disinfecting wipes in each room for guests’ personal use.
- Required that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants.
- Addition of partitions at front desks to provide an extra level of precaution for its guests and associates and is working with supply chain partners to make masks and gloves available to associates.
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Built in 1927, the iconic Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, led in a new era of luxurious resort travel to Hawaii. Within the tranquil sanctuary of private beachfront cabanas and luxurious guest rooms showcasing unrivalled panoramic views of Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, The Royal Hawaiian offers Hawaii’s most majestic and memorable experiences.
In response to current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, The Royal Hawaiian has implemented a variety of new protocols and elevated practices, keeping with their high standards of cleanliness and luxury service.
- Food handlers and supervisors are trained on safe food preparation and service practices. The company’s food and beverage operations are required to conduct self-inspection using its food safety standards as guidelines, and compliance is validated by independent audits.
- Enhanced sanitation guidelines and training videos for associates that include hygiene and disinfecting practices. In addition, the company is modifying its operational practices for in-room dining and designing new approaches to buffets.
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i
Discover a family paradise with a touch of magic at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at this award-winning resort, and so much is included with your stay! Explore exciting activities and share exhilarating moments among unspoiled beaches and natural beauty on the island of Oahu. Perfectly positioned on a beautiful lagoon with a white-sand beach, Aulani Resort is truly a vacationer’s paradise—and only about a 20-minute drive from Honolulu Airport. Aulani Resort offers family fun and surprises at every turn. Snorkel in private Rainbow Reef lagoon, splash in the misty grotto, play in pools with special Disney touches, and dine at restaurants with plenty of menu choices for adults and children.
Aulani has taken enhanced health and safety measures. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. So here are some protocols they’re putting in place at the Aulani Resort.
- Cleaning procedures are enhanced throughout Aulani Resort. Extra attention is given to high-traffic areas, including public elevators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms and more.
- Cast Members are trained to engage with Guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas.
- Physical barriers have been added in select locations where it is difficult to maintain strict physical distancing guidelines.
Oahu Events and Festivals
The Honolulu Festival
The Honolulu Festival in March is a rich and vibrant blend of Asian, Pacific and Hawaiian cultures. This three-day celebration of local art, music and dance comes together in a grand parade through Waikiki!
The Lei Day Celebration takes place on May Day (May 1) at the beautiful Kapiolani Park, including lei-making competitions and demonstrations, crafts, food, hula and live music.
The King Kamehameha Floral Parade
The King Kamehameha Floral Parade in June features brightly decorated floats and traditional pau riders (female riders in ornate dresses and lei) on horseback, representing the Hawaiian royal court.
Downtown Honolulu Mango Jam
The Downtown Honolulu Mango Jam festival happens in June, showcasing a diverse mix of live entertainment, food and craft booths, a beer garden, and a farmer’s market highlighting one of Oahu’s most beloved fruit, mangos!
The Aloha Festival
The Aloha Festival in September is the largest cultural celebration in the Hawaii islands, sharing the Aloha spirit with more than 100,000 attendees each year. This weeklong event is a premier showcase of Hawaiian music, dance, and history.
The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival
The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival is a gourmet getaway in late October. Try delicious cuisine from more than 100 international chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is where you can see the world’s best surfers ride the world’s best waves! The Triple Crown happens in late November and early December on the North Shore of Oahu and is known as the “Super Bowl of Surfing.”
Oahu Tour Operators
WestJet can get you to Honolulu directly from Calgary and Vancouver! From any other airport in Canada, you can get there with connections.
To accommodate your changing travel needs and put your Safety Above All, WestJet is offering no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance coverage travel to and from Oahu until August 31, 2021.
Upon boarding, each guest is provided with sanitizing wipes. You will also find a snack and bottled water at your seat when you board your flight.
Air Canada Vacations
With Air Canada you can get to Oahu with direct flights from Vancouver and Toronto to Honolulu and flights with connections from every other major Canadian city!
Air Canada Vacations’ new COVID-19 Coverage & Assistance Plan, administered by Allianz Global Assistance and available to travellers at no additional cost who book a vacation package to Oahu for travel between Sept. 4, 2020 and April 30, 2021. Plus, for added peace of mind, Air Canada Vacations’ CareFlexPlus travel protection is now offered for free!
Shortly after boarding your flight, you will receive a Customer Care Kit containing a mask, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, water bottle, a headset, and a snack.
Contact your TierOne Travel Consultant for more details, or to book at the very best rates!
READY TO ADD OAHU OR ANOTHER VACATION DESTINATION TO YOUR BUCKET LIST?
If you’re itching to travel with a bad case of the Travel Bug, we hope that our recommendation of Oahu as a safe destination to travel to in Hawaii has been helpful in assisting you to plan your winter getaway!
Read our blog all about Hawaii as a safe travel destination, and all of the beautiful islands you can visit.
We’re always here to help you plan your trip and answer your travel-related questions. Reach out to your TierOne Travel Consultant if you have any questions to ask, or are ready to book your relaxing sunny getaway!
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START PLANNING YOUR VACAY TODAY
When you’re ready to explore Oahu or another destination and make your travel dreams come true, contact one of our TierOne Travel agents today! They have extensive experience in life-changing travel and will be able to craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs. One call; endless experiences!
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