Honolulu on a budget: outdoor adventure edition

It goes without saying that Hawaii is unlike any other part of the United States. The 50th state and most recent addition to the country, Hawaii is the only state comprised entirely of islands. Its diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, and abundance of beaches and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, and well... people.

The team at Benja was thrilled to spend three months in Hawaii as we participated in the Blue Startups accelerator program in early 2015. Of course, our time on the islands meant that we were never short of friends and family who wanted to come visit - so we got to know the introduction to Hawaii tourism track well.


Here are some of our favorite tips for Hawaii on a budget:

1.  Hanauma Bay

It would be sacrilege not to go at a beach recently voted the best in the United States. Hanuama Bay is also a must-do if you are a fan of experiencing marine life up close. Thanks to a pristine ecosystem, you will be able to snorkel with all kinds of fish including Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (the Hawaiian state fish) as well as turtles and stingrays.

Price: $7.50 entry fee

2. Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls is another great sight to see if you’re in Honolulu. The waterfall is an impressive 200 feet high. Be sure to wear your hiking boots as it’s only accessible via a 1.6 mile trail which has you twisting through dense greenery and takes around 2 hours to complete. Despite this, it’s actually one of Honolulu’s most accessible waterfalls.


Price: Free!

3. Waikiki Beach

Head to Waikiki Beach for an awesome array of activities. The calm waters make it the perfect place to take a surf lesson or hire out a canoe. However, if you’re just looking for a place to relax and catch some rays you can park yourself and your towel down and take in all the amazement around you.


Price: Free!

4. Marukame Udon

Japanese food might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Hawaii, but this place makes some of the best noodles around. Despite having a line out of the door pretty much everyday due to its immense popularity, Marukame Udon is a canteen-style restaurant which means things move pretty quickly and you will be able to find an open table with ease. The noodles are always delicious, the meat’s tender and you won’t be disappointed.


Price: You can get a filling meal for under $10

5. Diamond Head

What’s that huge mountain/crater thingy in the backdrop of every Honolulu picture you ask? Oh, that’s just Diamond Head, a 300,000-year-old volcanic tuff cone which you can hike up. The hike is challenging due to the pretty steep ascent but once at the top (after 1.5 - 2 hours), you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu.


Price: $1 per person

The fun in Honolulu is as endless as its beaches. Despite the reputation of Hawaii’s high price of living, you can always find some free and cheap experiences outdoors. With the incredible sights and beautiful weather, you’ll never grow tired of the Hawaiian lifestyle.