• Jack Solomon

The Best Oahu Tour Guide App

Hiring a tour guide or purchasing a bus tour excursion can get costly, especially when traveling as a family. Additionally, tour busses often herd their passengers like cattle, allowing minimal freedom to take your time and explore the beautiful places to visit on Oahu.

That’s where Shaka Guide comes in: the Hawaiian tour guide app takes you to the top Hawaiian attractions, as well as the best hidden secrets other tours often miss. It makes it easy to find tons of fun things to do in Hawaii.

Throughout the tours, I was able to spend as little or as much time at each location as I wanted– in fact, I even skipped a couple of locations altogether. Because the tours play automatically based on your location, you don’t have to do anything to bypass a stop, you just keep driving.

What sets apart Shaka Guide from other tour apps is the amount of work the creators put into making the audio experience feel authentic. The narration is informative and funny at the same time– all of the stories and descriptions are told in a humorous manner and feature plenty of pidgin (Hawaiian slang).

Another nice touch was the local music that plays in-between narration points– I half expected to look back and see hula dancers in the back seat!

A useful feature of Shaka Guide is the ability to take the tours and use the map of Oahu offline (without cell service). Because the app uses your phone’s GPS, you can download the tour while you have wifi and then use it anywhere on the island. This especially comes in handy in places with little or no cell reception, which is surprisingly common when exploring the jungles and valleys of Hawaii. Also, if you aren’t from the US, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on SIM cards or data.

Shaka Guide’s Oahu app features two different tours:

1.) Circle Island Tour

The Circle Island Tour costs $6.99 and takes you from Waikiki to the North Shore on the scenic route (up and around the east side). It’s called the “circle island” tour because you loop around the Island and circle back to where you started in Waikiki.

I started the tour around 9am and returned to Honolulu around 6pm, so the tour is easily an all day excursion. I would recommend starting a bit earlier than I did so that you can spend more time at the beaches on the North Shore towards the end of the tour.

This is the best option for seeing as much of the island as possible in one day– it takes you through Waikiki/Honolulu, East Side, and North Shore. Along the way you’re given a ton of history, fun facts, and cultural knowledge about Oahu. The app and tour highlight plenty of places to eat, so there’s no need to do much research before hand.

Once you get to the North Shore, the tour stops at all of the major beaches including Sunset, Waimea bay, and Pipeline. If you go in the winter, you’ll get to see some giant waves!

2.) South Shore Tour

While the Circle Island Tour takes you to the North Shore, the South Shore Tour shows you around Oahu’s southern shore and windward (East) side and costs $5.99. Much like the Circle Island Tour, the South Shore Tour finishes in a loop and brings you back to the starting point in Waikiki.

While there are fewer stops than its counterpart, the South Shore Tour could still take a whole day to complete if you spend a lot of time at each stop. However, the tour should be completed in about 5 hours.

Oahu’s Southern shore is home to many white sand beaches, but it also features volcanic craters and lava rock cliffs. There’s so much to see condensed into a relatively small area– using Shaka Guide ensures you won’t miss out on a must see destination.

Benefits of Shaka Guide (TL;DR)

  • Shaka Guide eliminate’s the need to research what to do, sightsee, and eat on Oahu

  • Makes it easy to see most of the island in one day

  • Cheap ($6-7 a tour)

  • Tours and map of Oahu work offline eliminating the need for cell service

  • Learn stories, history, and fun facts about Oahu during the tours

  • Freedom to explore and skip stops if desired