Do you need a rental car in Maui? It really depends on what you plan on doing. If you plan on staying at your resort area the whole time and just relaxing. Sure you can get by without a car. But did you really travel all the way to Maui to stay in one place? The island has so much to offer and things to see and do, it is absolutely necessary to get a rental car to see the true beauty of Maui. Here’s the top reasons why you need a rental car in Maui.
#1 – Maui is small but not really
Even though Maui is quite small compared to the mainland the attractions, restaurants, beaches, hikes, etc are spread apart on the island. Plus the landscape in Maui is so different when you drive to the west or the south or the east so you’ll want to experience that. If you plan on seeing different beaches, Hana, the sunrise at Haleakala, the old lava flows at the end of the road in South Maui, Maalaea Harbor for Molokini, etc you will need a car to get to these different places efficiently.
#2 – Lack of a robust bus system
Unlike Oahu, Maui’s bus system is not as evolved and does not stop at main attractions like Hana or Haleakala. You’ll need to join a tour group to go to those places without a car. In addition, besides the early and evening routes which are more designed for commuters, you’ll find that the bus system does not run frequently, only every hour or so. So you’ll spend a lot of time waiting around if your timing is not right.
#3 – Save Time
Do you want to spend your precious vacation time waiting for a bus, taxi, shuttle or Uber/Lyft? Waiting around for transportation will eat into your vacation time when you could be doing something fun.
#4 – More Cost Effective
There are 2 ways you can look at this. First, from a pure financial perspective the transportation rates on a daily basis will cost more than a daily rental car. Maui taxi rates are very expensive. For example, a taxi ride from West Maui to Maalaea Harbor (south) to do the Molokini tour will be around $70 ONE way. Then another $70 back to your hotel. That’s $140 total for a trip! Uber will cost $30 to $40 ONE way. You’ll probably want to tip the driver too so add a few extra bucks to the tab. However a rental car depending on size will run $25 to $60 a day. Secondly, time is money! The time you spend calling/ordering transportation and waiting around will eat into your vacation time.
#5 – Own Your Vacation … rawr!
With tour groups, do you want to be on someone’s else schedule? You will be on the time schedule of the tour. If you see something you like and want to spend more time, you will be rushed or forced to leave because the tour must keep to a schedule regardless of what you want. If you see something you’re not really interested in, you will have to wait until the rest of the tour group is ready. Do the research and find things YOU enjoy doing. You don’t want somebody else assuming what YOU like to do. To experience the real Maui, get out and explore it on your own and at your own pace.