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“Fun and adventure”
Review of Kayak Hanalei

Kayak Hanalei
Ranked #6 of 19 Tours in Hanalei
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: We are a Hawaiian Family owned and operated company specializing in Kayak tours, kayak rentals, surf/SUP lessons, & surf/SUP rentals.
Reviewed June 16, 2012

My Wife and I were visiting Hawaii for our 7th anniversary. I have lived on Oahu twice while in the service spending six years on Oahu and visiting four of the major islands, Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, and Maui. So since this was her first time and has always been her dream vacation I wanted to plan the trip around her interests. One of the items she wanted to do was kayaking. So after reviewing many of the options on trip advisor and other sites I decided upon Kayak Hanalei. One thing I liked was their family owned business, and the video on their website made me comfortable with booking through them. We had nine nights in the islands and were visiting Kauai for our last four nights. We booked the trip on Monday, June 11, which was our anniversary. We went out on the 8:00 to 12:00 excursion. We met up with our fellow adventures at the Ching Yung Shopping Center location of Kayak Hanalei. Goldie, owner with her husband Capt. Dave, met us there and gave us instructions on how to pack up our gear. My wife and I had our own snorkeling mask and tubes so we were fitted for fins. Once everyone was fitted for gear and had their items packed in the waterproof bags provided to us, they loaded up in the van, driven by guide Kamua, to be driven down to the Kayaks. We decided to drive since we had a rental car. Once at the kayaks we were introduced to our other guide, Harry, and given instructions on how to paddle and what to do and not to do. We then loaded onto the kayaks and began the trip up the river. There were eight kayaks in our group. My wife and I were the first ones launched so we got to move out ahead of the pack while the others were launched. Once all of the kayaks were in the water Kamua and Harry grouped us up and gave us a brief on some of the aspects of the river and the scenery we were looking at including history and language. We then proceeded up river to our turn around point. The river was very scenic and calm and we passed other individuals kayaking on their own or paddling paddle boards, a very serene picture. We were able to use our cameras to get some good shots and Harry came over and took our picture for us as well. Once we got back towards the bay we were given instructions on how to move into the bay and what route to take. Again, once we were all out into the calmer part we were gathered up and given further safety instructions for the move through Hanalei By towards, Hideaways beach where would snorkel. Also, while we were waiting, a couple of sea turtles dropped by for a quick visit which everyone enjoyed. The weather had been nice during our stay but the winds had produced some swells with waves a little larger than normal for this time of year. Harry towed one kayak across the bay since the occupants were older and needed some extra assistance. Once at hideaways we beached the kayaks and were then given fish guides and a lesson on the various fish we would see while snorkeling. After that, Harry and Kamua took those folks who wanted to go into the deeper parts of the reef out and those of us who didn’t snorkeled closer to shore enjoying the water closer to the beach. My wife went with the more adventurous group and I stayed closer but was still able to see many of the colorful fish in the reef including the famous Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. Once everyone had a good amount of snorkeling, we were brought back to the Kayaks for lunch. We had fresh fruit, turkey sandwiches, chips and drinks I went for my favorite the Guava Nectar. After lunch, Harry and Kamua played Ukuleles for us and “talked story.” I even got to discuss the fine art of Emu building and cooking the Pig with Kamua and Harry since I wanted to try and recreate a luau when I returned home. I also body surfed for a little bit prior to loading back up on the Kayaks and heading in. The trip in was easy and once in we turned in our gear and said goodbye. It was a great day, my wife was thrilled and I was more than happy having been able to fulfill one of her dream vacation wishes. Big thanks to Harry, Kamua, Goldie, and the others at Kayak Hanalei for a very memorable and fun experience. I highly recommend them to others wishing to take in kayaking during their trip to Kauai.

3  Thank Sootsgd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"single kayaks"
in 10 reviews
"hideaways beach"
in 10 reviews
"rented stand up paddle boards"
in 5 reviews
"nice equipment"
in 5 reviews
"person kayak"
in 7 reviews
"hour rental"
in 4 reviews
"rental fee"
in 4 reviews
"wildlife refuge"
in 11 reviews
"easy paddle"
in 5 reviews
"kayak tour"
in 13 reviews
"dolphin restaurant"
in 4 reviews
"beautiful river"
in 6 reviews
"great kayaking"
in 4 reviews
"turned around"
in 7 reviews
"life jackets"
in 6 reviews
"picnic lunch"
in 4 reviews
"dry bags"
in 10 reviews
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Reviewed May 30, 2012

Returned to Kauai for third visit. Really wanted to kayak Hanalei River. This company was very favorably reviewed, and for good reason. From check-in with Goldie to our return, everything was very professional ( but not aloof as is frquently the case in Hawaii). The gear was great ( no divorce boats for us), and Harry, Kolo, and the "wrestler ( our guides) were extremely attentive to everyone's needs (group of 20 +/-). Trip up river was a bit rushed, but we needed the energy to cross over to Hideaway Beach. Trade winds made things a little choppy, but Harry and the guys instructed us on how to make safe passage ( only one capsize in 15 boats). Snorkelling is as good at Hideaway as anywhere on Kauai (including the famous Tunnels). Lunch was fresh and plenty of food/drink. Having been with another company on Wailua River trip ( a disaster), Kayak Hanalei is as good as it gets. Do It!

1  Thank dreed13255
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2012

The other reviews here have described the tour, so I won't bother because ours was just like they've described and what's described at the company's website.

So I'll just add my praise and my 5 stars, along with a few more photos. I also have two comments to add. One reviewer said they would not recommend the tour "for anyone who is older and not comfortable falling in." My partner and I are in our late 60s and I have issues with my back and I'm a little afraid of the water. Do NOT worry! The guides are helpful, watchful, and kind. You get an excellent PFD to wear, so falling in (which didn't happen) would be safe -- plus they instructed us about what to do if that happened, and their instructions included all the help they'd be giving us to get back into the kayak. The only advice I have for my fellow old-folks is to empty that bladder before heading out. ;)

The first part of the kayaking is on calm river water. The second half is on the ocean. So that might be a challenge if the surf is up and your arms tire easily. We were lucky to have a fairly easy-ocean day.

Kauai can be rainy, especially on the north shore, where this tour takes place. The fact that it rained during almost all of our tour was NOT a drawback! I mean, kayaking and snorkeling is all about getting wet anyway, isn't it? My partner and I came prepared with rain jackets and hats, as well as long-sleeved shirts and those pants that zip off into shorts, so the rain didn't bother us or get our dry clothes wet. Some folks who hadn't come prepared like that were shivering a little on the beach in their wet gear after the snorkel was done, but the picnic lunch on the beach was under a huge tree that kept the rain off everybody. So just watch the skies and if it looks at all like rain, pack that pocket-raincoat in your kit-bag.

Thank Kate B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2012

We went on the kayaking and snorkeling adventure with this wonderful family operated company. We had so much fun. They took us along the river first to get comfortable with the kayaks and made us some souvenirs along the way. They told us a lot about the culture and history. They pointed out different scenic spots and answered all of our questions.

We laughed a lot, got wet and had a lot of fun. When it was time for lunch they even serenaded us with their ukuleles! I wouldn't suggest the kayaking for anyone who is older and not comfortable falling in, because it can easily happen!

Later on in the week we went back to surf with them and that was a fantastic experience also. They have all kinds of things available to do and they are EXTREMELY friendly and nice! If you are on the North Shore, stay there! There is no need to head to the South Shore, it is just a lot busier and a long drive!

1  Thank skellyt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 1, 2012

I cannot recall how I found this company, but what a find! This is a family run business in Hanalei and they were great. Goldie was very helpful in getting us booked---tip---if you book with them directly, there is a ten dollar discount (kayakhanalei.com).
We lucked out and had tour all to ourselves (maybe we we were early in the season?). Her nephew, Harry was an awesome guide--very freindly and knowledgeable about the Na Pali coast and the animals of river and bay, and amusing, too. For less than $100 per person, we kayacked the river and Hanalei Bay, snorkeled, and had a provided lunch on the beach. Four of the funnest hours our boys spent on the island of Kauai and our favorite memory of our entire trip. Tips: Check in with them by phone sometime before your trip for weather updates (808-826-1881) and remember to tip your guides---after all, they are sharing their "home" with you.

2  Thank ColoradoTrailHiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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