Niihau Tours

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Nicknamed the "Forbidden Isle" because private ownership has restricted access to outsiders for more than 150 years, Niihau is an enclave of Hawaiian culture not found elsewhere. In 1864, the seafaring Sinclair/Robinson family from New Zealand (via Scotland) bought the island from King Kamehameha for $10,000 and a promise to protect its existing residents both physically and culturally. It persists undeveloped—without roads, a hospital, central electricity, or plumbing. Nearly 200 isolated residents live off the land and communicate almost exclusively in Hawaiian.

Visible as a tall, blocky shadow from the western shores of Kauai, Niihau elicits dreams of seeing the island stuck in time. However, many of those dreamers have been turned away, reportedly including Mick Jagger and several heads of state. For decades, outsiders have had to settle for its namesake exports—coveted lei crafted from tiny endemic seashells, as well as ranched lamb and beef.

Now, snorkeling charters aboard large, sturdy catamarans also make the 17-mile trip across the Kaulakahi Channel from Kauai, showing visitors the whales and dolphins that frequent the area seasonally. Unable to land, the catamarans bob offshore, sharing the beauty of Niihau’s pristine reef unspoiled by on-land development.

Practical Info

Full-day Niihau snorkeling (and sometimes scuba) charters depart from Port Allen’s small boat harbor just south of Hanapepe town. Most also incorporate a scenic tour of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast. Note that sea conditions in the channel crossing can sometimes be rough.
Location
Address: Kauai, Hawaii, USA
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5 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Ni'ihau and Na Pali Coast Super Snorkel Cruise

Uncover the ancient legends and dramatic landscapes of the Na Pali Coast and the  ‘Forbidden Island’ of Ni’ihau on this sailing and snorkeling adventure. Cruise alongside the towering emerald spires and remote beaches of Kauai’s breathtaking, rugged shore in a state-of-the-art catamaran, and snorkel among native marine life in the reefs just off Ni’ihau’s mysterious shores. Hear tales of Hawaiian history and mythology from the friendly crew, and enjoy a delicious buffet lunch onboard.
  • Duration: 7 hours
From
US$229.34
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  • Duration: 7 hours
From
US$229.34

Niihau and Na Pali Coast Kauai Snorkel Cruise with Optional Scuba

Explore some of Hawaii’s most spectacular and mysterious landscapes on this full-day adventure cruise from Port Allen. Sail along the dramatic spires and emerald valleys of the Na Pali Coast while enjoying a light breakfast, and then cross over from Kauai to Niihau, known as the ‘forbidden island.’ Hear tales of the secretive island community from a friendly crew, and snorkel, scuba dive and swim in the crystal-clear waters just off shore. Refuel with a buffet lunch and Mai Tais on the gorgeous return ride.
  • Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
From
US$224.68
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  • Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
From
US$224.68

Waimea Canyon Bicycle Downhill

Take an exciting downhill ride from Waimea Canyon on this Kauai mountain bike tour! After riding in a van to the rim of the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific,’ hop on a bike and cruise down 12 miles (19 km) of paved trail while taking in views of the magnificent lava rock landscape. Cycle through beautiful Koke’e State Park and end your ride at the island’s coast, stopping for plenty of photo ops along the way.
  • Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
From
US$113.54
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  • Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
From
US$113.54

Private Waimea Canyon Tour

Experience the best of Kauai on a full-day private tour through the island’s scenic landscape, highlights and historic landmarks. Sample locally-grown beans at the Kauai Coffee Company, and visit old-fashioned Hanapepe; see the last Russian outpost on Hawaii, follow the footsteps of Captain Cook and take in stunning views of Waimea Canyon. Feel the mist off Waipo’o Falls, watch the Spouting Horn lava tube erupt with towering surf and watch for sea turtles in a sheltered cove before finishing your tour with a visit to stunning Wailua Falls. *Price displayed is based on a party of four to six passengers
  • Duration: 7 to 8 hours
From
US$135.20
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  • Duration: 7 to 8 hours
From
US$135.20

Na Pali Sunset Dinner or Morning Continental Breakfast Cruise and Snorkel

Experience dinner with a view — the breathtaking scenery of the stunning Na Pali Coast — on this 5-hour afternoon snorkel and dinner cruise. Explore the famous coastline, complete with entertaining and educational stories about the sites along the way. When conditions permit, hop into the water for a refreshing snorkel or swim. Enjoy a 3-course buffet dinner complete with beer, wine and Mai Tai cocktails. Then take in the beauty of a Kauai sunset to close a perfect evening. All snorkel gear plus instruction is included.
  • Duration: 5 hours
From
US$166.67
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  • Duration: 5 hours
From
US$166.67


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