By Car—The simplest way to see Maui is by rental car; public transit is still in its infancy here. All of the major car-rental firms—including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty—have agencies on Maui. If you’re on a budget or traveling with sports gear, you can rent an older vehicle by the week from Aloha Rent-a-Car (www.aloharentacar.com; 888/4562-5642 or 808/877-4477). For tips on insurance and driving rules in Hawaii, see “Getting Around Hawaii”.
Maui has only a handful of major roads, and you can expect a traffic jam or two heading into Kihei, Lahaina, or Paia. In general, the roads hug the coastlines; one zigzags up to Haleakala’s summit. When asking locals for directions don’t bother using highway numbers; residents know the routes by name only.
Traffic advisory: Be alert on the Honoapiilani Highway (Hwy. 30) en route to Lahaina. Drivers ogling whales in the channel between Maui and Lanai often slam on the brakes and cause major tie-ups and accidents. This is the main road connecting the west side to the rest of the island; if an accident, rockslide, flooding, or other road hazard occurs, traffic can back up for 1 to 8 hours (no joke). So before you set off, check with Maui County for road closure advisories (www.co.maui.hi.us; 808/986-1200). The most up-to-date info can be found on its Twitter feed (@CountyofMaui) or that of a local news agency (@MauiNow).
By Motorcycle—Feel the wind on your face and smell the salt air as you tour the island on a Harley, available for rent from Maui Motorcyle Co., 150 Dairy Rd., Kahului (www.mauimotorcycleco.com; 808/877-7433); rentals start at $139 a day.
By Taxi—Because Maui’s various destinations are so spread out, taxi service can be quite expensive and should be limited to travel within a neighborhood. West Maui Taxi (www.westmauitaxi.com; 888/661-4545) offers 24-hour service island-wide while Kihei Wailea Taxi (808/879-3000) serves South Maui. The metered rate is $3 per mile.
By Bus—The Maui Bus (www.mauicounty.gov/bus; 808/871-4838) is a public/private partnership that provides affordable but sadly inconsistent public transit to various communities across the island. Expect hour waits between rides. Air-conditioned buses service 13 routes, including several that stop at the airport. All routes operate daily, including holidays. Suitcases (one per passenger) and bikes are allowed; surfboards are not. Fares are $2.
Gasoline - Gas prices in Hawaii, always much higher than on the U.S. mainland, vary from island to island. At this writing, average prices for regular gas in Maui are about $4.49 per gallon (except in Hana, where gas is around $5). On Molokai gas is $5.19 and on Lanai gas is $5.49. Note: Taxes are already included in the printed price. Check www.gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest gas in your area.
Insurance - Hawaii is a no-fault state, which means that if you don’t have collision-damage insurance, you are required to pay for all damages before you leave the state, whether or not the accident was your fault. Your personal car insurance may provide rental-car coverage; check before you leave home. You may want to bring your insurance identification card if you decline the optional loss and/or liability insurance, which can add $30 a day or more to your bill. Some credit card companies also provide collision-damage insurance for their customers; check with yours before you rent.
Driving Rules - Hawaii state law mandates that all car passengers must wear a seat belt, and all infants must be strapped into a car seat. You’ll pay a $102 fine if you don’t buckle up. Pedestrians always have the right of way, even if they’re not in the crosswalk. You can turn right on red after a full and complete stop, unless otherwise posted.
Road Maps - The best and most detailed maps for activities are published by Franko Maps (www.frankosmaps.com), which feature a host of island maps plus a terrific “reef creatures” guide for snorkelers curious about the fish they spot underwater. Rental car companies offer island guides with free road maps, as does the free, widely distributed This Week Magazine (www.thisweekhawaii.com/maui). Be aware that limited or no cell service in remote areas can prevent access to online maps—although it’s hard to get lost on an island with relatively few roads.
University of Hawaii Press maps for Maui, Molokai, and Lanai include a detailed network of island roads, large-scale insets of towns, historical and contemporary points of interest, parks, beaches, and hiking trails. If you can’t find them in a bookstore near you, contact University of Hawaii Press (www.uhpress.hawaii.edu; [tel] 888/UHPRESS [847-7377]). For topographic and other maps of the islands, go to the Hawaii Geographic Society (https://hawaii-geographic-society.business.site; [tel] 808/782-3562).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.