Summary: The Nāpali Coast is on the northwest part of the Island of Kauai. It is most known for its massive, green sea cliffs, which against the turquoise blue sea water, makes for truly remarkable and colorful landscape. Access is significantly limited with some areas only accessible by boat or helicopter. For an unforgettable experience, we highly recommend a boat tour with Blue Ocean Adventure Tours, and in particular, the boat landing experience with lunch. The boats used are inflatable vessels like those that the Navy Seals use and now that we have experienced one, we may never seek out a Catamaran or fishing boat again. They are far more fun than anything we have ever been on. There was absolutely nothing about this day that was not amazing and you would be remiss not to include this in your Kauai itinerary. This blog post is part of 7-part series related to our time in Kauai. See our itinerary page and additional blog posts for more information about the Garden Island.
What Gear You Should Bring. You will be spending almost the entire day in the sun. If you are sun sensitive, bring appropriate sun clothing. Either way, water proof sunblock is a must, along with a bathing suit, towel, sunglasses, and sandals. They will provide a water proof bag for cameras, cell phones, and the rest of your belongings. If you bring a hat, note that the boat goes super fast and you may lose it in the water. Bring cash too to tip your tour guides. They will do an amazing job and will earn it.
Getting there. From Waimea, the drive is just 3 minutes down the road to the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor. Here, there are restrooms and parking for the day (without a fee). Instructions are to arrive 30 minutes before launch time. Here, you will receive safety instructions, including how not to get bounced out of this fast-moving boat. It sounds worse than it is; we handled it just fine.
Heading out. The total length from start to finish was 7:30 am-1:30 pm. The first 45 minutes or so was devoted to getting to the general Nāpali Coast State Wilderness area. During this time, our driver, Makana, gave us several fun thrills from high speeds, spinning donuts, and jumping waives. Again, it sounds unsafe but at no time did we feel unsafe. Makana was clearly super-skilled and we were very able to hang on. It was so fantastically fun that when we made our first stop, we remarked that our cheeks were going to hurt from smiling so hard.
Caves. The tour includes time within the caves that line the Coastline. Makana expertly navigated the caves.
First Swim. Next we were taken to an area where the boat was stopped to give us a chance to jump off the boat and go for a swim. Maka, the other guide, took photos using our cameras as we jumped off the boat. The water was warm and crystal blue. (Not shown: My very ungraceful flop into the water, only the moment before).
Dolphins and Whales. Not only were we treated to perfect weather, we also had the good fortune of running into so much wildlife. We visited with a large dolphin pod that swam our boat for a good stretch. We also had our breath taken away by several whale sightings both on the way there and back. On the last leg, a group of at least eight whales surfaced right near our boat. At that time, the engine was cut and we just watched as they surfaced over and over again. It is so hard to describe the enormity of the experience but it was truly unforgettable to see these gorgeous animals.
Beach Landing. The second, full stop, was at the beach landing. Here, we snorkeled where we saw a large turtle and a ton of fish. After snorkeling, we had lunch on the beach, underneath shade trees and on picnic benches - all in front of a gorgeous view of the water and Coastline.
Kauai History Tour. After lunch, Maka, a Kauai native, gave us a tour on foot of an ancient fishing village located at the landing. Maka pride of his birthplace showed through as he provided a detailed history of the place, plants, and people of the area. Maka was also personable and funny. He was perfect.
Music & Fun. After the beach landing, we headed back to the boat launch to end the day. The trip back is an approximately 45 minute speed boat ride filled with music and fun. Makana and Maka are both outgoing have an endearing way of getting everyone to join in with singing and (safely) dancing will still safely holding on to the fast-moving boat.
More Whales. On the last stretch back to the marina, another pod of whales joined us.
At $195/person, it is an expensive day for a family. But honestly, we couldn't think of a better way to spend your money while here in Kauai. Our other days here are cost-free, so for us, this was a perfect way to splurge and we have not a single regret.
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