For Thrill Seekers
Kaua‘i has long been known as a luxurious retreat with serene beauty and uncompromised charm. Here, it’s easy to get lost in tranquility under the swaying palm trees and balmy skies. But for those who crave an action-packed vacation, the serenity might be a little disconcerting. Have no fear. As dramatic as the Nāpali Cliffs and as rugged as Waimea Canyon, there’s an abundance of thrill-inducing, heart pumping activities to get your adrenaline soaring. It’s time to ditch the beach chairs and have the time of your life! The best way to get to know Kaua‘i is by exploring new territories, playing in the ocean, or getting a bird’s eye view of the surrounding terrain. So for the audacious—and for those who want to try something new—discover Kaua‘i, an adventure junkie’s paradise!
Have your dreams of setting foot on a rarely touched beach materialize as you venture the famous Nāpali Coast. Miles of rugged coastline tracing majestic peaks and deep valleys protect some of the Kauai’s most picturesque and pristine beaches, rendering them accessible only to the adventurous. There are different options when it comes to exploring these hidden locales; choose to embark on an enduring hike or sweep in from the sea. If opting for the ocean, experience the isolated shoreline by booking one of the several boat, catamaran or zodiac tours that offer spectacular views along the way. Most Nāpali Coast adventure tours include dolphin watching, snorkeling and sea cave explorations but beach landings are very limited and based on ocean conditions. With so many attractive options, you can easily find one that best suits your level of adventure—the difficult part is choosing just one. Try Blue Dolphin Charters (808) 335-5553, Capt. Andy’s (808) 335-6833, Holo Holo Charters (808) 335-0815 or Kauai Sea Tours (808) 335-5309. For an epic expedition and test of endurance, kayak the famed coast Kayak Kauai (808) 826-9844.
Explore the “Forbidden” Aquatic World
Hawai‘i’s “Forbidden Island” lies just off the western coast of Kaua‘i. The only way to set foot on the island is by invitation; but you can experience the pristine waters surrounding the shores of Ni‘ihau. The healthy reef here boasts some of the best snorkeling within the Hawaiian Island chain. Endangered Hawaiian monk seals are known to swim alongside snorkelers, while green sea turtles cruise at leisure. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins jump and play while the rich coral reef is home to an array of tropical fish that create a flurry of vibrant color. Up close and intimate views of Ni‘ihau and Lehua Island can be enjoyed from aboard the boat and meals are included. This may be the closest you’ll ever get to the privately owned island, so enjoy the rare sights of Hawai‘i. Contact Blue Dolphin Charters (808) 335-5553 or Holo Holo Charters (808) 335-0815.
If you have wondered what the craze is all about with Stand-Up Paddling (SUP), Kauaÿi is the perfect place to give it a shot. Test your balance and stand on a large surfboard while using a paddle to gently glide over water. Weave deep into Hanalei Valley on the favored Hanalei River, a preferred waterway for SUP enthusiasts. This is a perfect water sport that offers a full body workout in the middle of a tropical and verdant environment. For the daring (and SUP inclined), venture out to sea and test your skills on the ocean currents and gentle breaking surf in Hanalei Bay in the summer or Kalapaki Bay. Take a lesson and learn to ride the white wash back to shore, or go with the flow at your leisure down a lazy river. Either way—stand up paddling is a great activity for water lovers. Lessons and rentals: Kayak Kauai (808) 826-9844 or Hawaiian Surfing Adventures (808) 482-0749.
Remember how much you loved 4-wheeling as a kid? Channel your inner child and get dirty in Kaua‘i’s lush backcountry on an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) expedition. Individuals and families can ramble along the natural raceway through pastureland and jungles for a rugged and muddy ride! Kaua‘i’s uninhabited interior provides the space and freedom to let loose on inaccessible parts of the island, all while taking in panoramic views. Drivers must be 16 years or older to operate ATVs, but there are other vehicles available for younger guests. Don’t forget your swimwear, you may have the chance to take a refreshing dip in a freshwater stream or waterfall along the way. Contact Kauai ATV Tours (808) 742-2734 or Kipu Ranch Adventures (808) 246-9288.
Leave Gravity Behind
If you’ve ever wanted to swing through the jungle like Tarzan, now’s your chance! Adrenaline junkies can soar through the air while navigating forest canopies with a ziplining adventure on the island’s South Side. For over three hours, leave the world as you know it and go arboreal while zipping along from tree to tree with magnificent sceneries. With Just Live, a popular Kaua‘i zipline company, you’ll have three unique adventure packages to choose from. The “Zipline Treetop Tour” contains seven lines, up to 800-ft long and suspended 60 to 80-ft in the air, and five bridge crossings, while the “Wikiwiki Zip Tour” utilizes three different zips, two of which are over 700-ft long and offers three bridge crossings. Last, but certainly not least, the “Zipline Eco Adventure” combines three ziplines, three bridges, rappelling, a monster swing, and rock-wall climbing for four hours of heart pounding, eco-amusement. All tours include snacks and water. Call (808) 482-1295.
Board Meeting—Hawaiian Style!
If there is one activity quintessential to any Hawaiian vacation, it’s surfing. Ever since early Hawaiians learned to ride the ocean, surfing has thrilled water enthusiasts the world over. Your trip to Kaua‘i isn’t complete without attempting at least a few waves for yourself. Surfing is much like flying on the open sea and time spent on a board can range from extremely exhilarating to incredibly peaceful. Hanalei is a great spot for local surf lessons, where certified instructors provide a fun experience while helping you accomplish your goal of surfing. Contact Hawaiian Surfing Adventures where surf instructors are from Kaua‘i and are big wave riders and competitive surfers. Classes are perfect if you’re a beginner with no experience or for children as young as five years old. You can also opt for a private lesson. Hawaiian Surfing Adventures (808) 482-0749.