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“EXCELLENT boat ride, beautiful coastline” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Na Pali Catamaran

Na Pali Catamaran
Hanalei Bay, Hanalei, Kauai, HI
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Ranked #3 of 21 activities in Hanalei
Type: Boat Tours
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction Details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“EXCELLENT boat ride, beautiful coastline”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

We LOVED our catamaran ride along the NaPali coastline. We got lucky and had very smooth water, so it couldn't have been better. After gorgeous views of the coastline, we went in a sea cave, stopped in the middle of a huge pod of dolphins, and stopped in a sea cave that had a waterfall pouring into it (our guide backed the boat up into the waterfall so we could stand under it!). The snorkelling was with several other boats, but we were at least the second ones there. We saw three big sea turtles there and lots of nice fish. Our two boat captains could not have been any nicer. They were fun, personable and informative. I would HIGHLY recommend this trip!

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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144 reviews from our community

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English first
Mesa, Arizona
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Great company, worth the money”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

Na Pali catamaran did a great job on our tour. Their boat is nice (not a catamaran fyi). It is a father and daughter that ran it and did our tour. The seas were too rough to go in the caves accept one but he drove us to the entrance of the open ceiling cave which I would have loved to go in but I understand that safety was the smart decision. The Na Pali coast is just so so beautiful. We did a tour via helicopter and then the boat and I loved them both and recommend both!!! The snorkel spot is nice, not a whole lot of coral but cool lave flow formation tunnels. Good fish too. We saw spinner dolphins on the way back for a very brief second but we couldn't stop as the swells really picked up and we had to get back. The maneuvered the boat well in the very big waves. A few people got seasick on our trip but that is mother nature, not the company. The lunch they fed was fantastic, great big sandwhich, chips, cookies, and drinks. The experience was great. If you get sea sick easily, the Na Pali coast no matter what company may not be for you unless it is an unusually calm sea day. I think more often it is choppy. Great Company!!!

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Turlock, California
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Don't miss this tour!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

We did this tour with our six year old daughter and it couldn't have been better! Sean and Kulia were very knowledgable and very accommodating. Leaving out of Hanalei is butter than my last trip leaving from the west. From the north you get to see the most beautiful part of the Na Pali Coast. I took the Zodiac tour several years ago, but felt it would be too rough for my daughter; the catamaran tour was perfect. The ride was much smoother, and we were stil able to go into the sea caves. Our daughter decided not to snorkel at the last minute and instead hung out with our boat captain, Sean who was great with her. My husband and daughter have celiac disease so they provided an excellent salad with chicken instead of sandwiches. As previously mentioned, get there early. They are very prompt with the schedule.

Visited September 2012
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Raleigh, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Amazing Tour...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars is because of some confusion with scheduling and the beginning part of the day. Having read other reviews, we made sure to get there early to check in and get on the first shuttle. Unfortunately, four late arrivals pushed past everyone and got on the boat first. My boyfriend and I wound up on the "bad" side of the boat. It turned out not to be a big deal, because the water was really calm and we stood against the railing to take photos. Still though, it was frustrating to arrive early and be last on the boat (the people who got on the boat first didn't even take photos). It should definitely be first come first serve.

As far as the tour....it's amazing! You get to see the entire Na Pali coast, and our guides (Lono and Kulia) were wonderful. We went into three different sea caves, and they set up a number of photo opportunities for us. Don't go on this tour for the snorkeling, because what you see off the beach at Tunnels is much better. Go for the amazing views of Na Pali. I'm not so good with motion sickness, and I was glad I took Dramamine before we left in the morning. Even though it was a "calm" day, the ride back was still pretty rough. A couple of people were queasy, although no one got sick. Having taken Dramamine before the ride, I thought the up and down was really fun.

Either way, definitely take a tour from the north shore. You'll get to see the entire coast!

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, OH
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

If you are coming to Kauai for vacation, then I would hope that you are an outdoors type of person who likes to get out and see things. If this is the case, then you HAVE to see the Na Pali coast with a boat company...and the best company is Na Pali catamaran.

Yes, there are a lot of tour companies that take boat trips out to the Na Pali coast. So how do you choose which one is the best? I would hope that the answer would be "the trip that lets me see the most the Na Pali coast." If that is your criteria (and it should be) then there is only one answer: NA PALI CATAMARAN. Why? Because they leave from Hanalei which is on the north shore and very close to the start of the Na Pali coast. So you get to the Na Pali coast faster...

Most of the other boat companies leave out of "Port Allen" which is on the South shore. If you leave from Port Allen you don't get to see as much of the Na Pali coast. One of the best books we read about Kauai was "Kauai Revealed" and they had some interesting perspective on this as well:


They basically said: "...under no circumstances is a boat tour from the south shore better than a boat tour from the north shore."

Now the details...

The trip cost about $150/pp. The morning trip is supposed to be better than the afternoon trip (mostly due to weather patterns) so we arrived at 6:45a. They provide you with a waterproof bag so you can store towel, change of clothes, camera, etc. The boat holds about 12-14 people so it doesn't feel crowded. They drive you to the Hanalei lagoon where you hop into a small boat for a 3 minute trip to the larger boat that will be used for the tour. The larger boat is not a "Catamaran" so I'm not sure where they get the name ;) The boat is the perfect size for getting in/out of caves...which a lot of other tour companies cannot do because of the size of their boats.

From Hanalei you start the journey to the Na Pali coast which is right around the corner. Our boat captain was "Captain Sam" and he was great!! He was knowledgeable, funny, and has been doing this for some time. They talk to you about all of the great things on the north shore (best beaches, snorkeling spots, mountains) and then you arrive at the first glimpse of the Na Pali coast. From here it is 3 hours of seeing awe inspiring cliffs, sea caves, and waterfalls...unbelievable. If you're lucky you'll see dolphins following your boat. Captain Sam spotted the dolphins and did a u-turn so that everyone on board could get a great view...awesome!!

They will stop at a spot to snorkel (where a lot of other boats will stop as well) and provide you with lunch. The snorkeling spot is only ok...if you want great snorkeling then you need to go to the South Pacific (Cook Islands, Fiji, Tahiti), not Hawaii.

The trip back allows you to further appreciate the beauty of the Na Pali coast. Overall, this trip was AMAZING.

We also took a helicopter tour, but I would rank the boat trip ahead of the helicopter trip because it last longer and allows you to really soak in the beauty of the Na Pali coast. My wife and I were a little nervous to venture to the Na Pali coast in a kayak, but if we go back this will be my #1 objective...to take my own time paddling around the entire Na Pali coast...

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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