If you’re on the North Shore of Kauai, you will especially appreciate the boat tours of the Na Pali Coast that depart from Hanalei Bay. The convenient tours save a road trip to the other side of the island (Port Allen) while offering a wonderful opportunity to explore the island’s remarkable Na Pali Coast.
The Hanalei tours of the Na Pali Coast are offered in the spring, summer and fall months, generally starting in the middle of April and ending the last week of October. During this time, Hanalei Bay is usually placid, allowing tour boats to pull up to the beach to load passengers. During the winter months, the surf is stronger and boat loadings are often not safe.
In addition to the convenience of the Hanalei departures for North Shore visitors, the Na Pali Coast is nearer to Hanalei Bay than it is for Port Allen, the usual launching point for Na Pali Coast tours. As a result, more time can be spent on the Na Pali Coast, and less time on travel, with a Hanalei departure. Moreover, the tours from Hanalei visit the opposite end of the Na Pali Coast from the Port Allen tours. Weather permitting, two different sea caves can be navigated by the smaller boats of the Hanalei tours. The caves are usually not seen on tours from Port Allen. Those tours (from Port Allen) generally travel only as far as Kalalau Beach before turning around.
The boats leaving from Hanalei are substantially smaller than the ones leaving from Port Allen. The Port Allen boats are larger, and more stable, catamarans. The Hanalei tour boats have a rougher ride, especially during the travel between Hanalei Bay and the Na Pali Coast. Those prone to seasickness or have certain medical conditions should choose a Port Allen tour instead.
Another notable difference between the Hanalei and Port Allen departures is the time of day and lighting conditions. The 8AM and 12 noon departures from Hanalei do not benefit from the spectacular “golden hour” on the Na Pali Coast in the late afternoon. Though there is some interplay with light and shadows in the early morning hours of the 8AM departures, most of these time periods are spent in direct sunlight. Though the scenery is beautiful, the sunset cruises leaving from Port Allen offer richer viewing and photo options in our opinion.
Wear water friendly clothes on the Na Pali Coast Hanalei tours as you will probably get wet to some degree. Bring sun protection, including sunglasses, hats and reef safe sunscreen. A light jacket helps with the ocean spray on the higher speed travel between the coast and Hanalei Bay and also in the event of rain.
On the web: www.napalitours.com/hanalei-tours/
Na Pali Coast Hanalei Tour Photos
The following is an account of a Na Pali Coast Hanalei tour.
We met up at the company’s Hanalei office next to Tahiti Nui. Dry bags were issued to all participants to protect personal belongings. Passengers walked in a group from the office to Hanalei Beach for the pickup.
It was a glorious morning in Hanalei. Shortly, the 26-foot catamaran Leilani arrived to pick us up. (Getting onboard required wading a very short distance into the water and climbing up several steps on the back of the catamaran.)
Soon we were off on our adventure and heading up the coast. You could easily make out the different beaches on Kauai’s North Shore. This is the Tunnels Beach/Haena Beach area.
This is where the North Shore beaches end at Ke’e Beach and the Na Pali Coast begins.
The first beach to be found on the Na Pali Coast tour is Hanakapiai Beach. On land, this beach can only be reached via a two-mile hike on the Kalalau Trail.
The entrance to a sea cave.
This is the Double-Door sea cave with two entrances!
Inside the cave! It is the captain’s discretion to determine if conditions are safe to enter caves on the tour.
This incredible sea cave has a waterfall cascading through a hole in the ceiling. Look closely and you can see where a rock has wedged in the opening, something that was new from the last time we had visited the cave.
Amazing scenery of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.
Waterfalls of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast!
Another amazing beach on the Na Pali Coast!
The Open Ceiling Cave is a large round cave with a rocky point in the middle.
The amazing Honopu Beach has an archway that connects two sides of the beach. The photo does not capture the enormity of the arch. The archway is large enough for a helicopter to fly through, as happened in the movie Acapulco Gold.
The pristine snorkeling spot was beautiful above and below the water.
The boat anchored at the snorkeling spot along with another tour boat.
Celebrities can often be found on Kauai. #georgiannflood
This beach looks like something from a Jurassic Park movie!
After spending about 45 minutes at the snorkeling spot, we sped back to Hanalei Bay. Though it was mostly sunny on this day, rains are a common occurrence so be prepared. A light jacket helps with the ocean spray on the trip back and also in the event of rain.
It was a choppy, high speed trip back with plenty of ocean spray and plenty of scenery!
Ominous clouds over the North Shore.
Back at beautiful Hanalei Bay!
Leave a comment