Walking a coastal path in Maui Walking a coastal path in Maui – Image courtesy of www.gohawaii.com

How to get around Maui

The best way to get around Maui is by hire car, especially if you want to reach off-the-beaten-path sights. A public bus service offers regular services around the island, and taxis are easily available for short trips. Bicycles are also easy to rent.

Main roads on Maui are called highways whether they’re busy four-lane thoroughfares or just quiet country roads. Islanders refer to highways by name, and rarely by number. If you stop to ask someone how to find Hwy 36, chances are you’ll get a blank stare – ask for the Hana Hwy instead.

Most Maui roads are paved. The notorious Piʻilani Hwy in southeast Maui is only part-paved but is usually passable for cars.

Traffic drives on the right. Seat-belt use is mandatory, and texting on a mobile phone while driving is illegal. Talking on a cell phone is only allowed for adult drivers (age 18 and over) who use a hands-free device.

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense. It's illegal to carry open containers of alcohol (even if they're empty) inside a car.


Transport options

Air: Mokulele Airlines offers three daily flights from Kahului Airport to tiny Hana Airport, cutting a two-hour drive to a 20-minute flight.

Kahului Airport (OGG) is the Maui’s main airport. There are two smaller commuter airports as well: Kapalua Airport (JHM) in West Maui and Hana Airport (HNM) in East Maui.

Car hire: All the major car hire firms have offices at Kahului Airport and in Kaʻanapali.

US nationals with a driver's license from another state can legally drive in Hawaii if they are at least 18 years old.

International visitors need a valid driver's license issued by their home country (minimum age 18), and/or an International Driver's Permit; either are accepted by car-hire companies.

Most car-hire companies require that you are at least 25 years old, hold a valid driver's license and have a major credit card, not a debit or check card. A few companies will rent to drivers between the ages of 21 and 24, typically for an underage surcharge of around USD $20 to USD $30 per day.

Note: Be sure to check your vehicle rental contract for any road restrictions: some car hire agencies prohibit driving on the Kahekili Hwy between Honokohau and Waiheʻe and in the Kaupo district of the Piʻilani Hwy.

Taxi: Taxis operate in the main towns and tourist areas. Uber and Lyft are also available.

Bicycle: Narrow roads, numerous hills and mountains, and a persistent wind produce challenges for cyclists. However, the tourist enclave of Kihei is largely level and has cycle lanes on S Kihei Rd and the Piʻilani Hwy. Elsewhere, bike lanes are rare.

It's easy to rent a bike in most tourist areas of Maui. Hire rates range from $15 to $60 per day, depending on the style and quality of the bike.

State law requires all cyclists under the age of 16 to wear helmets.

Bus: Maui Bus offers an extensive public bus system between all the main towns, but not to more remote places, such as Haleakalā National Park or Hana. The main routes run every hour daily, roughly 7am to 8pm. Kahului is a hub.

Popular routes for visitors, include Haiku Islander (Kahului–Haʻiku); Kaʻanapali Islander (Lahaina–Kaʻanapali); Kihei Islander (Kahului–Wailea); Kihei Villager (Maʻalaea–Kihei); Lahaina Islander (Kahului–Lahaina); Napili Islander (Kaʻanapali–Napili); and Wailuku Loop (Kahului–Wailuku). The Upcountry Islander and Haiku Islander routes stop at Kahului Airport.

Fares are USD $2 per ride, regardless of distance. There are no transfers; you have to pay the fare each time you board a bus. A day pass costs only USD $4.

All buses allow you to carry on only what fits under your seat or on your lap, so forget the surfboard. However, buses do come with front-load bike racks.

Many of the Kaʻanapali resorts operate shuttles for guests that serve the resort areas and Lahaina.


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Latest update: How to get around Maui: 1 May, 2020


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