Credit

Courtesy of M Swiet Productions/Getty Images

Getting Around Kauai

The best way to get around Kauai is in a car actually, the only way to get around Kauai is in a car. The bus system, though inexpensive, does not cater to tourists. Taxis are virtually nonexistent, though you will see them congregate at Lihue Airport (LIH), which is near the town of Lihue on the southeastern side of Kauai. Many hotels also provide free shuttle service to and from the airport.

There are direct flights into the Lihue Airport from several North American destinations, but many travelers choose to fly through Honolulu International Airport (HNL). If you opt for the layover, try to get a seat on the left side of the plane as you island-hop: You'll have an awesome view of Kauai as you approach the island.

Car

Kauai is meant to be explored; to do so, you'll need a car. You'll find that driving is easy, as there are really only two major highways on the island (Kaumualii and Kuhio Highways). The most important thing to do is reserve your rental car before you depart. Since so many people choose this option for getting around Kauai, rental cars are in very high demand, especially during peak tourism season (winter and summer). So much so that if you travel during peak periods and don't rent a car in advance, it is possible that there may be little to no cars available to rent. And if you are able to snag one last minute, the prices will most certainly be much higher. 
Another tip: check your personal car insurance policy before you arrive. Hawaii is a no-fault state and the agencies will try to sell you collision coverage. Your policy might already cover you when driving elsewhere. Also be aware that driving in Hawaii is much different than in the mainland. Like the culture of Hawaii, driving here is very laid back. The highest speed limit here is 50 miles per hour, with residential areas as low as 10 miles per hour. Honking here as a means of telling someone to hurry up is very frowned upon. Kauaians only honk if there is a hazard ahead.

Kauai is meant to be explored; to do so, you'll need a car. You'll find that driving is easy, as there are really only two major highways on the island (Kaumualii and Kuhio Highways). The most important thing to do is reserve your rental car before you depart. Since so many people choose this option for getting around Kauai, rental cars are in very high demand, especially during peak tourism season (winter and summer). So much so that if you travel during peak periods and don't rent a car in advance, it is possible that there may be little to no cars available to rent. And if you are able to snag one last-minute, the prices will most certainly be much higher. 

Another tip: check your personal car insurance policy before you arrive. Hawaii is a no-fault state and the agencies will try to sell you collision coverage. Your policy might already cover you when driving elsewhere. Also be aware that driving in Hawaii is much different than in the mainland. Like the culture of Hawaii, driving here is laid-back. The highest speed limit here is 50 mph, with residential areas as low as 10 mph. Honking here as a means of telling someone to hurry up is very frowned upon. Kauaians only honk if there is a hazard ahead.

Bus

There is an affordable bus system on Kauai, but it's not really convenient for tourists. Buses do stop near hotel-heavy areas, such as Poipu and Wailua, as well as the airport, but getting to top attractions, including anywhere near the Napali Coast, will be incredibly difficult. Another big drawback is that passengers are not allowed bring suitcases or even large backpacks onboard, so if you are wanting to take the bus to your hotel or even plan a big day at a faraway beach, you may not be able to board due to the luggage restrictions. Still, if you'd like to take the bus at least once, service hours are Monday through Friday 5:27 a.m. to 10:40 p.m. and 6:21 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays. Fares range from $1 to $2 per passenger.

Taxi

Taxis are available in Kauai but are fewer and farther between in comparison to more populated islands, such as Oahu. Still, you can find taxis on the island but you're going to have to work harder to get to them by calling and scheduling in advance. Fares here are regulated by the Kauai government so no matter which taxi company you choose to use, all the prices are supposed to be the same. Fares start at $3 for the first tenth mile then becomes an additional $0.30 cents for every tenth mile thereafter. Ride-hailing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, are also available on Kauai.

Explore More of Kauai

Recommended

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019

The 16 Best Seattle Tours

Explore the Emerald City's natural beauty and urban offerings with these guided excursions.

Lyn MettlerJune 12, 2019

The 24 Best London Tours

Whether it's your first time in London or you're a repeat visitor, you'll experience a side of the city you've never seen with these tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJune 6, 2019

The 21 Best Paris Tours

Enhance your visit to the City of Love with one of these top tours.

Claire LawtonJune 5, 2019

The 20 Best New York City Tours

These guided tours help make the most of your time in the Big Apple.

John RodwanJune 4, 2019

The 24 Best Rome Tours

Enjoy the efficiency of an organized tour led by experts who bring Rome's history to life.

Kyle McCarthyMay 31, 2019

The 8 Best Savannah Ghost Tours

Prove you're not afraid of the dark by taking one of these terrifying tours.

Gwen PratesiMay 31, 2019