The primary airport on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii is the state-run Lihue Airport. The Garden Isle airport handles overseas and interisland flights and provides traveler access to gorgeous beaches, exhilarating water sports, and the famed Waimea Canyon. Access to the airport is made from Ahukini Road, which extends from Kapule Highway and the passenger terminal is served by a one-way loop encircling a public parking lot.
Lihue Airport (Photo: A.Baerst via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)
All major car rental agencies can be found at Lihue. To pick up a rental car, leave from the baggage claim area to the “Rent-A-Car” booths located across the street from the terminal. Pick up and drop off of all vehicles takes place directly behind each rental counter. To determine which rental car companies offer the best vehicles across our three categories (Most Affordable, Best for Luxury, Best for Minivans), Travelmag.com has carefully researched the prices, availability, policies, and customer reviews of the 8 car rental companies operating out of Lihue Airport. Here are our findings:
When it comes to getting a ride and an affordable price, we found both Dollar and Thrifty offered the most competitive rates for a week-long rental on the island. Dollar’s fleet of compact Daihatsu automobiles offer a sporty look at an excellent value. The Daihatsu Terios’ 33 mpg combined with Dollar’s most popular fuel policy makes them a great choice for those looking to save some bucks at the pump. In the full-size category, Thrifty offers a Ford Fusion or Volkswagen Jetta for almost the same price—a difference of less than one USD. These 5-seater automatics will provide plenty of room for roaming around the island.
Most car rental agencies offer a Buick, Chevrolet, or Nissan vehicle in their fleet of luxury cars, but to get behind the wheel of a fully loaded Lincoln MKZ a rental from either Avis or Budget is required. With seating for five, Lincoln’s Co-Pilot360 technology, and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine getting around the island in this beauty is as easy on the mojo as it is on the eyes. Budget beats Avis by only $25 on the price of a weekly rental and both companies offer free cancelation up to 48 hours before the rental.
For those looking to move the whole family—or a team of surfers—Hertz is the right choice. A Dodge Grand Caravan from Hertz includes free unlimited mileage at an affordable weekly rate. There is a limited stock of this 7-seat vehicle on the island, so precure reservations well in advance. For an even bigger crew Hertz offers a 12-passenger Ford Transit, also with unlimited mileage. This is the perfect crowd mover for those looking to make the most of their travel time when making the multi-hour trip around the protected, road-free Napali coastline.