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Visiting Hawaii is a trip of a lifetime, but also an expensive one. Not only can the flights be pricey, but hotels also come with expensive resort fees, and doing activities to fully experience the island can really add up.That’s where the Go Oahu Card comes in.
Go Oahu Card is designed to help save you money by prepaying for a pass that will give you access to 45 activities and sights on Oahu. Depending on how you use it, the Go Oahu Card can be a real money-saver and worth the cost. But to get the most out of it, you’ll need to do advanced planning and make sure that the things you want to do are included on the Go Oahu Card.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Go Oahu Card, how to decide if it is worth it for you, and how to get the most out of it.
What is the Go Oahu Card?
The Go Oahu Card is a pass that you use to get into activities and sights on Oahu. The idea is that by pre-paying for activities, you’ll save money on your vacation.
Hawaii is an expensive vacation destinationand a family of four can easily spend over $5,000 on a week-long trip. With the Go Oahu Card, you can potentially reduce the cost of your vacation activities while still getting to have all the experiences that you’re looking forward to.
If you’re going to another island in Hawaii, you’re out of luck. The Go Card is only available on Oahu.
Lanikai Beach on Oahu’s windward side is worth a snorkel or kayak trip.
How Does the Go Oahu Card Work?
The Go Oahu Card works like other all-inclusive city passes: you pay one price and get access to a number of activities in a spot.
The Go Oahu Card all-inclusive pass gives you access to 45 different activities on Oahu, with savings up to 55%. Not bad!
They offer passes in 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7-day durations. Each day that you activate the pass, you’re able to visit the sights or do the activities that are listed as part of the all-inclusive pass.
These aren’t consecutive days, so you can spread them out over your vacation. But note that you’ll need to use them all within 14 days of activation. Your card gets activated the first day you use it, so after that first day, you’ll have 13 more days to use the remaining days left on your pass.
Days are counted by calendar days, not by 24 hour periods. So if you don’t get to your first activity until 3 pm, you’re likely not going to fit in another activity that day. On days that you plan to use the Go Card, start early.
When you want to use your card to pay for an activity, simply show the merchant the card on your phone or bring a printout of the card from home.
How Much Does the GoOahuCard Cost?
Pricing for the all-inclusive card is based on a per-day cost:
|1 Day||$82 per adult$69 per child|
|2 Days||$139 per adult$110 per child|
|3 Days||$249 per adult$222 per child|
|5 Days||$369 per adult$287 per child|
|7 Days||$429 per adult$357 per child|
*Prices as of April 12, 2020
What’s Included in the GoOahuCard?
There are two levels of activities available: basic and premium. Basic activities and their normal advertised price as over April 2020 include the following activities:
🍍 Polynesian Cultural Center: $69.96 (adult), $55.96 (child)
🍍 USS Bowfin Submarine at Pearl Harbor: $15
🍍 Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor: $29.99
🍍 USS Arizona Memorial (narrated): $7.50
🍍 Pacific Aviation Museum: $25
🍍 Makani Catamaran Sail: $109
🍍 Hanauma Bay snorkel and shuttle rental: $30.95
🍍 Sea Life Park Hawaii: $45.37
🍍 All of Oahu one day tour: $90
🍍 Rainforest, waterfall, and movie sites: $37.59
🍍 Stand Up Paddle Board three hour rental: $66.43
🍍 Hawaiian Hula & Ukelele class: $20
🍍 Yoga under the palms: $20
🍍 Lei making: $50
🍍 Coconut palm basket weaving: $65
🍍 Aerial class: $25
🍍 SUP morning yoga: $50
🍍 Three-hour kayak rental: $83
🍍 Secret island Kualoa Ranch: $50
🍍 Waimea Valley: $18
🍍 Guided north shore hike: $83
🍍 Shoreline fishing experience: $83
🍍 Wet ‘n Wild water park: $62
🍍 Chocolate factory tour: $15
🍍 Pearl Harbor historic city tour: $54
🍍 Diamond Head shuttle: $22
🍍 Catamaran tour at Kualoa ranch: $50
🍍 Lyon Arboretum: $5
🍍 Bydo-in temple: $5
🍍 Iolani Palace: $27
🍍 Bishop Museum: $25
🍍 Bike rental: $31
🍍 Makapuu lighthouse and blowhole tour: $27
🍍 Queen Emma summer palace: $10
🍍 Snorkel rental: $22
🍍 Outlet mall shopping shuttle: $19
🍍 Honolulu museum of art: $20
🍍 Taste of Kualoa: $50
🍍 North shore bike tour: $83
Your Go Oahu Card includes a shuttle and snorkeling at Oahu’s famously beautiful Hanauma Bay. Remember to wear reef-friendly sunscreen!
Premium activities are available for the 3, 5, and 7 day passes. When you buy one of those passes, you’ll be able to add on one of these premium activities to your trip:
🍍 Ka Moana Luau: $137
🍍 Ali’i Luau at the Polynesian cultural center: $128
🍍 Dolphin encounter: $159
🍍 Sunset dinner sail: $128
🍍 Surf lessons: $138
🍍 Snorkeling tour: $143
How Do You Use the Go Oahu Card?
Simply buy the card online, download or print out the pass, and plan your activities. You’ll want to make any necessary reservations before your vacation, to avoid them being sold out. For example, any rentals and excursions (like sailing or the luau) absolutely must be booked before your vacation.
Once you’re on vacation, your Go Card is activated on the day that you use it. If you’ve purchased multiple days, you have 14 days to use them, and they don’t need to be used consecutively.
For example, if you buy the three-day pass, you have fourteen days to use it from the date you activate it.
Days are counted by calendar day, not by 24 hour period. If you use it for an activity at 9 am you can continue using it on activities for the rest of the day. If you start using it at 3 pm, you’ll only have a few hours to use it.
Is the Go Oahu Card Worth It?
The Go Oahu Card is worth it if it covers the sights you want to seeandthey cost more than the card itself. So yes, unfortunately, there is some math involved.
Let’s look at some examples.
One-Day GoOahuCard Examples
If it’s high on your list to do the Makani Catamaran sail, buying a one-day pass will pay for itself ($109 boat price vs. $82 Go Card price).
If you’re spending the day on the North Shore and you rent stand up paddleboards ($66) and visit Waimea Valley ($18) — two activities we definitely recommend —a one-day pass will only just pay for itself ($84 if you purchased these two activities a la carte or $82 Go Card price).
Where you’ll really start to see savings is if you purchase multiple days of the Go Card and use them all.
Three-Day GoOahuCard Examples
You do both of the one-day itineraries listed above, plus you add in a day at the Polynesian Center plus the Ali’i Luau. The cost of the activities without the card are:
- Makani Catamaran: $129
- Paddle-board rental: $66
- Waimea Valley entrance fee: $18
- Polynesian Cultural Center and Ali’i Luau: $128
Total cost: $341
Cost of a three day GoOahuCard pass: $249
Because the premium activities are such high-dollar value items, you’ll get the most value out of buying a three-day pass (as long as you use it well).
- A Local’s 10 Free Things to Do on North Shore Oahu
- Which Part of Oahu Should You Stay? Waikiki or North Shore or Ko Olina
Getting the Most Out of Your GoOahuCard
Making sure that you get the most use out of your Go Oahu Card takes some strategy. Here’s how to make sure it will pay off for you.
Go for the High-Ticket Items
It’s a nice bonus that the GoOahuCard includes a shuttle to Diamond Head, yoga under the palms, or the USS Arizona Memorial Narrated Tour, but those aren’t going to give you the best return on investment on the Go Card.
The way to get the most out of your card is to plan to do the big-ticket items. Do the dolphin encounter, rent kayaks or stand up paddleboards, or do a luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
The card can absolutely save you money if you make sure to do those big-ticket items.
Make Advance Reservations
Hawaii is a popular vacation destination and the most popular island to visit in Oahu. That means many of the activities that you want to do will fill up early. Avoid disappointment and make reservations well in advance of your trip. It would be a bummer to not be able to use the Go Card because you can’t get into the activities that you want.
Get the Three-Day Pass
One of the big perks of the GoOahuPass is the premium selection of activities available. The three-day pass costs $249 for an adult and premium activities are worth $128 – $158. That means if you pick the $158 premium activity, you’ll only need to do $91 more in activities to have the card pay for itself. That should be pretty easy to do.
Have a Plan
Oahu takes time to get around and the activities are spaced all over. There are some in Waikiki, some on the North Shore, and others over on the leeward side. You could spend your entire day in the car shuttling between activities, which sounds like a pretty terrible vacation.
Instead, plan your activities based on what part of the island you’ll be visiting. If you’re planning to make a trip to the North shore, know that doing more than two activities in the day (plus driving there and back) will make for a long day. One big North shore day is great, but you won’t want to spend multiple days shuttling up there to do missed activities.
Space Out Your Days
Do you have an eight-day trip planned to Oahu? Great. Don’t plan to do Go Card activities the entire time. That’s exhausting and doesn’t leave you much time to slow down and actually appreciate the beautiful vacation that you’re on.
Grab a three day Go Card for your eight-day vacation and you’ll still have plenty of days to just relax on the beach and be on vacation time.
Cover Your Average Cost Per Day, Every Day
A three-day pass costs $249. That breaks down to a per-day cost of $83. Knowing that you need to cover that every day will help you strategically plan your activities.
One of the options available is a shuttle to Hanauma Bay and snorkel rental, which has an estimated value of $30. If you’re staying in Waikiki and in vacation mode, getting yourself packed up, on a shuttle, snorkeling, enjoying the beach can take up most of the day.
If that’s your only activity of the day, you’re not coming close to covering the cost of the card. Instead, save your snorkeling (and other low-cost activities) for days you spend not using the Go Card.
Sample Itineraries for the GoOahuCard
Oahu isn’t a huge island but you don’t want to spend your day driving all over just to use the activities on your Go Card. To use the card and your time most effectively, you’ll want to have itineraries that check off enough interesting things that you want to do in one area of the island.
Below we have three one-day itineraries. Use them each separately or buy a three-day pass and do them all.
One Day in Honolulu
Pearl harbor ($7.50 – $30) or Iolani Palace ($27) and Makani catamaran ($117).
Head to Pearl Harbor first thing in the morning and do your tour of choice. You’ll probably spend a few hours here — it’s worth it. Next, head to Iolani Palace, another must-see on Oahu. Yes, this is a lot in one day so if you aren’t up for a full day of historical tours, choose whichever one suits you. They are both spectacular.
After you’re done touring, kick your feet up and enjoy an afternoon Makani catamaran sail. You deserve it!
Total for the day: $151 to $174
One day on the North Shore
Inour Oahu itinerary, we recommend spending at least one day on the North Shore. On this North Shore day you can rent a stand-up paddleboard ($66) or do a bike tour ($83), visit Waimea Valley ($18), and use your premium activity on the Polynesian Cultural Center Ali’i luau ($128).
Total for day: $212 with paddleboard and $229 with a bike tour
Erica and Henry at Waimea Valley, with Waimea Falls in the background.
One day on the leeward side (east side)
Start your morning off with a SUP yoga class, at Ala Moana Beach Park, close to Waikiki ($50). Plan to do this on Tuesday – Thursday or Saturday so you can join the 9 am class and still have a full day to do activities on the leeward side.
Use your full-day snorkel rental ($22) and hop in your car. You’re heading east toward Kailua and Lanikai for some beautiful snorkeling. Beginner snorkelers can head to Lanikai, where the water is usually calm. This isn’t the best place on the island to snorkel, but it’s very pretty — you’ll be treated to beautiful reef and fish, and be close to your next adventure.
After snorkeling hop back into your car to head north to Kualoa Ranch. There you can choose from one of three activities, each valued at $50.
Total for day: $122
Lanikai Beach hosts many Go Oahu Card activities like SUP, kayaking, and snorkeling.
The total value of activities on the three-day itinerary: $485 to $525
Cost of three-day card: $249
Total savings: $236 – $276
To be clear, these are very busy three days laid out here. But if you want to get the best value out of your card, you’ll probably be a little busy.
Who Should Get the Go Oahu Card Pass?
If the GoOahuCard pass covers island activities that you want to do — and you will actually make the effort to do them — you should get the card. The one and two-day cards may save you money, but you’ll see the real value starting at the day 3 level as you get access to premium activities.
The Downside of the GoOahuCard
There is a downside of the GoOahuCard that’s worth mentioning: the restrictions on visiting Kualoa Ranch.
Kualoa Ranch is a private nature reserve with stunning scenery, which you’ve probably seen in movies like Jurassic Park. It’s beautiful and remote, meaning it’s going to be a drive from wherever you’re staying. If you’re in Waikiki expect that the drive takes you 45 min to one hour.
The GoOahuCard offers three different Kualoa experiences:
- Secret beach
- Catamaran tour
- Taste of Kualoa
Each experience is valued at $50. But here’s the catch: you can only do one experience in a day. If you want to do all three, you’ll have to drive out there three different days to experience each one.
How to Purchase the Go Pass
Shop online for the Go Passbefore you go. If you want it, get it now — you don’t want to leave this planning until the last minute. Remember, you’ll want to make reservations well in advance because activities can fill up.