The term “tropical vacation” has had a difficult time shedding the heavy price tag stigma attached to it. But in an age of Internet deals and discount flights, traveling to a place like Oahu on a budget is certainly possible, and you won’t have to avoid luxury to do it! With the proper amount of planning, a bit of creativity, and an open mind, you’ll be able to take in the best of what the Islands have to offer, and all while keeping your bank account intact.
Oahu is rich with natural beauty – it’s no secret. People travel from far and wide to lay eyes on the beaches, jungles, waterfalls, and volcanos that desktop backgrounds have made famous, and for those traveling on a budget, having your jaw drop at the sight of these natural spectacles won’t cost you a dime! Hikes are a perfect way to break a sweat after a long day relaxing on the sand, and with a comprehensive bus network available to you, you’ll be able to see the best of the best without paying a premium.
There are plenty of Oahu hotels that offer luxurious accommodations at affordable rates, and more importantly, locations that facilitate fun due to their proximity to marquee activities. With the well-being of your piggy bank in mind, here are a few of the best hikes to take on this truly dynamic island.
Inland Fun in the Oahu Sun It may seem impossible to tire of the beaches, but sometimes a change of scene can go a long way. Strap on your hiking shoes and hit the trail!
Diamond Head National Park
A short walk from a number of budget-friendly Waikiki hotels is one of the island’s most famous attractions: Diamond Head crater. The hike itself costs only a dollar, and with the views awaiting you at the top, it’s an absolute steal. Depending on your pace, this hike usually takes a bit over an hour. There is a bus stop at the trailhead as well, should you decide that you’d like a lift back to town!
Maunawili Falls Trail
For a refreshing walk along a beautiful river towards a spectacular payoff, make your way out to Kailua for the Maunawili Falls trail. You’ll traverse through the forest under the canopy for much of the way, and when you emerge at the end, you’ll find a beautiful pool that is perfect for a post-hike dip. If you’re feeling adventurous, there is even a place where you can leap off from the waterfall into the pool below!
Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
Traveling east along the Southern coast of the Island, you’ll wind up in Makapu’u, where the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse awaits. This hike features paved trails, so any type of footwear will do. The views for the duration of this trek are spectacular, and should you be there at the right time of the year, you may just spot some migrating whales! On a clear day, you can see all the way out to Molokai as well, ensuring that you pack a lot into one excursion!
Honolulu and Waikiki pack big city budget prices into a luxurious environment, allowing you to get a tasty, authentically Hawaiian meal and cocktail after a long day on the trail! For the budget conscious, the natural beauty of this island paradise will have you feeling like royalty wherever you go.
Photos by Phillie Casablanca, Eric Tessmer & smilygrl via Flickr Creative Commons