A day discovering the Napali coast

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Visiting the Napali Coast on the island of Kauai was the NUMBER ONE thing I wanted to do on our Kauai family vacation. Since it was my 40th Birthday trip, I figured I would make it happen at all costs. Well, that’s what it turned out to be–expensive and complicated getting there. I’d read that to see the Napali Coast you can do so one of 3 ways.  First you can go on foot, but that requires many hours and miles of hiking.  You can go by air via helicopter or small plane.  Or you can go by boat, traveling around the protected area of the coast.

The first two were ruled out right away. Price and terror of the air, and too long for my husband after a recent knee surgery for foot. We decided on a boat tour.

Kauai's Na Pali Coast

 Napali Coast Boat Tours

I found out quickly that not all boat tours are created equally! A lot of people recommended Captain Andy’s. I did my own research on them and found there were tow options:

  1. Catamaran–slow boat, meal served, didn’t go into sea caves, had a rest room, no snorkeling
  2. Speed Boat–faster, no restrooms on board, cruised in and out of sea caves, snorkeling

I knew I didn’t want the slow boat. The bathroom was appealing since I still have a younger child.  But fewer people on the speed boat appealed to me. And I really wanted to dart into sea caves.  But ultimately it wasn’t conducive to those with recent surgeries or elderly or pregnant because of the seating arrangement on board, which was my husband, so we couldn’t do that.

Thankfully, I kept digging, because I found a nice in-between boat that went faster, had more people, a little shade, had a bathroom and a rinse off shower at the back.  This was a huge plus for me because I don’t like being sticky from salt water.

We booked our boat tour through AdventureInHawaii.com which houses a bunch of tours. It’s not cheap, around $150 a person, but I knew I just had to bite the bullet.

It also included a deli lunch and snorkel gear, which others did not offer, so seemed like an all around WIN!

Like all boat tours, if the water conditions that morning are not conducive, they will cancel. I was nervous about this, a friend had theirs cancelled a few weeks before, but luckily we were ok. We left from the West shore, Kikialoa Small Boat Harbor located 1.6 miles passed Waimea Town. Below, we just set out on the adventure ahead…

Napali Coast

Kauai Boat Tours

We had to get up pretty early, I think we left the house we were staying at 6am, to be at the dock and ready to go at 7am. I love that my daughter will take silly selfie’s with me.

Hawaii Selfie

I was excited to go into sea caves, also conditional on the water conditions, but we got to go inside of one, and I did not have a wide enough lens for it, so I found this off of the internet. It was pretty cook inside!

Napali Sea Cave

By this time, I was starting to get a bit sea sick. VERY unusual for me. My husband gets affected by it, but he brought an ear patch for himself and was just fine. When we finally got to the pinnacle point, the part I had been waiting for, anxiously awaiting the PERFECT family picture in front of….I just wanted it to get over quickly b/c I wanted to hurl. PLUS, the sun was out, the boat was rocking, 30 people were watching us, the captain was anxious to leave, just not ideal conditions.

Napali Coast family picture

So, even though it was a bummer, I’m here to tell the tale. I survived. But the images below were my barometer….



Napali Coast Boat Tour

snorkel at Napali Coast

Kauai snorkeling

Napali Boat Tours

driving the boat tour

After we got back on land, we took a drive up and able to visit it from the other side. This was also a beautiful view!

Napali Coast Above

If you want to see some video from our trip, I’ve saved them in the Highlight on my Instagram page under KAUAI.

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