What’s New on Oahu > Feb-Mar 2022

*This is a copy of the Waikiki Beach Stays Monthly Mailer (sent out 21 Mar 2022). Click here to subscribe for future editions.

Welcome to Waikiki Beach Stays Monthly Mailer, the best place to keep up to date with everything happening on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

We’ve combined February and March into one edition!

Over the last few months we’ve been busy writing Hawaii stories for Escape, Australia’s favorite destination for travel news and advice. These articles are a fountain of knowledge, check them out after you’ve finished reading this e-newsletter 😉


After visiting Waikiki Aquarium last week, we thought we’d share some information. This Waikiki attraction is small but mighty! For US$12 adults, US$5 kids (under 3 free), it’s totally worth exploring for an hour or so during your visit. The indoor exhibits are the most impressive, we loved seeing the Giant Grouper! They rotate events, classes and exhibits and have a handy Audio Exhibit Guide. Note, the Hawaiian Monk Seal Habitat is closed for now. View the photo album of our visit.

Now for the best news:
As COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Hawaii, travel requirements and restrictions are scaling back. 

The procedure for travel to Hawaii depends on whether you are a domestic or international traveler e.g. whether you fly into Hawaii from the US mainland and its territories (domestic) or another country (international).

  • Domestic travelers from the US and its territories must adhere to the Safe Travels Hawaii program until 25 Mar 2022. Beginning 26 Mar 2022, there will be no COVID-related requirements for arriving domestic passengers.
  • International travelers arriving in Hawaii directly from international airports must still comply with CDC federal international requirements; consult with your airline. This quick reference guide for Traveling to the United States from a Foreign Country by Air is a great resource!
  • Hawaii’s counties including the City & County of Honolulu have lifted all COVID-19 rules, including the vaccine-or-test requirements for patrons of restaurants, bars, gyms and movie theaters.
  • Hawaii’s statewide indoor mask mandate will be dropped 26 Mar 2022 (Hawaii was the last state in America to have a mask mandate in place).
  • For anyone needing to get a COVID-19 test in Waikiki, here’s a summary of your options.

We’ve also noticed an uptick in festivals and events on Oahu, it’s very exciting! You’ll find a summary at the end of this update, and bookmark this page for your future trip.

If you have any questions or concerns about your trip, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help our guests and readers.

A hui hou (until we meet again)…

Warmest Aloha,
Ash & Keli‘i
[email protected]

COVID-19 Hawaii Travel Updates

  • WalletHub has ranked Hawaii as the safest state in the US during COVID-19. The study compared rates of COVID-19 transmission, positive testing, hospitalizations and death, as well as the share of the eligible population getting vaccinated.
  • As of 16 Mar 2022: There have been 238,764 cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii to date, resulting in 1,368 deaths. Average daily new cases 97 island-wide (67 Oahu, 14 Maui County, 7 Kauai and 10 Hawaii Island). Reporting is on a weekly basis.

Airlines

  • For the 18th consecutive year, Hawaiian Airlines is America’s most punctual airline, according to the US Department of Transportation.
  • Hawaiian Airlines is bringing back nonstop service this summer (Aug-Sep) between Oakland (OAK) in California and Kona (KOA) on Hawaii Island, and adding a second daily flight between San Francisco (SFO) in California and Honolulu (HNL) on Oahu.

Transportation

  • Average gas prices in Hawaii are approaching an all-time record high. On average, drivers are spending around US$4.99 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas. This is well over the national average of US$3.53.
  • For alternative modes of transportation on Oahu, click here.

Accommodations

Cruises

  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) Pride of America Hawaii cruise resumes on 9 Apr 2022. Here’s our review (we experienced NCL’s Pride of America pre-pandemic).

Restaurants & Bars

  • Turtle Bay Resort is launching a Paniolo Paina dinner experience on 24 Mar 2022. These events celebrate Hawaii’s rich ranching and cowboy heritage – complete with a pig roast, delicious eats, welcome cocktail, live entertainment and a cash bar. There are fun activities for the kids, including a pony experience and hula lessons.
  • Uncle Sharkii Poke Bar, a US franchise store, has opened at the International Market Place. They offer a modern-take on ‘poke bowls’ using ingredients like corn, jalapeños and imitation crab plus they serve boba teas and Dole soft serve flavors.
  • Earl Kaimuki, Oahu’s famous sandwich shop, has moved to a new location in Market City Shopping Center (10-minutes drive from Waikiki). They make extremely delicious hand-crafted gourmet sandwiches with unique flavor combinations.
  • Ăn Đi Dzô restaurant has opened at Ward Entertainment Center (15-minutes drive from Waikiki). It serves contemporary Vietnamese cuisine for lunch and dinner.
  • Han No Daidokoro, a Korean-style barbecue restaurant in Ward Village (15-minutes drive from Waikiki), is now open for lunch from 11:30am (last seating at 2pm). Dinner service is also available from 5-10pm.

Tours & Activities

  • Nature and You have just restarted their Manoa Valley Hike. This rainforest and waterfall tour explores a magical area featured in Jurassic Park movies and the Lost TV series. Learn about interesting facts, history and Hawaiian culture during the hike, followed by a delicious lunch with a view.
  • Honolulu Zoo has a new animal to visit! Mara, a 3,610-pound hippopotamus, has just arrived from Los Angeles. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like after the gates close, book a Twilight Tour (a 2-hour after-hours guided walking tour of the zoo).

Shopping

  • The last day of operation at Ohana Hale Marketplace, Hawaii’s largest indoor market, is 16 Apr 2022. Please drop by to support all of the small local businesses before they close and relocate (new location TBC).
  • Hawaii’s only Sak’s Fifth Avenue department store is leaving Waikiki’s International Market Place this summer. Target will move into the space in the next few years.
  • Shop women’s clothing designed and made in Honolulu at always a.line, a new boutique that opened at South Shore Market in Ward Village on 1 Feb 2022.

Festivals & Events

  • Hideout at The Laylow has a series of events running from 22-26 Mar 2022 to celebrate its 5th anniversary including a five-course wine dinner (22 Mar) and Juneshine ‘POG flavor launch party’ and Night Market (26 Mar).
  • Shen Yun classical Chinese dance and music performance will be in Honolulu 26-27 Mar 2022.
  • The film Waterman opens in Hawaii on 1 Apr 2022. Get tickets to see it at Consolidated Theatres (the cinema) at Koko Marina, Kahala, Ward, Pearlridge, Mililani, Olino or Kapolei.
  • Beyond Monet, an immersive digital experience of over 400 Claude Monet artworks, is coming to Honolulu 15 Jun-31 Jul 2022. Purchase tickets online.
  • Broadway in Hawaii is bringing Broadway to Honolulu this upcoming 2022-2023 season. Book tickets to see Beautiful The Carole King Musical (19-24 Apr 2022), Jersey Boys (13-25 Sep 2022), Hamilton (7 Dec-29 Jan 2023) and CATS Let The Memory Live Again (13-18 Jun 2023).
  • Waikiki SPAM JAM® Festival returns 22 Apr-1 May 2022, after a two-year hiatus! SPAM® lovers can once again enjoy the delicious and creative SPAM® dishes from Waikiki’s top restaurants and local eateries in a new dine-in/dine-out experience.
  • Waikiki Block Festivals are parties on Kalakaua Ave with food vendors, live music and entertainment, 2022 dates are Waikiki Spring Festival (9 Apr), Leahi Festival (14 May), Endless Summer Festival (16 Jul), Ohana Festival (13 Aug), Aloha Festival (10 Sep), Waikiki Fall Festival (8 Oct) and Kalakaua Festival (12 Nov). 
  • Box jellyfish (stinging invertebrates) tend to appear in Oahu’s ocean 8 to 10 days after the full moon. According to the Waikiki Aquarium Box Jellyfish Calendar, the 25-27 Mar and 24-26 Apr 2022 have a high probability of a box jellyfish arrival event.

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Image Credit: Ryan Tishken