You’ve just flown into Lihue Airport from the mainland with your family, and as you steer your rented Jeep through Maluhia Road’s spectacular Tunnel of Trees, you find yourself turning up the volume on the Bluetooth. Your Ziggy Marley tune melds perfectly with all of the lush scenery, and as a rainshower douses your windshield out of nowhere, the wiper blades flick along with the beat.
By the time you emerge from the tunnel, singing loudly as your kids giggle, and are heading toward Poipu on the South Shore, the sun is blazing and the wet greenery is shimmering.
“When can we go find a waterfall, dad?” your little one enthuses from the bumpy back seat, all smiles despite the 10-hour travel day. You promise that as soon as you get checked into the Kauai resort and unpack your suitcases, you can hit the road in search of a big one.
“Looks like Wailua Falls is only 16 miles from our resort,” your teenager says, her nose in her smartphone. “And it’s a double one!”
The Garden Isle of Kauai positively brims with adventure, natural beauty and possibility, and relative to other Hawaiian islands, it is small and less populous. No big cities buttress the beaches, no towering resorts block the sunshine and scant little rush hour clogs traffic. (In fact, you will likely encounter more chickens on the side roads than you will vehicles.) This means you can cover a lot of the island in a short amount of time. Still, fewer folks means fewer public transportation options. Sure you can call a taxi or summon an Uber or Lyft, but they are scarce — especially on a moment’s notice — and some of the more remote adventure spots have limited WiFi to even connect with rideshare apps. Busses are frustratingly time consuming — not to mention their belching crawl seems anathema to Mother Nature’s grandeur. Some resorts have scattered shuttle services, of course, and though bicycles and scooters can be had, most roads do not accommodate them safely, if at all.
Enter: Rental Cars. Procuring one came highly recommended and you are so happy you heeded the advice. Having a car at your fingertips on Kauai makes all the difference in your island experience.
Kaui has one major thoroughfare — the Kuhio Highway — and it takes just under 3 hours to travel from the North Shore’s Haena to the West Side’s Polihale. Along the way you are dazzled by stretches of golden coast, tiny beach towns, picturesque tropical groves and verdant farmland dotted with livestock.
“Whoa, whoa, wait!” your spouse says pointing out toward the Jeep’s windshield toward the most spectacular view of the ocean sparkling beyond a cliff. “Pull over please, love!”
You find yourself hitting the brakes often — for a ginormous rainbow, for a tiny shave-ice truck parked under a coconut tree, as well as at various eye-popping Waimea Canyon lookouts. All well worth the time and brake power.
So yes. You and your entire family are thrilled to have rented this Jeep — and with it the freedom to create your own custom Kauai adventure. And the Ziggy Marley makes it all even better.
Car Rental Tips:
— Book your rental well in advance for best selection and pricing as cars sell out and rates can go into overdrive — especially during high seasons.
— If available, consider renting a car through your resort for convenient pick up and return as you will avoid crowds at the airport. Koloa Landing Resort has an Enterprise desk right in the lobby.
— For steep discounts, Hotwire.com is a great resource. Just be sure to read the fine print about deposits and cancellations which can be strict. A similar route is Discount Hawaii Car Rental.
— Remember that a Jeep, a convertible or any other type of “fun” vehicle becomes an experience in itself. Economy cars make good sense for travelers on a budget.
For more information on rental cars on Kauai contact Koloa Landing Resort where the friendliest locals are ready to help. Or to book directly, use our onsite Enterprise desk or call (808) 742-9395. Aloha — and happy adventuring!
Erica Karlin — Koloa Landing Resort