Exploring Na Pali Coast with Kauai Sea Tours

By Lacy Varner
Photo:  Michael M., Hawaii.com member.

Photo: Michael M., Hawaii.com member.

If you’ve decided to vacation on Kauai, it’s a good bet that Na Pali Coast is at the top of your sightseeing list. The sheer emerald cliffs, deep valleys, and cascading waterfalls offset by sparkling blue water create a spectacle that you’ll find nowhere else in the world.

To get a true sense of the scale of the cliffs, you’ll want to be at the base, looking up. There are three ways to do this: hike the extremely treacherous 11-mile Kalalau trail, kayak the 17-mile coast, or take a motorized boat tour. For those who prefer a little less “work” on their vacation, the later is the choice for you!

Kauai Sea Tours offers savings for direct online bookings made in advance.
Click here to check rates and book a tour.

Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast (Lacy Varner/Hawaii.com).

As with any daytime boat tour, check in with Kauai Sea Tours is bright and early. But once you’re out on that glassy water and breakfast is served in the galley, your stomach will be thanking you.

The Lucky Lady is a 60-foot power sailing catamaran and even with a sold-out tour, there is plenty of room.

The Lucky Lady

The Lucky Lady (Lacy Varner/Hawaii.com).

Your captain will narrate the tour: directing you to points of interest, telling you when to hold on to the railing and your hat (please prioritize here), and even entertaining you with crazy stories of ancient Hawaiian dolphin calls.

And man, will you see dolphins! They love to surround the boat and ride the wake, jumping out of the water and spinning. This will certainly be a trip highlight.

Spinner Dolphins

Spinner Dolphins (Lacy Varner/Hawaii.com).

If you’re lucky, Captain Kauai (yes, that’s really his name) will be skippering your tour on an extremely calm day and he will get you up close and personal with a waterfall above one of the sea caves. Really, really, personal. As in, maneuver a portion of the boat just into the cave and under the waterfall. Of course, this can’t always be done, due to wind and sea conditions. And please don’t tell his boss. Or the insurance company. But if you get to experience it, it is awesome!

Sea Cave Waterfall

Sea Cave Waterfall (Lacy Varner/Hawaii.com).

When you finally reach the turnaround point at Kalalau Valley, the sun will be high in the sky, lighting the valley and giving it an ethereal glow. With Kalalau Valley in front of you and section of the coast known as Cathedrals just to the right, you have found yourself in one of the most picturesque spots on the planet. The sheer magnitude and beauty is absolutely stunning.

Cathedrals along Na Pali Coast

Cathedrals along Na Pali Coast (Lacy Varner/Hawaii.com).

The boat crew will stop for a bit and make sure everyone gets a picture. Then it’s off to the snorkel spot and when you get back on the boat, lunch is served. The deli sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit and cookies really hit the spot. Oh, and the bar will be now open, too.

After that, settle in for the fun ride back. You’ll encounter some wind and waves, so staying seated is the best way to go. But if you’re looking for a little more adventure, sitting on the trampoline-like nets at the front of the boat is a sure way to end the day laughing and soaking wet.

Captain Kauai and crew

Captain Kauai and crew (Lacy Varner/Hawaii.com).


We have to send out a giant mahalo to Kauai Sea Tours, Captain Kauai, and his crew for making our day aboard the Lucky Lady a fantastic one. Hope you get to experience it yourself soon!

See also: Hiking the Kalalau Trail
See also: Kayaking the Nā Pali Coast
See also: Kalalau Valley
See also: Tour the Nā Pali Coast
See also: Nā Pali Coast State Park

Remember, Kauai Sea Tours offers savings for direct online bookings made in advance.
Click here to check rates and book a tour.

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