Kona, Hawaii Car Hire Guide
Kona, located on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, is a traveler's haven — offering pristine beaches, world-renowned coffee, and glimpses of Hawaii's rich cultural history. The sprawling nature of the Big Island makes a hire car essential for those keen to unearth the real treasures Kona has to offer.
Kona is served by the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA).
- Distance from KOA to Kailua-Kona: Roughly 7 miles, a drive of about 15 minutes via Queen Kaahumanu Highway.
Good news for drivers: Hawaii does not have any toll roads. This means you can drive freely around Kona and its neighboring regions without worrying about additional toll costs.
Kona's roads are generally well-maintained. Still, due to the island's diverse topography, some areas, especially those leading to more remote attractions, might be rugged or unpaved. Always check your vehicle's suitability for such terrains.
Kona generally enjoys smooth traffic flow. However, during peak tourist seasons or special events, there might be mild congestion in more popular areas.
Driving Customs & Rules in Hawaii:
- Seat Belts: All front and back seat occupants must wear seat belts.
- Cellphone Use: Using handheld mobile devices while driving is prohibited.
- Alcohol: The legal blood alcohol limit in Hawaii is 0.08%. Drinking and driving is strictly enforced, with hefty fines and potential jail time for violators.
- Pedestrians: Hawaii has a law that mandates drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
Benefits of Hiring a Car in Kona:
- Accessibility: Some of the Big Island's most enchanting spots are accessible only by car.
- Comfort: Traverse the island’s varied landscapes – from volcanic terrains to lush rainforests – in the comfort of your own vehicle.
- Economical: Especially for groups, renting a car might be more cost-effective than organized tours or multiple taxi rides.
Recommended Attractions & Routes:
- Kona Coffee Cultural Festival: A short drive in the downtown Kailua-Kona area. Indulge in the rich flavors and history of the world-famous Kona coffee.
- Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park: About 20 miles south of Kailua-Kona via HI-11 S. It offers a glimpse into ancient Hawaiian culture and traditions.
- Magic Sands Beach Park: A mere 4.5 miles from downtown Kailua-Kona, it's a perfect spot for swimming and sunset watching.
- Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park: Just 3 miles north of the airport, this park offers a chance to see traditional fishponds and petroglyphs.
- Mauna Kea Summit: While it's around 55 miles from Kona, the drive via Saddle Road and Maunakea Access Road leads you to the world's tallest mountain (measured from its base on the ocean floor). Ensure your vehicle can handle the high-altitude conditions.
Kona beckons with its unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. Hiring a car in this Pacific paradise not only provides convenience but truly amplifies the experience, granting you the liberty to explore Kona's hidden gems at your own rhythm. Enjoy your journey in this tropical wonder!