Getting Around Hawaii
There are several beautiful islands that make up the Hawaiian archipelago and we were lucky enough to have the chance to visit three of them during our time here including: Oahu, the Big Island (Hawaii) and Kauai (the garden island).
Each island was very unique and offered us a completely different experience in terms of climate, activities, food and local interactions. We definitely recommend visiting more than one island if you plan a visit to Hawaii but one thing to be aware of when planning your visit here is transportation.
While we only visited three of the Hawaiian islands, Oahu was essentially the only island you can easily navigate without a car/rental car. Oahu has an extensive city bus system that will take you all over the island for $5/day! We used the bus to get to several trails and back and forth from the airport. To get anywhere from the airport by bus, find the city bus stop on the upper level where arrival check in is, the busses do not pick up from baggage claim.
To navigate the bus system just switch your transportation method from walking or driving to the bus in the GoogleMaps App and it will tell you which number bus to take to get to your destination.
The Big island and Kauai do have some buses in their small towns but they won’t get you from one town to the next. For convenience’s sake we chose to bite the bullet and rent cars on both islands. A Jeep for the big Island because there is a lot of off-roading to be done (we ended up with a flat tire going to Green Sand Beach so be careful!) and a smaller compact car to zip around Kauai. We ended up paying approximately $40/day on the Big Island and $55/day on Kauai. We opted out of insurance because our credit card company (Chase) covers primary insurance for rental cars, this is definitely something worth looking into when deciding on a credit card to use.
Taxis are only really available on Oahu and are extremely expensive, we fell into that trap leaving the airport for the first time because we couldn’t find where the city bus stop was and ended up paying almost $50 to get to our hostel…
Uber is available but is just as expensive as taking a taxi. There are bikes and scooters available to rent on Oahu, $3.50/40 minutes for the city bikes and approximately $30/day for a moped scooter.
Overall, no car necessary on Oahu but we’d definitely recommend it on the other less developed islands. There is also a new app called Turo which is like Airbnb for cars and you can often find good deals for 1 day or more but unfortunately there is usually a 10% upcharge for being under 25 years old. Worth a shot even though we didn’t have a chance to test it out.