Kauai, Hawaii is a magical place, home to the Wai’ale’ale Crater, Hanalei Bay, and Waimea Canyon, amongst many other stunning points of interest. But no tour to Kauai would be complete without a visit to the majestic Na Pali Coast. This 17-mile stretch, an hour and a half north of Lihue, is defined by extraordinary natural beauty. To see it in all its splendour, you’re going to need to first consider the best travel option to suit your needs. Here’s a start; our IDEAL guide to travel options on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai, Hawaii.
This is arguably the finest way to see the Na Pali Coast, if your pockets are deep enough, of course. Since there is no access by road on this coast, car travel is largely out of the question. With the ease and convenience of helicopter travel here, suddenly it doesn’t seem like such an indulgent option after all.
There are four distinct colours that you’ll see from up high: the royal blue of the ocean, yellow of the beach, brown of the mountains, and green of the trees. An insider’s tip is to wear black clothes during your helicopter tour, since it will reduce a significant amount of glare on the windows and improve visibility during your flight.
There are two things that you should keep in mind while taking a boat tour to NaPali Coast. Firstly, timing. Don’t go in June and July as the winds are too strong, making the boat swing in various directions. Severe seasickness has been known to afflict travellers during these two months.
Many locals suggest carrying ginger ale, saltines, and Dramamine motion sickness tablets when on a boat trip, to prevent the unpleasant effects of seasickness.
Instead, if planning a boat trip, you should visit the Na Pali Coast on the last week of August or later, avoiding monsoon season in the process. Be aware that these aren’t the best waters, anytime of year, when it comes to snorkeling. Though the scenery looks pleasant and waters inviting, it’s not safe to get submerged unless you’re an experienced diver.
If you want to get truly adventurous, you can also hike in various places on the Na Pali Coast. Not for the faint hearted, the hiking trails usually remain wet, rugged and a little treacherous throughout the year. This makes the path slippery and muddy, especially around the edges of the cliffs.
Make sure you pack plenty of food, walking sticks, and shoes with strong grip if you are planning to do things on foot. The Kalalau Trail is the best hiking path on the Na Pali Coast; an 11-mile stretch that starts from Ke’e Beach and ends at Kalalau Beach.