We had about a 26 hour layover in Honolulu on the way to Tahiti because Hawaiian only flies HNL-PPT on Saturdays and we booked our free one-way leg LAX-HNL for Friday. We love Hawaii, so we didn’t mind stopping to do Honolulu in a day.
Most of our stopover included eating with a little bit of hiking and beach. We had my wife’s cousin pick us up and we went to get some ice cream at a tasty Gelato place called Via Gelato. If you only have a day in Honolulu, you should definitely rent a car because airport transfers can be around $12 per person or more expensive for a taxi. If you are already spending $50ish in transfers, might as well rent a car for about $40.
We took a hike at Lanipo trail afterwards, and had some nice views of the ocean on one side and Waikiki on the other side. Unfortunately it was raining off and on, but that’s how tropical weather can be!
For dinner, we decided to go with Marukame Udon downtown, which is one of the best Udon restaurants and values in the US. If you love Japanese noodles at a reasonable price, I would recommend going here. Definitely a Romsdeal, which considers both taste and price :).
We concluded the night with Bubbie’s mochi ice cream, which was probably the best mochi ice cream I’ve had. Normally when you go to Japanese restaurants, the mochi ice cream comes from a box, which you can buy a Trader Joe’s. Bubbie’s mochi ice cream is homemade and pure awesomeness.
The next day we went to Bogart’s for breakfast and had a nice bagel sandwich and their famous fried rice. The restaurant was quite packed, but we were able to order before a big group of people came. I thought the food was quite tasty and the price average for a cafe.
We went to Waikiki beach afterwards to walk around, shop, and relax at the beach. You can park at the Honolulu Zoo and pay $2 an hour, which is quite reasonable. We didn’t spend too much time at the beach because we knew something bigger and greater was coming… Bora Bora! You can do a lot in Honolulu in a day, which makes it a great place to have a short 1-2 day stopover.