5 Strategies For Enjoying Kona Without a Car


As you know “carmeggedon” is upon us here in Hawaii making it really difficult (and expensive) to get a rental car. I see all the impassioned pleas from incoming guests on all the social media channels around Big Island and in my 365Kona Newbie Group looking for cars for rent. People even looking for cars a few months out are realizing that there are either no cars for rent, or the ones that are, are over $100 a day.

Make sure that BEFORE you book your flight, to check to see if a car is available and at what price. THAT may change your plans.

I spoke to a gentleman today who is thinking of only renting a car for three days out of his seven days of vacation and I was brainstorming with him on how he could do it and I wanted to share here for others who are looking for ideas or creativity in the face of the car shortage for the next six months! (Some say March 2022!)

Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha hotel with beach and bay

1. Choose a Condo/Hotel Wisely 

The best thing about the downtown Kailua Kona area is that you can walk to everything. Including taking a nice long swim off of the Kailua Pier, a nice snorkel out in front of the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Hotel or a lagoon swim next to the Royal Kona Resort. There are quite a few condo complexes located within a mile of the downtown core and most have access to the bike share program, too! Consider just hoofing it for a few days to explore the shops, eat at a variety of great restaurants, sun yourself on a beach and jump in the ocean. (You can ride a bike to Magic’s Beach for boogie boarding and better snorkeling a mile past that at Kahalu’u Bay.

2. Ride a Bike via Bike Share 

The Hawaii Island Bike Share Program provides bikes up and down Alii Drive so you can go to the beach, the restaurants, shop and swim! We created a video showing you what its like to ride a bike in downtown Kona

You can also bike in Hilo, which we have done, as well! Here is the location map of the bikes in both cities. 

3. Rent a bike via Bike Works

If the cute little blue beach cruisers along Alii Drive are not quite your style on an hourly basis,  you may want to get a daily rental of a bike to get out and ride for exercise as well as explore further up the highway! You can rent one of these bikes and ride from Kona up to Kekeha Kai State Park to Mahai’ula or Kua Bay, check out Bike Works Kona. 

4. Check out Turo or UHAUL 

When you have go get crafty, you have to look for ways to skip the normal and that is to use a car share app, Turo, or rent a van/truck from UHAUL. Seriously, that is what people have been doing to have ANYTHING to drive when there are no more cars available.

5. Uber/Lyft and Taxi 

As local residents are seeing the lack of cars turn into a brisk business for ride share apps, Uber and Lyft, more people are getting back into driving. During the pandemic, this service fell apart and is slowly building back up. Getting from place to place in Kona is usually around 20 minutes or so.

Taking a Lyft or a cab to the Waikoloa resorts is pricey, as it’s a 40 minute drive,  but you can stay up at one of the resorts for a few days and just use the bikes they have available (Mauna Lani Resort has this option or rent from Bike Works at the Queen’s Shops)

Options when COVID Restrictions Lift

When restrictions lift due to COVID, we hope to get the Kona Trolley back up and running! For only $2 you can ride around Kona. Good place to check to see if they are back to work at https://www.robertshawaii.com/transportation/kona-trolley/

Also you can spend a day on a tour bus seeing the whole island and let someone else drive! https://www.robertshawaii.com/hawaii-island-tours/hawaii-grand-circle-island-tour/


The pandemic has caused all kinds of disruptions in the world and it is going to take awhile to get things moving again, including the computer chips that go into the manufacturing of cars and getting those cars shipped back to the islands. Breathe.

Check out the “Best 7 ocean view restaurants” post I created to give you some ideas of places you can just chill once you get there.

For information about the lifestyle of the islands, please visit https://movetohawaii365.com


Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at 365Kona.com and MoveToHawaii365.com and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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