The problem with renting a Jeep in Hawaii is that it becomes your third wheel and eventually your companion, so much so that when you get back home to normal life you feel incomplete without one. This results in spending more money for a daily impractical vehicle and leaves you yearning for even more adventure.
It all started out before we departed Whistler halfway through our two week vacation of 2015. We had this very fuel economical (read cheapest) econo cereal box of a car that was going to be so cost effective for our week long rental that we could laugh in the faces of the $5/gallon fuel prices of being on the Big Island. As with most our travel procrastination we waited until the day before going somewhere to figure out what sightseeing we would want to do once we arrived. The shortlist for the Big Island quickly revealed endless amounts of waterfalls, Waipio Valley, Volcano National Park, and Mauna Kea Volcano summit. Here is the rub though, two of those places require 4wd to access them and once you see the cost for a one person tour to the top of the Volcano you quickly feel a drop in the gut that you won’t be seeing the summit without hiking to the top of the 13,800′ peak.
This all led to the bright idea on the day of flying to Hawaii to just see if rates were still as high when we originally reserved our econo-box weeks before. This is actually always a good tip as dramatic savings can be had one day before arrival for your same rental period ~ unlike airlines. SCORE for the same price as our 1972 VW Bug rental we can rent a 4wd 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4 door for the week!
Everywhere across the internets you will find companies on the Big Island scaring you to death about taking your own rental car up to the summit of Mauna Kea and down into the valley of Waipio and if this scares you then you should probably heed their warnings. But…. Now this next part I can’t actually advise you to do as you would be breaking your rental agreement contract, but beyond mentioning that your contract actually says you can’t leave any “paved road”, which is just their disclaimer way of saying if you F’it up it’s on you $$$. If you can get over that then this is where the magic of your third wheel becoming your companion for the trip.