Is the GO Oahu Card Worth It 2018 – Our GO Oahu Card Review

With so many things to see and do on Oahu, the costs can really pile up. One option to Save and keep the budget under control is to invest in a Pass, allowing you to visit multiple attractions and activities for one fixed price. Our Go Oahu Card Review Takes a look at Smart Destinations offering for Oahu. While passes are a great option they can have some drawbacks and do get some stick from some holiday message boards. So we aim to take an in-depth look at the pass and ask is the Go Oahu Pass Worth it? After all these passes can run into hundreds of dollars especially if you have a family.


Worried about the Volcano?

Don’t be! The Eruptive event at the Kilauea Volcano is on a completely different Island hundreds of miles away from Oahu. Oahu is completely unaffected by the eruption. Read our full guide here for more peace of mind but rest assured that it is business as usual in Oahu and most of Hawaii in general!

 

  • Product: GO Oahu Card – All InclusiveIs the Go Oahu Card Worth It
  • Price: $74- $319
  • Price Child: $69 – $269 (Child 3-12yrs)
  • Where to Buy: smartdestinations.com
  • Number Of Attractions: 32+ Top Attractions + 1 Premium from all over the Island
  • Time Limit: 1,2,3,5 or 7 days unlimited over a 2-week period
  • Rating: 4.7/5

Attractions Included – 32 + 1 Premium Attraction Per Card (3,5 and 7-day Cards only)

Premium Attractions: Choice of 1 per Pass

  • Ka Moana Luau @ Sea Life Park
  • Dolphin Encounter by Sea Life Park
  • Alii Luau & Dinner Show at The Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Sunset Dinner Sail on Makani Catamaran
  • Oahu Hidden Gems Tour and Snorkelling with Turtles
  • Semi-Private Oahu Surf Lesson (for 2+) by Sea & Board Sports Hawaii

Unlimited All-Inclusive Attractions:

  • Makani Catamaran Sail
  • All of Oahu in One Day Tour
  • Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Hanauma Bay Snorkel
  • Pacific Aviation Museum
  • USS Bowfin Submarine
  • Battleship Missouri
  • Kualoa Ranch Movie Site Tour (Jurassic Park)
  • and Many more…

Check Our Promo code page to see if you could save even more!!! 

Check out our Promo Code Page to see if you could save EVEN more when Purchasing a Go Oahu Card. Click here to check out our available discount codes. 

What is the GO Oahu Card?

The  GO Oahu Card is an attraction pass from Smart destinations allowing the user to visit as many attractions as they like from the list available on a given number of days. On top of this If you purchase a 3,5, or 7 days pass you can also choose one of 6 Premium attractions per card.

How does it Work?go card QR code

The GO Oahu Card is a digital pass. It is emailed to you after ordering and you then either use the pass directly from your phone or you can print it out and use it that way. Either way, it’s is a QR Barcode that is scanned at the attractions allowing you entry to the attractions.

The Pass is activated on the first day you use it and you then have that calendar day to visit as many attractions as you please. It is important to remember it is a calendar day, not a 24 hour period. So if you activate it late afternoon It will only be active until midnight that day. Multi-Day cards can be used ANY day afterward for a two week period.

So if you are in Oahu for a 2-week trip, and purchase a 7-day card, for example, you have your entire two weeks to space out the attraction days. This is a fantastic feature of the pass. On Vacations to Hawaii people are unlikely to want to spend the entire trip running around doing activities. Some days will be Beach days where you simply kick back with a Mai Tai. With the GO Oahu card, you are not losing a day of your pass by doing this. The card is simply activated the first time you use it each day.

Is the Pass Right for me?

City Passes do not suit everyone. We all have our own habits and ways of traveling. The Go Oahu Pass can suit a wide range of travelers though. Due to its feature of non-consecutive days, most travelers can benefit from the pass in some way. Even if it’s just to use the add-ons for pearl Habour. although in that case, you may be better off with the Passport to Pearl Habour.

Obviously, anyone with no intention of seeing or doing any attractions while in Oahu would not benefit from a pass, If all you plan to do is sit on a beach and sip cocktails there is no point in buying a pass. If however plan on mixing a few attraction days in with your relaxing then an Oahu GO Card is perfect. Likewise, if you like you trips all singing all dancing a GO Card is a fantastic way of getting the max out of your trip without breaking the bank.

The pass suits people who will not have a car as a lot of the tours and trips include hotel pick-up from Honolulu, although not all of them do so check if your desired attractions do before basing your decision on that. If they don’t then it is normally available for a fee, which you would have to pay with or without a pass.

When Deciding if a pass is a good option for you the main point to consider is do you REALLY want to do the attractions on the list, there is so much to see and do on Oahu are the options on the Pass really the things you and your family want to do? You can take a look at our Oahu Must See list to see the best the Island has to offer. Then have a look below as we take a look at what the PASS has to offer to see if it fits with your wish list.

Attractions

Premium Attractions:

When Buying a 3-Day, 5-Day or 7-Day Pass You are able to choose one Premium attraction from the following but Remember it’s ONE premium Attraction per PASS which makes choosing the right Premium attraction very important.

Remember your premium attraction will need to be booked after purchasing your pass. Check the details for how to book your chosen attraction. Normally only a reservation Phone number is given to book with. This can be an issue for visitors from outside the UK. But you can normally find a reservations Email address who should be able to help you with your reservation, No Guarantees though.

Ka Moana Luau  ($125.60)

Diamond Head Luau

 

A Luau is one of Oahu’s must do attractions. Every time we visit Hawaii we make sure we attend a Luau. The Go Oahu Card offers a choice of two Luaus as a Premium Attraction.

The Ka Moana is a Great Luau located at the Sea Life Park on Oahu’s Winward coast. It isn’t particularly convenient but transportation from Waikiki is included with the Pass, along with FREE entry to the Sea Park (but then this is included on the card anyway). It offers pretty good value for a Luau.

In all honesty, it’s not as good as the  Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center which is the other Premium Attraction Luau. But really that is one of the best on all the Islands of Hawaii. But this is still a Solid Luau that is more convenient than trekking all the way across the island to the PCC.

This Premium attraction Luau also includes Transportation from the Waikiki area, which makes this a very convenient option! Entry to the Park is also included but then this is included on the pass anyway.

Read more about which Luau is Best HERE.

Dolphin Encounter by Sea Life Park ($136.12)

Dolphin Encounter by Sea Life Park

Unfortunately, this one is not for us. While we adore dolphins we have very little interest in watching or interacting with them in captivity. We are not here to judge though and if a Dolphin encounter is high on your must-do lists then this is a great value attraction. The Sea Life Park is a great place to visit but you do get entry included as part of the passes regular attractions anyway. Great if you have kids who want to do the Dolphin experience but the adults don’t so you can still accompany them to the part but save your Premium attraction for some grown-up time at a Luau or Dinner Cruise?

Alii Luau & Dinner Show at The Polynesian Cultural Center ($114.95)

Ha Breathe of Life Dinner Show

Simply put the Alii Luau & Dinner Show at The Polynesian Cultural Center is probably the best Luau anywhere in Hawaii. It’s a fantastic authentic show with a huge delicious feast and while some other luau’s give it a run for its money very few beat it conclusively. The only downside to the Luau is the Location. It’s a good trek from Oahu. This means you will either need a Designated Driver or book some form of Transportation (you can add this at the time of booking for a Fee) Included with the Luau (and the Go Card) is the entry to the Cultural Center to experience all that has to offer as well. It can be a fantastic day out with a magnificent ending at the Luau.

It’s worth Remembering you can Enjoy a visit to the fantastic Cultural Center as part of the Standard attractions the Premium is only so you can enjoy the Luau Feast and Show on top of the rest the Cultural Centre has to offer. So you can make your choice between the more local Ka Moana Luau at the Sea Life Park and enjoy the Cultural Centre on a different day.

Read more about which Luau is Best HERE.

Sunset Dinner Sail on Makani Catamaran ($120.68)

Sunset Dinner Sail Makani Catamaran

If you are looking for a spot of romance when in Oahu it doesn’t get much more romantic than a dinner cruise on a catamaran at sunset on one of the most beautiful ocean coastline in the world. While some dinner cruises can be overcrowded cattle markets where any hint of romance is lost. The Makani Catamaran is a smaller vessel that is not too overcrowded even when full. The dinner is an Island style Buffet  Menu. Not the most Gourmet offering but perfectly delicious and fitting with the cruise. An excellent choice of a premium Attraction for a couple looking to get away from it all.

Oahu Hidden Gems Tour and Snorkelling with Turtles ($125.65)

Snorkelers with sea turtle

This Island tour provided by Go Hawaii Tours is a great chance to get out and see some of the less well-known sights of the island as well as some more popular tourist attraction. The Tour guides work really hard to make sure you have a fantastic tour and get to see some Real Hawaii that most tourists miss. Turtle Snorkelling is an added bonus to the interesting itinerary. It is pretty unlikely the tour won’t find your turtles as thanks to conservation efforts turtles are now abundant on the Islands. However, they do offer free tours until you do sea turtles.

A great tour for people who are not driving as the tour offers pick-ups from your hotel so you can get out of Honolulu and see the island.

Semi-Private Oahu Surf Lesson (for 2+) by Sea & Board Sports Hawaii ($130.89)

Surf Lesson by Sea and Board Sports Hawaii

Many people coming to Hawaii want to learn how to surf and this Semi-Private Surf lesson for two is a perfect way to introduce yourself to the sport. The Semi-Private nature is basically private as if two people book that’s the entire group. The will even accommodate solo surfers for a small upgrade fee (in the range of $30). Great for couples or parent and child groups looking to get a taste of Hawaii’s oldest sport.

The location isn’t the best, however, a good hour+ from Waikiki with complex public transport links. Not so good for those without a car. That said it’s a fantastic location if you can get to it and has fantastic beginner surf conditions without the overcrowding of Waikiki Beach.

 

Standard Attractions:

USS Arizona Memorial Audio Tour

With all the passes you can visit as many of the following attractions within the set number of days you have purchased. The List of available attractions is far larger than we could ever feature in this post but these are a selection of our favorites and that we feel are the best value.

Makani Catamaran Sail

Similar to the Premium attraction but in the afternoon not at sunset, less romantic but every bit as breathtaking. a Great option if you didn’t take the sunset cruise but still want to get out on the ocean waves.

All of Oahu in One Day Tour

A fantastic comprehensive tour of the island taking in all the best sights on offer while taking out the stress of driving and navigating yourself. A great option to see the island for those who don’t drive.

Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a must see in our opinion and as one of the most visited attractions on the island most people seem to agree. The pass allows you to visit the Center even if you don’t take up the option of the Luau Feast and Show. It’s a big place with so much to see so get there for noon to get the best of the Center.

Hanauma Bay Snorkel

With abundant Wildlife and nearly year-round perfect snorkeling conditions, Hanauma Bay is a must-see for every snorkeling or nature lover. The Pass offers two way to experience the Bay Either with a tour including pickup from your hotel, Or you can rent Snorkelling gear for the day and head to the bay yourself ($7.50 entrance fee). We find the bay a useful stop on the way to/from Kualoa Ranch.

Either way, don’t miss Hanauma Bay if you want to witness the best of Hawaii’s Sealife

Pearl Habour Add-Ons

Pearl Harbour

A visit to Pearl Harbor is on most peoples lists and we really feel it is the number one must not miss sight in all of Hawaii. But Such an important attraction is rightfully FREE to all. No pass needed tp Visit Pearl Habour or the USS Arizona Memorial. However, there are a number of exhibits and museums there that do require a fee to visit.

  • USS Battleship Missouri ($27)
  • USS Bowfin Museum ($25)
  • Pacific Aviation Museum ($12)
  • USS Arizona Narrated Tour($7.50)
  • Total ($71.50)

All of the Above is included on the Go Oahu Pass, meaning your trip to Pearl Habour will be incredibly memorable. While you could just purchase a one day pass just for the pearl harbor add-ons and save a few $$$ that way really the  Passport to Pearl Habour. Is cheaper and includes a timed ticket to the Arizona Memorial. These are only good value options if you plan on doing other attractions on the one day pass (but that a VERY busy day) or are buying a multi-day pass.

It is important to remember that you are advised to book a timed ticket to the Arizona memorial as early as possible (tickets go on sale 2 months in advance) to secure your place. These tickets are very popular and sell out fast. They are free apart from a $1.50 booking fee and can be booked here.

We have more detailed info on Pearl Harbour trips here

Kualoa Ranch Tours

Kualoa Ranch Movie and Ranch Tour

The Kualoa Ranch is a very popular location on Oahu. The Ranch offers many tours of popular areas contained within its 4000 acres of land 5 different tours are included on the Oahu Go Card. Unfortunate these are limited to one Tour per day. This is a bit of a shame as you will need to travel multiple times to the ranch (40-50mins drive from Honolulu) to experience multiple tours. This is a shame but it’s clearly imposed on the Go Card by the ranch themselves. And as long as you are aware of this restriction you can deal with it and maybe combine stops with the ranch with other excursions if there are multiple tours you really want to do.

The five available tours are as follows:

Movie Sites Tour – the Most popular of Kualoa’s tours. Oahu is one of Hollywoods most used filming locations. Whenever a tropical jungle setting is needed Oahu is the Default location. Many of these movies are shot on the Kualoa Ranch and the Movie sites tour takes you to all the best locations. Most notable is the Jurrasic Park Valley complete with the tree used to hide from a T-Rex, along with many other great sights. Really if are only doing one tour this is THE one.

Jungle Tour – A fun 90 min tour taking you out into some of the more remote parts of Oahu’s jungle wilderness. Riding aboard a safari-style truck you head off through some great Jurrasic park movie sets and out into the jungle. This tour is offroad and can be pretty rough and bumpy which is something to keep in mind.

Voyaging Catamaran – Enjoy a fantastic sail along Oahu’s north shore for some spectacular sights including the Chinaman’s hat. The Catamaran is fairly small seating only 49 people, however, this can be seen as a positive being a little more intimate than others.

Secret Beach Tour – One look at Waikiki beach and the crowds that frequent it will have you yearning for a little bit of seclusion. The Secret beach tour gives you just that. A private beach for just you and your fellow tour guests. And it’s one incredible beach with stunning views of the coast and Chinaman’s Hat Island.

While this remote Picture perfect beach is a relaxation paradise some people get pretty bored doing nothing, even in paradise. Children and significant others complaining they are bored can really ruin your sun-kissed relaxation! Fortunately, the Secret Beach Tour offers a multitude of included activities to keep them occupied. Send them off Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding or playing Volleyball while you kick back with a book under a palm tree. Utter Bliss.

Ancient Fishpond and Garden Tour – This Tour takes you on first around the lush tropical gardens, complete with Fruit trees. Before heading out into an ancient Hawaiian l=fiashpod to learn how the Hawaiian manipulated Nature to feed their culture while remaining in balance. A fantastic tour to learn more about the Hawaiian culture and way of life.

More Information on the Kualoa Ranch Tours can be found here. 

As you can see a lot of these tours are very attractive and it is a big shame you need multiple visits on multiple days to enjoy more than one. As a day spent doing all five would be an unforgettable experience. But we guess that’s exactly what they are trying to stop!

It is definitely advisable to book these tours beforehand as they can be incredibly popular, turning up at the ranch hoping to get on your desired tour is a risky game liable to disappointment especially at busy times. Call (808) 237-7321 to make a reservation. For visitors from outside the US not wanting to rack up international phone calls you can try emailing Kualoa Ranch (reservation@kualoa.com) or wait until you are at your hotel and use the phone there most hotels offer free (included) Local phone calls.  Remember to mention you are using an Oahu Go Card.

Strategy

With Attractions spaced across the Island, it can be hard to get the best out of the pass. it is very important to ensure you plan your itinerary to get the most out of your pass. With attractions all over the island without proper planning, you could find yourself covering many miles and wasting time traveling between attractions.

When Planning our days we base it on our priority attractions and then try and find other things we want to do near that attraction. For instance, when planning the below itinerary we used a trip based in Waikiki. We decided Day one would be the Kauloa Ranch Movie Sites tour. So we looked at what was nearby and realized the trip would there and back would take us past Hanauma Bay. So we planned to pick up Snorkel Gear before leaving Waikiki so we could visit the bay After the tour, before heading back to Waikiki to get changed before an evening at the Ka Moana Luau.

Same with the Pearl Habour Add-ons. We knew we would be in the leeward area so decided to head to Wet And wild Afterwards, as a great way to cool down and refresh as pearl harbor can be a hot tiring experience.

Hopefully, you get the point. Pick what you want to do most then see what can be added on to make that day better. The more days you have the less you need to do each day to get the best value from your pass.

Is it Good Value?

It would be very easy to go through the list of attractions pick out the most expensive, add them up and see the cost is way higher than the Pass price, but that’s not how you will use the pass, and would not answer the question of is it good value. Instead, we picked an example itinerary that is both appealing and realistic in terms of time, Based on using a 3-day Pass.

Day 1:

  • All Day Snorkel Hire – $20.94
  • Kauloa Ranch – Movie Tour – $48.12
  • Stop at Hanauma Bay on the way back to use Snorkel Gear (N\A)
  • Ka Moana Luau at the Sea Life Park- $125.60

Total –$194.66

Day 2:

  • Pearl Habour – USS Arizona Memorial (N\A)
  • Pearl Habour – Pacific Aviation Museum – $27.00
  • Pearl Habour – USS Bowfin Submarine – $12.00
  • Pearl Habour – Battleship Missouri – $25.00
  • Wet and Wild Hawaii $62.35

Total – $126.35

Day 3:

  • Diamond Head Hike $18.27
  • Polynesian Cultural Centre $59.95

Total – $ 78.22

  • Full Price $399+
  • Pass Price $199
  • Saving $200+

That’s a saving of 47% Saving over paying full price on the gate. The above itinerary would be quite hectic on Activity days but would allow plenty of time for down days on the beach. Adding extra days is a fairly modest outlay and would allow you to experience even more while reducing the busyness of the schedule somewhat. 

On Top of the Above savings there a few material advantages to having a Pass in Oahu. These advantages probably don’t add up to enough to really make the pass worthwhile on their own, and may even be offset by the negatives, however when combined with the above financial benefits it can make the Oahu Go Card a very attractive proposition.

Check Our Promo code page to see if you could save even more!!! 

Check out our Promo Code Page to see if you could save EVEN more when Purchasing a Go Oahu Card. Click here to check out our available discount codes. 

Planning

A pass can add real structure to your trip planning. Instead of simply arriving at the destination with very little plan of what to do having a Go Card and knowing which days you want to do which attractions give you the structure to build the rest of your itinerary around. Busy activity day one day, then you know to plan a relaxed beach day the day after! Hitting the Luau, you know not to plan early morning activities.

Budgeting

The price of attractions, along with everything else can really add up. Especially in a world of easy plastic transactions. Those credit card bills when you get home can really jolt the heart! At least with a Go Card, you know upfront how much you will be spending in Attractions. So along with the savings, you can rest assured any large bills will be down to your overindulgence on the Mai Tais.

You can purchase the passes ahead of time also making it easier to spread the costs. We find budgeting on of the passes strongest appeals, along with the substantial savings.

Inspiration

A lot of people don’t always know what is available when they visit a new location or what prices they should be paying. They rely on Overpriced hotel or tour operator tours to offer trips and excursions. A pass can show what is available and what is important to you. Simply reading this article may have alerted you to things you may want to do that you were previously unaware of.

Flexibility

The Nature of the pass allows for a lot of flexibility in your planning. While it’s important to plan days quite precisely to get the most of them as per our strategy section, it’s less important which days you actually do the attractions on.  This means there is some flexibility on what days you do what based on the weather or how you feel. While a lot of attractions do require prior booking Such as tours and Cruises along with ALL the Premium attractions, some are just turn up and enjoy.

What We don’t like!

The pass is of course not perfect. As we have pointed out some attractions really require you to have a car. You can get to all attractions by public transport, but some journeys would be long and complex and a very poor way to spend your Trip. We would prefer to see a lot more options for hotel pick-up.

Also, the one Kauloa Ranch Tour per day is unfortunate. If you could spend a day at the ranch doing 2-3 tours it would represent phenomenal value. as it is you could miss out on quite a bit unless very determined to experience all the Ranch has to offer.

Some of the attractions cannot be fully experienced without further spendings, such as the sea life park. Most are inclusive but there are some hidden extras. And most activities that offer drinks only give you one or 2 whereas we would much prefer open bars. This is, however, a problem with the attractions themselves, not the pass.

As with all passes, one big downside can be the temptation to try and cram too much in as an effort to get the most value. We call this chasing the pass. it is important to plan sensibly and only aim to do attractions you really want to do and not try and cram in attractions you don’t really want to do but cram it in just because it’s on the pass. It’s better to skip something you are not sure about to do something you really want to do. Even if that’s not included, even if that’s just sitting on the beach.

Conclusion.

Oahu Hidden Gems Tour

We really feel for a lot of people traveling to Oahu the Go Oahu Pass offers not only exceptional value but also a fantastic way off adding real structure to your trip to get the most out of your time on the island. Apart from a few Niche activities, there is very little we would want to do on Oahu that isn’t included.

The non-consecutive nature of the pass fits perfectly with the type of trips most people have on Oahu. We all want down days where the focus is on rest and relaxation and other days where exploration and activities are the order of the day.

The downsides are quite few and far between and really are outweighed by the positives, not to mention the large cost savings. The money saved really can go along way towards other things…such as more Mai Tais!


<<< Click here to Purchase a Pass Direct >>>

Check Our Promo code page to see if you could save even more!!! 

Check out our Promo Code Page to see if you could save EVEN more when Purchasing a Go Oahu Card. Click here to check out our available discount codes. 

Have Your Say?

Let us know if you have had an experience either with the Go Oahu Pass or any of the included attractions. What were your favorite attractions? Did you feel you got good value from the pass? Let us know if you bought a pass after reading this? Or if you just have any questions about the pass or Oahu in general, just drop us a comment below, We would love to hear from you.

 

Come Join us on Facebook

47 comments

  1. Thank you so much for writing such a thorough review about the Go Oahu Card.
    It’s my first time to read about this card. I didn’t know that such a facility existed. A service that allows the user to visit as many attractions as they like in a given number of days.
    I also like the convenient way of using this card. That it gets emailed to me so that I am able to use the pass directly from your phone.
    The whole idea of having a bar-code that gets scanned allowing me entry to attractions, sounds so modern.
    Is this card also available in the UK?

    1. Hi Zegu,

      Glad you like the sound of the card. The simple QR Code is a very convenient way of using the card. Most people now have their phones on them at all times and as such would always have their pass.

      As for being available in the UK, Of course UK residents can purchase a pass for use in Oahu, along with a number of other US City’s (a different pass is needed for each city). The Website charges in dollars but this is simply handled by your bank/card issuer. (although it would be classed as a foreign transaction so their may be a fee depending on bank / card) You can even use PayPal.

      We ourselves are from the UK and have had no issues purchasing passes for any City we have visited.

      However we should mention you can even get a London Explorer Pass, for use in the UK!

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Wow such through article on Go Oahu card review. My husband and I was just thinking about going to Hawaii for our anniversary next year in May. This is worth checking out. You mention snorkeling with the turtles.

    Are there places to go diving as well? My husband is a diver. That’s his to do, every time we go anywhere near water.

    1. Hi Kelyee,

      We are sure you will have a fantastic time in Hawaii.

      There are certainly plenty of diving opportunities in Oahu, not part of this Pass, but many other diver operators explore the pristine clear water around Oahu. We don’t have any first hand experience of the operators on Oahu, all Our Hawaiian diving has been on Maui, which is utterly fantastic. If that’s anything to go by you husband will have a great time diving on Oahu.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Great review, very through. I had never heard of the Go Oahu card. My husband and I have been wanting to go to Hawaii for vacation and we plan to in the near future. I will definitely be looking into this card for part of our trip. We also want a few days of just laying on the beach and relaxing.

    Thank you Again
    Krystye

    1. Hi Krystye,

      Thanks for reading, Yeah we find most people want some good relaxation time when visiting Hawaii and this is one of the things we love about the pass that the days are not consecutive allowing that down time as well as more adventurous days. 

      Hope you get to Hawaii soon and have a fantastic trip. 

  4. What timing! My husband and I are headed to Hawaii for the first time in January. We will definitely want both beach and sightseeing time in this paradise of beauty! I have used passes in some cities I have traveled to in the past and always found them a great value. But this time is different. I am not going primarily to run from one spot to another as with a European city. I want the relax and soak it in time at the beach, too. This is a perfect find! Thank you.

    1. Hi Annie,

      We know exactly what you mean. Most City trips are very hectic and you pack a lot in to a very short time, This is not normally what people want from a beach location such as Hawaii. While there is so much to see and do people (including us) still want to primarily hit the beach and just relax, Which is why we love the non consecutive nature of the Pass. It’s the best of Both.

      Thanks for reading.

  5. Wow! I did not even know the anything such as the Go Oahu Card existed prior to reading this!

    On my next visit to the islands, I will definitely be getting a Pass!

    Question… How are the tipping mannerisms on the islands? I guess you would just tips your hosts from the original cost of the tour or activity?

    Thanks so much for this.

    1. Hi Misty,

      It’s quite common that people are unaware of the different pass options available when visiting a location so we are happy to enlighten.

      Yes tipping is expect as usual so base it on the original cost of the attraction, but also on any perceived service quality. Being from Britain we struggle slightly with the USA’s tipping culture. But always happy to leave some extra when it’s deserved. Tipping on the islands in general is not quite as aggressive as some states, such as New York but it’s still pretty much the same as anywhere else in the states.

      Thanks for reading

  6. I must admit, when I first saw the price fluctuation of the pass, I did think it could become an expensive experience, and wondered at the same time what made the price go up for some $60 to over $200.
    But then I read on and found out about the choice of premium attractions and … wow is the only word that keeps coming to mind.
    Would I like to visit Hawaii? Would I like to benefit of this pass if I ever landed on Oahu? Definitely yes.
    And yes, I can see the danger of wanting to cramp up too much in a relatively short time. I am not too much of a beach holiday person, as I prefer sightseeing or experiences / activities. I hear you when you mention issues about dolphins being kept in captivity. They are issues I share concerns for with you. But having a close encounter would tempt me, I have to be honest. Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Centre is something else I wouldn’t want to miss. And Pearl Harbour then, how can you not go there after flying half way across the planet?!?!
    Yes, I can see your worry about hidden additional expenses and possibly being able to choose places that are all of easy reach. Now, these two issues, in my mind, are the only ones that I would make exception to. But the pass, as far as I can see, is definitely something to bear in mind, should I ever pop down that corner of the world 🙂

    1. Hi Giulia,

      Thanks for reading. Yes the price jump is quite severed but as you worked out it’s due to the premium attraction inclusion which are worth over $100 each so that bump the price. We totally agree about pearl harbour it’s a must see when over there.

      Having seen and swum with wild dolphins in Hawaii We can confidently say interacting with captive dolphins is not even close to the experience.

      While a pass suits people who do want to spend some time on the beach you can just as easily use it every day of the trip to cram a much in as possible, if that is what you want. We find most people shy away from that but the option is always there.

      We hope you get to make a trip to the islands soon and use the Go Card for a fantastic trip.

  7. Good afternoon Steve,

    Lovely article on the island and very thorough information on that card. I used to work in tourism from1973 up to 1986 but in those times these ” modern ” things did not exist. You might buy a pack of excursions but that was all. I think it is a very good idea to get this card so you can explore a new country with its culture and people. There is little point going somewhere so different to just sit on the beach, that I can do at home too. I have not been to Hawaii yet but reading about it I start longing for a nice holiday.

    Regards, Taetske

    1. Hi Taetske,

      Glad you enjoyed the article. Yes like most things tourism has changed a lot in the digital age with just so much information at our fingertips. The need for tour operators and Guides has diminished. It’s still really handy to have a “digital guide” with you, especially one that can save you so much money.

      You are lucky you can sit on a beach at home, Our beaches (UK) are a little chilly most of the year, so we still like some nice beach time as well as exploring the sights and culture of a destination.

      Thanks for Reading.

  8. Good afternoon Steve,

    Thank you for your reply to my comment.

    I bet the beaches in the UK must be extremely chilly this time of the year. I live in the south of Spain and even if it is winter most days are blessed with sunshine and some 20C. The problem here is lack of rain and the situation is getting more serious by the year.
    I know, this digital age has brought a lot of changes, some good and some less good. Imagine, I started with a computer by the end of 2013.

    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018

    Regards, Taetske

    1. Hi Taetske,

      Yep, they can be extremely chilly. Even in the summer, we are lucky to get 20DegC! But we have no trouble with rain, plenty of that, we should swap! Yep there are lots of negatives to this ultra-connected world but It’s here to stay so it’s important to make use of the good and limit the bad. Glad to see you (Reluctantly?) jumped on board.

      Regards

      Steve

  9. I am going to be traveling to Hawaii later this year and Oahu is on my list of stops.
    I had no idea you could even get a card like the Go Oahu Card. seems pretty smart to me, and who doesn’t like saving.
    The Pacific Aviation Museum is one of the places I want to go while i am there, so I can see a use already!
    thanks for sharing, i am going to bring my wife to your site so she can check it out as well, but as far as i am concerned I am in.

    1. Hi Brendon,

      We like the Pacific Aviation Museum, and as part of the overall Pearl Harbour Experience it is a very special day. We are sure you can find many other uses for the pass also. Remember to report back after your trip and let us know how you got on with the pass, or just your trip in general.

      Hope you have a great trip, we are sure you will.

      Thanks for reading

  10. Such a great post. You gave great information and understanding of the Oahu Card. I defiantly want one now, I’ve been looking for a vacation retreat for march. Hawaii was on my list, and I may consider it truly now, because of all the fun things i could do with my Oahu card. Thanks for such a great review.
    -Cameron

    1. Hi Cameron,

      We definitely recommend Hawaii if you are looking for a tropical paradise. We have Travelled extensively to tropical beach destinations all over Europe, the Caribbean, and nothing has ever come close to the magic of Hawaii. The Go Oahu card really opens up the opportunities of a beach holiday meaning you can spend much less time just doing nothing on a beach, but still allows time for this too!

      We are heading to Hawaii again in March and can’t wait. Hope you have a great trip

      Thanks for reading.

  11. This looks such a good idea. When we were in Oahu we were very limited in what we could do! We have 6 Kids so doing any activities can be really expensive. This would have enabled us to do alot more and kept the kids entertained! I really wish we had seen this before hand. It would have made the trip so much more affordable. I like anything that has a QR barcode it’s so simple and convenient.

    Thanks for the review, I will remember to check for a pass to the next destination we visit!

    1. Hi Tony,

      Yeah we can see how things would really rack up with 6 Kids. I imagine they can get really bored in a place like Oahu when all you want to do is kick back on the beach with a Mai Tai! Having a pass gives a whole heap of stuff you can do to keep them occupied, even use as bribes too so you can get some relaxation time lol if we spend today on the beach tomorrow we can go on the Jurassic park tour! or something like that! 

      Hope you have a great time on your next trip and if you try a pass hope it works well for you.

      Thanks for reading.

  12. Oh my goodness I never new there was SO much to do in Hawaii besides swimming, and laying on the beach enjoying the ocean. This page is great, as it has something for everyone young and old. I really like that you have a description of different things you can do along with advantages and disadvantages. I especially like the being able to swim with the sea turtles, what a once in a lifetime experience. Like your idea on planning before you go and to arrange the things you want to do in the same general area. The pictures you provided are beautiful and is now on my bucket list for places to see. GREAT page and look forward to seeing more!

    1. Hi Andrea, 

      Yeah we find a lot of people think all there is to do in Hawaii is relax on a beach, but the islands are so diverse there is so much more to them than that. Glad you enjoyed the article and we helped making the decision on the pass easier for you.

      Hope you make it to Hawaii soon and have a wonderful trip.

      Thanks for reading

  13. Hi – thanks for the very thorough review of the pass! I like how you thought about the itinerary including the time it takes to do all of these activities. Usually when planning a trip, I plan out the destinations and activities first, then see if there are passes available to cover them. That tends to help! When we traveled to Hawaii, we stayed on the big island. The next time we come, I was thinking to do some island hopping rather than stay only in one place. Pearl Harbor is definitely on the list and it looks like the Pass may come in handy. Do you know if there are any passes that go across islands?

    1. Hi Kristi,

      People often try and cram far too much into their trips when they have a pass as they try and get maximum value. So it’s important to highlight how long things can take so you have a realistic expectation.

      Planning out what you want to do first and getting a pass to match is the best way to do it as then all you are doing is adding value to your trip. However for some they don’t always know what is available in an area and a pass can help people find new things they didn’t even know were available. There are a few things on Oahu we never knew were available until we saw the pass!

      Unfortunately Hawaii is pretty limited for passes, we only know of the Go Oahu card that is comprehensive. Others are more combo tickets. You can get a pass for JUST the pearl harbour attractions is that is all that interests you on the island and is better value than a Go Oahu Card for that purpose.

      Thanks for reading and hope you have a great trip next time you head to Hawaii

  14. great piece i wish i would have been by this site sooner we were in hawaii last year and one of these passes would have made life a lot easier and probably cheaper as well. these types of passes should be the first thing offered to vacationers when they check in. if i buy a pass in advance of my trip to a specific city or area can i change the destination for the card if i chose to vacation somewhere else? one more quickie can i build a card for a multiple city trip or just one destination per card?

    1. Hi Garry, 

      Unfortunately we here this a lot people who don’t know about the pass until they return home. We are trying to spread the word. It’s good to hear the convenience is the selling point for you above just the cost savings! Most people think saving first but having a pass really does help simplify and enhance a trip too.

      While I’m sure some people would like to be offered a pass on arrival I’m sure a lot of people would see that as a hard sell and having something rammed down their throats! You can’t please everyone.

      You can’t swap a pass if you change your mind, mainly as different passes are different prices. But they offer a full money back guarantee on unused passes, so you can just return your pass and buy another. Also we don’t know of any multi city passes but there are passes for most cities. 

  15. Hi, Steve. Having been to Hawaii 6 times in my life, (beginning in 1981 up to my last visit back in 2012) I can definitely see the value that is inherent with a tourist purchasing an Oahu-Go card and the money it would save, especially for a family.

    Indeed there are many attractions on the island of Oahu, although some of them, (such as a visit to Pearl Harbor, the Kaulau Ranch movie site or the Polynesian Cultural Center – which is located on the opposite end of the Waikiki/Honolulu area) are all at least half-day excursions.

    The All-of-Oahu bus tour is around a 10-hour excursion that definitely would encompass an entire day. In order to get full value out of the card, a family would have to select attractions that would be more “kid-friendly” depending on the age of the child.

    So, planning trips out ahead of time considering the time limitations that would be availableon the Oahu-Go Cards would be necessary in order for a person or family to get the most out of the Card.

    Twice, personally, and except for the city bus fare was free, to enable me to get as close as possible, first entering the state park I then hiked all the way up to the summit of Diamond Head. The view, (seen in my gravatar photo) looking down on Waikiki, Honolulu, beyond that the Pacific Ocean and the other surrounding area was spectacular. The only thing would be that individuals would definitely need to wear a good pair of sneakers or other athletic footwear.

    The Honolulu/Waikiki city bus system is also known as perhaps the best of any in the U.S. Some of the excursions available with the Go card might be available using that type of transportation as opposed to shelling out extra $$$ to take a more expensive tour bus, that would not be a part of the Card.

    I also commend you for crafting such a detailed article on all of the sites that are available for tourists visiting the island of Oahu out in Hawaii!

    Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your valued input. The length and time of some excursions along with their location does make planning the days very important. You can’t just ad-hoc it and expect to get value from the Pass. Instead an itinerary must be drawn up to make the most of it. 

      You can see from our sample itinerary it is definitely possible to extract a great deal of value form the pass.

      The View from the Summit of diamond head is incredible. It’s not a huge hike, and well worth it.

      The Bus system on Waikiki is fantastic, but we definitely prefer a car to get around just for the convenience. 

      Thanks for the kind words

      Thanks for reading.

      Steve

  16. For Pearl Harbor, everything is included in the pass? I would like to see it, but I want to make sure I will get the opportunity to see all the exhibits.

    1. Hi,

      The Pass includes everything available at Pearl Harbour. It provides the Audio tour, the Bowfin, the Arizona and the Aviation Museum. These are all the Expensive parts.

      The only thing it doesn’t include is a timed reservation to the Memorial. You will need to book this separately but it is free ($1.50 booking fee) You can leave it until the day but the reservations do sell out. So we strongly advise booking a timed slot out to the memorial. Book your timed reservation here

      For a full Pearl Habor guide read here for everything you need to know.

      Hope that makes sense

      Steve

  17. It seems like getting the card would definitely be worth it if you wanted to visit the locations it offers. Also seems like a great way of having some ideas of what to go to see and do 🙂 I agree with your feelings toward dolphins in captivity too. Aside from that though it seems like the card offers some really good attractions and you gave some great info on them!

    1. Hi Avareth,

      Nice to hear you echo our views on Dolphins in Captivity, unfortunately while people are willing to pay these attractions will continue. Best we can do is vote with our wallets.

      Still glad to see this hasn’t put you off the pass as it can offer really good value and help massively in structuring a trip. It’s so Easy to go to somewhere like Oahu and simply spend the time just enjoying the beaches etc…

      Thanks for reading

      Steve

  18. The Go Card for Oahu looks like the best way to go. I have only been to Hawaii once, back when I was 16 with the family. It has been on my bucket list for quite some time. The only thing that has hampered actually making the plans is the airfare/hotel. It is expensive going to Hawaii. The go card sounds like something that would definitely be great! I like to get out and do the touristy things. They get expensive and can add up. I usually end up not doing everything just because of the expense. This would be great!

    1. Hi,

      We have just returned from our latest Hawaii trip and you are absolutely right. It is VERY expensive. You can bag bargains though. Our flights were around the $1000 mark from the UK and we stayed in a privately rented condo which helped bring the price down. It is still at the very expensive end of holidaying though.

      But oh is it worth it! We have travelled very extensively and nowhere has measured up to Hawaii, a true Paradise. But with a civilised american Flavour.

      We agree it’s terrible when you have to drop things from your itinerary because funds don’t stretch that far. It’s bad enough when you just don’t have time for everything. The pass can certainly help with this as the fixed fee means you can do everything you can cram in that you want. Unfortunately Time is still the enemy and there are only so many hours in a day.

      Hope you make it to Hawaii soon it’s such a great place.

      Thanks for reading 

      Steve

  19. I think the GO Oahu pass is a great idea. It can really save a lot of money.

    I’m glad you mentioned that it is a calendar day and not 24 hours. What happens if I want to do the same excursion for 2 days? How does that work?

    My husband and I are going to Oahu next summer so this is great to know!

    Thanks,
    Kristy

    1. Hi Kristy,

      You can visit most attractions once per day. So you can do the same attractions as many times as you have days. The Premium attractions are obviously excluded from this as you only get one per car.

      Glad you like the look of the card hopefully this makes your next trip to Oahu even better. Feel free to report back after your trip! We would love to hear your feedback. 

      Thanks for reading

      Steve

  20. The Oahu pass sounds really good! I love pre-paid passes like this, if you use them right, the way you’ve described, you can really save a LOT of money and still get to enjoy a lot of things.

    The number of attractions it will cover actually seems HUGE for the cost. I expected it to cost more. Which of the Premium attractions would you recommend the most? I’m guessing it depends on personality and interests, but I really need to read up on it. I considered using a similar pass in Aruba recently… I probably should have.

    1. Hi Jordan,

      You pose a very tough question on the Premium Attractions, They are quite varied and suit different people differently. Personally we would probably recommend the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau. It is such a fantastic location and spending the afternoon there and attending the Luau in the evening helps kill two birds with one stone. Leaving more time to hit other attractions other days.

      Gald, you like the look of the Pass, we agree it is a very good value pass, with so much on offer. Too many people go to Oahu and do little more than sit on the beach. This pass opens up so many doors.

      We are sure you had a great time in Aruba despite not taking up the pass. Passes are not essential but can enhance a trip.

      Thanks for reading

      Steve

  21. Hey Steve, I really enjoyed reading your review of the Go Oahu Card. I think it is a super smart thing to use. Because not only will it open up the doors to countless attractions, but it will actually make do those thinks. because I have paid already once and there is no uncontrollable cost any more. So why not go and do all of them. 🙂

    1. Hi Aaron,

      Yes indeed. We have all been on a trip and had many ideas of things to do but never reall get round to them. With the pass you are more inclined to actually follow through with you plans! And it suck when you run out of money and can’t do everything you planned!

      The Pass sounds perfect for you as you sound like you want to do as much as possible on a trip! 

      Thanks for reading,

      Steve

  22. Hi Steve,

    Thank you for all the information you are providing it’s a great resource specially for us that will be visiting Oahu for the first time in a couple of weeks. I have a question about you 3 day itinerary, what would be the premium attraction you chose for this itinerary? (I’m assuming that your example is for the 3 day pass) You mention the Diamond Head Luau on day 1 but I can’t seem to find it on the list of available attractions.

    One again than you for the info!

    1. Hi Priscila,

      Sorry about this, The Diamond head Luau has changed its format and has become an Ultra high-end Farm to Table Dining experience. As such it is no longer available on the Go Oahu Card. It has been replaced by the Ka Moana Luau which is located at the Oahu Sealife Park. You can read all about the different Luau’s on Oahu here. The Ka Moana Luau is a really fun Luau and the included transportation helps make it convenient. The other included option is the Polynesian Cultural Center’s luau which his incredible, but much less convenient.

      We were sure we had changed all the references to Diamond head Luau when they made the alteration but this one seems to have slipped through. We have now updated the post.

      Our Example itinerary is really only a costing example, we urge our readers to plan the trip their own way. What suits one person may not suit another. Our example is more to show how using the pass quite sparingly can still save a lot of money.

      Sorry again and thanks for pointing out our oversight.

      Hope you have a fantastic trip to Hawaii whatever you choose!

      Steve

  23. This card is an amazing deal. The dolphin encounter is something I have wanted to do with my kids since we’ve had them. We’ve been waiting for them to be old enough to truly appreciate it though!

    You mention that I can use the passes for my kids to interact with the dolphins and save my own. So if I buy 4 passes for the wife and kids and I we’ll be in good shape to let the kids hit up the dolphin tour and we can go to the Luau later? Just want to make sure I’m following properly cause that was a concern of mine!

    1. Aloha Craig,

      Yeah, you don’t need to choose the same attractions on each pass so as long as it’s OK logistically you can use the pass any way you see fit. You just get the one premium per card, but each card could choose a different premium if you wanted.

      You get entry to the sea life park as part of the standard attractions so you can go with the kids just let them actually do the dolphin encounter on their own. Then use your premium pass for the Luau at another time! Perfect!

      Hope you have a great time using your pass in Hawaii!

      Mahalo 

      Steve

  24. Wow Oahu sounds exciting! Clear sky, beach like no other, and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 47% discount is almost half, I can feel the winds calling me already. I was wondering, does the monsoon affect the island  this time of year? A lot of tropical  countries are experiencing heavy rain all month long, it would be a shame to go there when it does though :/

    1. Hi Riaz,

      Yeah Oahu and Hawaii are truly incredible places! the Savings are pretty substantial and really do make a stay far more affordable, as Hawaii is not a cheap place to go on Vacation!

      As for weather check out our Oahu Weather guide here. But in short, no. There is not Monsoon season here. In-fact being so utterly remote and pretty close to the equator seasons are pretty undefined at all. The depths of winter sees temps up to 30 Deg C and little rain. Summer is pretty much the same. It is a little more complex than that, so check out our weather guide, but basically a year round paradise!

      Steve

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *