Wintertime has long been peak travel season to the State of Hawaii. Today, this traditional period of increased visitors to the state has combined with some observed pent-up desire for travel associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this time, the car manufacturer supply-chain issues that led to widespread rental car shortages and sky rocking prices for available rental cars during the summer of 2021 have not fully abated along with the rebound in traveler numbers. Rental car providers Hertz and Enterprise expect those supply chain issues to last well into 2022, and according to the online travel search engine Kayak five of the ten most expensive cities to rent a car, are in the State of Hawaii.
Additionally, gas prices have risen substantially nation-wide with Kauai having the highest gas prices in the state at $4.632 according to AAA Gas Prices. If you are planning to visit Kauai this winter and wish to rent a car, it is recommended to reserve your vehicle several weeks in advance. If you don’t end up renting a car or are only renting for a portion of your trip, please check out GetAroundKauai.com’s Transportation Options page which details Kauai’s public transit, private shuttle, ride share, and taxi service options. Interactive maps are also available on that page to help plan your trips around the island before or after you arrive.
For those traveling around Kauai without a rental car, and even for those that do choose to rent a vehicle, GetAroundKauai.com’s Without a Car page provides resources for area shuttles, bike rentals, and guides for walkable activities throughout the island.
For everyone planning to visit destinations such as Haena State Park (which includes Kee Beach and the Kalalau Trail), Waimea Canyon State Park, and Kokee State Park; please note that all non-Hawaii residents are required to purchase both entry passes and parking reservations. Further information for those areas, including other state parks, can be viewed at https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/kauai/.
By reserving a spot on the North Shore Shuttle, visitors to Haena State Park can cover their ride from Waipa to Kee Beach and their entry into the park. If you intend to camp in Haena overnight, you must secure a camping permit. Do keep in mind that there is no overnight parking at Waipa.
When visiting Waimea Canyon State Park and Kokee State Park, many residents and visitors choose to relax at the Kokee Lodge’s cocktail lounge, enjoy a meal at its restaurant, or browse the gift shop. Those wishing to enter any of the Lodge’s facilities must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and ready to show their vaccine card.
While most Kauai establishments don’t have a vaccine card requirement to enter, please remember that masks are always needed indoors and must be worn unless engaging in specific activities such as eating and drinking. Keep in mind that Kauai, like in many other places, isn’t only continuing to experience a pandemic-related shortage of items such as cars, we are also experiencing a shortage of people, especially restaurant and hospitality workers. If you do travel to Kauai this winter, your patience is greatly appreciated as we all look forward to 2022.