With the travel restrictions of 2020 coming to a close, visitors seek to capitalize on every single minute of their time on the Hawaiian Islands. While people will continue to make world famous Waikiki Beach their temporary home for a couple of weeks, many will island hop for a day or two to soak up as much of paradise as they can. Maui is a popular choice, but one island that our passengers ask us about often is Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle due to its ridiculously lush topography. Rich with rainforests and undeveloped mountain ranges the island stands in start contrast to Honolulu, making for the perfect quick escape from bustling Waikiki. But given that you’re seeking peace and quiet for the time being, you are wondering how to best get to the closest thing you’ve seen to the Garden of Eden. Here’s how to do so while minimizing the common stresses of airport travel.
What You Need to Know About Getting to Kauai When You’re Staying in Waikiki Beach, Oahu
1. Flights from HNL to Kauai
You will need to fly out of Honolulu International Airport from the designated inter island terminals. Airlines taking you from HNL to Kauai include Hawaiian Airlines and the more recent addition – Southwest. Hawaiian Airlines is typically more expensive than the budget-friendly Southwest commuter, but they (Hawaiian Airlines) also fly to/from the island more frequently. Either way, it’s a short flight and prices are often under $200 roundtrip from Honolulu International Airport with Hawaiian Airlines, and often under $100 roundtrip when flying with Southwest.
Between the two airlines there is a flight to Kauai pretty much every couple of hours, from around 6 AM and well into the night. That means you can take a spur of the moment trip without having to plan too far in advance.
2. Which Kauai Airport to Fly To
There is one main airport on Kauai – Lihue Airport (LIH). If you’re not staying the night on Kauai you’ll appreciate LIH’s convenient location. There are car rentals and even helicopter tours which are based right out of the airport, but even if you want to explore by foot you can if you’re up for a bit of a walk. For instance, Kalapaki Beach and the surrounding resort community is a 40-minute stroll (5-minute drive) from the airport. It’s also a 40 minute walk (10-minute drive) to another popular attraction – Ninini Point Lighthouse. Either way, there is a lot to see and do within a short distance of the airport.
Some of you however, may be spending a night (or more) up north in Hanalei. In this case you’ll want to rent a car or hop a pre-booked shuttle from LIH to your Hanalei accommodations.
3. Most Efficient Way to Get to HNL’s Inter-Island Terminals
If you are flying with Hawaiian Airlines to Kauai, you will depart from Terminal 1. If you are flying with Southwest Airlines to Kauai you will depart from Terminal 2. It’s important to note that HNL to Kauai inter island flights tend to leave on time. For this reason you need to get from your Waikiki area hotel to the correct Terminal on time, but not so early that you’ll get bored while waiting to board your flight. After all, it seems silly to spend more time in the airport than on the plane itself. The best way to coordinate this short excursion, is to book a flat rate direct, no-share shuttle from Waikiki to HNL. Don’t take a bus, traditional taxi, car rental, and certainly not Uber/Lyft. Instead, take the one option that will get you right where you need to be for your Terminal 1 or 2 departure.
We hope the information above provides you with some greater insight into what you need to know before taking a trip to Kauai when staying in the Waikiki Beach area. To book your direct Honolulu Airport shuttle, call us toll FREE at 1.800.929.1219. We’ll be there to pick you up on your return to HNL too!