A Travel Price Comparison for Hawaii Kauai vs. Honolulu for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Kauai or Honolulu?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Kauai and Honolulu. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Kauai or Honolulu?

Kauai

Hawaii is certainly a bucket list destination, but what if you want to do it without being surrounded by tourists? You want the adventure of the land of volcanoes and less of the kids in water wings. Then Kaua'i is the island for you.

Kaua'i, or the "garden island," is full of tropical forests, little villages and even more laid back lifestyle – if you can imagine. It's a smaller island at 560 square miles with a population of only 68,000.

With more coastline miles than any other island, Kaua'i is the result of massive erosion forming awe-inspiring sights like the Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast. The island experiences more rainfall every year – keeping it lush and green all year.

You'll feel like you've walked into another world in Kaua'i. Because of height restrictions, this island's buildings are no taller than the coconut trees. So if you're looking for an escape from civilization, you'll want to head straight for Kaua'i.

Honolulu

Hawaii's capital city of Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is the state's center for government, finance, and transportation. It's also the home of Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the state of Hawaii. Nearly one million people live in this Honolulu metropolitan area. This is almost 80% of the state's population. The city is not the relaxed Hawaiian destination that you might be searching for, but is instead a fast paced, cosmopolitan city. In addition to attracting many tourists every year, you'll also find international businesses, military defense and a diverse culture and population.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, and The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Honolulu or Kauai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Kauai is $190, while the average daily cost in Honolulu is $284. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Kauai and Honolulu in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kauai $113
    Honolulu $183
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kauai $226
    Honolulu $366
Compare Hotels in Kauai and Honolulu

Looking for a hotel in Kauai or Honolulu? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Kauai


Hotels in Honolulu


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Kauai Hotel Prices and Honolulu Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kauai $34
    Honolulu $26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kauai

Also for Kauai, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Departure Transfer to Kauai Airport (LIH): $80
  • Lihue Airport: Shared Transfer to Lihue: $19
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Kauai Hotels to Kauai International Airport: $13

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Honolulu

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Honolulu are as follows:


  • Rental Car for One Day
    $35
  • Airport Shuttle for Two
    $30
  • Hilton Parking
    $24

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Honolulu

Also for Honolulu, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Honolulu HNL Airport Round-Trip Private Transfer in SUV: $272
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer: Honolulu International Airport to Hotel or Cruise Terminal: $271
  • Arrival Transfer Honolulu Airport HNL to Beach Resorts by SUV: $211
  • VIP Transfer: Ko Olina to Honolulu Airport or Vice Versa: $199
  • Chief's Luau Admission Including Transfers: $181
  • Honolulu Airport & KoOlina Hotels Private Transfer by Luxury SUV(up to 5 People): $180
  • HNL Airport & Waikiki Private Transfer by Brand New Mercedes Van: $160
  • Arrival Private Transfer Honolulu Airport HNL to Beach Resorts by Executive Car: $157
  • Private Transfer from Honolulu Airport HNL to Waikiki by SUV: $148
  • Oahu: 3 Ziplines and Coral Crater Tour with Transfer: $147
  • Honolulu Airport & Waikiki Hotels Private Transfer by Passenger Van(up to 14ppl): $140
  • VIP Transfer Between Waikiki & Honolulu Airport, /vice versa: $136

Is it cheaper to fly into Kauai or Honolulu?

Prices for flights to both Honolulu and Kauai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Kauai $56
    Honolulu $53

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kauai

For Kauai, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Allerton Garden and Estate Tour with Sunset Dinner: $106
  • Ahi Uila Fire Show and Dinner: $110
  • Local Tastes Small Group Food Tour: $121
  • Hanalei, Kauaʻi Walking Food Tour: $129
  • Luau Kalamaku on Kauai with Buffet Dinner and Show: $171
  • Luau Ka Hikina Admission Ticket with Dinner and Lei Greeting: $209
  • Napali Coast Sunset Sail with Dinner: $226
  • Napali Sunset Dinner Cruise: $226
  • Luau Kalamaku on Kauai with Manor House Dinner & Show: $226
  • VIP 4-Course Dinner and Luau Kalamaku Show: $237
  • Leila Na Pali Sunset Dinner Sail: $242

Typical Food Prices in Honolulu

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Honolulu:


  • Dinner for Two
    $73
  • Lapperts Hawaii Ice Cream
    $5.55
  • Chai's Island Bistro (for 2)
    $53
  • Cheeseburger Waikiki (for 2)
    $34
  • Matsumoto Shave Ice (for 2)
    $7.50
  • Hot Dog with the Fixins'
    $8.30
  • Sushi Dinner for Two
    $73

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Honolulu

For Honolulu, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Hawaii Food Tour - Off The Beaten Path : $150
  • Oahu Da Local's Food Tour: $150
  • Lanai Tabura curated Aloha Plate Hawaii Food Tour from Honolulu: $208
  • Lanai Tabura curated Private Aloha Plate Food Tour from Honolulu: $239

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kauai $17
    Honolulu $40

Tours and Activities in Kauai

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Kauai.

  • Kauai Sea Kayaking 10 mile tour - Na Pali Iki (Polihale to Milolii): $275
  • 'IMILOA - Express Na Pali Sunset Tour: $161
  • 'IMILOA - Express Nā Pali Snorkel Tour : $181
  • 'IMILOA - Express Whale Watch Cocktail Tour: $136
  • 1 Tank Discover Scuba at Koloa Landing with No Experience needed: $162
  • 2-Hour Snorkeling Adventure in Kauai: $115
  • 5 Line Zipline Tour: $130
  • 8 Line Zipline Tour: $160
  • AdrenaLine Kauai Zipline Tour: $178
  • Adventure and Lifestyle Photoshoot in North Shore Kauai: $300
  • Best of Kauai Tour by Land and River: $194
  • Deluxe Na Pali Morning Snorkel Tour on the Lucky Lady: $223

Typical Entertainment Prices in Honolulu

For Honolulu, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Parking for Hike
    $5.00
  • Pearl Harbor Audio Tour for Two
    $12
  • 2 hr Dinner Cruise
    $85
  • 1 Day Kayak Rental
    $36

Tours and Activities in Honolulu

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Honolulu.

  • Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial, small group Tour: $80
  • 'Lost' and Movie Tour: $200
  • 1 Hour Private Luxury Classic Car Sightseeing City Tour Honolulu: $138
  • 3 Hour Sightseeing *SPECIALTY Tour: $149
  • 3 Hour Sunrise Photo Tour with Malasada: $65
  • 3 Hour Waikiki Waterslide and Ocean Playground Cruise: $113
  • 3-Hour Adventure in Waikiki Water Park Adventure: $127
  • 5 Hour Half Day Island Jeep Tour: $190
  • 5 Hour Small Group Tour in Pearl Harbor and Honolulu: $145
  • 5-Star Oahu Sightseeing with local food & shrimp plate included: $133
  • 6 Hour Local Food Plate Jeep Tour: $230
  • 6 Hour Romantic Hawaii Jeep Tour: $276

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kauai $14
    Honolulu $6.47

Sample the Local Flavors in Honolulu

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Honolulu:

  • Shaxi Dive Bar Tour: $37


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kauai and Honolulu, we can see that Honolulu is more expensive. And not only is Kauai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Kauai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Kauai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Honolulu would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Honolulu than you might in Kauai.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Kauai Expensive? and Is Honolulu Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Kauai or Honolulu?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Kauai or Honolulu in the Summer?

Both Honolulu and Kauai are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Kauai for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In the summer, Kauai is around the same temperature as Honolulu. Typically, the summer temperatures in Kauai in July average around 78°F (25°C), and Honolulu averages at about 81°F (27°C).

It's quite sunny in Honolulu. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Kauai. Kauai usually receives less sunshine than Honolulu during summer. Kauai gets 255 hours of sunny skies, while Honolulu receives 303 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Kauai usually receives more rain than Honolulu. Kauai gets 0.6 inches (17 mm) of rain, while Honolulu receives 0.6 inches (15 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Kauai 78°F (25°C) 
    Honolulu 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Kauai or Honolulu in the Autumn?

Both Honolulu and Kauai during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Kauai because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Kauai is generally around the same temperature as Honolulu. Daily temperatures in Kauai average around 78°F (25°C), and Honolulu fluctuates around 80°F (26°C).

In Honolulu, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Kauai. In the autumn, Kauai often gets less sunshine than Honolulu. Kauai gets 208 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Honolulu receives 246 hours of full sun.

Kauai usually gets more rain in October than Honolulu. Kauai gets 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain, while Honolulu receives 2.1 inches (54 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Kauai 78°F (25°C) 
    Honolulu 80°F (26°C)

Should I visit Kauai or Honolulu in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Kauai and Honolulu. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Kauai this time of year.

Kauai is around the same temperature as Honolulu in the winter. The daily temperature in Kauai averages around 71°F (22°C) in January, and Honolulu fluctuates around 73°F (23°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Honolulu this time of the year. Kauai usually receives less sunshine than Honolulu during winter. Kauai gets 174 hours of sunny skies, while Honolulu receives 212 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Kauai usually receives around the same amount of rain as Honolulu. Kauai gets 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain, while Honolulu receives 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Kauai 71°F (22°C) 
    Honolulu 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Kauai or Honolulu in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Kauai as well as Honolulu. Many travelers come to Kauai for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Kauai is around the same temperature as Honolulu. Typically, the spring temperatures in Kauai in April average around 73°F (23°C), and Honolulu averages at about 76°F (24°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Honolulu. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Kauai this time of the year. In the spring, Kauai often gets less sunshine than Honolulu. Kauai gets 206 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Honolulu receives 253 hours of full sun.

Kauai usually gets less rain in April than Honolulu. Kauai gets 1.1 inches (27 mm) of rain, while Honolulu receives 1.7 inches (42 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Kauai 73°F (23°C) 
    Honolulu 76°F (24°C)

Typical Weather for Honolulu and Kauai

Kauai Honolulu
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 71°F (22°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Feb 71°F (22°C) 1.3 inches (32 mm) 73°F (23°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
Mar 73°F (23°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 74°F (24°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Apr 73°F (23°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm) 76°F (24°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 0.4 inches (10 mm) 78°F (25°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm)
Jun 76°F (25°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm) 80°F (26°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Jul 78°F (25°C) 0.6 inches (17 mm) 81°F (27°C) 0.6 inches (15 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 0.6 inches (16 mm) 81°F (27°C) 0.4 inches (11 mm)
Sep 78°F (26°C) 1 inches (26 mm) 81°F (27°C) 0.7 inches (19 mm)
Oct 78°F (25°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 80°F (26°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Nov 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Dec 72°F (22°C) 2.5 inches (62 mm) 74°F (23°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)