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The Top 10 Worst Things About Oahu


For most people who think of Hawaii they have visions of a tropical paradise with beautiful beaches and even better weather.  However, for people who live on the island of Oahu there are plenty of things that make daily life in Hawaii challenging.  Here is my list of the Top 10 Worst Things About Oahu.


1. Traffic: Most tourists who visit Oahu and stay in Waikiki don’t really experience what rush hour traffic is like.  However, locals who have to experience the grinding traffic every day often list this as the worst thing about living in Oahu for good reason.

Honolulu rush hour traffic. Image from the Star Advertiser.
Honolulu rush hour traffic. Image from the Honolulu Advertiser.

2. Parking: Just about everywhere you go in Honolulu finding parking can be a challenge.  What this leads to is that drivers have to follow people exiting stores with their cars and then wait for them to exit the parking spot.  What this leads to is one car blocking parking lot traffic until the person loads everything into their car and pulls out of the spot.  If they are putting little kids into their car seat it even takes longer for them to exit the spot while the car waiting for them is still blocking traffic.  I like to call this being a parking vulture.

Image via the Honolulu Advertiser.
Image via the Honolulu Advertiser.

3. Cost of Living: Since Oahu is an island this means the vast majority of products all have to be imported which leads to inflated prices.  The prices only get further increased in certain resort areas like Waikiki where tourists are willing to pay even higher prices for normal items.  The membership fee for Costco is definitely worth the price here on Oahu.

Image via Oahu Real Estate.
Image via Oahu Real Estate.

4. Housing Prices: For anyone wanting to own their own piece of paradise get ready to pay a huge mortgage every month considering the average single family home price on Oahu is roughly $730,000.   That much money on the mainland would be enough to buy a mansion in some areas instead of 1,500 square foot home on Oahu.  For those looking for cheaper housing try the Big Island where homes are far more affordable than Oahu.

Aerial picture of Honolulu neighborhoods.

5. Crowds: Oahu is a small island with nearly a million people on it.  What this means is that whenever a major event happens get ready to be crowded and wait in long lines, especially on weekends.

Long Line
Get ready to wait in line and wade through crowds at most locations in Honolulu, especially on weekends.

6. Lack of Ferry Boat Service:  For being a multi-island state common sense would lead you to believe there would be a ferry boat service; not so in Hawaii.  There used to be the Hawaii Superferry which the special interests were able to shut it down.  To get to other islands people must fly since there is no ferry boat option.  This causes the cost of living to further increase for locals as they have to pay for an airplane ticket and rental car when visiting another island.

Heavy Traffic (Don't stay too close)
The now defunct Hawaii Super Ferry by Flickr user RussianTexan.

7. Bugs: Due to the warm and wet weather cockroaches and other bugs thrive in Hawaii.  No matter how clean your home is expect to find monster sized cockroaches inside.  The worst are the huge centipedes.  These centipedes can squeeze under doors and get into your house.  Worst is that they are venomous and can leave a nasty sting.

A picture of Hawaii's infamous centipedes. Picture via Beat of Hawaii.
A picture of Hawaii’s infamous centipedes. Picture via Beat of Hawaii.

8. Schools: The public schools in Hawaii are well known for providing a poor education.  This is why many people choose private schools which due to the demand charge extremely expensive prices to attend their schools.  In fact getting into a private school often can be like applying to college because of how selective they can be due to the strong demand.  Personally the biggest problem I have seen is the lack of air conditioning in the schools.  Billions are spent on a light rail system few people will use and a $100 million cannot be found to provide air conditioning for the schools still lacking it.

Image via Osman Realty website.
Image via Osman Realty website.

9. Corruption: Every state has corruption of some kind, but in Hawaii it seems to be taken to a whole different level.  Exhibit A is the light rail construction which has caused costs to balloon by billions of dollars which has enriched the few at the expense of the many for something few people will use.

Image via Huffington Post.
Image via Huffington Post.

10. Homeless Problem: Oahu by far has the most homeless people I have seen in any city.  Considering the great weather and public benefits being homeless in Hawaii is not as rough a life as it would be in other cities.  Most homelessness involves people with drug and alcohol habits or mental disabilities, however on Oahu the homeless population is inflated due to the cost of living that can make people homeless if they miss one paycheck.  What the homeless problem means for people living on Oahu is that certain parks and beaches become “no go” zones because of the amount of homeless people living there that leave trash, drug needles and defecate in the water.  Probably the most annoying aspect of this problem is that many public restrooms in commercial areas require a key for entry to keep the homeless people out.

Many parks, sidewalks and beaches have been taken over by the large homeless population on Oahu. Picture via the Honolulu Advertiser.
Many parks, sidewalks and beaches have been taken over by the large homeless population on Oahu. Picture via the Honolulu Advertiser.


Something to keep in mind is that this list is Oahu specific.  Life on Oahu is very different compared to living on the other islands where traffic and home prices for example are not as ridiculous.  Not everything about Oahu is perfect, but for me the good far out weighs the bad which is why I find this island to be such a great place to live and visit.

Note: You can read about the Top 10 Best Things About Oahu at the below link:


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