Its always vacation time in Hawaii... so property is in high demand. Start your rental search early, and if youre renting from an off-island location, study the guide books, maps, and photos of the area so youll know if youre close to a downtown Honolulu commute or just close to a beautiful beach. It's a great idea to explore quite a bit on your own to really get a feel for how the city is laid out and where you'll want to be to have easy access to work, school or just the beach!
Once you've pinpointed the exact location you want to be in, you can start meeting with brokers to try to find a spot within a reasonable distance of that point. Property here doesn't grow on trees! Although a lot of other stuff does. It will probably take a little hunting to find the right spot for you but don't lose faith! There are some real gems out there. The best advice is to get all your ducks in a row before you start the hunt - get copies of your ID, your credit report, bank statements, letters of reference, proof of income, etc. together and ready to go before you visit your first apartment. That way you can hand them over and be ready to sign as soon as you find the right spot! Bring your checkbook too - landlords like a tenant who is excited and ready to commit to a place by putting money down on it right away.
Kaimuki:Just a few minutes from touristy Waikiki but a world of difference away, this quiet mountainside neighborhood offers great views of Waikiki, the ocean, and Honolulu city lights. A mix of apartment homes and apartment complexes will feature in your apartment search here. The buzzing restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and stores of Waialea Avenue is a short walk away. And youll be close to the weekend farmers market, too. $$
Kahala: Famous for the celebrity drawing Kahala resort, the calm waters of the Kahala neighborhood come with a great view of Koko Head crater. They also come at a price, this affluent neighborhood is known as the Beverly Hills of Oahu. The south eastern shore is perfect for kayaking and snorkeling. Many of the luxurious three bedroom houses for rent have direct access to the beach. The area is also dotted with community parks. $$$$$
Hawaii Kai: Arguably a great walking neighborhood, with restaurants, bars, shopping, and the boat marina all easy to access, this area is a boaters paradise. Many condominiums and apartment complexes are built around boat docks and waterways. Windsurfers, sailing enthusiasts, and anglers will all love it here. Its also easy to access the H1 freeway from this neighborhood. $$$
Kuliouou-Kalani Iki: Nearly as walkable as Hawaii Kai, with restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and local stores an easy walk or bike ride away from the mix of single family residences, condominiums, and apartment homes in this community. $$$
East Honolulu is a gem. On the breezier, slightly rainier side of Oahu, this area can boast fabulous views of the famous Diamond Head crater and the less famous Koko Head, a huge Saturday farmers market on the campus of Kapi`olani Community College, surfing, boating, swimming opportunities, and a true neighborhood feeling. Aloha.About 15 minutes east of downtown Honolulu, the area is served by the H1 freeway, and a variety of local bus service.
Surf and Turf
Your choice of beach or land excursion is at your fingertips. Hiking trails and sports activities abound. Take the trail to Makapuu Point lighthouse for great views and a pleasant three mile round trip walk, or explore the blasting surf of Halona Blowhole. If you swim like a fish or just want to float along next to one - or a hundred - colorful tropical swimmers, head to Hanauma Bay. Popular with both tourists and locals, this nature preserve is the premier island spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. The beach is pretty fine for sunbathing, too. You can get even more of your Sea Life on at Sea Life Park, a small theme park that features swimming with the dolphins as a major attraction. Go and kiss a dolphin! Surfers can rejoice with the waves at Makapuu Beach, while paddlers, kayakers, and those who just like to float in calm, warm water on a raft, will love the shallow, mellow waters around the Kahala Resort. Whether youre in the water or out, youll find plenty to do in East Honolulu.
Commute times into the central city can take awhile: limited highways mean traffic jams, and the average commute time the short distance to downtown Honolulu from East Honolulu can take 20 to 40 minutes depending on the time of day.
Shop Til You Drop
Want luxurious chain stores and a state of the art multi-plex? Visit the Kahala Mall. You can sail right up to the Koko Marina Shopping Center - its smaller shops and restaurants form a small marina.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, Kona coffee, great fish, and the deep fried, chocolate filled dough malasadas - mouth watering yet? Drool not, but hurry to the weekly Farmers Market on the capacious grounds of Kapi`olani Community College on Saturday morning. Those malasadas are the Hawaiian version of filled donuts, and they come with custard, guava, vanilla, or chocolate filling, warm and sugar dusted. Better get back in the water fast and burn off the calories you just consumed!
And If Youre Still Hungry
World renowned Chef Roy Yamaguchi got his start in Hawaii, and can frequently be spotted at his signature restaurant with a great coastal view, Roys, in Hawaii Kai. Trendy Hawaiian fusion cuisine not for you? Try Cha Cha Cha Salsaria, one of the only Mexican restaruants on the island. Or head to the Olive Tree with its outdoor tables close to the Kahala Mall, for Greek food such as grape leaves and hummus. But if youre angling for a quick, cheap bite, try one of the Zippys chain with Hawaiis signature lunch plates - a main dish plus rice and macaroni salad - at a discount price.