The prices and all tour information can be found on the Custom Island Tour page. Our prices are based on the vans we use to transport your group. Hence, the more people there are in your group, the cheaper the price will be per person. During the booking process, there will be a comment section where you can let us know what you want to do on your tour. Your driver will discuss it with you further during the pick up so you can plan your day.
We provide car seats at no extra charge. Please tell us the age of the child so we know which style of car seat to bring, bassinette, car seat, or booster seat.
“Check out our Sample Itinerary of what we usually recommend on our custom tours. If you have specific locations in mind or would like a more personalized tour catered to your preferences, please contact us at [email protected] or call 808-216-1410.
We pick you up directly from your hotel. We also pick up from the airport or cruise ships.
Yes, we have purchased the permit from the D.O.T. to do so.
Yes, we have purchased the permit from the D.O.T., and they charge us a tax of 7% of our fee which is $10.
No. Tickets are available online exactly 2 months prior to the date, and usually sell out in 1 day. We have a permit with the park that allows us to get tickets that are reserved just for tour companies, but those tickets sell out 2 months in advance. The tickets are Free, however the park charges $1.50 each to reserve them online. They hold back about 500 tickets that are first come, first served, so you can usually walk up to the counter and get tickets, and your ticket time may be anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours from that time.
The tickets are to get you onto the boat that takes you across the water to where you can actually stand on the Arizona Memorial. If you don’t have tickets, it is free to walk the grounds, walk through the museums, and you can see the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri from across the water. I recommend that you do Pearl Harbor on a separate day as it takes almost 2 hours out of our normal 8 hour tour and takes us off of our normal route.
Our normal route takes 7 to 9 hours. You have the van and the tour guide for up to 8 hours. If you want to do less than 8 hours, it’s the same price. If you would like to do more than 8 hours, let the driver know and they will collect $60/hr for the extra time.
I don’t really do the astronomy tours anymore. More than 50% of the time the weather is too cloudy, and half of the other 50% the Moon is too full. So this makes it not worthwhile to drive an hour and a half through rush hour traffic to get to the North Shore where it is dark enough to do the tour. Besides, our day tours keep me and my vans too busy to do this tour. We do however have an evening tour called Honolulu City Lights that goes up to Tantalus lookout to look down on the city lights. You can still ask for the Astronomy tour. It depends on how I feel and what the weather is like.
No. All of the places we normally take you to do not require an entry fee. If you would like to go to a place that requires an entry fee, you would pay your own way. Since this is a custom tour, people would want to visit different places.
Yes, if it is collapsible we can fit it in the back of our vans. We do not have a lift, and some of our vans require a step to get up into them. Most places that we visit on the tour do not require much walking and the van usually pulls up pretty close to what we’re looking at, so most people that bring mobility devices don’t even use them for most of the tour, except for getting around the Dole gift shop.
Off Limits Locations
I highly encourage you not to do Pearl Harbor during our tour. I have several reasons for this.
We have the permit that allows us to bring people to Pearl Harbor.
Our normal tour route is about 120 miles, and it takes the full 8 hours to do it without rushing too much. Doing Pearl Harbor during our tour takes up about 2 hours of that time.
There are 2 other reasons; their reservation system is corrupt, and the park rangers there have it out for the tour companies, issuing them tickets for the slightest mistake.
Several years ago NPS Pearl Harbor moved from a first-come/first-served ticket process, where people would line up to get the tickets, and started an online reservation system. So in the past, people would start lining up at 6:30am to get tickets. The tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial are Free. With the online reservation system, they charge a $1.50 convenience fee for reserving them online. The tickets become available exactly 2 months prior to the date, and usually sell out right away. They would also hold back 500 tickets for walk-ups on the day. Now they give another opportunity to get tickets at 3pm the day before. I’ve tried this and it showed that there were 60 tickets available for each of the half-hour time slots, but by 3:01pm, they were all sold out.
Where this gets really corrupt is that they give the tour companies a backdoor password that allows them to reserve tickets that aren’t available to the general public. So the Big Bus tour companies, every day, go online, 2 months prior to the date, and reserve up all of those tickets which they pay the $1.50 online fee, and then they sell them as packages at $40 to $120 a person. This forces people to have to buy their packages because they can’t get tickets themselves. So all you’re paying for is the transportation to Pearl Harbor on a 25 or 60 passenger bus. NPS Peal Harbor is run by the Nation Park Service, and so the tour companies are not allowed to give you a tour inside of the park. All they are allowed to do is drop you off in the parking lot and show you where the entrance and ticket counter is. For this, the tour companies have to pay about $500 for a CUA (Commercial Use Authorization) permit, and then pay $200 per vehicle for a parking permit for each tour vehicle that allows them to park in their commercial lot. They are not allowed to park anywhere else.
They are very strict with their rules when it comes to the tour companies that bring their customers there. They have park rangers that go around looking for the smallest violation of their very strict rules. One of their rules is that we have to have a copy of their rules in each of our tour vehicles. It’s about 16 pages with colored maps and diagrams. Recently they threatened to give one of our new tour drivers a $250 ticket because he wasn’t wearing a name tag, because it was still on order. They said, That’s no excuse. When I was there the other day, I watched the park ranger spend 25 minutes writing up an old Japanese guy who had a tour there in his Cadillac that had the permit on it, so we have no idea what he did wrong. After that, the park ranger came over and starting taking pictures of my tour van, and entering either my license plate number or my permit number into her key pad. I have no idea why, because everything was correct with my vehicle.
And it is for these reasons that I encourage you not to request to go to Pearl Harbor during our tour.
The tickets are Free in person, or $1.50 online, so all you need is transportation to get there.
If you can’t get tickets in advance, I recommend getting there about 7am and getting the Stand-by tickets for Free.
Btw, NPS Pearl Harbor is about to start charging $7 for individuals to park in their regular parking lot.
In addition to the USS Arizona Memorial, there are several other things to do there. You could spend an entire day there doing all of their activities.
There is the museum, which is 2 buildings next to each other which is Free to walk through, and you can pay for an Audio headset that gives you an audio tour.
There is the the USS Bowfin submarine that you can pay to go inside.
There is the USS Missouri battleship that you can tour. You pay for tickets, and then they take you by bus over the Ford Island bridge to Ford Island where you enter onto the battleship Missouri from Ford Island.
Also on Ford Island is the Aviation Museum. This is also one that you have to purchase a ticket and take their bus to get to.
There is a New attraction, the Top of the Tower tour, which is the Control Tower near the aviation museum on Ford Island. It was featured in the movie Pearl Harbor, despite having not been built until the 60’s, or so I was told during The Admiral’s Launch tour of Pearl Harbor. But a friend tells me that the tour is pretty cool.
We will be discontinuing the option of Snorkeling on our tours. This is due to the recent laws that were passed by the Honolulu City Council that banned tour companies from stopping at the beaches on the North Shore and the Windward side of Oahu. This has made practically every beach where we used to take our tours snorkeling as being off limits to tour companies, in most cases we are not even allowed to stop at these beaches anymore due to the new laws. This includes Shark’s Cove, Three Tables, Hale’iwa, Pua’ena Point, etc. on the North Shore.
These places are not suitable for snorkeling in the Winter anyway due to the large waves, so what I used to do in the Winter was to snorkel with turtles at Kaiona Beach in Waimanalo which is nice and calm in the Winter, but all of the beaches in Waimanalo and Kailua are off limits to tour companies as well.
Hanauma Bay is also off limits to tour companies, unless you have the Snorkel/Scuba Instructor permit which they only give to 1 or 2 companies. The only places left to snorkel would be Electric Beach, which is not good for beginners, there is a shore-break that you have to get through, and there can be a strong current once you get outside, and it is affected by both North and South Swells.
Turtle Bay, at the cove that is on the right side of the hotel is another spot where we could snorkel at, but it can be dangerous in the Winter. There is a current that runs across the cove that sweeps people out into the ocean. I was there one day when a woman got swept out and died. That leaves just Waikiki, at places like behind the Hale Koa hotel, and other places where the water is murky with sand etc. on most days.
Therefore, we will be removing the snorkeling equipment, fins and masks from our tour vans. We may leave the boogieboards in the vans for people to use a flotation device if we happen to stop at a beach where they are allowed to wade into the water, like at Kawela Bay.
We are sad about this situation, but these new laws affect All tour companies, and commercial activities.
PUBLIC BEACHES & PARKS
- Lanikai Beach
- Kailua Beach Park
- Kalama Beach Park
Commercial activities, including recreational stops by commercial tour companies, are not allowed at any time at city owned or operated beach rights-of-way and easements from Lanikai to Kapoho Point (Castle Point). This covers All of the beaches in the town of Kailua. In 2012, the town of Kailua got a law passed known as Bill 11 (2012) which makes it illegal for commercial activities to go to all 3 of these beaches, due to the overcrowding of the beaches and parking. The residents there are very vigilant and will photograph and turn in any violators.
- Makapu’u Beach
- Kaupo (Baby Makapu’u)
- Makai Pier
- Kaiona Beach Park
- Waimanalo Beach Park
- Bellows Field Beach Park
All of the beaches in Waimanalo are now off limits. These beaches are part of the Hawaiian Homestead Lands and is owned by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. The beach parks are managed by the City & County of Honolulu. Commercial activities are required to have a permit from the Parks Department to go to any of the City & County beach parks, however the Parks Department is not allowed to give permits to commercial activities to go to these beach parks since they are owned by the DHHL. January of 2017, this was codified into law as Bill 8 (2015). Together, Bills 11 and 8 above, and Bill 34 below have made 10 miles of coastline on the east shore of Oahu off limits to Commercial Activities.
- Waiale’e Beach Park
- Sunset Beach Park
- ‘Ehukai Beach Park
- Pupukea Beach Park
- Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park
- Kaiaka Bay Beach Park
Any of the undeveloped portions of Haleiwa Beach Park adjacent to Pua’ena Point, or any of the city-owned or operated beach rights-of-ways and easements from Sunset Point to Kaiaka Point. So that makes more than 8 miles of coastline on the North Shore off limits to Commercial Activities, from Sunset Beach, all the way through Haleiwa to Kaiaka Point, and even Waiale’e Beach which is between Sunset Beach and Turtle Bay. This ordinance went into effect December 16th, 2021 by the passage of Bill 34 (2021). Note that Commercial Activities includes more than just stops by tour companies, that also includes any paid activity such as Surf Lessons, or Kayak or Stand Up Paddle board rentals, snorkeling, scuba, etc.
- Kokololio Beach Park
On December 21, 2022 City Council passed, and the mayor signed, Bill 48 (2022) that banned all tour companies from Kokololio beach park in Hau’ula. This was due to certain tour companies that were taking multiple 25 to 60 passenger buses there at the same time and unloading over a hundred tourists into the beach park. Instead of enforcing the existing law that only allowed vehicles of up to 15 passengers, and with a permit from the Parks Department, City Council just banned all tour companies.
- Hunananiho formerly Waimanalo Bay State Recreation Area
Ultimately this beach was made off limits by Bill 34 (2021) which went into effect Dec 16, 2021. January of 2018 Bill 93 (2017) was passed which required a permit for commercial activities to go to this beach. The permit would have cost $165 per van, per month, and limited to up to 5 vans no bigger than 15 passenger, and not allowed on weekends or holidays, but no permits were ever issued, pending new Rules on the issuance of permits. Bill 77 (2020) was introduced which would make it illegal for tour companies to stop at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, which would overturn Bill 93. Ultimately this beach was made off limits by Bill 34 (2021) thus making 10 miles of coastline from Makapu’u to Castle Point off limits to commercial activities.
- Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
- Koko Crater Botanical Garden
These are 2 of the 4 botanical gardens maintained by the City and County of Honolulu, however commercial tours are not allowed there even with the Parks permit from the City.
- Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail / Queens Bath
This is both Hawaiian Homestead Land and a State Park, and Commercial Activities are not allowed at State parks. This area is part of Ka’iwi State Scenic Shoreline. The sign at the entrance says No Commercial Activities.
- Ahupua’a O Kahana State Park
- Ka’ena Point State Park
- Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area
- La’ie Point State Wayside
- Malaekahana State Recreation Area
- Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site
- Pu’u ‘Ualaka State Wayside (Tantalus Lookout, upper area)
- Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site
- Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area
These areas are off limits because they are State parks where commercial activities are not allowed. In general, commercial activities such as tour companies are not allowed at any of the State parks, or State waysides.
- Punchbowl Crater National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Effective June 1, 1990, Tour companies are only allowed to drive in, do a loop, and drive out. No stopping or unloading. You can’t get out of the vehicle. There is a new visitor center outside of the gates, tour companies are not allowed there either.
There are 34 hiking trails on Oahu that are kept accessible through the Na Ala Hele Trail & Access Program through the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Only 7 of these trails are available to commercial activities with a Permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
- Kealia trail and access road
- Hauula Loop trail
- Maakua Ridge trail
- Maunawili trail and access road
- Kuliouou Valley and Ridge trails
- Kalawahine trail to Pauoa Flats
- Manoa Falls trail
In order for tour companies to take you hiking on these trails, they need to have the Permit from DLNR, and pay a fee, per person, online, in advance. Other unsanctioned trails that lead to waterfalls and overlooks usually traverse land that requires permission from private property owners or the Board of Water Supply as they traverse watersheds that supply the island’s drinking water.
Your best bet for a hike to a waterfall is at Waimea Falls Park where you pay an entry fee of about $20 per person to walk the paved path through the Botanical Garden to the waterfall at the end of the 3/4 mile path. Most other waterfalls on the island are a 1 to 3 mile hike through dense jungle and muddy trails. There are only a few waterfalls that are visible from the road.
OTHER SITE AND STOPS
Stops at City & County beach parks require a permit from the parks department. There is a gray area that allows tour vehicles to stop at the beach parks for up to 15 minutes for things like using the restroom. However, that does not apply to the beach parks listed above and below that were made off limits by bills 11, 8, and 34, where you cannot stop at all. The permit from the Parks Department allows Commercial Stops for up to 90 minutes. Recently the Parks Department re-wrote the Rules on the issuance of these permits that makes them harder to get, and pretty useless even if you are able to get one. These new Rules were approved in September 2020.
The Parks Department has divided the island into 5 districts. They will issue up to 5 permits per district. If more than 5 tour companies apply for a permit for the same district, then it goes to a lottery system.
Under the new rules, the permit is only good for 1 of the tour company’s vehicles. In total, only 25 tour vehicles on the entire island would be permitted to make commercial stops at any of the City & County beach parks. The way that the 5 districts are divided up, one of the 5 districts, District 4, contains about 50% of the coastline of the island, from Makapu’u on the East side, along the North Shore to Ka’ena Point at the Northwest tip of the island. But District 4 also contains the 10 miles of coastline on the east side that is off limits, as well as 8 miles of the North Shore that is off limits. The other 4 districts are just not as desirable to get a permit for as there are not many good places for a tour company to stop.
The following stops require a fee which is not included in the price of this tour:
- Byodo-In Japanese Buddhist Temple: about $5 per person.
- The Pali Lookout
Effective November 1, 2020, The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has increased parking fees for the Pali Lookout (Nu’uanu Pali Wayside) Parking area as follows:
Non-Resident Auto Parking – $7.00
Commercial Van 1-7 Passenger – $15.00
Commercial Van/Bus 8-25 Passengers – $30.00
Commercial Bus 26+ Passenger – $50.00
- Diamond Head Crater
OPEN: Thurs., Fri., Sat., & Sun. 6:00 am to 4:00 pm, Gates Close = 6:00 pm, CLOSED: Mon., Tue., & Wed., CLOSED: Christmas & New Years
Residents = No Charge w/Hawaii ID or DL
Non-Residents = $5
Resident = No Charge with ID
Non-Resident = $10 Per Vehicle
Commercial vehicles fees:
1-7 Passenger Vehicles = $25
8-25 Passenger Vehicles = $50
26+ Passenger Vehicles = $90
Ubers, Lift, and Taxis = $5 to drop off inside the crater.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) implemented a new reservation portal for out-of-state visitors and active PUC motor carriers visiting Diamond Head State Monument. Beginning May 12, 2022, PUC motor carriers wishing to access Diamond Head State Monument must be registered with DLNR’s Division of State Parks at https://gostateparkspuc.hawaii.gov/. More information about the reservation system can be found on DLNR’s Diamond Head State Monument website at https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/oahu/diamond-head-state-monument/ or DLNR’s news release.
- Hanauma Bay
Update Jan 2023: Starting January 4, 2023, for the first time since the Covid lock-down, tour companies will be allowed back in to Hanauma Bay for the 15-minute stop at the commercial lot where they are allowed 15 minutes to take photos from the overlook. This will also be the first time that they will charging a fee for this 15-minute stop. City Council passed the bill with the new charges in October 2020, the fees are listed below. As of this update January 4, 2022, Hanauma Bay is still not open to Commercial Activities, and a Reservation is required for entrance, with exception for local residents. With the exception of a 15 minute stop at the top viewing area. It’s a $500 fine if tour companies are caught dropping off or picking up customers anywhere within the park. City Council passed Bill 44 (2020) in Oct 2020 which requires a fee for tour vehicles to enter the park at Hanauma Bay.
The fee is:
$10 for vehicles with capacity of 1 – 7 people,
$20 with vehicles with capacity of 8 – 25 people,
$40 for vehicles with capacity of 26 or more people.
By City Ordinance, they only get to stop there for a maximum of 15 minutes, and not allow their customers to go down to the beach. However, at this time, it is not open at all to tour vehicles, taxis, the Bus, or Ubers, etc, and you must have a reservation in advance.
New restrictive rules for Hanauma Bay as of December 2, 2020:
1. Hanauma Bay will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2. Only 720 will be allowed into the bay each of those days, with the last entry at 2 p.m. each day.
3. All face mask mandates must be followed within Hanauma Bay.
4. Fees for nonresidents to park and enter the nature preserve has been increased to $3 for malihini parking, and $12 for entry of nonresidents older than 12 years old. Kamaaina and keiki under 12 remain free. Parking also remains at $1.
5. Commercial activities in all capacities will not be allowed inside Hanauma Bay. This includes taxis, shuttles, buses, and tour operators like sightseeing, snorkel, or scuba tours.
6. The City bus will not be operating within Hanauma Bay.
7. Basic facilities are operational within Hanauma Bay. This includes the showers, bathrooms, parking lot, theatre, and beach.
8. Everyone going down to the beach will be required to watch the educational video before descending. You cannot skip the video, even if you have watched it before.
9. The gift shop, food concession, snorkel and locker rental facilities will remain closed. The public must bring in their own snorkel equipment.
As of Jan 9, 2021, Walk-ins are no longer allowed at Hanauma Bay.
https://www.hawaiimagazine.com/content/hanauma-bay-entrance-procedures-change-amid-public-concern. If you would like to go to these places, try my App. It’s only $4.99 and has 30 stops. It uses GPS to guide you to the location, and then has a narration at each stop to tell you about the place, as if you had a tour guide with you.
- Lanikai Beach
Here is a history of the Honolulu City Council banning Commercial Activities from the beaches on Oahu.
Bill 5 (2011)
banned Commercial Activities, on the Weekends, from all of the beaches in Kailua, from Lanikai to Castle Point.
Bill 11 (2012)
banned Commercial Activities, at any time, from all of the beaches in Kailua, from Lanikai to Castle Point. http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-129929/74s-0vld.pdf
Bill 8 (2015)
banned Commercial Activities, at any time, from all of the beaches in Waimanalo, from Makapu’u to Bellows, with exception of Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, but not allowed on there on the weekends.
Bill 93 (2017)
put in place a fee for a permit for Commercial Stops at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park. The fee was to be $165 per vehicle, per month. http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-204089/DOC005.PDF however, the Parks Department never issued any permits for this, they said that it was because the City Council never wrote the Rules for the issuance of the permits. Meanwhile the Park Department was drafting new Rules that would be island wide. Those Rules were passed September of 2020. https://www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/dpr/rules/Recreational_Stops_Rules_Effective_9-25-2020.pdf
The new Rules, divide the island into 5 districts. The Parks Department is only allowed to issue 5 permits per district. A tour company can’t get a permit for more than 1 vehicle per district. Each permit is for a specific vehicle. So with 5 permits per district, and 5 districts, that’s only 25 vehicles, island wide that can get a permit for a City Park or Beach Park, however District 5 doesn’t have any parks for which you can get a permit, so that’s only 20 vehicles island wide that can get permits, and the vehicles are limited to a maximum carrying capacity of 15 passengers.
Bill 44 (2020)
put in place a fee for licensed motor carriers, which includes tour vehicles, to enter Hanauma Bay. The fees are based on the carrying capacity of the vehicles, and are as follows: 1-7 passenger vehicle – $10.00
8-25 passenger vehicle – $20.00
26 or more passenger vehicle – $40.00 This applies for the Commercial Lot where by city ordinance they are only allowed a maximum of 15 minutes, to take photos from the overlook and use the restroom, and are not allowed to go down to the beach, penalty of $500.00.http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-278023/ORD20-032.pdf
During this time, the State and DLNR also raised the fees for tour vehicles to stop at the Pali Lookout, and to go inside of Diamond Head Crater. The fees for the Pali Lookout, based on vehicle carrying capacity are:
1-7 passenger vehicle – $15.00
8-25 passenger vehicle – $30.00
26+ vehicle – $50.00
The fee for Diamond head are:
1-7 passenger vehicle – $25
8-25 passenger vehicle – $50
26+ vehicle – $90
Bill 77 (2020)
would have banned permits for Commercial Activities, including Commercial Stops by tour companies, at any time, from Waimanalo Bay Beach Park. This bill did not pass because it was made mute by Bill 34 (2021). https://hnldoc.ehawaii.gov/hnldoc/document-download?id=7997
Bill 34 (2021)
banned commercial activities, at any time, from all of the beaches on the North Shore, from Sunset Point to Kaiaka Point in Waialua, plus Waiale’e beach which is east of Sunset Beach. This bill also re-wrote the language for all of the bills above that affected the beaches in Kailua and Waimanalo which then allowed a permit for Waimanalo Bay Beach, which was renamed Hunanahiho, for vehicles that seat no more than 15 passengers, but not on the weekends.
Bill 48 (2022)
banned specifically tour companies, at any time, from Kokololio beach park in Hau’ula.
Yes! While these places may be off limits to commercial activities like tour companies, they are not off limits for individuals with their own car, or a rental car to go to.
We created a self-guided tour app that allows you to visit these areas we are restricted from. This tour will guide you, both with GPS navigation, and with narrations to guide you to the stops, and a narration at the stop that will tell you about the history, and cultural aspects of the site. There are 30 stops on this tour. The route is a 120-mile circle around the island.
The tour is similar to a private guided tour that would be given by a local tour company that starts at $450 for 1 to 3 people.
The Out of Bounds Tour
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.otbtour&pli=1