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Shuttle whisks Waikiki visitors to North Shore's surfer paradise

Shuttle whisks Waikiki visitors to North Shore's surfer paradise
Kayakers and paddleboarders on the Anahulu River pass under Rainbow Bridge in Haleiwa on Oahu's North Shore. (Holo Haleiwa)

A new shuttle service makes it easier to get from touristy Waikiki to Oahu’s surf-centric North Shore. The one-hour trip takes travelers to uncrowded beaches and surf shops in chilled-out Haleiwa for a half- or full-day.

Adventure tour operator Holo Haleiwa charges $50 per person for the round-trip journey that picks up at nine Waikiki hotels at 7:30 and 10:30 a.m., and returns at 3 and 6 p.m. The shuttle operates Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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“I honestly believe that if you want to visit Oahu and really get a sense of the island culture, then you have to get out of Waikiki,” company owner Noah Keola Ryan said. “Out at the North Shore, it’s more reminiscent of that island culture that we have.”

Outrigger canoes sit on a quiet stretch of sand at Haleiwa Beach Park along Oahu's North Shore.
Outrigger canoes sit on a quiet stretch of sand at Haleiwa Beach Park along Oahu's North Shore. (Holo Haleiwa)

Where are the best places to go? Two beaches – Haleiwa Beach Park and Alii Beach Park – surround the small town, which in winter is home to huge waves that draw some of the world’s best surfers.

“The Haleiwa beaches are way less crowded than Waikiki Beach,” Ryan said. “It’s a lot more scenic, too. You don’t have all those big buildings all over creation.”

Surf culture dominates the North Shore, with storefronts decorated with surf boards in various colors and sizes. Some things to try:

Surf culture dominates the laid-back town of Haleiwa.
Surf culture dominates the laid-back town of Haleiwa. (Holo Haleiwa)

►surf schools, where beginners can test their balance skills with receive instruction at Surf N Sea adjacent to Haleiwa Beach Park;.

►kayak rentals, which allow braver souls to tackle ocean waters and less-experienced folks to paddle the Anahulu River, passing under the often-photographed Rainbow Bridge;

►shopping, from surfing souvenirs to local crafts to beach towels can be found in several boutiques in the area; and

Visitors to Haleiwa enjoy fresh coconut milk from a pickup truck parked along Kamehameha Highway, where vendors congregate with authentic eats.
Visitors to Haleiwa enjoy fresh coconut milk from a pickup truck parked along Kamehameha Highway, where vendors congregate with authentic eats. (Holo Haleiwa)

►food trucks, which includes the popular Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Others congregate each day along the main drag, Kamehameha Highway, so visitors can sample local cuisine.

A truck serving shave ice is one of the several local food trucks found daily in Haleiwa.
A truck serving shave ice is one of the several local food trucks found daily in Haleiwa. (Holo Haleiwa)

Info: Holo Haleiwa

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