Do I need a rental car on Maui? March 4, 2016

Maui Rental Cars

I’m often asked, “Do I need a rental car on Maui?” In short: yes! Maui Island is about twice the size of Manhattan and does not have the public transportation you can find in the Big Apple. If you do not want to be stuck walking all over the Island, than yes, you need a rental car on Maui.

With 165,000 full-time residents public transportation exists on Maui, but is not great. The Maui Bus typically runs just once an hour. While many Kihei condos have some shops and restaurants within walking distance, you are really limiting yourself if you don’t rent a car. Wailea has beautiful walkways and a great beachfront boardwalk but out side of the Shops of Wailea there is not a lot within easy walking distance.

Unless you plan to stay at your condo and the closest beach and not do anything else, we recommend renting a car. If you plan to golf, scuba, Road to Hana, explore the Island, you’ll want to get a car. In fact, if you want to have the full Maui experience, then yes, you’ll want a rental car on Maui during your trip.

Driving on Maui is slow and easy with generally good roads and speed limits maxing at 55 mph. Note, the Road to Hana or the back road around the West Maui Mountains are definitely for the more adventurous.

Will I pay for parking?

  • If you are staying at a condo in Kihei/Wailea, you typically have complimentary parking for one vehicle. At some communities you can get a second spot.
  • Parking is free at all beaches.
  • If you stay at the big hotel resorts in Wailea or Ka’anapali, you will pay. Certain condo complexes in Ka’anapali also charge a parking fee. Depending on the parking fee, consider renting a car locally as needed.
  • If you are shopping at the Shops at Wailea or Whalers Village – you will pay (make sure you get a parking validation from a restaurant or many of the shops).
  • Consider the cost of a taxi from the airport to your condo (anywhere from $40-70 depending on where you are staying in Kihei/Wailea, more for Ka’anapali)

What about rental car safety? Aren’t they targeted for break-ins and theft? As anywhere, use common sense. Don’t park in obscure areas. Lock the car. If there are things laying visibly in the car, your car may be targeted no matter if you are at home or on vacation.

Can I just rent at the airport, or do I need to pre-book? If you are on Maui over Christmas/New Year or the first part of January (Hyundai PGA tournament), make sure you pre-book your rental car. This is Maui’s busiest time, rental agencies do run out of cars. I always recommend pre-arranging your rental car.

Where to get your best rental deal?