After you decide which Hawaiian island you’re going to visit and where you’re going to stay, the next step is figuring out how you’re going to get around the island.
The circumstances of travel are different for everyone – perhaps even members of the same party – and so it’s wise to consider all the transportation options available on Maui. You wouldn’t want to spend the money to rent a car, for example, if a quick, convenient shuttle system could get you where you want to go.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
- Is a rental car needed on Maui?
- Is there public transport on Maui?
- What other transport options are there?
- How to get to/from the airport on Maui
- Taking the Ferry to Lanai and Molokai
Below, we explore the transportation options you’ll find on Maui, including rental cars, public buses, regional shuttles, and more.
Is a rental car needed on Maui?
The answer to this question completely depends on how you envision spending your time on the island, and what other transportation options are available nearby.
For example, if you’re staying in Kaʻanapali and plan to be a beach bum, you may find the combination of your legs, ride share services, and the regional trolley (see below) to be sufficient. In this case, you wouldn’t have a need for a car on a daily basis.
But, if seeing every nook and cranny of the island is on your agenda, or you’re staying somewhere remote, like Upcountry Maui or Hāna, then renting a car is a must.
Here are some things to consider:
Tips for renting a car on Maui:
- Be honest about your travel plans. Depending on what you plan to do while on Maui, your need for a car can vary. Those who see themselves coming and going throughout their trip will find a car to greatly enhance their efficiency and range of exploration, as will those who are staying in remote areas. Beach bums staying in communities with better walkability may find they don’t need to rent a car.
- It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you find yourself somewhere in between, consider renting a car for only part of the trip to balance your budget and adventure needs. Dedicate a number of days to explore with a car, and a number of days to stay closer to your home base. Ride share and trolley services can be of service for shorter trips.
- When renting a car, head online to book. In most circumstances, the lowest price you’re going to find will be online via the company’s website. Don’t call and ask for a rate, as many will up-sell over the phone to unknowing customers.
- Check out third-party sites. Third-party sites like Discount Hawai‘i Car Rental and Expedia can sometimes land you a low rate as well.
- Take advantage of favorable cancellation policies. Many companies offer free cancellation. This can be a useful tool, especially if you want to lock in a low rate ahead of time.
- Don’t forget about parking costs. Does your hotel charge for parking? If so, you’re going to want to include that cost when budgeting for a rental car.
Is there public transportation on Maui?
Yes, there is a local bus on Maui, and it can be useful in certain situations and routes. Here’s what to know about the Maui Bus.
- The Maui Bus is a cheap way to get around. An unlimited day pass will cost you $4.00. Otherwise, it’s $2.00 per trip.
- The schedule and route maps can be found online. Check out the Maui Bus website or the Maui Bus app.
- The bus can be slow. Though reasonably on-time, buses can be delayed/late at times, and make frequent stops that extend travel times between destinations.
- The bus is best for trips along the west coast. The Maui bus has several routes that service Kaʻanapali, Lāhainā, and Kīhei efficiently.
What other transportation options are there?
There are other options for getting around Maui. Here are a few to consider:
If you’re staying in Kaʻanapali, you can make use of the Kaʻanapali trolley to get around the area. It’s free to ride and makes several stops within the Kaʻanapali resort area, including the hotels, shops, and golf courses.
Maui isn’t densely populated and its small towns are spread out, so you won’t find the same biking/commuter culture as you will on Oʻahu. That said, if you’re looking for an easy way to get around within town and explore, renting a bike is affordable and practical.
There’s no official city/island program for bike sharing on Maui; instead, bike rentals are obtained through local shops in the various beach towns around the island, such as Lāhainā or Kīhei. There are a range of options, including e-bikes, hybrids, road bikes, and beach cruisers, and a variety of rental shops, like Boss Frog’s and West Maui Cycles.
You can expect to pay approximately $75 a week for a beach cruiser and $250 a week for an electric bike.
Maui’s rural feel and scenic roadways make it a great place to get around by scooter or moped. They aren’t necessarily cheap – prices start at about $60 a day or $350 per week – but they are fun to drive and especially handy when visiting Maui beach parks and other crowded areas where parking is limited.
Many shops around Maui rent scooters, so it’s best to shop around for the best deal. They are typically available in half, full day, and multi-day rentals. Keep in mind that these scooters are only useful and realistic along the coast. If you try to take a scooter or moped to the higher elevations, the steep roads and changing weather will give you trouble.
Both Uber and Lyft operate on Maui, but we recommend giving a new, locally-owned rideshare app called Holoholo a try, where appropriate.
How to Get To/From the Airport
If you don’t rent a car, here are the best ways to get between the airport and your hotel.
Airport shuttles (to and from Kahului airport)
If you decide not to rent a car and don’t want to pay the high rates of taxis and ride shares, you can use an airport shuttle service to get to your hotel from the airport. Shared shuttles are the most economical way to get from the airport to most major hubs; however, they do take a bit longer since they make multiple stops. The two most popular companies are:
- Robert’s Hawaiʻi services every major hub on the island and prices start at just $19 per person for a shared shuttle (private transfers start at $79).
- Speedi Shuttle services the entire island as well, though it varies its rates based on where you’re going. Prices start at $25 for Kīhei/Wailea and $39 for Lāhainā and Kaʻanapali.
Taking the Ferry to Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi
On Maui, you have the unique opportunity to travel to two other Hawaiian islands via ferry instead of taking a flight. Both companies also offer packages to go along with the ferry ride (such as snorkeling), but don’t forget that the ferry ride is a scenic “tour” in itself, with incredible views of several islands. You can bring everything you need for the day on board – even a cooler!
The Maui-Lānaʻi passenger ferry makes four roundtrip voyages to Lānaʻi per day, every day, between Lāhainā and Manele Boat Harbor. Cost is $60 for a roundtrip ticket. It’s a short walk from the ferry dock to Hulopoʻe beach and bay. The Manele-Hulopoʻe Marine Conservation District is a great place to snorkel.
The Maui-Molokaʻi ferry makes three roundtrip voyages every day between Lāhainā and Kaunakakai on Molokaʻi. The cost is $80 for a roundtrip ticket. It’s a short transfer into town from the ferry dock.