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“Loved it!! Wonderful paddle experience & waterfall!”
Review of Kayak Wailua

Kayak Wailua
Ranked #1 of 50 Tours in Kapaa
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Uluwehi Waterfalls aka Secret Falls is now in full bloom. Blockages have been removed; the falls has never looked better! A boardwalk now covers the muddy ditch. Don't miss this amazing attraction which is fun and educational for your whole family from toddlers to seniors.
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Loved it!! Wonderful paddle experience & waterfall!”
Reviewed October 16, 2009

We did this experience through Kayak Wailua the first Friday in October of 09 in the early afternoon/ late morning as one of our honeymoon excursions! My husband and I had a blast! I must say, that my husband and I enjoy kayaking! We are not professionals by any means, but are very comfortable kayaking/ canoeing on calm and white water.

We had a very nice guide. She stayed with the people that were less experienced. My husband and I are stronger paddlers so we would end up ahead of the group (even heading against the wind) and would just wait. This was not a problem for us at all :D The hike to the falls can be slippery and you must be able to do some very very mild climbing up some rocky hills. Nothing bad at all, We saw a family with children walk by. They seemed comfortable.) The falls were beautiful!! (The height of the water varies depending on the season you go. So at some points in the year I think it is less accessible due to LOTS of rain.)

At the falls we ate our lunch and swam beneath it. We were lucky that we had a small group we pretty much had the falls to our self, so that is pretty atypical from what I understood. So I would NOT say that is a regular occurrence. My husband and I loved it! We had an absolute blast and got some really good pictures!! (I have a waterproof digital camera)

I would recommend wearing shoes that you do not care about on this trip. Old sturdy tennis shoes. It is a rain forest so the ground is Wet, you are also going to have to step in the water to get into your boat and go through the water to get to the trail!

Overall, a wonderful experience!!

Thank JandJ09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Hilliard, Ohio
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Don't Pay For This”
Reviewed August 6, 2009

If you have ever kayaked (even once), you do not need a guide. This is a very popular, large, calm river. It is not hard to find the hiking trails (just look for all the other kayaks along the way). The tour is very unprofessional. YOU MEET AT A GAS STATION.. enough said. After leaving the suspicious gas station, you hop in the van and listen to the guide and his boss talk about schedules, payments, and coworkers... (not a good idea to talk business in front of customers). They didn't say anything to us.. probably because they already had our money. You need a little muscle and endurance to make it up the river, but it isn't too hard... put the power person in the back if you are in a double. The guide was worthless on the hiking trail (he said a couple of things about Hawaii and native/invasive plants... anything you can pull off wikipedia in about 5 minutes. The waterfall and the river are well worth the trip however. The falls will be crowded, but I would recommend a nice picnic and photos at the base of the falls.

1 Thank wgosnell17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“For the price just rent a Kayak”
Reviewed July 24, 2009

If you are an experienced Kayaker then you are better off just renting a kayaking and taking the Wailua to Sacred Falls yourself. If you are an inexperienced Kayaker then there is minimal instruction and support. You are better off paying the extra dollars for one of the many other tours on the island. We had to pay extra for what I consider normal kayak seats. Yesterday, there was flash flood warnings and 58 people were stranded at Sacred Falls. People were probably told that they would lose their money if they did not take the tour. Profit over safety. I did have a great time, but not because of Kayak Wailua.

3 Thank TravelerD9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Worst day on Kauai - danger”
Reviewed July 23, 2009

We were in Kauai for a wedding. Our group consisted of various ages, sizes and levels of fitness. We were assured this trip was suitable for everyone. This is SO false. Our guide (a young thin woman with 2 small children - I can't recall her name), made many bad decisions that endangered our party.

Kayak Wailua says it takes you by van to the launching site. Their van couldn't fit all of us. They didn't make a second trip. They told us to drive ourselves. We paid for the extra back supports. We didn't get any. They put them on someone else's kayak. I asked for a life jacket to bring on the kayak. They said I could only have one if I wore it, not to store it on the kayak.

These kayaks don't have rudders and are difficult to steer.

Our group was all over the place on the river. Some way ahead, some far behind. The guide did nothing to keep us together. I never even saw her until we reached the hiking part. When one kayak got stuck in the weeds, she did nothing. Others from our group swam to the stuck kayak to free it.

On the hike, the guide was again, useless. A small few in our party had difficulty on the muddy, slippery, uneven trail. The scouting rule is the slowest person goes up front to keep the group together. Our guide took off up front and didn't even bother to notice the stragglers until some in our group demanded it. She started to complain that the next group (her boyfriend) was coming up behind us. She told the more able of us to go on ahead to the falls on our own. Here's were we really got split up. Three of us went completely off the trail and got lost for awhile. Since we were split up, the stragglers didn't have food or water. Those carrying the water were up ahead. Some of us left the falls early to bring water back to the stragglers. This group got divided again. Two went ahead, and one went back to look for someone who had taken the wrong trail. The guide left us on our own. We tried calling the lost ones via cell phone. She said "Your phones won't work, but mine does." But she didn't call ANYONE!!!! Some of us started thinking she was on something. It was only because we had some experienced people in our group that nothing terrible happened.

When we made it back to the kayaks, the guide did nothing to help us. She sat in her kayak at the top of the mound and just watched us.

There was NO discussion about the trail, the plants, the culture. We would have been better off on our own. When we asked her how much longer, or what's coming up next (so that we could make a decision on whether to proceed), she always said, "it's easy from here on." Not so. At one point, she said "This is where people have broken their bones." Great!

Kayaking back was against the wind. Our stragglers had to be towed in by the stronger ones in our group. Our guide did not help or offer to help. She just paddled back on her own.

Coming into the final stretch, there was a wild man in a speed boat dragging his kids on some innertubes. The waves they created were awful. They were laughing and screaming and running circles around the inlet. Apparently, there are no rules about courtesy.

Finally on land, our guide did not do a head count of us. The van took only part of the people back. The rest of us found our way back on our own.

The only thing good about this excursion is that it makes for a good story AFTER.

They include the tip in the upfront charge. I would not have given her a dime. We also didn't get reimbursed for the back seats we paid for.

DO NOT think this is an easy paddle or a leisurely stroll in the forest.

Admittedly, the scenery is lovely. But our guide made it into a dangerous and angry event.

11 Thank lunajoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Avoid this unprofessional outfit!”
Reviewed July 18, 2009

Trip started with a surprise at hidden 15% charge for tip in advance (we understood why later). Then they try to nickel and dime for a high back seat in the kayak for an extra $5 - this is a rip off and should just be automatically included. Then they get you to sign up a detailed form essentially saying they are not responsible for anything that happens during the tour. And that means anything as we also discovered.

Renee was the guide and at first seemed very pleasant. It quickly turned out she had no idea how to organize a large group (16 people) and had no concern about helping anyone who was struggling with the rather arduous route. We got spread out and she just wanted to keep pushing on (it turned out she was trying to meet up with her boyfriend who is also a guide). Half the group made it to the falls and the rest were spread out back down the trail. She wasn't concerned as she had found her boyfriend. When we set off back she again just galloped ahead until we stopped her to say one of the group was missing. Two of us volunteered to go try to find him and her only input was to wish them good luck then set off again back to the kayaks. (Fortunately we all hooked up again after a while) Several people found the trail almost impossibly difficult and had to stop halfway. After kayaking back we got to their van to be taken back to our cars and they tried to get of taking us saying that several of our group had followed the van in their own cars and could we not go back with them (which would have involved several trips). We pushed them to take us back and when we got there they sped off the moment we unloaded the van. No chance of retreiving anything accidentally left behind. No wonder they get the tip in advance - no way any of us would have offered one at the end! This tour is suitable only for at least moderately fit people who are ready to wade through muddy river beds and climb slippery, rocky 45 degree slopes. And this was at a time of year when it is 'easiest'. No idea how they compare to other operators (there are many on the island) but suggest anyone who is inexperienced or not in pretty robust health should avoid Kayak Wailua and ask a lot of questions of any other operator and check it out thoroughly online beforehand.

5 Thank DaddioGee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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