Na Pali Coast, Kauai
Na Pali coast at the northern tip of Kauai is very dramatic; some inspired heads have even gone out of their way to find an etymological relationship with Nepal. While it is not Nepal, Na Pali is impressive enough. Extra lure is its remoteness. There is no road traversing it and the only means of transport are boats, helicopters and “bare” feet. The last option allows for a more direct experience while the others might overwhelm with scope. Trekking the whole distance across the coast between the two points of road access is possible but difficult, requiring more than a day of foot work. A taste of this mountaineering soufflé is available; two-kilometer walk from Ke’e beach to Hanakapi’ai beach (plus the distance to wherever your vehicle is parked, it could be another kilometer away). It certainly provides you with a serious work-out program, going up and down hills (very Nepalese feature) complemented with phenomenal views and a dip in salty or fresh water in the end. This last bit is highly recommended for overheated bodies that have avoided lugging bottles of water over the hills.
One must to do activity on Kauai is hike on the Kalalau trail. The Kalalau trail is in 11 mi. treck through the Na Pali coast: "the cliffs" 2,ooo ft. cliffs fall dramaticaly into the ocean. You dont have to hike the whole 11 miles to get an apreciation of the coast line. about a half mile up there is a stunning view of the entire coast.. Two miles in is Hanakapiai Beach this is a great day hike and the end of the road for about 99.9% of hikers. For the brave few that make it all the way they are rewarded with the Beautiful Kalalau valley which can only compare to the garden of Eden. And the untainted Kalalau beach. Plan on camping there. I recommend Near the waterfall the social gathering place. If your there in the summer hike to the end of the beach and swim around to Honopu you will not see a soul, and you will be blown away. Start out early once noon hits the parking lot is like a zoo, whith not many spots.
This hiking trail is at the very end of the road on the north shore of Kauai. It begins at Ke'e beach where the Na Pali coast begins to rise. It is a very popular hiking trail and worth the effort. It is actually 11 miles long. The last 9 miles can only be hiked with a permit. A good dayhike can be made from the first 2 miles. It offers good views of the rugged Na Pali coast as well as a visit to a beach. Be advised that the beaches off this trail can be very dangerous (especially Hanakapiai Beach). The vegetation is lush, and the trail climbs and descends quite a few times as it crosses over the ridges. I would advise good shoes since the trail can be wet and slippery. Water shoes might help assist in stream crossings. The hike will be very memorable for those who enjoy the outdoors. I recommend an early start to avoid the most crowded times as well as grabbing a decent parking space at the trailhead.
Beyond Waimea Canyon is another fascinating look at the landscape. I will admit that the weather was not completely clear when I visited the Kalalau overlook. We were in the clouds quite often. Nevertheless, I did get to see the ocean below and some of the spectacular cliffs dropping from our elevation. There are likely many fine photos of the overlook points in clear weather on this site. I do recommend a visit here since it shows a spectacular peek at the Na Pali coast. There is also hiking in the area, and no doubt the trails lead to some hidden wonders.
Next to the helicopter ride, I believe this is a must do activity. It is a wonderful experience! After considering various companies we chose a small family owned company called Makana Charters and we were very pleased with them. Mike, the owner is a wonderful captain and it was a very informative tour. One of the main reasons we chose them is because they only take 13 people on their 32-ft power catamaran. This made the trip, I feel, a lot more personal and then we could go inside the caves and snorkel on the Nu‘alolo Kai beach (you can only go here if the boat has less than 18 people on it). We took a morning tour, which incidently is the best time to see a pod of spinner dolphins. We were very pleased to be able to see a pod of Hawaiin Spinner Dolphins. They swim in pods of 500 and they were really showing off while we stopped to watch them. Personally I could watch them all day. They were very entertaining.
The view of the Na Pali coast by boat is breathtaking. The views are beautiful, and the caves were very cool to go inside of. The boat left from Port Allen and we went about 100 yards from Ke'e Beach. We then went back and went snorkeling at Nu‘alolo Kai beach. They offered a buffet style lunch and then head back to the port. The trip back to port is much faster than on the way there, so hold on!
The boat tour was a lo
These excursions are pretty competitive in price, but some kind of discount coupon is readily available at your hotel. Arrangements can be made the day before, so there's no urgency to book before you arrive in the paradise islands. In any case, we choose the catamaran that headed to off the Na Pali Coast State Park, where the extraordinary cliffs are breathtaking but difficult to see from the island itself. These boats all leave from Lehue, and head out over the choppy waters of the east coast between Niiahu and Kuaui. If you are prone to becoming sea sick this trip will test your limits, especially on the way back in the afternoon. I'm one such person. I did fine on the way out in the morning, enjoying the flying fish and dolphins, and later the stunning Na Pali Coast. At the northern end of the island, there's a place where the water has eroded caves, and the waves smash against a peninsula of durable rock that juts into the north Pacific. I fed the fish during the snorkle dive off Niiahu, and on the way back, I was in pretty bad shape, but once on shore, I recovered quickly and ate a fine dinner. Don't skip this trip if you fear becoming sea sick.
This is a must do!! It is a bit expensive, but the Na Pali Coast on Kauai is something you have to see. I personally think the best way to see it is by taking a sunset cruise (unless you are MUCH better kayakers than we are and want to see it that way).
on Jan 15 i tried to make reservation for 3pm fly in open door helicopter from Jack harter on the phone. No availability for the coming 5 days. 3pm will be the best time for taking pictures on Na Pali, i believe. morning boat trip and evening boat trip not good enough. BUT Jack Harter's only available time slot for us is 8:30am Jan20.
Then i turned to Wings Over Kauai. it is muct cheaper. it is not helicopter. BUT still good!
Bruce is nice. Ellen on the phone is nice.
A nice flight~ $130 for 75 min but we end up more than 75 min, not mind to paying more for more min :D
At the end of Highway 550 in Koke‘e State Park you'll find the Kalalau Lookout. This spectacular panoramic view of the valley is the culmination of your drive here.
Please see my tip regarding Waimea Canyon, which is what you will be driving past to get to Kalalau Lookout.
Be sure to see my tip on the Ultralight Flight I took over Na Pali and into this valley.
To give you some perspective on how gigantic the Na Pal'i coast is...check out the little white lines in the middle of the photo...just over the treeline. That's a pretty decent sized waterfall! Check out my WATERFALLS ALBUM for bigger, better shots.
Rivaling Waimea Caynon for its natural beauty, the Na Pali coast is another Kauai destination not to be missed. Stretching more than 15 miles from Kee Beach to Polihale, the Na Pali coast is a land lost in time. Towering green cliffs frame lush valleys fed by waterfalls and crowned by rainbows. The passing clouds constantly change the landscape as sunlight and shadows steal across the towering green cliffs rising some 2000 feet from the turbulent sea. Far too rugged for a road, the area is accessible only on foot or by air or boat. The noisy and incessant boats and helicopters do detract from the beauty of the place when hiking, but not enough to justify missing it.
Kauai's Na Pali Coast trek is one of the classic hikes in the world. THe scenary is beautiful and the trail rugged, though the up and down is more than compensated for by the beautiful isolated beaches that pock-mark the walk. We only did a day-hike (in and out) but there is enough trail for a three-day tek.
Though most people talk of hiking the Na Pali Coast Trail (and justifiably so), another worthwhile hike is to the peaks overlooking the Na Pali Coast. Because you drive most of the way up, it's not a demanding hike, but when the clouds clear the view can be exhilierating.
Take a NaPali Coast day excursion on a Catamaran. We booked our trip through Pleasant Hawaiian and they made arranging it easy, but pretty much any hotel can hook you up with one of the many outfits that run these day trips. It's a whole day, but it's worth it. They run you out along the coast, which, in itself is worth it, but then they let you snorkel at a couple of beautiful spots. Since the NaPali is so inaccessible, this is really the only way to see it unless you hike it. And even then, you don't get the views you get from the boat.
For us, the greatest part of it was the trip back. We saw whales and a whole pod of dolphins catching a ride on the front of the boat. It was awesome...
We started this trail one morning, not knowing where it went and unfortunately had to turn around halfway through because we had made plans for that afternoon. This trail was incredible!! It follows the Na Pali coastline for 11 miles and ends up at a beautiful white-sand beach (we heard). Along the way you can turn off to go to Hanakapiai falls, which are also beautiful (we heard). This was the one thing that we wanted to go back to so badly, but ran out of time on our trip.
It's not an easy hike, but well worth it. It was absolutely gorgeous scenery that you can't see otherwise.