Wailua Kayak & Canoe

Wailua Kayak & Canoe – Go on Tours Led by Knowledgeable Guides or Set Off on Your Own
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

With a visit to Wailua Kayak & Canoe, you get the choice between going on a four-hour guided tour to a waterfall or setting off on your own down the river. Either way, their no-hauling kayak experience gives you a chance to conveniently explore all the greatest sights in East Side Kauai. Their all-inclusive prices hit the spot, but be forewarned, their customer service quality often leaves much to be desired.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

With a trip over to Wailua Kayak & Canoe, you can explore some of the most beautiful spots on Kauai’s East Side with a guide or on your own. Better yet, unlike other kayak tour and rental companies, you don’t even have to precariously load up your kayak onto a vehicle. Instead, they give you a kayak on wheels, so you can pull right down to the ramp and launch into the water.

When taking the guided tour, expect four and a half hours of explorations along the Wailua River. You’ll first paddle your heart out to reach the rainforest trail leading to Secret Falls. Then, you’ll put your kayak up on land and hike up to the falls to gaze upon its beauty in pure wonder. But that’s not all you get to do while you’re there. You can even take some time to splash around in the pool around the falls and get all cooled off before heading back the way you came.

If you go on the morning waterfall tour, your guide will provide a deli-style lunch to enjoy along the base of the waterfall. On the afternoon tour, you can stop to enjoy any snacks and beverages you brought in your complimentary cooler. While chowing down, take the time to ask the guide questions about the surrounding geological formations, vegetation, and wildlife. They’re chockfull of excellent information about the history and culture of the region as well.

Prefer to explore the river on your own or with your group – no guide needed? They are happy to oblige that request. Instead of taking the tour, you’ll want to simply rent all the single, double, or triple kayaks you’ll need. In addition to a complimentary cooler, they also provide life vests, backrests, and drybags at no extra charge.

The rentals are good for up to five hours, giving you plenty of time to explore Fern Grotto, the Island, or even reach Secret Falls all on your own. Not sure how to get to those places? Take a photo of the map before you jet out on your own.

Before you head out, they’ll make sure you have all the gear you need and provide a little rundown of the hazards you need to avoid. The motorboat tours running along the river are the biggest hazard, followed by rough spots near big rocks, fallen logs, and other debris. Since the kayaks are self-baling, they’re much less likely to fill with water and sink. Despite that, it’s best to wear your life jacket in case you get flipped over or otherwise land in the water.

Although this tour company offers a convenient way to explore the riverside, their customer service can feel a bit subpar at times. They’re often gruff and to the point, although that’s likely due to their need to convey a lot of information in a short period of time. If you can ignore the occasional harsh tone, their tours and kayak rentals are worth trying out when you want to explore the beauty of East Side Kauai.

Insider Tips:
-Whether you’re renting the kayaks or going on the guided tour, expect to pay by the paddler, not by the kayak. You can get a 10% discount by booking online. Pay with cash to avoid the hefty credit card processing fee.
-If you don’t remember your snacks, water shoes, and other items, just stop by the store across the way to gear up.
-The waterfall hike is a bit slippery, so be sure to bring a well-fitting pair of closed-toe shoes to wear.
-Bring along plenty of reef-safe sunscreens, so you don’t have to worry about it getting washed off as you play in the water. If you don’t have your own, feel free to ask if they have any available to use.