Getting around Central Maui is fairly easy, with a reliable bus network and several car rental options. Depending on your budget, you might want to stick to the bus routes for the most part and rent a vehicle only if you plan to venture off the beaten path or your schedule is tight.
Central Maui by Car
At the Kahului Airport, Hertz (808/893-5200), Avis (808/871-7575), Budget (808/871-8811), Enterprise (808/871-6982), Alamo (888/826-6893), and Thrifty (808/847-4389) all offer the standard corporate options for island rental cars.
Other options in Kahului (which are usually cheaper) include Maui Car Rentals (181 Dairy Rd., 808/877-3300 or 800/567-4659), Aloha Rent A Car (190 Papa Pl., 808/877-2436 or 800/533-5929), Kimo’s Rent A Car (440 Alamaha St., 808/280-6327), and the budget service Discount Hawaii Car Rental (800/292-1930).
The only reason you need a 4WD vehicle on Maui is if you decide to go hunting in Polipoli, fishing at some remote location, or venture onto soft sand. Many visitors spend a lot of money on 4WD (often double the price of a 2WD) and never end up using it. Rent a 4WD vehicle just for the day you need it.
Central Maui by Motorcycle
If the idea of zipping oceanside on a massive Harley is your preferred method of getting from A to B, Maui Harley Davidson (150 Dairy Rd., 808/831-2614, 9am-5pm daily) offers rentals from the Kahului shop only five minutes from Kahului Airport.
Central Maui by Bus
The Queen Ka‘ahumanu Shopping Center is the central hub of the Maui Bus, and if you are connecting from one bus to another, there is a good chance that you’ll end up making a stop at the mall. All segments on the bus cost $2/person (or $4/person for a day pass), and this is the terminus and starting point for routes heading up-country as well as to Kihei and Lahaina.
If you’re just trying to get across town, buses on the Wailuku Loop (Route #1) make various stops around Wailuku and run hourly 6:30am-9:30pm. Similarly, buses on the Kahului Loop (Route #5) make various stops around Kahului and run hourly 6:30am-9pm. If you’re trying to get to the Kahului Airport from Queen Ka‘ahumanu, you have to get on the Upcountry Islander bus (Route #40) which runs every 90 minutes 6:10am-9:10pm. For more information, a full schedule, or to see routes to other parts of the island, visit the Maui County website.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.