Getting Around on Gay Kauai
If you want to see anything on the island, you’re either going to need to get a rental car or take a tour. Fortunately, rental cars are fairly reasonable here. We spent about $220 for a midsized car with four doors from Hertz.
A quick island note: first, when we say Highway, remember that everything is relative. On 95% of the island, the “Highway” is a two lane road that would barely qualify for country road status on the mainland, so restaurants and accommodations near the highway are much quieter than you might assume.
You may hear the terms “mauka” and “makai” when you are getting directions on Kauai. Mauka refers to the mountain side of the road, while makai is the sea side.
There are several highway traffic choke points on the island. Between Lihue and Kapa’a is where the worst island traffic lies, especially in the afternoon. Although the island population currently hovers around 65,000, tourism in the high seasons can more than double that number, and the road infrastructure is not built to handle it.