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NaPali Experience Boat Tours
NaPali Experience Boat Tours

Best Time of Year to Visit Kauai

When is the best time of year to visit Kauai?

The obvious answer is anytime, and all the time – however, we understand that most visitors need to decide on when to take their vacation.

The most popular time to visit Hawaii, with its average temperature at 78 degrees, is when the rest of the United States weather is junk. Hotels are booked to capacity from mid-December to April, with the last two weeks of December being the most popular travel time, and the spring break season during March and April. Summer break is also a popular time too, and Hawaii is usually pretty busy from June to August.

There really are only two seasons in Hawaii, Winter and Summer. We don’t measure our seasons with changes in the leaves or temperature in the air, instead, we use the direction of the ocean swells to differentiate. In the winter, the waves are big on the north and west sides of the island, and in the summer, the waves are big on the east and south sides of the island. When the waves are not big, it means that the water is calm and safe for snorkeling and swimming.

Our company, Na Pali Experience, only operates in the summer (May-Sept) because of the calm waters around Na Pali. In the summer, we can explore sea caves and swim safely at Nualolo during our catamaran tour. During the winter months, the sea caves are inaccessible and the water is too rough to swim in on the north shore. Seeing Na Pali coast is the number 1 rated activity on

Considering all of this, our recommendation for the best time to visit Kauai is May and Sept. The weather is usually perfect, it’s not too crowded, and most importantly, Na Pali Experience is open for business!

Don’t miss the best way to experience Na Pali Coast, Book your tour with us today!


1,000 Reviews and 5 Star Rating,Thank You! [Trip Advisor]

We now have 1,000 Na Pali Coast boat tour reviews on Trip Advisor! THANK YOU, to all of our guest who have shared their reviews over the past 4 years.

While reviewing all these wonderful comments, we noticed something consistently mentioned in the reviews that we don’t acknowledge enough.

We have shared why we believe our Kekaha departure location is better than Hanalei or Port Allen; we have shared why a boat tour is preferable to experiencing Na Pali as opposed to a helicopter tour; we have shared about our top-of-the-line snorkeling equipment, and prime snorkeling location at Nualolo; but we have yet to highlight the most important, unique feature of our company. something that money can’t buy, and no other tour company has…our captains.

Over and over again, it’s our captains who go above and beyond to make sure that each tour is specially catered to our guests on board, who share their live experience and in depth knowledge of Hawaii with our guests, who take extreme caution in care in assessing the conditions and putting safety of all before anything else.

Read more to see what amazing things our guest have to say about our Captains…

“Our guide, Abraham was not only knowledgeable…but so much fun!! The only person that could have been better is Moses himself! 🙂 seriously though…ask for Abraham.”

“Captain T is the best! I went on NaPali experience in 2013. It was good then, but yesterday’s experience was fantastic! Captain T filled us in on Hawaiian legends as we comfortably careened along the coast. He can really handle a boat. The snorkeling was much better this year, and my favorite part of the experience was getting to swim in the cave! Thanks for an awesome morning, Captain T!”

“We spent the afternoon chillen with Chellen and had a blast! He is probably the best guide we have ever had in Hawaii. He knows everything about the area and is a very skilled boat captain, which was very reassuring when navigating through the small channels of the lava tunnels.”

“This tour was fantastic from start to finish. Our captain Rob was very knowledgeable, funny, and looked out for everyone on board. We got an unbelievable look at the Na Pali coast in the small boat, from inside multiple caves and then from under the water as we got to snorkel. Rob dropped plenty of knowledge about the indigenous people andHawaiian culture, about hiking the trails, and about the island in general. He raised his family here and had a nice local touch to every thing.”

“Our Na Pali experience was amazing. The best part, our captain, Nate. His knowledge of the sites we saw was fantastic. His boat handling expertise was incredible. Maneuvering the sea caves and handling the waves to give us the smoothest most interesting ride possible. Nate also helped everyone move around the boat throughout the day to get the total experience. He even had music qued up at appropriate times in the trip. The sights were spectacular, but our guide made them even more memorable.”

“Our guide was great! Thank you Captain John! You made our trip memorable. He gave us information about the coastline and canyon and pointed out wildlife from sea turtles to mountain goats. His boating skills were incredible! How he was seeing to maneuver into those caves was something else! We left my husband’s wedding ring on board. Within a few hours we receive a call to let us know. The Captain brought it to our resort for us. Thanks again!! We will be back!!”

We are thrilled to work with the best of the best waterman on the coast. Last year, we were honored to have one of our Captains, Abraham Frehm, honored as a Hawaii Ecotourism Association Guide of the Year.

Come meet our amazing captains!, Book your tour with us today!


Na Pali Tour: North Shore vs South Side vs West Side Departure

When picking a tour company to go on our Na Pali Coast tour, one of the factors you will be weighing is location, location, location. Depending on other activities planned during your time on Kauai, you might default to booking something that is closer to your lodging. The most common spots for a Na Pali boat tour launch include Hanalei, on the north shore and Port Allen, on the south west side of the island.

We are fortunate enough to have one of the few permits to operate out of Kikialoa Boat Harbor, located in Kekaha, on the west side of the island, an ideal location that gives us closer access to Na Pali then more popular Port Allen, which is about 30 minutes farther away from Na Pali Coast, which means an hour of your tour is spent in transit, when you could be sightseeing and swimming.

Both Hanalei and Port Allen are popular locations for boat tours, so parking can be an issue. It can get congested in these locations, with so many different companies operating, which can lead to confusion on which and where exactly your boat is.

What is great about our tour, is that we offer 3 convenient check in times at 7 AM, 9 AM, and 2 PM. Depart on our 7 AM tour, and have the whole afternoon and evening to explore the west side. If you are driving from the east or north sides of the island, you do not have to wake up before the sun rises. Most likely, you will want to make a visit out to Waimea Canyon or check out Kokee State Park, so if you are limited on time, it’s very easy to do our tour in the morning, and view the canyon in the afternoon, and stay on the west side to enjoy a killer sunset. Or book our 2 PM tour, take your time driving out to the west side, and enjoy the sunset on our boat!

Have we convinced you yet?  Book your Na Pali Experience today!

Why We Have the Best Snorkeling Gear [On Na Pali]

Quality is important at Na Pali Experience. We believe that our guests deserve the very best.

To make sure that we give our guest the best Na Pali snorkeling and swimming experience, we always make sure of two things: that conditions in the water are good and our snorkel gear is the best in the industry.

Our boat is one of the few vessels that are able to dock at Nualolo Kai, a calm snorkel spot rich with marine life. If conditions aren’t optimal for snorkeling, our captains know a few secret alternatives to make sure you get the very best swimming experience possible.

Our snorkel gear is top of the line.  We use professional quality mask (Deep See Omni Frameless) and snorkel (Aqua Lung Impulse 3) with custom strap pad for comfort. The mask is unique in that can conform to every face. This strap won’t get tangled in long hair!

Our gear is clean, maintained, swapped with new gear on every tour. The mask is unique in that it fits almost every face. We also have the same exact mask in a junior size with a junior snorkel mouth piece that works great for the kids. Additionally, we even carry prescription masks for those who might need a little magnification.
Check out our Tripadvisor reviews to see that our guests rave about our gear. We are proud to offer the top quality to our guests. Ready to try out the gear yourself? Book your Na Pali Experience today!

5 Most Instaworthy Sites on Na Pali Coast [Instagram]

Na Pali Coast is loaded with tons of photo opps for filling up your social media feed with beautiful photos that will make lasting memories of your Na Pali Coast tour and also make your followers insanely jealous of your trip!

1. Dolphin Encounters! From the stretch at Mana all the way up to Kalalau there is chance to see dolphins, eagle rays, fishes, and sea turtles.

2. Open Ceiling Cave, most unique sea cave on the coast!

3. Kalalau Valley, most beloved photo opportunity! Popular for both scenic photographs and family photos.

4. Snorkeling at Nualolo, rich with coral, fishes, and sea turtles.

5. Sea Caves!  In addition to open ceiling, there is Wai’napanapa, Honeymooners, Wai’ahu’akua, and Piriates cave!

If you are ready to get the shot, book your Na Pali Coast tour with us today!

Reef Safe Sunscreen

At Na Pali Experience we are committed to keeping our precious Na Pali Coast pristine and preserved for everyone to enjoy. We are proud to take responsibility in being sustainable, low-impact and eco-friendly operation.

Nualolo Kai, our Na Pali snorkeling spot on our Na Pali Coast tour, is home to an active reef with a lot of marine life.  Keeping the reef alive and healthy for generations is very important to us. One of the ways we can preserve it is limit exposure of harmful chemicals that can pollute the ocean.

Many sunscreens are made with chemical called oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is considered extremely harmful to coral reefs and is toxic at very low concentrations.

You can do your part in limit the use of sunscreen by wearing UV protection clothing and using sunscreen that is made with zinc oxide, like those from Badger.

Thank you Hawaii Ecotourism Association and Marine Safe for the information.

Hawaiin Words for Your Na Pali Coast Tour

At Na Pali Experience, we love sharing Hawaiian culture with our guests! One of the easiest ways to get started is to share the beautiful language of the islands. Here are some Hawaiian words that you might hear on your Na Pali Coast tour.

Aloha – Hello, Goodbye, I Love You. Aloha is a common greeting that you will hear throughout your time in Hawai’i. Yes, it means hello, goodbye, love, but also so much more. It embodies a way of life in Hawaii, perpetuated through the people. Hopefully you will feel the Aloha that our Captains have for our guests and the opportunity to share Kauai and Na Pali coast with you. For the deeper meaning of Aloha, check out this beautiful explanation of Aloha at

Napali – The cliffs. Na is The (plural) and Pali is cliffs. Napali is the Moku – a section, of Kauai that we visit on the tour. Each moku is made up of different Ahupua’a – land division, that stems from the top of the mountain down to the ocean. The ahupua’a we pass on the tour are Hanakapi’ai, Hanakoa, Pohaku’au, Kalalau, Honopu, Awaawapuhi. On the way to Napali, we start in the Moku of Kona, at Kikiaola and go all the way to Mana.

Na Pali Experience Catamaran Tour Kalalau

(Na Pali “Cathedral Cliffs” at Kalalau)

Nai’a – Dolphin. Mostly likely to encounter on Morning Magic tours, could be as soon as we pull out of the boat harbor. Hawaiian spinner dolphins put on a great acrobatic show. Nai’a are very akamai – smart, clever, intelligent.

Na Pali Experience Catamaran Tour Dolphins

(Nai’a outside of Kikialoa Boat Harbor)

Honu – Hawaiian Sea turtle. You have the best chance of a sea turtle encounter on our Afternoon Adventure when they are usually out feeding at Nualolo. Honu are a common ‘Aumakua – Ancestral spirit. In Hawaiian mythology, other ‘amakua could be mo’o – gecko, pueo – owl, mano – shark, and many other forms.

Na Pali Experience Catamaran Tour Turtle

(Honu at Nualolo Kai)

Anuenue – Rainbow. Kaua‘i is known as much for it’s rain as it’s rainbows. Rainbows are pomaika’i – a blessing, sign of good fortune.

Na Pali Experience Catamaran Tour


(Anuenue on our Afternoon Adventure Tour)

Kai – salt water. Wai – fresh water. ‘Moana – ocean. Nalu – wave. Our tour runs May – Sept because the waters along Na Pali are usually calm and glassy, making excellent conditions to explore all the sea caves. On the rare occasions when the surf swell rises, some of the sea caves might not be accessible on that day.

Na Pali Experience Catamaran Tour

(Waiʻahuʻakua Sea Cave. This is not only one of the most poetic names in all of Na Pali, but the translation is equally beautiful. Wai – water, Ahu – altar, Akua – god.)

Mauka – Towards the mountains, Makai, towards the ocean. Anywhere you are on island, you can tell directions by orienting yourself with the mountains and the ocean. Sometimes your guide will use these directionals to point out wildlife in reference to the boat.

Pu – conch shell. If conditions are right, your captain may blow a pu inside a sea cave. The sound resonating inside the caves is guaranteed to give you chicken skin.

Na Pali Experience Catamaran Tour

(Capt Nate blowing a Pu in Sea Cave)

Aloha ‘Aina – Love of the land. Na Pali Experience is committed to keeping our precious Na Pali Coast pristine and preserved for everyone to enjoy. We are proud to take responsibility in being sustainable, low-impact and eco-friendly operation. One of the ways we do that is an annual Na Pali Coast Clean Up. We hope that though our tour we can share our Aloha Aina with you. 

(Capt Abe packing up a small fraction of the trash we collected on the last Na Pali Coast Clean Up)

Hana Hou – Encore, do it again! More commonly heard at a concert or hula performance, you might find yourself shouting Hana Hou! after you see a Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin put on a show for you!

‘A‘ole pilikia – You’re welcome or no problem. A common reply to Mahalo – Thank you or Mahalo Nui Loa – Thank you very much!

Pau Hana – After work. You might hear your captain mention something about his plans to get pau hana drinks with his ‘Ohana – family. Here are some of our favorite spots to hit up after a tour.

A hui hou – Until we meet again. You will learn that we do not say goodbye in Hawaii, we say aloha and a hui hou.

No Ka Oi – The Very Best. If you thought that our Na Pali Coast tour was No Ka Oi, please head over to Tripadvisor and leave us a review!

(A Private Tour anchored off Nualolo for a family trip that was No Ka Oi!)

Now it’s time to put your new knowledge to good use! If you are ready for the best way to experience Na Pali, book your tour with us today!

If you would like to learn even more Hawaiian words to use on your Kauai vacation, check out this glossary by Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Na Pali Coast Boat Options

When picking out a Na Pali Boat tour, one of your options to choose from is the type of boat that you take. There are 3 options: Large capacity catamaran, small catamaran, and zodiac rafts.

Large capacity catamarans hold up to 49 passengers. These large boats offer a smooth ride and plenty of comfortable seating and shade. They offer panoramic views of the coast, and snorkeling with other large tour boats.

Smaller catamarans and zodiacs are able to get up close to the coastline and even explore all the sea saves on Na Pali. Because of the lower capacity, the boats are able to anchor at snorkeling location Nualolo. Zodiac rafts don’t offer on-board shade, and the seating can be uncomfortable, sitting sideways on the raft.

Our boats seat 6 comfortably, with two seats at the bow allowing you to lean back, put your feet up, and enjoy the ride! Only small catamarans offer a comfortable ride, and allow you to explore sea caves and snorkel at a premium, uncrowded location.

Our boats also offer an affordable private na pali coast tour option. If you are ready for the very best way to experience Na Pali, book your tour with us today!

Our Favorite Places to Eat on Kauai’s Westside

A day out on Na Pali Coast will certainly work up a healthy appetite. After 5 hours of riding on the coast, zipping in and out of sea caves and snorkeling at Nualolo, you will be ready to chow down! Waimea is the town right before Kikialoa Boat Harbor and has tons of great options to eat at that will satisfy everyone in your group. If you are

Cafe Lure is a Captains favorite! They offer a variety of awesome breakfast and lunch items. Recommended are their breakfast burritos, loco moco and teri chicken plate. This cafe is located next to Big Save Shopping center in the middle of town.

Photo by Elpidio C.

For an authentic Hawaiian plate lunch, head over to Ishihara Market. They have the best poke on island. The staff behind the counter is super friendly, and will give you samples from the deli and recommendations on what is fresh that day. You can also pick up any groceries you need at this market.

Photo by Craig F.

For something a little more hardy, head over to The Saddle Room, adjacent to Wrangler’s Steakhouse in Waimea. Only open Thursday – Sunday, this hole in the wall dive-bar has the best burger on Kauai, not to mention their drinks are pretty great too!

Photo by Lindsey H.
Ready to work up your appetite on the coast? Book your Na Pali Experience today!

Na Pali Engagements and Weddings

Kaua’i is lover’s paradise and Na Pali coast is the perfect place to take your beloved on a special trip of a lifetime. Our private tours are the perfect way to celebrate your trip to Kauai, and even a more perfect way to make your engagement or wedding extra special.

Na Pali Coast Engagement

We have had a number of proposals on our tours, both preplanned and surprised! Open Ceiling cave is our most popular spot to pop the question, but stopped in front of Kalalau or inside Pirates Cave also makes a good choice for the perfect engagement story.

We can cater to your requests such as having special music playing.

Na Pali Coast Wedding

Can you imagine a more perfect backdrop to your wedding photos then Kalalau Valley?

The boat can fit up to 6 guests, enough for the bride and groom, witnesses, and the officiant or have on of our Captains officiate! We have multiple boats, and can customize your trip to fit your small wedding needs.

Book your private tour for your Kauai engagement or wedding with us today! Call 808-635-1131 for pricing and age restrictions for children.