Barbers Point Flight School's instructors are airline pilots who share a common goal: to help their students and tour groups discover the joys of flight. Propellers roaring, their Cessna aircraft soar above Oahu during demo flights, which mark the first step toward FAA certification. Students can also enroll in personalized training courses covering subjects such as turbine engines and long-range navigation.
As the third largest Hawaiian Island, Oahu provides a sprawling backdrop for the flight school's tours and lessons. Passengers can look out over the towering cityscapes of Honolulu and the winding coastlines of Mamala Bay before returning safely back to Earth. Back on the ground, Barbers Point Flight School visitors can explore the onsite NAS museum sprinkled with decommissioned fighter jets and fossilized airline meals.
Friendly drivers steer AlohaBus's fleet of double-decker buses through Honolulu streets, chaperoning tourists and intrigued locals to scenic and historic locations and allowing riders to disembark or climb aboard at any point. Vehicles arrive every 30–45 minutes at each stop, and riders can enjoy fresh ocean breezes from the open-top vehicles. The buses make eight continuous loops from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., including the daytime historic loop that explores Diamondhead, Waikiki, the Pearl Harbor express loop, and the nighttime loop that meanders through shopping and dining destinations. Complimentary earbuds play music and a GPS-activated narrative whispers fun facts in five languages, including English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and GPS's native binary. Guests can hop off at stops to get an up-close look at areas of interest or to refill the bus's gas tank with coconut milk.
• For $20, you get the Pearl Harbor and Honolulu city tour (a $49.50 value). • For $32, you get the Grand Circle island tour (a $79.50 value). VIP Transportation ushers lei-laden travelers around Oahu with shuttle services and guided tours to the island’s natural and supernatural attractions. The five-hour Pearl Harbor and Honolulu city tour starts by hauling adventurers directly to the historic waters of the 1941 Japanese attack, where they can board the U.S.S. Arizona memorial. From there, the journey proceeds to downtown Honolulu and Chinatown, illustrating the story of Hawaii’s transition from a monarchy into a U.S. state as it weaves through sites such as the state capitol and Iolani Palace—a royal palace on U.S. soil and backup storeroom for Hawaii Five-O film reels. The tour departs between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and returns between noon and 1:00 p.m.
Enchanted by a walking tour of Manhattan he took in 2007, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reports, Casey Hewes decided that his hometown of Honolulu deserved a similar guided trek focused on its rich history and culture. After recruiting former police officer and fellow lifelong history buff Richard Wong, Hewes opened Ohana Walking Tours one year later. Richard meets patrons beneath the Aliiolani Hale archway—situated right behind the King Kamehameha statue—and leads a two-hour jaunt past such attractions and landmarks as the Iolani Palace and the mayor's office. Guests also visit numerous Hawaiian firsts, including the state's first church, police station, and pizzeria, which was formed by a cooling volcano full of ham and pineapple. Throughout the tour, Richard connects rich anecdotes about Honolulu's past with their relevance to contemporary issues affecting the city today.
Somehow, every scuba-diving trip is distinct, even visits to well-traveled locations. Pearl Harbor Divers' team, for example, had visited the wreck of the USS Scrimmage, a World War II minesweeper, many times before. But one evening, while slipping through the water above the site, the crew heard a puff of air burst from the ocean, drowning out the motor. A humpback whale then crested just 15 feet from the boat. When the captain cut the engines, the crew realized they were surrounded by whales, which continued to break through the surface and catch breaths tinged with ocean spray in the moonlight.
In the shop, which is certified by the National Association of Underwater Instructors, guides work toward such unique experiences on scuba diving and snorkeling trips. They lead clients—including handicapped divers—to sunken ships, airplanes, lava caverns, and coral reefs throughout the Hawaiian Islands. On these dives, groups encounter common creatures such as sea turtles and native fish, as well as rare marine animals such as shy Pacific bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals. The instructors pride themselves on their ability to teach and engage by imparting the facts and historical significance of wrecks. They can also name and discuss each species that divers spot, at least the ones documented by science. On the nighttime Dive the Abyss adventure, divers are tethered within 40 feet of the boat and watch bioluminescent creatures, many of which are still not cataloged by zoologists, arise from depths of up to 2,000 feet.
In addition to dives, instructors conduct courses that work towards open-water or instructor certification. Chatter about past adventures drifts from a full-service pro shop, where technicians sell, service, and repair equipment from brands such as Atomic, Aeris, Oceanic, Mares and Zeagle.
Scream Team creates new nightmares by bringing already existing ones to life, drawing upon horror staples such as demonic clowns and decaying zombies for their fully immersive haunted houses. In 2011, a rogue’s gallery of cinematic madmen—from Michael Myers to Freddy Krueger to Nick Nolte—brought hypothermia to the spines of patrons tiptoeing through Hollywood Horror, which ran alongside the blood-spattered carnival of Twisted Fun House. Their houses stay open through the end of October and then, like an office of candy-corn salesmen, vanish after Halloween.
Jon Jepson draws on his experience navigating the seas for 20 years while captaining Makani Catamaran's crew in a 65-foot luxury vessel that he helped build. He strives to combine grand prix sailing with charter boat comfort while capably navigating waters from Seattle to the Panama Canal.
During morning, afternoon, and evening cruises, Captain Jon's staffers sling refreshments as the ship clips through the waves at speeds of up to 30 knots, zipping past paddling sea turtles or schools of dolphins. Inside the $1.8 million catamaran, an LCD television with a Bose surround-sound system immerses viewers in in-depth exposés of Davy Jones's locker. Below two billowing sails, tanners loll on special nets at the ship's stern, and bartenders pour soft drinks or stronger stuff to fortify them.