Kauai - Na
Pali Ocean Rafting
The very best way to explore
Kauai's rugged Na Pali coast is on board one of our ocean rafting tours. The
scenery along the Na Pali coastline is just breathtaking. There are
sea caves and archways to explore, with numerous waterfalls falling
directly into the ocean. Sealife abounds, including spinner and
spotted dolphins, monk seals, and Hawaiian green sea turtles.
Humpback whales are often seen during the winter months. All of
these creatures are seen in their natural wild habitat!
48 Foot Large Raft - west shore departure
Year-round daily departures. The
capacity for this vessel is 35 people and the check in is at the Kikiaola small boat harbor that is 2 miles west of Waimea. This fast and comfortable boat
offers shade and an on-board rest room, as well as a smoother ride
than the smaller raft. This vessel is small enough to maneuver
into sea caves during calm seas and is our favorite way to experience the coastline of the Na Pali. Minimum age is 5. No pregnant women, and no one with neck or back injuries permitted on the tour.
- Morning tour - 4.5 hours in length and includes snorkel gear, lunch, beverages, and a snorkel stop is typically made along the Na Pali or Kona coast.
Check-in time is 9:00am. This tour operates 7 days a week from April through September and on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from October through March. Adults $139, Children ages 5-12 $119
NPE / V
The Na Pali Explorer morning tours do not work for cruise ship passengers. If you are on the Pride of America and overnighting in Kauai, you can do an afternoon tour or you might also consider a sunset
motor tour of the Na Pali
on the afternoon / evening of day one in port.
38 Foot Raft - north shore Hanalei departure
Minimum age is 6. No pregnant women, and no one with neck or back injuries permitted on the tour. Due to extremely limited availability we recommend reservations be made weeks prior to your arrival!
- Morning tour - 4 hours in length and includes snorkel gear, lunch, beverages. Checkin is at 8am in downtown Hanalei. This tour operates 7 days a week April through September. Adults $169, Children ages 6-12 $139
The adventure begins when you leave shore of scenic Hanalei Bay and by dingy which transfers you to the Ocean Adventurer which is anchored just offshore. Minutes after leaving the bay, the spectacular Napali Coast comes into view and you see why its dramatic cliffs and beaches have enchanted painters, authors and travelers for centuries!
As you travel down the coast, your crew and Captain entertain and educate with stories of the Hawaiians who once made this coast their home. From sea-level you really get a feel for the tremendous scale of the cliffs of the Na Pali coast. Keep an eye out for dolphins, turtles and seabirds which are often seen. Depending on the ocean conditions the day of your raft tour, you'll stop and snorkel at one of several protected and shallow areas which will be teeming with tropical fish. Fins, goggles (with corrective lenses if you need them), snorkels, and flotation aids are all provided. If you're new to snorkeling, the crew will be on-hand to provide instruction and pointers so you can get the most from your adventure. After you have a chance to snorkel and relax on the Napali Coast, a tasty lunch sandwich is served before returning to Hanalei Bay.
Ocean Adventurer was built in 2004 ... capacity for this vessel is 28 and she flies down the coastline powered by twin 225HP motors. She has two water-level entry points with dive ladders and a fresh water shower. With plenty of shade, stadium-style seating for every passenger — and the all-important enclosed marine toilet — this boat is designed for comfort as well as speed and safety. The vessel leaves from near the Hanalei Pier ... guests park in "downtown" Hanalei and are shuttled by van to the departure point.
Just in case you missed it the first time ... Due to extremely limited availability we recommend reservations be made weeks prior to your arrival!
HHC / D
The Ocean Adventurer morning tour with a Hanalei departure does not work for cruise ship passengers. The morning tour starts too early for any cruise ship passengers to make it to check in. While Pride of America stays overnight, the second day doesn't work either as you wouldn't have time to get back to the ship after your tour.
Small Raft with Na Pali Landing - south shore departure
Minimum age is 7. No pregnant women, and no one with neck or back injuries permitted on the tour. Due to extremely limited availability we recommend reservations be made weeks prior to your arrival!
- Morning tour - 6-6.5 hours in length and includes snorkel gear, lunch, beverages. Checkin is approximately 6:30am at the small boat harbor in Port Allen on Kauai's south shore. This tour operates 7 days a week April through October. Adults $149, Juniors (ages 13-17) $139, Children ages 6-12 $109
This 6 hour ultimate rafting adventure tour explores all the "nooks and crannies" of the majestic Na Pali coast. Ride through waterfalls and into sea caves when conditions permit ... even land at the ancient archeological site at Nualolo Kai for snorkeling, a narrated walking tour, and a picnic lunch.
As you depart the South Shore from Port Allen the odds are you will encounter pods of playful spinner dolphins along the way. You'll pass the miles of sandy beaches at Barking Sands and Polihale, and cruise past the towering cliffs of the kona side of the island. When you arrive at the Na Pali coast it will take your breath away!
This tour allows you to experience the Na Pali coast in a way that few other tours permit, as very few vessels have the permission from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to LAND along the Na Pali coast. This is a memorable excursion with a remote destination that few people who live in Hawaii have ever had the opportunity to
experience first hand.
This is another one of those tours that, dur to extremely limited availability, we recommend reservations be made weeks prior to your arrival!
KST / D
Sorry, this tour starts too early for any cruise ship passengers to make it to check in. While Pride of America stays overnight, the second day doesn't work either as you wouldn't have time to get back to the ship after your tour.
We offer three distinctly different rafting experiences ... the larger Na Pali Explorer raft is a great compromise between giving you the rafting adventure you desire, while still offering the creature comforts
like shade and an on-board rest room that you'd get on a larger
boat. It has a smoother, cushier ride than the tiny zodiacs, but it
is still fast enough to cover the entire Na Pali coast and small
enough to get into several of the most spectacular sea caves. This vessel operates all year, and is definitely the best choice during non-summer months.
There are some days
along the Na Pali, especially in the wintertime, when a huge north
swell will prevent any raft from entering any of the sea caves.
Just being close enough to witness these monster waves crashing on
the cliffs is a spectacular experience. Occasionally in the
wintertime conditions will not allow them to reach the Na
Pali. If that's the case the captain will select an alternate
destination along the south shore that is safe and also offers a
memorable day on the water. While the Na Pali is always their preferred
destination, even on days when they can't get there they guarantee
you a great time and a fun adventure. As a general rule If it is too
rough for these guys to go to the Na Pali, it's too rough for any
boats to go there.
For guests staying in the Princeville / Hanalei area in the summer months, it is better to do the north shore departure ... if (and this is a BIG if) ... you are PLANNING AHEAD. There is VERY limited availability for north shore departures as the state of Hawaii and county of Kauai have greatly restricted commercial tour permits on the north shore. If you wait until you arrive on Kauai and hope to stroll down to the Hanalei pier at your leisure and hop on the next available boat, you'll be standing there a long LONG time. Every seat sells out well in advance almost every day. And keep in mind that north shore departures are only possible in the late spring, summer, and early fall due seasonal swells that hit in the wintertime. Tours that depart from the north shore are more expensive ... the shorter season means that they can't run all year and have far fewer operating days upon which to turn a profit (and everything about running a boat is expensive ... from the purchase of the vessel, to the maintenance, the fuel, the insurance, the crew, etc.)
Kauai Sea Tours offers an excellent small raft (16 passenger) experience in the summer months as well. With a South Shore departure from Port Allen, this tour does have a longer cruising time to get to the destination than the Hanalei raft we feature on this page. But when they get there they offer an experience that is rare to find ... from May through October they offer a beach landing at Nualolo Kai, a rich archeological site with excellent reef for snorkeling. This landing is subject to ocean conditions; but if you are coming during the peak summer months it is rare that they aren't able to do the landing.
As a resident of
Hawaii, I consider the Na Pali coastline to be the most scenic and
most sacred place in the islands. There are better places in Hawaii
to snorkel, but nothing compares with the dramatic scenery and raw
natural beauty of this wild coastline.