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Kauai excursions?

RX8

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My father in law will be staying on the west coast of Kauai next week. We want to pay for an excursion for him, maybe a luau, kayaking or snorkeling. Anyone have any experience with local excursions/companies that you can recommend?

Thanks!
 

DaveNW

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I agree with ^^^. Highly recommended.

But I wanted to ask, where exactly do you mean by the "west coast of Kauai?" The island is pretty round, and there aren't really any towns on the west side that I know of.

Dave
 
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RX8

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E1211AD2-9C1B-40BD-89C5-0674601BE2DF.jpegThanks for the suggestions. Dave, Kauai really is a round ball, isn’t it? Here is where he is staying.

EDITED: LOL, I just noticed that I don't know my West from my East.

This is on the EAST side of Kauai. So does this mean Captain Andy's is no longer an option?
 
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easyrider

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There is a military base near Barking Sands beach and a small town called kehaha in West Kauai. I don't remember any resorts out there. Just saw the map. It looks like Kapa'a area. The captain Andy's or other trip down the Napilli Coast is really cool. Blue Hwaian Helicopter trip is a very good way to see the island.

Bill
 
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chalee94

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Captain Andy's is located in the south/southwest part of the island but it's not too far. A good relaxing choice. Maybe they could drive around Waimea canyon in the morning and take the cruise later on.

My favorite boat tour was an early morning tour of Na Pali from the north side which included snorkeling (Na Pali Catamaran). But Captain Andy's is an afternoon cruise (better if they don't like getting up early on vacation) with better dining.

A helicopter trip (we did Jack Harter) is also a great option. The Kauai Revealed book/kindle was a very valuable resource for information.

Here is a great 4k view from a “doors off” helicopter trip in Kauai – 10 minutes or so in, it gets to some nice waterfalls - 14 minutes or so in, it gets to the Waimea Canyon – 23:30 they get to the coast and the Na Pali coast has some pretty unique scenery:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL3NA2lyDYM
 
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jacknsara

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My father in law will be staying on the west coast of Kauai next week. We want to pay for an excursion for him, maybe a luau, kayaking or snorkeling. Anyone have any experience with local excursions/companies that you can recommend?

Thanks!
Aloha,
Given the east coast location, Smiths Luau might be most convenient. As I recall, it is possible to buy only the show if the food menu is not appealing https://www.smithskauai.com/
Kayaking in the Kauai ocean during the winter? Maybe kayaking on the Wailua River - which is where Smith's is also located might make more sense?
https://kayakkauai.com/tours/river-kayaking-tours/wailua-secret-falls-tour/
Snorkeling? I mostly snorkel from shore now. It's been more than a decade since we've be on a tour boat. I believe most or all (winter) snorkel tours begin out of Port Allen - including Captain Andy's.
Jack
 
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DaveNW

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View attachment 17179Thanks for the suggestions. Dave, Kauai really is a round ball, isn’t it? Here is where he is staying.

EDITED: LOL, I just noticed that I don't know my West from my East.

This is on the EAST side of Kauai. So does this mean Captain Andy's is no longer an option?

Glad you sorted it out. You had me going with that west side thing. :)

Kapa'a is pretty centrally located, so traveling either north or south from there is easy to do, traffic notwithstanding.

I agree with Jack, the Smith's Luau is a very nice thing to do there, plus, it's very close to Kapa'a. In addition to dinner, they have a grounds tour, and a river boat cruise up the Wailua River. Very scenic, and restful way to spend an afternoon and early evening.

If the idea of Capt. Andy's appeals to you, go to www.napali.com and check them out. The Dinner Cruise asks people to check in at 2PM, and departs from Port Allen, (along the extreme southern coast) about 3. They motor up the Napali Coast (amazing scenery!), to Jurassic (Kalalau) Valley, then turn around and hoist sails to sail back for the sunset. It's a great way to spend an afternoon. (On the way to Port Allen, it's an easy stop to tour the Kauai Coffee Company's growing plantation. Pretty interesting, and free.)

Waimea Canyon is a great scenic drive, but ONLY if the weather is clear. If it's cloudy or rainy, there is little to see. There's a reason Mt. Waialeale is the rainiest place on Earth. :)

Kauai has a lot of fun waiting for your FIL. Hope he has a great time!

Dave
 
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geist1223

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Kauai: Remember there is only 1 two lane Hwy from north to south. Down south you have Waimea Canyon. To do this properly is about a day. Take a picnic lunch. Drive to the top. Resist the turn outs. Drive as far as you can and then hike past the top parking a bit. There are several View Points up there. Have your picnic lunch in the Park at the top. Then stop at all or most of the View Points on your way down. There is the Kauai Coffee Planation. There is zip lining in Koloa. There is an inner tube float down the old sugar cane canals in Lihue. There is Poipu Beach. There is the Alakai Swamp Trail. There are Cruises out of Hanapepe Bay to the Napali Cliffs and snorkeling. There is the Spouting Horn. There is the Mala'ulepu Trail that starts on the top of the Cliffs just north of Shipwreck's Beach. There is the Makauwahi Cave. Almost forgot about the light house - a National Park. Also a bird nesting area. Luau: some of the large Hotels have Luau. The two I would recommend are Kilohana just outside of Lihue or Smith Family by Kapa'a. Kilohana has the more traditional entertainment telling the Polynesian story through song and dance. Smith Family has greater diversity to honor the many people that have emigrated to the Islands. Remember Poi is not a dish by itself but to dip your Pork. There is Anini Beach. The town of Hanalei. The beach at Hanalei. To go to Ke'e Beach you need to go online and make a Reservation - either AM or PM. Kayaking up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto and Secret Falls. It is about a mile hike to the falls. Sometimes the trail is very muddy. In Lihue there is a Costco. Cheapest gas on the Island by a lot. Great Fish Tacos at the Food Truck by Hanalei Pier. Some of the best Chili Pepper Chicken is at the Chevron Station in Priceville. Best Loco Moco is at the Food Shack on the side of the Sueoka's Market in Koloa. Jump off the Cliff just north of Shipwreck Beach and swim to Shipwreck Beach.
 

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My favorite thing to do in Kauia was scuba through the lava tubes and general misbehaving with the locals at the tavern. I hate the traffic on Kauia and probably won't go back because of it.

Bill
 
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chellej

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we really enjoyed the luau at the Kilohana Plantation..it is more theater than dance. Agree with Captain Andys Dinner cruise. You can also take a boat up to fern grotto if kayaking isn't their thing.

Make sure they try Lava Lava for happy hour...it is right on the beach behind the coconut marketplace
 

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Because of the traffic we always try and stay at least 2 weeks. One week Kapa'a and north. One week Poipu area.
 

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I’m on vacation so the traffic doesn’t other me. :cool::) Plus it’s nothing compared to Oahu.:)
 

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I’m on vacation so the traffic doesn’t other me. :cool::) Plus it’s nothing compared to Oahu.:)
If you are on vacation that means you can avoid the traffic even on Oahu .... wise guy
 

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If you are on vacation that means you can avoid the traffic even on Oahu .... wise guy
But I don’t vacation on Oahu.:)
 

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My favorite thing to do in Kauia was scuba through the lava tubes and general misbehaving with the locals at the tavern. I hate the traffic on Kauia and probably won't go back because of it.

Bill
The traffic is bad only between Lihue and Kapa'a and only during rush hour. If you are staying in Princeville or Koloa and don't drive during peak times, it is really a non-issue.
 

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I second the votes for the Smith Family Luau.

One of the best things we've done on Kauai was tubing through irrigation canals including the caves! https://kauaibackcountry.com/tubing/
 

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Our family did Captain Andy's in July and every passenger - I mean every single one - got motion sickness.
It's the only snorkel cruise we've ever been on that passed out "Aloha buckets" at the start.

We have done Safari Helicopter twice and enjoyed it. I'd do it again, but my wife says no way.

Thumbs up on Kauai tubing, but BOOK EARLY. Everything sells out more an a week out. They have a good cancellation policy.
It's on SE corner of island

If you want to do horseback riding, CJM Country Stables is near Grand Hyatt Kauai. It's affordable and my daughter loves it. They have a path that goes along the beach. Easy to book on short notice. It's on SE corner of island

If you like escape rooms, Escape Room Kauai has one that is Hawaii themed and is a ton of fun. It's located in Lihue, not far from Safari Helicopters.
 

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We generally stay on the north coast (Princeville, Hanalei), so are familiar with tours there. That said, my favorite of all time was a Na Pali coast tour with snorkeling from Sea Breeze tours -- https://napaliseabreezetours.com/

Wonderful tour, boat small enough to get in caves, wonderful snorkeling, and we saw tons of wildlife. When returning to the departure point (Kalihiwai Beach, I think) we saw literally hundreds of dolphins, many performing acrobatics that you'd only expect from trained animals. It was mesmerizing! Loved this trip. The departure point is only about 1/2 hour from Kapa'a.
 

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The traffic is bad only between Lihue and Kapa'a and only during rush hour. If you are staying in Princeville or Koloa and don't drive during peak times, it is really a non-issue.
If you actually stay out of Lihue I guess it's no problem but who does that ?

Bill
 

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We have been going to Kauai almost every year for about 25 years.

Luau: Don't eat the food! The Smith's show is great, we have seen it 5 times or so. Last year we tried the show at Gaylord's (Kilohana). That show is FANTASTIC. We did find out the restaurant is open so you can have a fabulous meal there, then go over just for the show.

We also did Captain Andy's sunset cruise and it was fabulous. We warned our guests the food would be awful, because of experiences with other cruises. The food was fantastic! That was a marvelous surprise. Bring Dramamine if anyone is susceptible to seasickness.

A helicopter ride is almost mandatory. There is no other way to really experience the Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon.

For casual food, in Hanalei there is a great casual restaurant -- Kalypso. Be sure to be very hungry when you go! The best fine dining is in Poipu, the Beach House. Make your reservation for sunset and be sure to have your camera. It's the best sunset on the island.

Na 'Aina Kai Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to visit. The grounds are huge and very beautiful. They drive you around so it's only as much walking as you want to do. They have placed whimsical statues throughout the property. The visit to the family home is also lovely.

I hope that is helpful!
 

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We enjoyed walking the grounds of the Hindu Monastery aka Himalayan Academy, located inland up the Wailua River.
 
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TheTimeTraveler

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Our family did Captain Andy's in July and every passenger - I mean every single one - got motion sickness.
It's the only snorkel cruise we've ever been on that passed out "Aloha buckets" at the start.

We have done Safari Helicopter twice and enjoyed it. I'd do it again, but my wife says no way.

Thumbs up on Kauai tubing, but BOOK EARLY. Everything sells out more an a week out. They have a good cancellation policy.
It's on SE corner of island

If you want to do horseback riding, CJM Country Stables is near Grand Hyatt Kauai. It's affordable and my daughter loves it. They have a path that goes along the beach. Easy to book on short notice. It's on SE corner of island

If you like escape rooms, Escape Room Kauai has one that is Hawaii themed and is a ton of fun. It's located in Lihue, not far from Safari Helicopters.


A good way to avoid the motion sickness is to arrive with a very empty stomach (i.e. not having eaten for 8 hours) or take Dramamine prior to your boat trip. The views by boat are really incredible, and well worth it.

I am a person who normally does not have an issue with sea sickness but I didn't do so well last time I did this tour so having an empty stomach or using Dramamine is the best way to go.

This trip in my opinion is a "must do and see" boat ride! Bring your cameras!



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