Some companies tend to make exaggerated claims. But when Napali Kayak promises an epic, unforgettable adventure, they deliver. Napali Kayaks offers rentals of a wide variety of kayaks, SUPs, and outdoor equipment, but their hallmark offering is their guided tour of the Napali Coastline. Get up close and personal views of those emerald-carved cliffs, and you might discover your new favorite place in the world.
The full tour, called the Ha’ena Napali Coast Tour on their website, covers 17 miles of paddling, and it traverses some of the world’s most scenic waters. This tour is only recommended for young adults/adults aged 15 and up. Previous paddling experience isn’t required, as long as you’re healthy and highly motivated to learn. You do need a decent level of physical fitness; paddling for several hours on the open ocean is no joke. This tour includes a landing at a state park accessible only by air or water. You’ll land your kayaks there, enjoy lunch and a stroll in the state park–or a nap, whatever suits your fancy, before heading back.
Of course, shorter tours are available. The Polihale guided tour is a bit shorter, at only 10-12 total miles of paddling. This tour goes from Polihale to Milolii, and it spans smoother, less turbulent waters on the island’s leeward side. This trip will be easier for travelers who are prone to seasickness, but it still offers stunning views and an opportunity to dip into the water at will.
Guided tours require an early morning check-in: 4:45 am for tours departing from the Hanalei headquarters and 6:30 am for those departing from Waimea Town’s west side, and they typically provide a tasty lunch–an option of a couple of different sandwiches, along with cold fruit. You’re expected to supply your own water, though (preferably at least 3 liters for an all-day trip), and you’ll definitely want a waterproof camera along for the ride. It would be a good idea to pack along with a few energy bars or some sort of sealed snack to have on hand. Though it’s not required, a roll-top dry bag will come in handy here for stowing your stuff!
Expect knowledgeable local guides who actually love what they do and who love introducing visitors to Kauai’s flora and fauna. Many visitors say that the guides were one of the best parts of the trip. They’re fun, helpful, and have a great sense of humor–all very important when spending an entire day with someone new!
Not sure you’re up for such a long paddle? You can always rent a kayak or SUP and explore some of Kauai’s calmer waters on your own. Stop by headquarters or give them a call, and the Napali Kayaks staff can set you up with the gear you need along with information on the best waterways to explore.
-Keep in mind when planning your trip that the season for visiting the Napali Coast’s waters is limited; Napali Kayaks only leads tours from April 15-October 15. During the winter months, those waters turn into a big-wave surfer’s dream; not ideal for the average paddler.
-Feeling extra adventurous? Consider a guided camping trip with Napali Kayaks and spend the night under the stars on one of the most remote parts of the island.