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Getting around without a car

New York, USA
Level Contributor
59 posts
Getting around without a car

I will be traveling to Kauai staying in Kapaa in early November. I am not comfortable renting a car and driving out of state as I do not drive often. Would it be feasible to get around without a car? I am staying at Islander on the Beach. I want to see Poipu beaches, Princeville, and Waimea. Ideally, I would love to beachhop calm beaches, but I know not having a car may be a big hindrance. I also want to hike the first two miles of the Napali Hike Trail. I am wondering if there are any excursions that may offer pick up and drop off? Thanks!

Level Contributor
2,832 posts
1 review
1. Re: Getting around without a car

You must have a car to see Kauai!

Moorpark, California
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Catalina Island
Level Contributor
15,847 posts
59 reviews
2. Re: Getting around without a car

No, you'll definitely need a car. The driving on Kauai is easy.

New York, USA
Level Contributor
59 posts
3. Re: Getting around without a car

I guess I am nervous I will get lost or not have phone service in certain areas in case I need help. Also worried about parking especially at Islander. It's been 4 years since I have driven. Just looking out for the safety of others :) and myself hehe

Destination Expert
for Maui
Level Contributor
23,100 posts
19 reviews
4. Re: Getting around without a car

You really, really need a car to explore both Kauai and the BI. Trying to book tours on both are insanely expensive! If you are starting on Kauai, it's very easy to drive...1 slow road north to south! That will prepare you for driving the BI!. What you want to do/experience really requires a car!

Santa Rosa...
Level Contributor
19,076 posts
1 review
5. Re: Getting around without a car

Why are you worried about parking at the Islander? Is there something unusual about the parking situation there? Maybe I'm confusing it with another place but if I remember correctly it's just the usual pull into a parking spot / pull out.

You're getting the correct advice from everyone. If you don't have a car you won't be seeing much. You can find a Robert's tour that takes busloads up to Waimea Canyon. You won't find tour busses heading to Poipu beaches , Hanalei or the NaPali trail. Kauai is an island where 95% of the tourists drive. The other 5% find out once they get there that they made a big mistake.

On that note, do you know you're probably in more danger by hiking the NaPali trail solo than driving around Kauai? If you're having visions of Honolulu traffic and congestion don't even think about that. Driving on Kauai is very simple , speed limits are lower and the roads are improved, no different than what most of us drive on the mainland. I know of only one low spot near Anahola where I don't get cell phone service. If you have car trouble no matter where you go there will be a trail of tourists behind you. You won't be trailblazing new roads through jungles. Besides, if you have any car trouble of course you'll be calling your rental company.

Get the car. Kauai is a place where you really can't see the best of the island without one. Your only other options are hiring a cab or private driver ( read $$$$) or being limited to the few places a bus tour would go. The one exception to this would be the Kauai Movie Tour. They use an 8 passenger van and take you to spots on the island where movies have been filmed. That's about the only tour like that which I can easily recommend and it will take you to places the big bus tours don't. But that's only 1 day. The rest you really need a car for.

Edited: 19 September 2015, 02:22
New York, USA
Level Contributor
59 posts
6. Re: Getting around without a car

Nothing unusual about that parking lot. Just read that it gets kind of busy in the lot so you may have to find offsite parking. Not sure how difficult that may be to find or how tight the spots are. Trying not to ding the rental car :) I knew the car would be very convenient for getting around, but was trying to gauge how much of a necessity it is... and it definitely seems like a necessity! How are gas prices there?

La Mirada...
Destination Expert
for Kauai
Level Contributor
18,302 posts
137 reviews
7. Re: Getting around without a car

You will have a difficult time getting to the beaches, Waimea Canyon or any "tourist" areas. The bus is set up to get folks to work in Lihue or Kapa'a...not out to recreation areas. Cabs are horribly expensive and need to be arranged (both directions) in advance. You need to rent a car.....no question about it. I don't know how long you are staying, but any time wasted waiting for a bus or cab or tour bus or even hitching a ride...is just that - wasted vacation time. Consign yourself to renting a car, end, period.

Level Contributor
9,542 posts
48 reviews
8. Re: Getting around without a car

To properly visit Kauai...you need a rental vehicle. The Island is super easy to traverse.

I notice you are not from Oz...where you would have to adapt to side of the road issues....

Definitely....rent a car!!

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
1,786 posts
23 reviews
9. Re: Getting around without a car

We stayed at Krellers within Islander and yes, hard to get park within Islander but we were directed to overflow at Coconut Marketplace.

Level Contributor
41,599 posts
130 reviews
10. Re: Getting around without a car

Its just a pain to get back on the highway from Islander. I bet that is what is a concern too. Sure you can come to Kauai and not rent a car but you are at the mercy of commercials tours to see Princeville, Hanalei, Waimea Canyon etc. If you are fine with that, take a taxi from the airport to Islander and keep their card. You will need it. Besides the still being rebuilt Coconut Marketplace, there are only a few other places to walk to from this location.

Kauai is easy to drive around. One main highway. Do you have a smart phone? It will be your best friend. Just tell the navigation to take you to _____ and you will be there soon.

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