Getting Around, Kauai Travel, Transport and Car Rental

(Kauai, Hawaii - HI, USA)

Lihue Airport (LIH) photoThere is little in the way of public transport on Kauai, although the island's buses are a fairly reliable and cheap way to travel between the beaches and resorts. If you have chosen to base yourself in one particular area of Kauai, you will likely be able to walk to many attractions, although bicycle hire may be worth considering and this is become a very popular travel option with island holiday makers.

A large number of holiday makers visiting Kauai choose a rental car as their preferred mode of transport. The majority of national car hire companies are well represented at Lihue Airport, although do check where you will be permitted to travel, since some firms restrict certain areas of the Garden Island. These include unpaved roads, which are often located close to some of the more remote attractions, and so you may therefore wish to consider hiring a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Runway view, at Lihue Airport (LIH)

Lihue Airport (LIH) / Arriving by Air

Address: 3901 Mokulele Loop, Lihue, Hawaii HI, 96766, USA
Tel: +1 808 274 3800
Lihue Airport is the island's main airport and is situated some 2 miles / 3 km from Lihue, on the town's easterly outskirts. The airport resides on the south-eastern coastline of Kauai, where it serves a selection of international airlines, which travel to destinations such as Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle, amongst other American cities. Closer to home, Lihue Airport also features regular flights to the Hawaiian islands of Maui (Kahului) and Oahu (Honolulu). Do try to get a window seat if possible, since when you arrive and the plane is preparing to land, the views of Kauai and its lengthy coastline are incredible.

Aerial island picture of Waimea town

Car Rental

Kauai contains two lengthy highways, meaning that many leading places of interest are easy to travel to by car. The Kaumualii Highway, referred to locally as the 'State Route 50', heads in an east-west direction, connecting island towns such as Hanapepe, Kalaheo, Kekaha and also Waimea, before finally finishing at the Na Pali Coast. Running in a north-south the Kuhio Highway, otherwise known as the 'State Route 56', travels through prominent island locations including Hanalei, Kapaa, Kilauea and Princeville.

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Photo showing island road


Budget travelers will find that buses are the only form of public transport on the island and generally provides a very satisfactory way to travel to the main sights and between beach resorts, including both Kapaa and Lihue. However, the more secluded beaches and rural locations, such as the Kokee area, are not connected by bus and so may be out of reach.

Boats and Ferries

There are a number of different ferry services currently available on the island, offer inter-island travel between other members of the Hawaiian archipelago. The Hawaii Super Ferry links Kauai with the neighboring islands of Oahu (three hours), Maui (four hours) and the Big Island (five hours). This is a relatively new service and times are subject to change. Nawiliwili has recently become one of the island's most noteworthy ports and is close to Kalapaki Beach, being regularly frequented by enormous cruise liners.