Know Before You Go, Shaka Guide's Honolulu Backyard Rainforest Tour

Know Before You Go, Shaka Guide's Honolulu Backyard Rainforest Tour

Shaka Guide

Shaka Guide's Honolulu Backyard Rainforest Tour


Start Planning!

You’re about to go on an awesome adventure, but there are a few things you should know about the tour before you get started.

  • This tour is completed in a loop, starting and ending in Waikiki.
  • Expect to spend 3-5 hours on the tour.
  • We recommend starting before 11:00 a.m.
  • The only spot to grab food is at Manoa Marketplace.
  • Lyon Arboretum is open from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on weekdays and closed on weekends; there’s no admission fee but a donation is recommended. 
  • Tantalus Lookout is open daily from 7:00 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.
  • Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
  • National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Foster Botanical Garden is open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. There is a nominal entrance fee to enter, check out budgeting below.
  • Bring some cash! Parking at Manoa Falls is cash only.

What to Expect

To Spend 3-5 Hours Exploring

This tour is a bite-sized, half-day excursion that takes you just outside the city. As you zig-zag through the nearby mountains, you’ll visit some cool spots like Manoa Falls, Tantalus Lookout, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. We recommend you start the tour before 11:00 a.m. to make sure you get to all the stops before they close!

To Be Active

There are two hikes on this tour -- Manoa Falls and the Tantalus Arboretum Hike. Both are family-friendly and take you through some of the island’s lush forests. While you're here, this area of Oahu has hundreds of hikes; so, if you’re inclined feel free to do some more! In addition, there are a few short strolls where you can get out and explore nearby views or parks.

To Try Local Food

There’s only one stop for food along the tour route and that’s at Manoa Marketplace. When you park in the lot, you’ll see Safeway and Starbucks. Two doors down from the Starbucks is a great little poke spot, Off the Hook. If you want to try one of Hawaii’s most popular dishes, here’s where you can! You can also grab a shave ice later in the tour at Shimazu Shave Ice.

To Learn

This may be a half-day tour, but there’s no shortage of information! This tour really goes into some unique history about Hawaii from stories about Hawaiian music to tales about the neighborhood where Barack Obama grew up. In the end, you’ll leave with a deeper understanding of the island.


  • How much you spend truly depends on what you do along the tour route, but here’s a breakdown of some costs:
  • $5.00: Parking at Manoa Falls (cash only)
  • $5.00 per person: Foster Botanical Garden (children 6-12: $1, children under 5: free)
  • $1.00 - $10.00: Donation at Lyon Arboretum (there’s no entrance fee)
  • $15.00 per person: Lunch
  • $5.00: Shave Ice at Shimazu Shave Ice

Start Packing!

Here’s our packing list for this tour. It may seem a little long, but remember, what you bring depends on the activities you choose to do for the day. 

  • Sneakers 
  • Hiking Clothes 
  • Water Bottle 
  • Bug Spray (rainforest = mosquitoes) 
  • Towel 
  • Bathing Suit 
  • Sandals 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Sun Glasses and/or Hat 
  • Snacks 
  • Cash 
  • Car Charger *Very Important*
  • Phone Mount 

Malama Aina

In Hawaiian the word malama means “to take care” and the word aina means “land.” When you’re in Hawaii, we ask that you practicMalama and pick up your trash; respect the marine life, plants, and animals; and avoid unsafe spots. Hawaii’s natural resources are precious, it’s up to all of us to help preserve these resources for generations by respecting the aina when you visit. 

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We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at

RELATED: 10 Ways to be a Safe and Responsible Traveler in Hawaii

For more help planning your day check out our Honolulu Backyard Rainforest Tour suggested itineraryManoa Falls Travel Guide



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