Location of the Kauai island.
Lihue Airport (LIH) is Kauai's main airport, a small terminal served with inter-island flights by Hawaiian and go!. Alaska, American, Delta, United Airlines, and US Airways offer non-stop service from the U.S. West Coast.
Tip: when flying into Lihue: For the best incoming view, select a window seat on the left side of the aircraft. More often than not you'll be landing to the north thanks to the trade winds. From that angle you will see a dramatic cliff view off the left side on final approach.
There is now also a deep water port at Nawiliwili for cruise ships. Norwegian Cruise Lines offers cruises between the islands that start and end in Honolulu.
Rental car is the best way to really see the island -- and the only way to get to some remote (and scenic) sites. Most major rental car companies have offices at the Lihue airport or nearby by shuttle bus. Car rentals are available in a large variety of makes and models and provide travelers flexibility and freedom to explore the island. There are numerous rental car locations right outside of the Lihue airport. One will definitely want to use a rental car to see the island--Kauai is not a vacation spot where one stays in their resort the entire time.
Most rental car companies have restricted areas, notably Polihale beach. Check before you go, or take the risk of paying yourself out of trouble if your rental car breaks down or gets stuck. The red dirt that Kauai is so famous for is also highly concentrated around this area and adventurous travelers could track this stain-able substance into their rental cars
The Kauai bus is perhaps the only other way to get around, but will not go to some rural attractions, such as Koke`e. Still, if you are on a budget, this bus will get you around and between the major population centers, such as Lihu`e and Kapa`a, and the major resort/beach areas.
Pono Taxi and Taxi Hanalei are one of the few authorized airport taxi companies that are allowed to do pre-arranged pickups at Lihue Airport and take you to any destination on the island. They also offer personalized Kauai tours in one of the most comfortable taxi rides on the garden isle. A standard two hour tour is $ 120, and taxi fare is $ 3.00 per mile.
There are two main highways on Kauai, both starting in Lihue. Kaumualii Highway (state route 50) heads to the west, through the towns of Kalaheo, Hanapepe, Waimea, and Kekaha before ending at the Na Pali Coast. Kuhio Highway (state route 56) heads north from Lihue, through Kapa`a, Kilauea, Princeville, and Hanalei, ending at the other side of Na Pali.