Go Card Oahu | How We Saved $144 Each

We tried Go Card Oahu for the first time and saved $144 each based on our selected Honolulu activities for a day. It far surpassed our expectations for both fun and value in relation to the $69 investment. With some advance planning you may like this as much as we did, using our suggestions below.

Tips for Using Go Card Oahu:

1. If you buy more than a one day pass, you can pick your other days within a 2 week time period. That’s good because after our jam-packed first day, as we needed a break after that.

2. Look for best value on your Go Card Oahu and pick higher priced attractions. For example, we are big fans of Honolulu Museum of Art but decided to pass since admission is only $10 and includes same day entry to the fabulous Spalding House. It’s already a great deal so we included them on another day.

3. See if advance reservations are required for anything you want to see with Go Card Oahu. This was a bit of a problem when planning our day as it reduces spontaneity. In our case we only had one activity that required a reservation and then planned everything else around it. When reservations are required, the vendor will ask for a credit card number to hold your space. Ask about cancellation policies or it suddenly won’t be a great deal if you change plans.

4. Consider driving time between activities. Honolulu traffic can be slow so take that into consideration. Try to avoid morning and afternoon rush hour if at all possible.

5. Plan for parking. Check each vendor’s website for recommendations. In case you need street parking, bring coins with you or look for meters that take credit cards.

Here’s How We Saved $144 Each – Our Go Card Oahu Itinerary

9:00 Bishop Museum. Admission: $24.33. Before taking the complimentary 25 minute tour of Hawaiian Hall at 10am, we arrived an hour early to see Hawaii’s largest museum and the world’s largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts. No reservations are needed. Parking is an extra $5.00 or look for something free on a neighboring street.

10:30 Drive 13 minutes to Iolani Palace. Entry fee: $21.75. Guided tours were booked so we opted for the audio tour with a hand held device. This gave us much more flexibility. Entry is still timed but reservations are not needed. The only royal palace in the United States should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Honolulu. It will make you think about the past and actions taken by our country. We found metered parking available inside the palace gates.

12:00 Drive 9 minutes to Makani Catamaran Tours. $106.63 per person. This was a big highlight! Parking is available near the boat and there are a variety of nice looking and popular food trucks for a quick lunch break before the 12:30 check-in. Reservations are required for the 1:00 afternoon sail. We had a blast cruising along the Waikiki coastline and past Diamond Head. Ship is casual, the crew are friendly and you get a free drink too. These were among our best Waikiki photo opportunities ever.

2:30pm Return to car and drive 1.5 hours to Polynesian Cultural Center. $59.95 per person. If you like theme parks, this one will be right up your alley. Even though the exhibits close at 6:00pm, you can still walk around later or come back within 3 days at no charge. No reservations are needed. We asked for a list of shows available and found three to choose from. Parking is free. Check-in process is slow and they won’t believe you came only for a gate pass and not the luau or show.

At 6:00pm we were back in the car and drove to Waimea Bay for an awesome sunset then on to Haleiwa for dinner. From there it was an easy hour drive back to the lights of Waikiki.

Now it’s your turn. Try a Go Card Oahu and let us know how you planned your day.

Photo taken of Beat of Hawaii editor Rob onboard Makani catamaran.

18 thoughts on “Go Card Oahu | How We Saved $144 Each”

  1. Aloha!
    The very first link for Go Card is a link to the web banner for Go Card and doesn’t go further.

    Born and raised in Honolulu, I keep coming back every year for the Punahou alumni luau.

    Keep up the good work, the website is a treasure trove o info.

    Mahalo nui

  2. Thank you for this great information. I lived in Honolulu for 25+ years, I return every year. I have many friends that go to Hawaii. I’ll be sure to tell them about the Go Card Oahu. As always Mahalo for all the valuable information that you send.

  3. I have been visiting Oahu every winter for the past 15 years or so…and haven’t heard of the GO card. Very interesting! Some of the attractions I haven’t ever been to, like the makani catamarin sail so… perhaps I will get a 2 day card. Where else might I score a big discount on a few attractions like that? Still haven’t been whale watching, either. I stay on the windward side. Thank you for the info.

    1. Hi Amanda.

      No there is not. Perhaps in the future as we note that the Go Card company was sold today to a larger UK based organization.


  4. We did this a couple of time. The last time was all public transportation from house to hotel. We took Metra from home to downtown Chicago, then CTA to O’Hare. We too THE BUS from HNL to Hilton Hawaiian Village. We did this to show our 2 boys how to use public transportation. They are both in their early 20s now and when we were back a couple of weeks ago they made trips to CostCo, WalMart and SafeWay using The Bus.

    1. Hi Darcy,

      Have fun! It was truly a blast. Definitely exhausting the way we did it, but it is also something you’ll probably never forget. I say that having been here most of my life and having seen most attractions multiple times.


  5. Hello. Awesome website! I noticed that the Go Cards can include a luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. We’re staying over Christmas and my wife would like to attend a luau on Christmas day if possible. Is there one particular luau we should be looking at? We’re staying at the HHV which does have a laua. Any info you could provide would be greatly appreciate. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks! We have not attended either luau so can’t speak to that question unfortunately. Perhaps someone else who has will chime in.


    2. I’ve been to 5 or 6 different luaus and always liked Germaine’s the best. Food and entertainment is great and fun and the atmosphere is great…you’re steps from the ocean in a country like setting. It beats a luau at a hotel or at Polynesian Cultural Center. They’re all great but definitely rate Germaine’s a cut above. Chief’s a newer one also had a nice setting right next to a mountain by Makapuu and the show was spectacular. The Breath of Fire show at Polynesian was great but the luau used plastic forks and spoons and powdered creamer for coffee…kind of tacky.

  6. I purchased my Go Card Oahu online from Costco. You get 4 days for the price of 3 days. No Costco membership needed. We paid $358 for 2 go cards. We visited these attraction with a gate admission value of $852.

    Dolphin Encounter by Sea Life Park
    USS Bowfin Submarine
    Battleship Missouri
    Hanauma Bay Snorkel
    All of Oahu in One Day Tour
    Sea Life Park Hawaii
    Diamond Head Hike (with shuttle)
    Makani Catamaran Sail

    1. Curious about purchasing without a Costco membership. How were you able to do that? I was going to buy a Costco membership just for the cards.

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