Kauai Island Transportation
 
 Kauai Guide

Kauai Travel Guide

Land
Kauai Beach Guide
Things to do Kauai
Kauai Hiking Trails
Kalalau Trail
Waimea Canyon
Na Pali Coast
Sights of Kauai

Kauai Watefalls

Ocean
Kauai Snorkeling
Kauai Diving
Diving Ni'ihau

Hawaiian Monk Seal
Kauai Ocean Activities

 Travel Planning
Island Overview
Kauai North Shore
Kauai Poipu Resorts
Family Vacations
What to Pack
Where to Stay
Transportation

Kauai Nightlife
 Kauai Hotels Near
Lihue
Kapaa
Hanalei
Princeville
Poipu
Wailua

Waimea
 

 

Getting Around the island of Kauai

Arriving Kauai
Most visitors will be arriving Kauai at Lihue Airport.  This airport offers direct flights from the mainland of the USA and overseas destinations.  Additionally, inter-island flights frequent Lihue Airport.  If you have a window seat on the airplane, you will notice the blue waters and beaches on arrival - but most notable is the rugged, green terrain on Kauai.  This airport is simple, efficient, and visually pleasing.  It is almost the spitting image of the Hilo Airport in uncanny detail!  Most of the airport is open-air and features Hawaiian art and decorations.  You will quickly arrive at baggage claim and move on to transportation. 

If you are renting a vehicle, you may be in for a long wait.  For some reason, the rental car companies at Lihue are horribly inefficient even though they are well-manned.  Additionally, the rental car desks are not adjacent the terminal and will require a short shuttle bus ride to get to (and anther ride back when you return your rental car).  Most recently, we had our reservations through Hertz and it took over an hour to get our car - even for the Hertz Gold members!  Find the lowest rates on Kauai rental cars.

 

Downtown Lihue, Kauai

Driving Around Kauai
First, we want to strongly recommend that you rent a vehicle for your stay in Kauai.  Kauai's public transportation system is not very robust and many of the attractions on the island are spread out requiring you to drive - sometimes more than an hour at a time.  Kauai is not a large island, but it can take a long time to drive around.  Kauai has one major road that circumnavigates most of the island - Route 50 to the south and Route 56 to the north.  This road is only one lane each direction with next to no shoulder and the speed limit is between 35 and 50 MPH.  Roads do not form a complete circle around the island because road workers were never able to pave a road across the Alakai Swamp; thus the road is one long line from Polihale Beach to Ke'e Beach.  Parts of the road are windy, with many side views of beaches along the coast, and it traverses many one-lane bridges in the northern part of the island.

Because of the fact that the roads are only two lanes wide, traffic can be brutal - especially at Pau Hana Time (Hawaiian phrase meaning "quit work time").  Moreover, the roads are not well marked on Kauai with minimal road signs and next to no signs labeling towns, beaches, attractions, or trailheads.  Before setting out on your drive, do a thorough route-study and arm yourself with a good map and if you have one - a GPS.

Here are some rough estimates for driving time in minutes:

From To

Minutes

Lihue Kapaa 15
Lihue Princeville 45
Lihue Poipu 25
Lihue Waimea 35
Lihue Waimea Canyon 60
Princeville Poipu 70
Princeville Waimea 80

Kauai Cruise Ships Port of Call
Some will also arrive via cruise ship at the port of Nawiliwili, on Kauai's Coconut Coast (southeastern part of the island).  Dollar car rental company sends a courtesy shuttle to your cruise ship dock and takes you back to the airport, where the vehicles are located. Upon returning the rental car, the courtesy shuttle will take you back to your originating dock.  For reservations, enter location code LIH for Lihue (a 10-15 minute shuttle bus ride from the Nawiliwili Port.  View map of Nawiliwili.

Dollar Rent-a-Car, Inc.
Enter Location Code LIH

 

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