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New Kauai Transportation Options Launch | But Will It Help?

We just tried out the new website just introduced by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Office of Economic Opportunity. We wanted to check how the website and all of the new options referred to. Will this help visitors? Read on for details of what we found, including some pretty exciting ones. Then, we’d like to hear from you.

The genesis of the new website was to address the critical Hawaii car rental shortage here on Kauai. It aims to offer transportation options that everyone can use. The offerings include the new airport shuttles and Haena service from Hanalei, ride-shares, the Kauai Bus, and even bike rentals. That new website’s plan is to have weekly updates about Kauai transportation issues.

The Get Around Kauai website also purports to address the issue of so many rental cars on a small island. Kauai’s mayor said, “We see the opportunity to do better in managing visitor impact, and that includes implementing transportation mode change on our island… During the pandemic, our residents were given a glimpse of what life is like without the influx of cars on our roads, and there’s no denying how much traffic had improved.”

HTA CEO John De Fries said, “educating visitors about traveling responsibly is key to addressing tourism’s impacts and enhancing the well-being of Kauai’s communities. We encourage travelers to utilize this comprehensive website when planning their trips.”

The website was intended to encourage alternative and green options and reduce island traffic while educating visitors and creating new business opportunities.

Moped on Kauai?

We have heard that Kauai moped rentals have boomed too since tourism came racing back. The companies listed include Kauai Mopeds, Kauai Motorsports, and Kauai Motorcycle.

BOH Tip: We like mopeds as much as anyone and have rented them on appropriate roads in French Polynesia, Bermuda, and elsewhere. On Kauai, however, we find them to be extremely dangerous. They are generally unable to keep up with the flow of traffic, and our roads and drivers are ill-equipped to deal with those in addition to all of the normal vehicular traffic. Perhaps for short distances okay, but please, stay off the highway.

New Haena Shuttle from Hanalei:

This is good news after the landslide in March that limits access into Hanalei. When the shuttle first started to Haena, it left from Princeville. Now it leaves from Waipa, which is just after Hanalei. The last pick-up is at 11:30 am, and the last return is at 5:30 pm. For $35 per person, it includes the day pass for the park and is an alternative to driving if parking permits are not available. Check out the Haena Shuttle for details. Haena State Park includes Kee Beach area, Kalalau Trail, Hanakapiai Beach, and Hanakapiai Trail).

BOH Tip: This is a great new way to get a day pass. When we just checked, there was space available even this week.

“How to Travel with Aloha.”

This is where the website provides recommendations from the local perspective called “Tips from Aunty Lani.”

Expandable topics include:

Give Aloha First and Foremost
Hang Loose the minute you arrive:
We are not all on VACATION!
“Well, where’s the Aloha? I thought this was the Aloha State.”
Take time to learn about where you are:
Beach Etiquette
Space and Noise:
Leave the place better than you found it:
Use reef-safe sunscreen:
Giving animals space at the beach and in the water.
Driving Etiquette.
Speed Limits.
Waving or giving the shaka sign.
Visiting the over visited spots.
Taking a photo or checking directions.
The famous Kauai one-lane bridges.
Respect Mauka to Makai (mountain to ocean)
Don’t let social media be your guide to Kauai.
Ocean Safety.
Trail Safety.
Beautiful Kauai Kalo (Taro) Fields.

Kauai Airport Shuttles.

There are a number of new shuttle services that operate from the airport. Those now include Roberts Hawaii Airport Shuttle, Speedi Shuttle, Kauai Island Shuttle, Polynesian Adventure. Some hotels near the airport also provide shuttle options.

BOH Tip: First, check with where you are staying to begin finding the best shuttle options.

Uber, Lyft, and Holoholo.

Yes, there are rideshares on Kauai. So do try all of those to see if drivers are available.

BOH Tip: We have encountered multiple occasions when there were no rideshare drivers available. At that point, we have always resorted to a taxi.

Taxis on Kauai.

They exist, and they are quite costly. Availability is another question, especially during this time.

Tip: Find out if they are likely to be available and, when possible, schedule it in advance. You might also want to ask what the cost estimate will be.

Kauai car rentals.

We’ve covered car rentals in our post updated post, Hawaii Car Rentals: With Prices Up 250%, What’s Being Done.

Feel free to add your ideas or experiences. Thanks!

35 thoughts on “New Kauai Transportation Options Launch | But Will It Help?”

  1. I was vacationing in Kauai Aug 13-24th. the whole car shortage is a complete scam and its all about making up for losses in extreme. we drove to the area of the airport that’s out of sight where they hold and store all rental cars for all the companies. there was hundreds and hundreds of rental cars overflowing fields of their offsite lots. they want you to believe that cars are very limited, there was no shortage in August yet we payed 1600.00 for a car that normally would be 450-500. complete scam and they will continue with these prices as the new norm because consumers don’t have a lot of other choices. Kauai is never going to be place that will be possible using transit etc. to get around.

  2. This is a good start but has long way to go. We are traveling to Kauai in October and have been watching car rental sites almost daily. Very disappointing. Also we know of no shuttles from the airport to Princeville. And if there was one how would we get from Princeville to hanalei?we really don’t spend much time at the resort. We also go to Kapa’a so we are hoping that some positive action will happen between now and then. Keeping our fingers crossed.

    1. hope you have success, I’m afraid Kauai will never be the same when it comes to costs with rental cars. its a bummer because on e can fly and stay really reasonable up until rental car costs got out of control. I just checked for next year 2022, August and they still have pricing just as high as now.

  3. What an awesome publication! Bless you all who are behind the scenes of the page/website helping those of us who have always dreamed of visiting the beloved Hawaiian islands. Sending you all the love and aloha from Denver, Colorado.

    I can promise you…ensuring I leave Kauai better than I found it is my goal. I’ll pick up trash, if found along the way. And of course dispose of my own properly. I’ll always use Hawaii approved sunscreen (cause I’m so pasty white, it’s sad) but more importantly, I am deeply grateful to have the islands open to visitors and will respect every moment. Whatever covid restrictions are in place, I’ll happily follow and be a leader of such requirements without any complaint. I’m vaccinated however, I’ll be sure to have my masks with me and ready to use when needed. For sure inside any establishment. I hope the residents see that most of us do care. I sure do.

    Love to you!!!

  4. Taxis are quite costly – as someone who has a PUC license from the state of Hawaii I can tell you that all rates are approved by the State. I wonder if you meant they are quite costly compared to the rideshares , who are not available! There is so much confusion out there filling the vacuum of no rental cars, beware. As a local, I love fewer cars than usual but dreading the tsunami when they do return. As a tour guide I love the fewer cars and dread the added traffic. We need shuttle options up and down the Eastside from the airport to most hotels AND Lydgate. A shuttle that in the mornings the local workers could use as a job commute and tourist could use as a shuttle. It has to be reliable (Kapaa Crawl good luck) and at the least hourly. Airport to Kealia beach and back. Keeps visitors out of cars, at least a day or two, and serves the people. Mahalo

  5. Vacationers visiting Kauai fall into two categories: 1) those going to a hotel/resort and 2) those going to a VRBO. If you’re going to a VRBO, most likely you’re going to need a rental car. But, if your going to a beach resort/hotel, you probably don’t need a rental car full-time (I wonder how many rental cars sit in a hotel parking lot?) Maybe the County should work with the hotels and resorts to come up with a better plan for rental cars. For example, take a shuttle to the resort. Then offer day rentals from each hotel (at “reasonable” not “gotcha” rates). This may cut down on the volume of rentals. Also invest in a large taxi fleet of shuttles (not cars) that can take you from any resort to any beach and towns on loops around the island. We never rent a car on St.John USVI, because you don’t need to and the taxis are cheap a few bucks for anywhere on the island.

  6. We recently spent a week on Kauai’s north shore without a vehicle. We used SpeediShuttle from (and back to) the airport. Other than a delay actually getting picked up from the airport we were pleased with the service and both of our drivers. Several days we walked the two miles to Princeville Center and took The Kauai Bus into Hanalei. (Would have used the Haena Shuttle if we had known about it, or maybe it wasn’t yet operating.) Timing our walks to the cooler times of the day worked best and the walking path is paved and pleasant. Walked to beaches close to our condo and therefore had no issues with parking! Yes, things were different than past visits, but if you do a little research ahead of time and embrace the differences you can still have a wonderful time. We did!

  7. Very informative! Thank you. How Do you arriving tourists get this information? I know this post is about alternative transportation but do you know about Turo? Local people renting out their extra cars. (Or couple’s consolidated to one car) It’s a good way for local people to make some income. I’d hope to encourage it. Thank you.

    1. Hi Stacy.

      Thanks. We have written about Turo many times before. That has been anything but a panacea as well during the current car shortage.


  8. I could not find a way to get to the airport on the bus from Kapaa plus it’s not clear about luggage on the bus. I would be happy to ride the bus instead of having someone drop us off at the airport when we travel.

  9. Great news?? Used to park free now you’re telling me $35 obviously limited as to where you can go and how you use your time within a framework that has been commandeered rather than allowing you to experience it as you would like. By the way, no mention here of tunnels Beach??

    1. I was just in Kauai a month ago. Parking is the same as ever at Tunnels – you pretty much have to get there by 8 am or be lucky that someone’s leaving. We gave up on going to Ke’e that we’ve done for years because you have to reserve a permit a month ahead that sells out in moments. I wish this shuttle had been available then. I totally understand that Kauai and many other places is totally trying to control overtourism, and I’m glad they’re figuring out ways like this new website that compromise between tourists, locals, and protecting the environment.

  10. We just completed a week in Kauai. Fortunately, we booked a rental car 6 months prior so we didn’t have to deal with other options. We stayed in Kapaa and we have friends who overlapped our stay but they were in Princeville. They didn’t have a rental car so we picked them up for two days of sightseeing in our car. However, they had scheduled an airport pickup with a popular shuttle company, which unfortunately didn’t pick them up so they had to take a $90 taxi. (They got their money back for the pre-booked shuttle.) I don’t know what we would have done without a car rental and for our friends, we were their only source of transportation for their vacation (except extremely expensive taxies). The schedule for the hop-on-hop off is better than nothing but far from ideal and I don’t see it as a viable long-term solution as it operates now. The traffic around Kapaa in the afternoons is horrible; it takes a long time to get anywhere in Kauai and sights are far from each other. At this point in time, I would not recommend tourists come to Kauai without a rental car reservation unless they will be happy spending the majority of their time at their resort.

  11. I am arriving Tuesday, September 7th and need a shuttle service to Kauai Beach Resort & Spa. In you valued opinion, who provides the best and most reliable service in Kauai?
    Thank you BOH for all you information

    1. Hi Bill.

      We have no experience with the shuttles, so would not feel comfortable recommending one over another.


  12. If you wish to use the Haena shuttle out of Hanalei and you are driving from the South shore, where would suggest leaving your car?

  13. 1. Encouraging visitors to rent mopeds and other similar modes of transportation is reckless.
    2. Maybe if the county cracked down on so many people renting their beat up cars, the rental car situation would even out
    3. Robert’s Tours, which is a way to get around the island can’t find people to work, so check back on my #2 for one reason why people don’t want to go back to work.
    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

  14. Mahalo for all of BOH constant updates and valuable information. In May of this year my husband and I spent nearly 3 weeks on the islands, Hawaii, Oahu and Kauai so I am aware of this year’s trials and tribulations. With that said our time on Kauai was wonderful because we had gotten our rental car long in advance. In considering your article about transportation I believe that the spotty of maybe you can get a taxi, Uber etc, is not ok. A possible solution might be a bus system for a minimal cost, definitely not $35 a day, to hop on and hop off. The bus needs to be available every 30 minutes. Make traveling easy. Hope this helps. Thanks for “listening “.

      1. Long time fan of the islands. Have been about 10 times. I have to say, while I can sympathize with the impact of the crush of post-restrictions surge & pent up Hawaii travel demand, the constant stories on BOH, the political posturing & the general distain for visitors I have seen in some of the Hawaii travel stories have me rethinking where we might go this winter. Hawaii was our top choice, but I am starting to think St. John or St. Croix might be more welcoming. I hope the reaction from locals & the overwhelming by visitors levels out soon. Everything is good with balance, the locals need to be careful that the Aloha spirit doesn’t get lost in the current anti-tourist narrative or the future of Hawaii tourism & the Hawaii economy could suffer from a perception that visitors are not welcome.

        1. St. John’s and St. Croix are beautiful.. Just stay on the left side of the road!! Christiansted and the other towns on St. Croix are very nice to visit.

        2. I totally agree. As visitors to the Island we have to be respectful and that needs to work both ways. I am waiting for a couple of years for all of this to level out and see what the sentiment is to visitors at that time before returning. For now I will do winter travel on the east coast of the mainland or US Virgin Islands. Love the Islands & love the people and the culture, just don’t want to be in an us versus them mindset. So many beautiful places to visit in this country with their own local traditions & cultures to enjoy. I will Immerse myself and enjoy the journey along the way. May God heal the islands and the struggles they now face.

  15. Aloha. its Mounque again. I have a question on Vaccination and if someone had had covid and antibodies. How is Hawaii them. it is advised they do not get vaccinated. But can they enter Hawaii with proof of having had covid and antibodies? Do they still need vaccination or 3 day testing. I appreciate any info you can send.

    1. Hi Mounque.

      There is an exemption for those recovered within the past 90 days. Beyond that period, the only other options are testing or vaccination.


      1. It sounds like a kindergarten class on the suggestions listed above.Too bad for the Condo owners and all the other business’ that we would “have” spent our money on, including Hawaiian Air and all the other “local” establisments, but will no longer as have no desire to spend our money because of your monarch Mayor and Governor. Be nice to see how the residents can survive without our hard earned money going elsewhere. Hope your taxes go through the roof, so the government can survive, without us,!

        1. Boohoo Rich.
          Condo owners don’t live in Hawai’i, they are probably from your state. And most people that live in Kauai don’t live on the backs of tourists dollars. We’re either retired or have jobs that are supported by local residents. Your money usually will go to Costco, your rental car company, and a vacation rental owned by mainlanders.
          Use should look harder into how tourists dollars are really support your ideas of visiting here.
          So stop telling the Hawaiian residents that if it wasn’t for us you could live where you were raised.

  16. Aloha and thanks for the update, this is exciting!

    I admit to being confused about one thing concerning the Haena shuttle. Great that it stops (leaves) at Waipa, but given the road situation and backups getting in and out of Hanalei from the Princeville side, wouldn’t it make a bigger difference for traffic congestion, including for residents, if the shuttles still left from Princeville or some location that side of the roadwork and also stopped at Waipa each way?

    That way visitors could leave rental cars at some designated park and ride location (or maybe get to it by bus) and could avoid both sitting in backups and making residents do the same (or at least decrease the load!) Not to mention all the pollution from idling cars, and less car congestion in Hanalei and beyond.

    Anyway, just a thought for the idea hopper!

  17. Thanks for that information! Any word on travel options on the big island, specifically to the airport?

    1. Hi Aison.

      We have not heard anything about any new Big Island options. There are multiple airport shuttles.


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