Do You Need to Rent a Car In Kauai?


There’s a lot to think about when planning a trip to Kauai. Not only will you be organizing an itinerary of things to do, deciding which side of the island to stay on and choosing the best month to visit to suit the vacation you have in mind, but you’ll also need to consider how you’re going to get around the island during your stay.

Kauai isn’t a massive island, but its towns and villages are fairly spread apart, making it very difficult to get between them on foot. So do you need a car in Kauai? This post has all the answers.

Do I Need a Rental Car in Kauai?

In short, the answer to whether you need a rental car in Kauai is yes!

The areas of population on the island are geographically distant from each other, so unless you’re planning on staying in the same place for your entire vacation, you’ll need a car to travel from town to town. You don’t need a car if you want to stay in Hanalei, Kapaa or Poipu without the desire to see any other parts of Kauai, but if you’re staying on the island for more than a couple of days we reckon you’ll probably want to explore.

Most of the best free things to do on Kauai like secret beaches, local attractions and hiking trails can only be accessed by car away from the main highway the bus runs on. If you’re planning on visiting the natural beauty spots of the island, renting a car will give you much more freedom to discover remote locations and make it easier to enjoy the incredible scenery that Kauai is so famous for.

Having a rental car also makes it easier to enjoy activities in Kauai in the evening, as you can come and go without trying to coordinate with public transport or have to book a taxi.

Driving at Sunset

How to Get a Rental Car in Kauai

The good news if you decide to rent a car in Kauai is that there are plenty of places that offer vehicles to travelers temporarily. You’ll find most of these companies based near the largest towns on the island and by Lihue airport, as many visitors to Kauai need a rental car to get from the airport to their accommodation on the island.

You will need a valid driver’s license to rent a car on Kauai, and will also need to pay for car insurance to cover you for the duration of your vacation. Kauai is a relatively easy island to drive around without any particularly ‘off-road’ areas, but roads in the larger towns are known to get congested at peak times, which you should bear in mind.

There’s a limited number of rental cars available on Kauai, so it’s strongly recommended that you book your vehicle in advance, especially if you’re visiting in the peak season for tourism.

Alternatively, we offer our guests the option to take charge and organize renting a car in Kauai for them, delivering this to your accommodation to save you the hassle of waiting around for a vehicle to be ready. We can also arrange an airport pickup service that takes you straight to your island home where your rental car will be ready and waiting.

Can You Get Around Kauai Without a Car?

You can get around Kauai without a car, as there are bus services on the island and taxis are also available. However, public transport isn’t particularly frequent and is quite limited in the areas that you can visit, so if you’re looking for total freedom when getting around Kauai then a rental car is recommended.

If you aren’t planning on traveling much further than your accommodation, electric bike rentals are a good alternative option for guests that want an easy way to explore their local area but don’t need a car for their vacation.

Road in Kauai


The majority of travelers that visit Kauai require rental cars, which means that it is pretty easy to find a company to rent one from and shop around for the right deal that suits you. Having a car on Kauai makes it much easier to see the island at your own pace and discover some of the top-rated attractions and destinations that are a little off the beaten track, making your visit all the more special.

If you’re planning a visit to Kauai and are looking for somewhere to stay on the island, Pure Kauai offers an exclusive range of villas that are perfect for a luxurious trip away. Browse our collection here or get in touch and talk to our team to find out more about the services we offer our guests, including rental car services.

Published on Wednesday, November 16, 2022